Thursday, February 1, 2007

Prequel Comic Review

Transformers Prequel issue 1
Reviewed has been given the opportunity to take a sneak peak at Transformers Movie Prequel comic issue 1 of 4. I plan to review this issue without giving away to many surprises for those who would like their comic and movie experience to remain unspoiled.


The art in this issue is first class. Don Figueroa has done a tremendous job giving us a whole slew of protoform Transformer art to really drool over, based on movie styling, of course. Along with a couple of extra characters that may be found on the toy shelves, but not on the big screen, our main stars of this issue are a pre-earth form of Bumblebee, Protoform Optimus Prime, and Megatron. Optimus looks just like the protoform toy showing up on toy shelves anytime now. Megatron is represented as he will in the movie and in toy form. Don’s depictions of Megatron are seriously bad… in the best possible way. He makes this Transmetal-2-esk Megatron design look seriously scary. Finally Bumblebee is drawn quite a bit differently than we will see him in the movie. He’s a lot bulkier, only vaguely yellow, and the only big similarities that jump out are the fins he has on his collar bone area, and his head is somewhat reminiscent to the movie BB’s head. I like what they’ve done in this respect with the toys and comics. It makes sense that a Transformer’s robot mode would change in appearance quite a lot by gaining a new alternate mode.

Lastly, the coloration in this issue is magnificent. The style and quality of the coloring job done on a drawing can totally make or break original line art, and the coloring that’s been done in this issue makes every image simply pop of the page and awe the reader.

Josh Burcham has done an excellent job conveying the destitute/last resort mood of this story in a low saturation color pallet and sets the stage for the atmosphere of a story revolving around the leaving behind of one’s broken home world on a quest with small chance of success. The art in this issue conveys the darkness and realism of our heroes who are doubting their desperate actions, and Megaton’s very unexpected twisted ambition for power.

Story: some spoilers

Premise: The mysterious and extremely powerful Allspark created all Transformer life and sustains Cybertron itself. It is protected and cherished by all Transformers. Optimus and Megatron co-ruled Cybertron in peace for generations: Optimus fair and Megatron firm, but “something change in Megatron” Now Megatron wants the Allspark in his possession and will stop at nothing to get it. Megatron also appears to have some mystical link to the Allspark that not all Cybertronians have and perhaps has the ability to harness its power for his benefit. He’s got a bit of a cyber-voodoo atmosphere about him and the looks to make it a believable characterization. This comic makes me much more excited about Megatron. He seems a lot less like many previous Megatron incarnations, and a little more like a huge scary as hell and fearsomely powerful Emperor Palpotene. This makes me much more accepting of his drastically different physical characteristics.

While we get a some insight into Megatron’s character, we get a much closer look into another character that is heavily developed in this issue alone. Bumblebee is the star of this comic. Being told from his point of view he seems to be our primary narrator. I won’t spoil the plot of the issue, but I will say that I’m glad that there’s at least some explanation for his later… communication quark, to be perfectly vague. (again, so much better than him just being born that way.) This issue gives a lot of depth to Bumblebee and wraps him up with a lot of self doubt and a very humble heroic disposition.

My only criticism is that I it’s a little hard to keep the Autobots separate particularly in the fight scenes, you find yourself asking “Wait, who’s this guy? Where did he come from?” We do get to see one other Autobot referred to by name, but I won’t ruin the surprise of whom. I will say however, we have confirmed that there will be a deluxe version of this non-big-screen character in the movie’s toy lineup. We also see anther movie style G1 character in the comic, but he is not referred to by name. We know who he is only because of some early movie character concept artwork we’ve seen with his name one it. It would have been nice to have a few more non-big-screen movie-continuity characters fleshed out in the comic, but they seem more like filler characters. Perhaps this is in an issue yet to come.

Overall impression:
It’s a great story with fantastic art. I didn’t feel quite fulfilled by the end of the issue, but then again it’s the first issue of 4 so I guess it’ll keep me coming back. I was happy to see some cameos of a few other fan favorite characters, and would love to see more. I went into it still unsure what to think about Megaton, and finished the comic thinking “he is going to be one seriously scary evil overlord.” Final thoughts: Buy this comic. It’ll give you some real material to get you prepped for the movie. Weather you’re a collector or new to Transformers this issue will get you into/interested in a couple of the movies’ key characters, and its main plot device.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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