aboutwhy redux?generation oneg2-beast erarid-moviesclassics-animatedafajapanese

Monday, June 4, 2012

Comic Thoughts...

I was never much of a comic collector as a child. I think perhaps I was a little ADHD and just didn't have the patience for them. During my early years I only actually picked up one or two comics and those were specifically Transformers. As I reached my teenage years I attempted to get into the comic scene by purchasing a couple of issues of different characters such as Spawn, Spiderman 2099 and Venom. None of them held my interest in the slightest. But I also managed to snag a couple of the Marvel Transformers back issues. I've spoken about that experience before. But what I never mentioned was that by the time I really got into the Transformers comics they were off the shelves and no new stories were being produced.

Then in 2003 a company called Dreamwave acquired the license to produce Transformers comics and for the first time in over ten years, new stories would be on the shelves. If you were a fan during those days then you know what a debacle that turned out to be. From accusations of not paying the artists, complaints about the art and delays upon delays Dreamwave ultimately folded. Like most people I was really excited when I first heard about the comics coming out, but as time went on I saw that the quality just wasn't there. Some of the stories were good, but mostly it was a forgettable experience.
Impressive, but ultimately flawed.
Fortunately shortly thereafter Hasbro granted the comic license to another company: IDW. While not one of the big two (Marvel and DC) IDW had been producing comics for a while with good results and I believe this is what led to Hasbro approaching them about Transformers. A similar thing happened with FunPub and the official Collector's Club at around the same time. At any rate I wasn't to happy at the time because a new company meant a Universe reset, which meant everything that Dreamwave did was down the drain. I soon learned this was not a bad thing.

IDW started out slow, introducing us to a few characters at a time and planting seeds for future stories. While their initial stories were nothing mindblowing, they did start to build a universe for the future. One of the most innovative things they did was the Spotlight series. This was basically a series of one-shots highlighting one specific character per issue that usually added to the main story in small or sometimes large ways. Two of my favorites in this series were Spotlight: Kup and Spotlight: Wheelie. Now if you've never read these two books you may be shaking your head and saying: "Wheelie? Seriously?". Yes. Seriously. These two books showed what IDW could do as far as characterization and making their readers care about a bunch of robots. Kup's story in particular stuck with me and to this day I think it is probably the best comic I have read.

Unfortunately the stories started to become a little stale and run together, even after various "reboots" in the likes of All Hail Megatron and the Ongoing series. Of course I kept buying the books because I am a sucker for anything G1 related and that is the universe in which these stories took place. (IDW also produces a large number of comics that are based in the Movie universe which I have learned to stay away from due to the fact that I now hate the movie universe. Even though they probably are the reason IDW can continue with the G1 story lines since kids love the movie-verse apparently). But the G1 series wasn't really holding my interest, at least not the way the Marvel series did.

Then the news came of changes yet again. The series would wrap up with the Chaos storyline, then end with the final issue: The Death of Optimus Prime. After that it would split into two monthly storylines: More than Meets the Eye and Robots In Disguise. The first thing through my mind was more reboots? But this wasn't a true reboot, it was the start to a new chapter. And oh what a chapter it has been. I went in expecting the same old same old, and have come out forever changed. This is truly some of the finest storytelling in the Transformers Universe ever.

First off, taking Optimus Prime and Megatron out of the equation was a stroke of brilliance. So long the story has been these two bashing it out with no end in sight. Unable to kill each other, it was like some sick stalemate. But finally with these two gone other characters are given the chance to shine. I don't want to throw out too many spoilers for anyone who hasn't read these books yet, but we are finally starting to get some memorable characters with real dimensions. Cyclonus, Swerve, Rewind, Ratchet, Prowl, Metalhawk...the list goes on. These characters are finally getting some real personalities without Prime and Megatron coming in with their 'epic battle' to screw it up. And the World Building. Finally we are getting a sense of the scale and scope of the Transformers Universe, and it is rich! Personally More Than Meets the Eye is my favorite of the two, but I am eagerly looking forward to both books each month.

Secondly, the addition of previously unseen G1 characters is really clinching it for me. New characters like Rung, Ambulon, the Duobots and the NAILs just make everything so much more than it would be if it were just confined to the 354 original Generation One characters. I finally feel like the G1 universe is getting the treatment it deserves by providing all these new characters. And amazingly, not all of them are death fodder! I find myself going back and re-reading everything and finding new things each time. The writing is so tight on these books it is easy to miss early details that matter later on.

Needless to say I am a dedicated fan. And it gets even better this summer when the original Marvel series will be picked up yet again by the original team as Regeneration One. Boy, I am going to have a lot of reading to do very soon!


  1. The Dreamwave stuff really let me down. The only good part was that it pulled me back in to Transformers. The IDW stuff is far and away the best of the two. I'm glad to see that someone else loved the Wheelie Spotlight as much as I did.

    1. Yes, I almost wish I could wipe the Dreamwave stuff from my memory, but IDW has really pulled it together. Wheelie's story was one of the most compelling yet, I wish more of the spotlights had been that good. Another great one was Cliffjumper's.

  2. You know I'm still working my way through all of the hardcover editions of the IDW stories. Some of the stories I'm re-reading while others I'm reading for the first time. I love how IDW was sewing seeds for future stories from the beginning. It's been a fun read and I can't wait for the more current stories to get the hardcover treatment.

    1. It took a little while, but I feel like they have finally hit their stride with this newest series. But I'm glad they wrap things up with one storyline before moving onto another rather than just "forgetting" and rebooting.