Transformers #1

transformers-1Isn’t it kind of crazy to think that the Transformers have been a part of our culture for just about thirty years now? Transformers #1 brings the world’s most famous robots into the realm of comic books.

This issue does exactly what you would expect it to do. It’s a quick adaptation of the Transformers back story, with the Cybertronian civil war between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons spilling over to our planet, with them laying comatose under a volcano in Oregon since the dinosaur era. One day an eruption reawakens the robots (who have now adapted to their new surrounding), rekindling their ages old feud. It also introduces the comics version of the Witwicky family, the humans who wind up interacting the most with the Autobots.

It’s a great beginning to the run of the Marvel era of Transformers comics, and hard to believe that this almost wound up being just a four issue mini series. The book sold like hotcakes and went on to have an eighty issue run.

There’s a lot of talent on the creative side of this book, whether it be the awesome Bill Sienkiewicz cover to Bill Mantlo’s credit as a co-writer on this book. That is something that I was never aware of till this last re-reading.

The one very impressive thing about the creative team on this is that colorist Nel Yomtov did the colors on all eighty issues of the series, plus all the various specials and related mini series that were off shoots of this. That’s one heck of a streak right there!

GI Joe vs. Transformers II #2

transformers-vs-gijoe-ii-2The 2004 miniseries GI Joe vs. Transformers II is full of 1980s toy nostalgia fun. Issue #2 continues the fun; making it feel like it was a missing episode of either Sunbow cartoon show.

The miniseries has a pretty straight forward plot; it follows the first miniseries dealing with Cobra Commander trying to acquire and implement Cybertronian technology. Unfortunately things get awkward when GI Joe and the Autobots try to stop Cobra (and the Decepticons stop by to get their gear back), and several Joes, Cobras and Transformers get displaced throughout the time stream.

This issue takes us back to Chicago in the late 1930s, with the Baroness, Beachhead, Roadblock and a poor Cobra Viper named Percy trying to track down Optimus Prime and the rest of the Transformers. Needless to say, it’s very silly in a good way, whether it be Baroness and Roadblock trying to infiltrate a mob hangout, or Percy being convinced that he’s going to get killed in this crazy dilemma he’s gotten himself sucked into. I bet he winds up surviving by the end of the mini-series, and probably winds up leaving Cobra or doing something constructive with his life. The whole gang survives at the end of the issue and leaves with a cliffhanger of Spirit, Barbeque, Dr. Mindbender, Tomax and Xamot materializing in a post apocalyptic future.

This series was from the time that Devil’s Due had the license in the early 2000s that I really enjoyed. Dan Jolley really knew how to write the characters in a way that built upon the old cartoons and the Larry Hama run on the Marvel series. On the art side, Tim Seeley is just great. He does an amazing job visually capturing the look of the characters.

Friday Fights #11: Galactus vs. Unicron

 It’s Friday and you know what that means! It’s time for Friday Fights! This week’s battle features the two best known world eating demigods in geek culture; I’m talking about Galactus and Unicron! So what would happen if these two behemoths battled?

SIZE MATTERS: These two are both roughly the size of the planet Earth. It’s kind of hard to put a finger on actually how large they are and can be thanks to both of them being able to increase and decrease their size at will. Neither are beings of flesh and blood. What does matter is what makes them up. Although both of them were created roughly at the beginning of time as cosmic entities, Unicron seems to have a disadvantage being more constructed mechanically. That said, it seems that physical attacks can take more of a toll on Unicron. ADVANTAGE: Galactus

FEEDING TIME: Both of these guys exist to consume planets in order to sustain their existence. Galactus uses his enormous spaceship the Taa II to assist him in devouring planets. Unicron shape shifts into a planet that, well, eats other planets. ADVANTAGE: UnicronHe would just attempt to devour Galactus headfirst, absorbing his energy.

HERALD SQUARE: Galactus has a bunch of various heralds usually on his good side, including Terrax, Nova and Firelord. Unicron has his own posse of Decepticons like Galactus and the various scourges. ADVANTAGE: Neither.

TINY THREATS: Even though these two are both godlike, they can both be defeated by something tiny. Respectively, Galactus and Unicron can be stopped by using (or even threatening use of) the Ultimate Nullifier and the Matrix. ADVANTAGE: Unicron. I don’t see Galactus getting his hands on the Matrix, but I can see Unicron using his mech powers to create a knock off Ultimate Nullifier that would cause some damage to Galactus.

THE WINNER:  Unicron. Literally, he’s a destruction machine. Galactus is no match for his onslaught, and Unicron would absorb his power, keeping him not hungry and planets around the galaxy safe from being devoured for many years.

Transformers #80.5

I loved Marvel’s Transformers back in the day. Then again, I loved anything Transformers related. Anyway, you can imagine the sheer sadness of when I found out that the eightieth issue would be the end of the series in 1991. It was enough to make an almost ten-year old version weep just as much as the five-year old version did when I saw The Fox and the Hound for the first time.

Fast forward ten years later, and it was the great 1980s nostalgia boom where all of these smaller comics publishers were putting out new material based on toys. I really dug Devil’s Due because it tied into the previous continuity. Unfortunately, none of the subsequent Transformers relaunches did.

Transformers #80.5 picks up where writer Simon Furman and artist Andrew Wildman left off almost twenty years ago. They do a great job going over what had happened in the last series and set up a new direction.

It’s many years later, and Cybertron is mostly peaceful under the governance of Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots (and a bunch of Decepticons who have put aside their old grudges). Unfortunately, there is a growing separatist movement among the Transformers. This peace is short-lived; a group of Decepticons led by Soundwave destroy the Last Autobot–a symbolic act destroying the symbol of peace.

This may have been a short story, but I wound up enjoying this more than any other Transformers book I’ve read in years. Nostalgia be damned, Furman still knows how to write epic Transformers stories and Wildman’s art is still great. It looks exceptionally awesome with the modern style of coloring.

SDCC 2012 Exclusives: GI Joe/Transformers Mash Up from Hasbro

Hasbro has some really cool GI Joe exclusives for Comic Con as well. Following up with last year’s Starscream/Cobra Commander team up, the toy company has some more fun stuff uniting Cobra with the Decepticons.

They are offering a modified Cobra H.I.S.S.–basically a souped up attack tank–that uses a plasma cannon as its main weapon. And that plasma cannon happens to be none other than the evil Shockwave in his non robot form. The vehicle is decorated in his color scheme of purple and grays.

The vehicle will come with two 3.75″ figures. It makes sense that Destro would team up with Shockwave, as they are the second-in-commands of their respective organizations. It also comes with one of Cobra’s robot B.A.T. soldiers. While neon green and purple might not be the best color choices for the battle field, these colors pay homage to the Constructicons. If it works for a gang of construction vehicles that turn into the menacing Devastator, its good for Cobra’s disposable soldiers.

What also is really amazing about this set is that it comes with Energon cubes (scientifically speaking, food for Transformers) and a scaled down Soundwave in his cassette player/boombox form. I’m really hoping that Hasbro has this available for purchase after San Diego.

Hasbro will also be selling two versions of GI Joe’s lady ninja Jinx, one in her traditional red look and the other in her GI Joe Retribution look.

What Were They Thinking With This Bumblebee PSA?

So I was enjoying my day off by watching some Transformers DVDs and saw this PSA. The message is poignant; don’t run away from home over a misunderstanding. But what’s weird is that our runaway teenagers aren’t phased by the fact that a stranger–mind you a twelve foot tall robotic one at that–is giving them family advice! Maybe Bumblebee’s plan was to scare them back into going home. Who knows.

Review Time–Transformers: Dark of the Moon


On the morning of July 4, I did my patriotic duty and went to the movies. I saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon. So how did the final part of Michael Bay’s trilogy do?

Well I enjoyed it. It wasn’t a great movie that makes you think. There were no higher themes and messages really, nor did it intend to be. It was just the good robots fighting to save the planet from the bad ones. And there were a whole lot of awesome special effects.

This reminded me a lot of Independence Day, possibly because of its similar holiday marketing and promotion, but as an epic high stakes battle against aliens. The plot was fairly simple, with the Autobots, Sam Witwicky and some US soldiers saving the day from the Decepticons. There were a couple of plot twists, and some p(l)ot holes along the way, but they got the audience where they needed to be. Transformers also had a lot of silliness and jokes along the ride.

This movie was a lot like watching fireworks for two and a half hours. At the point when you started to get bored, they turned up the explosion factor to 11. If you like seeing stuff blow up, then this is your movie. If not, then sorry you had to see it.

So this is what I liked about the film:

  • Ken Jeong was hysterical for his brief role as Sam’s (Shia Labeouf) conspiracy obsessed coworker.
  • Laserbeak was an awesome villain in the film, serving as the Decepticon’s stealth assassin.
  • They did a really good job in distinguishing the color difference between the robots during fight scenes, which helped make things more sensible.
  • How they tied the Chernobyl disaster into the Transformers history, with the reactor being built by incorporating Cybertronian technology incorrectly.
  • Peter Cullen made Optimus Prime into a super bad-ass, who was ready to go all Punisher on the Decepticons and Sentinel Prime for their teachery and willingness to destroy mankind.

And what I didn’t like:

  • Rosie Huntington-Whitely was really flat as an actor, but she was no different than Megan Fox in the last two films.
  • The jarring switch in tone of the film…one minute its “OMG! LOL” and then the next minute it’s “OMG! 😦 OMG :*(“
  • There were a bunch of new Autobots introduced in the film and they really didn’t get identified or explained to well.

So in a nutshell, I had fun and it looked good in 3D. I’m not going to rank it in compared to the rest of the comic/super hero films this summer until Captain America comes out.

Basically, it was entertaining if you like loud action films and Transformers. It’s a great way to kill some time.