Thursday, July 06, 2006

Transformers Comic Review...

Transformers: Evolutions #1
Hearts of Steel, part one

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Guido Guidi

(Covers by Guido Guidi)

Synopsis: The story begins with two Transformers fighting on a distant world while their world begins to suffer severe weather. As they fight, native flora and fauna begin to die, going extinct from the cold. Eventually, over time, a group of the mechanoids retreat to the subterranean depths of their world and shut down, awaiting a time when surface conditions improve and they can once again return. Centuries pass then millennia then epochs... finally, one is awaken by a hammering sound far above him. It turns out the Transformer is Bumblebee and he decides to investigate before awakening Optimus Prime and the others. He emerges on the surface to find a forest and realizes they've been there a long time. Below him, he finds men working on a rail track for a locomotive. A large man, John Henry Irons, drives rail spikes into the new metal. Elsewhere, Mark Twain, Jules Verne and a ship's Captain watch the sea looking for something... just then, a man named Mr. Muldoon arrives in a large submersible vessel he calls a "submarine". The men are astonished by Muldoon's invention until it abruptly sinks into the ocean. The wreckage sinks to the ocean's floor and uncovers another mechanoid (possibly Skywarp). Muldoon is on the ship now and says he sunk all his money into his invention--he'll return home broke. Twain tells him Verne is quite taken with his idea--perhaps he will be able to help in some way. Verne looks thoughtful and agrees. Irons and his coworkers eat dinner and discuss life unaware that they are being observed by Bumblebee and others of his kind. They discuss this new creature, man, and his inventions--non-living machines! Bumblebee tells him he believes they've been down there a long time. Prowl says they should go dormant again, await a time until humankind has advanced more technologically. Ratchet says they should allow Optimus to remain offline and Prowl agrees, saying they'll wait another hundred years or so. However, Bumblebee has different ideas and has already moved closer to investigate. He's nearly seen but quickly transforms, becoming a likeness of a locomotive. Irons and his associate are baffled by the fact this locomotive appeared out of nowhere and has no driver's cab. Elsewhere, Muldoon dines with one of his investors and tells him what became of his submarine. He can't even pay for dinner anymore and has to wash dishes for the investor (who owns the hotel they're at). Later on, Muldoon walks among the docks and thinks aloud about what a failure he is. He is confronted by an inanimate voice around him and then Shockwave reveals himself, telling him he is there to reshape the future of Earth.

Comments: The first issue of IDW's new "Elseworlds" style series, written by comic book legend Chuck Dixon. An interesting tale and a good start, I think. I was surprised to see that Cybertron and Earth are one and the same in this story but it was a good twist--this time, the Transformers can't go back to their homeworld--the humans world is their world. I like the bizarre mechanical beast versions of the TFs in this story. Like Beast Wars in a way but more mechanical and sharp--almost like a line of dino knock-off toys. One strike against this tale is the formulaic need to include historical figures to somehow validate the era. Did this tale really need John Henry Irons, Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens or Jules Verne? I think not... we could just as easily have had some generic figures and still have the story work. The art is good as usual, Guidi delivers the goods. I look forward to reading more of this tale and hope it goes some unusual and interesting directions for the duration.

Rating: Recommended.

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