Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers

Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 3:31pm CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews
Posted by: Tigertrack   Views: 71,930

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“The horror, the horror!”

-Joseph Conrad, 'The Heart of Darkness' circa 1902

While this comic series (#2 in stores Wednesday!) will probably not make it into quite the same literary acclaim that the predecessor novel has, it looks to be exploring a character in a new, deeper and more exciting way. Will this book lead us into deeper thinking and understanding for people’s inner demons and parallel said book’s themes of what’s dark in and around all of us? We’ll have to read it to find out, but from our beginning two issues we can see that Galvatron has taken a very introspective look at himself, and his new relationship to the universe.

Accomplished veteran writing duo, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, step into the Transformers universe and take their shot at iconic characters Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge, and Arcee in this mini-series about Galvatron’s return to Gorlam Prime and the dead universe, and what he finds waiting for him there. We had a taste of what they could do with our favorite robots in Transformers Infestation #’s 1 and 2, and in Transformers Heart of Darkness they continue their set up of Galvatron as a major mover and shaker in the months to come.

Recap Issue #1 leading into Issue #2 Summary (SPOILERS!!!):

Galvatron feels called to Gorlam Prime and finds it devoid of life forms, as if there were a mass planetary exodus, or some sort of genocide. He and his recently reborn minions (sort of re-establishes what Galvatron did in Transformers Ongoing Coda #14 using the ‘Heart of Darkness’ and what happened to him after Optimus Prime flung him into the nega-energy core thingy).

Returning to where the trans-dimensional portal was found deep below the surface of Gorlam Prime, Galvatron displays new strength, and a narrow determination to find out how Gorlam Prime’s fate ties in with the dead universe, and his newly reconstructed self. This area was a focus for Nightbeat, Hardhead, Jhiaxus, and the micromasters in the fondly referred to ‘-tion’ series (Infiltration, Escalation, Devastation, and Revelation) and a pivotal nexus for crossing between the universe and the dead universe.

The previous portal was a giant lake-like area, but Galvatron and company find it has changed in its state from liquidish lake to a floating energy sphere. And besides the new spherical portal, they have found the tortured, and ruined pieces of Jhiaxus, who Arcee was busy ripping apart the last time we saw her (end of Revelation) to get revenge for Jhiaxus’ experimenting on her and creating her female form (Spotlight Arcee and the -tion series).

Galvatron uses the Heart of Darkness (anti-matrix) to re-create/re-animate/re-power/re-construct Jhiaxus, as he did Cyclonus, and Scourge. Through Jhiaxus he hopes to learn the fate of the people of Gorlam Prime, and how the spherical portal came about.
However, before too much can be shared, an unlikely pair of super-charged Autobots comes out guns blazing to protect the sphere. These two Autobots being none other than Arcee and Hardhead and they beat Galvatron down something fierce!

The series started off with a a pretty big bang, at least in the story development department. Abbnett and Lanning seem to have a pretty good grasp on the direction they want Galvatron to go, and the pace and speed they want he, and the other characters to make their important realizations.

Issue #2 continues this with more Galvatron introspection as he finds his way into the dead universe through the portal. However, the dead universe, heart of darkness, power of the anti-matrix or what not, has become somewhat of a crux for him. He seems to have lost a bit of his own independence in favor of the power that the dead universe has bestowed upon him. In fact, he relies on this power to re-animate himself, and his comrades, and himself he has felt his own mortality, but is granted the power repeatedly to beat death for himself and others.

Speaking of powering up and beating death, Arcee and Hardhead seem to have become super-powered in their stay at Gorlam Prime. A few shots and they take down Galvatron, dealing him mortal wounds before he even blinks. Then they scare the bejeebus out of Jhiaxus, Scourge, and Cyclonus, as they beat them down. Scared s_itless, Cyclonus, Scourge, and Jhiaxus try as they might, seem to have no desire, will, confidence, or strength to beat these two Autobots. Having seen what was done to Galvatron, the ‘deadheads’ basically give up.

And then Galvatron gets better. And he does his best to destroy Hardhead and Arcee. They bear his best shot well, but are weakened, and panicked. Smarter heads prevail and Hardhead sends Arcee to warn her fellow Autobots about Galvatron, the dead universe, Gorlam Prime, and possibly ultimate doom.


Very quickly the cowardly deadites turn into confident soldiers and Galvatron very non-violently probes Hardhead’s mind to find out what has happened to create these changes in Gorlam Prime and the portal. Cyclonus and Scourge chase Arcee into an ancient-er area of Gorlam Prime, an underground city with sculptures of beings with Autobot matrix-like symbols on their chests.

Arcee is quickly overcome and as the chase concludes, she falls (is helped by cannon fire) into the abyss supposedly to her doom.

Galvatron enters the sphere entirely, encountering an entity called... U - N - I...just kidding, it was called D-Void and it is coming to feed on the sparks of sentient robotic beings (Gorlam Prime inhabitants were the appetizer), and finds Cybertronian sparks to be the richest flavor-- the best part of waking up--.

Galvatron vows to raise an army and defeat it. He exits the portal knowing his new goal, crazily trying to blast his new nemesis within the portal. Will the Autobots believe him and help? Will the Decepticons join Galvatron’s idealistic campaign?

My Take on the Writing:

I am intrigued by the series. Let me set this straight, I am intrigued by the characterization of Galvatron in the series, his devotion to finding out what his new purpose is, how it relates to what D-void might actually be, and considering how this will lead into CHAOS!

However, the writing falls somewhat short when dealing with the character formerly known as Cyclonus, and other supporting cast members. It’s true in Galvatron’s AHM Coda issue, Cyclonus felt beaten, and ready to just give in to the dead universe, but Galvatron and the Heart of Darkness cured him of this, and he recommitted himself to Galvatron, and being his ‘seeker’ (along with Scourge).. his lieutenant. But he does not seem to be the confident, adept, and powerful warrior that we saw in Revelation, or briefly in Coda. The character who didn’t bat an eye at single handedly taking on a ship of Autobots, or traveling between the real universe and dead universe to do tasks for Galvatron is absent, replaced by a bot who is unable to deal with dead universe enhanced Hardhead, his new situation, or the new Galvatron.

The dead universe crew seem to all be a bit sniveling and cowardly, more so than I thought we had seen based on INFESTATION and the previous material in the ‘-tion’ series.

However, it is a relief to see events, characters, and plot points re-addressed in this new series. The exposition by Galvatron can seem a bit uncharacteristic at times, but this is probably the best written version of Galvatron we have seen in fiction thus, far. Many times better than the Marvel Galvatron, or the cartoon Galvatron, he is separate from Megatron, and the inevitable meeting has to have other people than me happily anticipating a major throwdown for Decepticon leadership.

Writing has me on board. Abnett and Lanning are doing a good to great job. Galvatron’s internal dialogue is nice to read, and shows the level of introspection he is having, rather than just ‘rah! and crazy’, Autobot destroying, and power hungry, but some of the dialogue seems rather, out of place, or dated (uncharacteristic) sounding.


Artistically, though this series blows me how poor, uneven, and inconsistent it is.

I would be very hard-pressed to find a time when there was such a mismatch in artistic quality with writing quality, although I am sure it has happened. But, and this is going to sound harsh, I feel like you could match Ulises with Shakespeare and people would not want to read the comics because the art was that bad.

There are truly some beautifully rendered pieces in the book like the his cover works. But most of the bots within the pages of the book are simply horrible to bad in their details and proportions. Chain-chin Cyclonus. Piston-Nostriled Jhiaxus. Plier-head Cyclonus. Super-legs Arcee. MP-09 handed Cyclonus.


The artwork is very...disturbing is not the correct word. I guess I just want to know where Ulises got his commission from. He has a web page with his art on it, he’s been hired to do different things, but for some reason, his style, his work just is not translating really well to this form of art. He’s a newcomer to Transformers, but his art seems much better suited to flesh and bloods, rather than robots.


From Issue #1 to Issue #2 he has improved a lot in his consistency, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Issue #1, I needed to look to see if other artists were credited for doing any of several of the pages, issue #2 I did not feel like that--it was much more even.



I just cannot fathom why there are some fantastic draw dropping pictures of Hardhead and Galvatron, and then there are some of Cyclonus, Scourge, Arcee and others that look like they were drawn by a much, much, much lesser hand.


And who am I to judge? Just a consumer who knows what he likes, has a little bit of art school training, many years of comic book reading and enjoying, and once thought he might illustrate comics. Looking at this, I need to get my portfolio in order, I might be able to find me some work out there.

Keep working Ulises, IDW is giving you your chance and you are making improvements. I hope you make the most of it!

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I believe you, a Transformers comic book fan and reader, should give this series a look. Two issues of four down, it’s very intriguing, and looks to more than likely be leading into the CHAOS which is happening this starting this summer. It also relates itself very clearly to previous story arcs, characters, and plot details, bringing back some things that perhaps you did not know you should care that were still dangling. Some loose ends are getting tied up, which for long term readers is quite a rewarding feeling.

I haven’t enjoyed much in Transformers lately, but I found this to be a worthy read.

The art will be hard to take for many when you first look, but as I stated, there are certainly some gems amongst the rabble, but every series is far from perfect in the creative areas, just as hacks like myself are far from perfect at writing, drawing, and creating items to share with our communities.

Check out the five-page preview here!

Transformers Heart of Darkness #2 is due in stores Wednesday, April 20th!


Teaser for #3's cover. I told you Ulises can draw covers.


Credit(s): tigertracks 24, IDW Comics

This article was last modified on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 5:52pm CDT

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Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1211120)
Posted by Chaoslock on April 19th, 2011 @ 4:59pm CDT
tigertracks 24 wrote:Transformers Heart of Darkness #2 is due in stores Wednesday, August 20th!


Do I really have to wait half a year?


Also, at first I mis-read the title as "Death Stars Above!"
Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1211131)
Posted by Tigertrack on April 19th, 2011 @ 5:54pm CDT
Chaoslock wrote:
tigertracks 24 wrote:Transformers Heart of Darkness #2 is due in stores Wednesday, August 20th!


Do I really have to wait half a year?


Also, at first I mis-read the title as "Death Stars Above!"

It didn't happen without pictures...

And you are now officially my editor.

Wenjy ;)
Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1211212)
Posted by BATTOUSAIXD on April 20th, 2011 @ 1:21am CDT
I like the looks of a lot of the Transformers in these comics; I wish they would make figures of them. A Megatron and Galvatron would be great.
Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1211246)
Posted by Tigertrack on April 20th, 2011 @ 7:02am CDT
I know there are a lot of differing opinions on the content and the art here. It would have been impossible to make everyone feel as if I were being totally fair.

I think this series will be good. I just heard from IDW that this takes place previous to INFESTATION, and then issue #4 kind of ties it into INFESTATION.

This is information I did not know, prior to reviewing it.

I hope Ulises understands my comments (if he reads them). I think his work has great potential. I think he can set up some beautiful/dramatic and energetic covers. But I think his interior consistancy really needs some work. Some flashes of absolute brilliance, mixed in with many cases of bland to less than mediocre finished work.

I look forward to issue #3.
Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1211332)
Posted by Prime Evil on April 20th, 2011 @ 9:45am CDT
The artwork doesn't bother me actually. What bothers me is the portrayal of Cyclonus. For me, he is actually one of my all time favorite Decepticons. And to see hear about him written like this is a huge strike for me to not get this. I thought his portrayal in the spotlight/ation series was awesome! I thought he was a little off in Infestation, but now this just cements it that the dialogue was not off and that his persona in this iteration of DnA is what I DO NOT want to read. *sighs* I really want to read some TF books. I really do, again, I'll be waiting till the Roberts issues of the ongoing. :(
Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1211425)
Posted by Joetx on April 20th, 2011 @ 1:30pm CDT
So Galvatron has to unite the TFs against a being that wants to eat them for lunch?

Been there, done that (Marvel #75).
Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1211623)
Posted by Pr1meSuspect on April 20th, 2011 @ 11:04pm CDT
Looks pretty cool, might check it out later.
By the way... Whats the best TFormer comic to check out? I havnt been into the comics at ALL. So any recommendations?
Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1211646)
Posted by Supreme Convoy on April 21st, 2011 @ 12:08am CDT
I wasn't crazy about the art again. Farinas has a few great pages of art but for the most part, it does come off as amateur.

That said Abnett & Lanning have me hooked. It definitely reminds me of the latter G1 series with Unicron and G2's Swarm but I hope they do something different.

Great story if you can work past the art.
Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1211674)
Posted by quickmixed on April 21st, 2011 @ 3:18am CDT
Good review. I totally agree on the artwork issue with you. In the first ish I was really put off by the inconsistency with Galvatrons face.
Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1212764)
Posted by Darth Bombshell on April 22nd, 2011 @ 10:32pm CDT
The more I read this series, the more I get the idea it exists only to plug holes (Arcee and Hardhead, the Infestation thing, etc.) I'm not sure that's a great way to tell a story.

Ah, well. I'll still get the TPB when it hits, mostly because I'm a junkie for this sort of thing.
Re: Transformers Heart of Darkness Issue #2-"Dear Stars Above!"- Now with Spoilers (1214173)
Posted by It Is Him on April 26th, 2011 @ 8:56am CDT
I've been disappointed with Abnett's writing from the get-go. I've got some technical issues with the way he approaches the Transformers universe, which I'm not going to get into at the moment, and this last issue didn't deal with characters with the amount of gravitas that Furman and Costa are able to give them. On the other hand, the concepts presented for the story are entertaining and I love that the "Heart of Darkness" is an anti-matrix within Galvatron, but it's not enough to keep me coming back. I'm not convinced I should be going out of my way to buy issues #3 and #4.

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