Transformers: the IDW Collection v.1
Written by Eric Holmes, Shane McCarthy & Simon Furman
Illustrated by Alex Milne, Marcelo Matere, Casey Coller, Robby Musso, Nick Roche, MD Bright & E.J. Su
Colored by Josh Perez, Zac Atkinson, Mark Bristow, Gabe Eltaeb, Joana Lafuente, Josh Burchman, John Raunch, Liam Shallo, Rob Ruffalo, Aaron Meyers, Simon Bork, Mark Englert, Sunder Raj & Kevin Senft
Lettered by Chris Mowry, Robbie Robbins, Neil Uyetake, Sulaco Studios & Tom B. Long
Published by IDW
I am not, by nature, a nostalgist. The things that you once loved, particularly that you loved as a child, rarely hold that same gleaming splendor to the jaded adult eye. And that’s fine – it’s not hard to find bits of entertainment that thrill a reader of my age. Consequently, recent reboots (via comics, film or other formats) of childhood favorites haven’t really registered with me. As much as I loved G.I. Joe or Masters of the Universe as a kid, I honestly don’t pay the slightest attention to revival attempts (and no, I haven’t seen the Joe movie).
Yet, a glimmer of nostalgia does exist in me somewhere, because I can’t help but be curious about Transformers stories when I come across them. Certainly, the cartoon series stood out as far-and-away my youthful favorite, but truthfully, I was never a comic book reader during my childhood and, to this day, have read only a handful of Transformers comics. But I’m always aware of them. I know they’re there, which is a far cry from my ignorance of, say, Voltron’s status. I’ve just rarely attempted to see just what these comics had to offer. (Part of this reservation is, undoubtedly, due to encounters with various low-grade licensed material from a variety of childhood franchises. Part of it, also undoubtedly, due to a natural inclination to not trust anything associated with nostalgia.)
A friend recently extolled the virtues of IDW’s Transformers comics. Due to their confusing release of one-shots and miniseries (not to mention unrelated comics based on the unwatchable films or what-I-presume-but-cannot-be-certain is a current animated series), I continued to stay on the Transformer sidelines. Transformers: The IDW Collection v. 1 addressed my bafflement, giving me a compilation of IDW Transformer comics assembled in a clear reading sequence. So I took the plunge.
It’s a fairly good collection of comics. I may have to reconsider my stance on nostalgia. “Megatron Origin” adds a nice touch of Fall of the Roman Empire to Megatron’s backstory, though the tale is saddled with artwork that, despite strong character designs, fails to convey information clearly on a stunningly consistent basis. “Spotlight” issues focus on Blurr, Cliffjumper, Hot Rod, Nightbeat, Shockwave and Soundwave, and each stand-alone story manages to tell a solid tale of its lead character while planting dozens of seeds for future Transformers stories. Writer Simon Furman clearly had a long-term goal in mind. Each story delivers an interesting premise, strong follow-through and lays groundwork for plenty of future storylines. The Spotlights, with a range of styles from the cartoony Blurr and Hot Rod to the detailed Shockwave, each have acceptable to strong art, both design-wise and storytelling-wise. MD Bright practically provides a clinic on how to tell a comic book story.
While all the stories to this point take place on alien worlds (excepting Shockwave, which is set in the distant past), The IDW Collection v.1 wraps up with a six-part storyline called “Infiltation,” which gets back to the traditional Transformers concept – robots in disguise, looking for energy sources on (more or less) present-day Earth. Furman uses a human cast to add humor and give the proceedings scale, but unfortunately, it all adds up to yet another Megatron vs. Starscream power struggle. And yet another depiction of Megatron as nigh invincible (except when opposed by Optimus Prime, a confrontation which will assumedly occur in v.2 of this series). But Furman did a fine job capturing the character’s voices – I could hear the cartoon’s voice actors in my head. E.J. Su’s artwork provides readers with dynamic action, while still maintaining clear panel progressions.
It’s hard for me to say if people who aren’t fans of this franchise will like this book. I suppose there aren’t many non-Transformers readers interested in it anyway. But I enjoyed Transformers: The IDW Collection v.1. The stories and art aren’t perfect, but they’re better than most licensed adventure comics I’ve read recently. The character arcs are handled nicely, particularly in the Spotlights, and Simon Furman clearly has a big picture in mind that he’s building. I think, despite any inclination to disdain nostalgia, I’m in for another book.