Transformers: The IDW Collection v. 2
Written by Simon Furman, Stuart Moore, Nick Roche & George Strayton
Illustrated by Don Figueroa, E.J. Su, Rob Ruffalo, Robby Musso, Roche & Guido Guidi
Colored by Josh Burcham, John Raunch, Zac Atkinson, Ruffalo, Kieran Oats & Andrew Elder
Lettered by Robbie Robbins & Sulaco Studios, Neil Utetake & Chris Mowry
Published by IDW
Two long stories and six short tales make up this second collection of IDW’s Transformers comics.
“Stormbringer,” by Furman & Figueroa, takes place essentially concurrently with v. 1’s “Infiltration” storyline, explaining the status of Cybertron and where Optimus Prime is. Although the backstory of Thunderwing feels slightly underdeveloped, Furman builds a strong sense of dread in his appearance and Figueroa’s detailed, dynamic shots maximize the action.
“Escalation,” by Furman & Su, features Megatron’s plot against Earth moving to the next level, and the continued threat of a human faction moving against the Transformers. Su has stood out, to me, as the most dynamic Transformer artist, more cartoony than Figueroa, but more consistent with layouts and pacing. The story is strong, with lots of action, a solid plot and strong intrigue.
While previous Spotlights sowed seeds for the larger picture, the one-offs in this book seem to focus on establishing characters primarily, with only the “Optimus Prime” issue building on the ongoing storylines. “Sixshot,” “Kup,” “Optimus” and “Ultra Magnus” are all solid tales, particularly Prime’s with its look into the history of the Tranformer race and look at the robots’ evolving technology. “Sixshot” and “Magnus” show potential to impact the series at a later date; each story was solid if unexceptional, but the character threads started here could turn into something dramatic. “Kup” featured an interesting concept and a nice ode to loyalty, though it wasn’t necessarily one of the book’s strongest issues. “Ramjet,” however, feels like a waste of a character, as we’ve previously seen a plot against Megatron (Starscream’s in “Infiltration”) and how poorly it fares. “Mirage,” a dream sequence, had striking moments, but felt unimportant to the greater scope of the series and didn’t, in the end, tell the readers much about the character.
As a package, the book leaves little to complain about. IDW’s done a fine job assembling both Transformers collections to bear the company’s name. Nearly 400 pages, hardcover, sewn-in bookmark, a striking jacket design – the company clearly wants to represent the franchise in a format hardcore fans will appreciate.
Ultimately, Transformers: The IDW Collection v. 2 featured several strong moments, particularly the “Escalation” storyline. It wasn’t quite as strong as the first volume, but for readers who’ve grown up on these characters and enjoy seeing them again, there’s enough here to make the visit worthwhile.