There are few franchises that I am as nostalgic about than the Transformers. Along with Power Rangers, the Transformers franchise is what I grew up with watching and playing with the toys of as a kid. While I’ve been a Transformers fan for a long time I have never dipped into the comic books for the franchise. Now with IDW releasing a brand new comic book series that explores the Transformers origin story I thought this was a good time to jump in. I am very intrigued as to how IDW plans to modernize the Transformers origin. Let’s find that out now with Transformers #1.
Writer: Brian Ruckley
Artists: Angel Hernandez and Cachet Whitman
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Excited to look at his new surrounding Rubble is amazed by the view of Cybertron from a cliff.
Bumblebee calls Rubble down as they need to hurry up to get to the meeting point where Brainstorm is waiting for them. As they walk and talk Rubble gets easily distracted again and sees a new spot he can get another look of Cybertron from.
Rubble ends up sliding off the cliff. Rubble is suddenly confronted by some scavengers and a security drone.
Just as Bumblebee checks on Rubble’s status Wingblade lands in the area. Wingblade’s presence causes the scavengers and security drone to scatter.
Bumblebee introduces Wingblade to Rubble. Wingblade reveals that she is going in a similar direction to where Brainstorm is and decides to join the pair. Rubble excited by this decides to go ahead.
Now alone Winblade tells Bumblebee that Brainstorm reported some anomalies in the area. Bumblebee wonders if it is coming from The Rise. Wingblade is not sure but that they should check it out just in case.
In the city the Ascenticons are holding a march that Orion Pax watches from his office.
Ironhide tells Orion that “he” is here. Orion Pax asks about what his attitude is like. Ironhide says it is not that different from when Prowl was stuck under a collapsed pylon for ten cycles. Orion Pax tells Ironhide to still send him in as they need to have a civil talk between two Cybertron Senators.
Megatron enters the office and immediately voice his displeasure about being called in for a meeting by Orion Pax last minute since he has place to be. Orion Pax gets right to it and asks Megatron to reschedule his Ascenticons rally since the city and citizens are still recovering from the last one. Megatron states he is free do as he sees fit in order to continue to explain what changes are necessary.
Understanding that he won’t stop Orion Pax asks Megatron if he could share what will be said in his speech in order to figure out if a security team is needed on site. Megatron says that he can’t control what will happen after his speech as the Ascenticons don’t share the Autobots experience.
After Megatron leaves Ironhide asks Orion Pax how things went. Orion Pax states it went as well as the Prowl situation.
Elsewhere Rubble, Bumblebee and Wingblade come across an area filled with luminescent liquid much to Rubble’s amazement. Wingblade comments that Rubble’s desire to explore and introduce himself to everything will show him a world of possibilities.
Rubble wonders if whatever role he is given will be what he has to do forever. Bumblebee says that is not the case since he and Wingblade previously worked in security together but that changed for them eventually. Wingblade comments that it wasn’t completely Bumblebee’s choice to leave security.
Rubble spots something that looks to be a shooting star in the sky. Wingblade reveals that it is actually Starship Cybertronian, which chose to orbit Cybertron to help with the planetary defense.
They then come across the outpost where they are supposed to meet Brainstorm. As Bumblebee and Rubble walk towards it Wingblade notices that something is off.
Wingblade rushes ahead and tells Bumblebee to check the other side of the outpost. Wingblade then goes inside after telling Rubble to wait outside.
After a short time Rubble hears something inside the outpost. When he looks inside he spots a heavily injured Brainstorm inside. End of issue.
The Good: Transformers #1 is a pure set up issue for bigger things to come down the line. Given that this is a launching point to tell the beginnings of the Autobot vs Decepticon conflict that is not a bad thing. Though there are certain aspects of how Brian Ruckley decides to start this series off that miss the mark.
Opening Transformers #1 with the newly forged Cybertronian in Rubble was a smart move by Ruckley. Through all the various Transformers media it has been long-played out to have Bumblebee act as the rookie amongst the Autobots. Fans are far past seeing Bumblebee positioned in this way. That is where having a new Transformer in the form of Rubble felt like a refreshing change of pace. Through his eyes Ruckley was able to hammer home how amazing of a world Cybertron is, even as a civil war is ready to commence.
Having Rubble serve the rookie roll also opened Bumblebee up to serve in a more mentor role. It is not a role that we have seen Bumblebee take on during the early days. So positioning Bumblebee to act as a semi-veteran in Cybertron will help in exploring his character in a different way as this new Transformers series progresses.
And for the most part Ruckley does a very good job not trying to just retell the Transformers story. At this point fans know who Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee and Ironhide are. There is no need to talk about what role or kind of Transformer they are. Ruckley treats the reader intelligence that we understand the franchise on a base level.
In doing so Ruckley was able to dive into conversations between the Autobots much more naturally. There was an instant belief that Bumblebee and Wingblade, for example, have known each other for quite a while. It did not need to be stated that it was a fact. We just come to understand it with how Bumblebee and Wingblade interact with each other and Rubble. The same goes for the casual way Orion Pax and Ironhide talk to each other as friends.
All these conversations between the Autobots helped make the meeting between Orion Pax and Megatron stand out more. Throughout the meeting it was clear that while these two are friends they have completely gone in different directions. Even when Megatron was voicing that he was not going stop his rally just because Orion Pax asked him there was a sense of respect.
This is an interesting place to begin Megatron and Orion Pax, who eventually becomes Optimus Prime, relationship. Because now we are left to wonder what will happen in this Transformers series that completely breaks the level of friendship they have. With how Orion Pax tried his best to try to keep things civil it’s clear that he doesn’t want things to go south with his old friend Megatron. Which puts into question when that breaking point happens and how that could possibly lead to Orion Pax’s transformation into Optimus Prime is very intriguing.
Angel Hernandez and Cachet Whitman did a very job not making it noticeable that there was more than one artist working on Transformers #1. There art style fit in well together. Assigning them specific segments, Hernandez handling the Bumblebee/Wingblade/Rubble scenes and Whitman handling the Orion Pax and Megatron meeting, was a smart thing to do. It allowed Hernandez and Whitman to dedicate their styles to making sure the Transformers they worked on were well detailed. Which added to how seamless the transition between their assignments was done.
The Bad: Transformers #1 was not without its faults. For one, Ruckley did not do a good job in explaining why we open up with Megatron already leading a rebellion. There was little context given outside of Megatron feeling the government system on Cybertron needed to change. That is not enough reason to get readers to buy into what was going on, especially if this is there first exposure to this time in Transformers history. Having Megatron mention one or two examples of why he believes the government system on Cybertron needed to change would’ve added to why Transformers #1 in the position he is in.
It does not help that there is not much development into the Ascenticons as a group. The way Ruckley wrote the Ascenticons it felt as though we are supposed to already supposed to know what the importance of their name is to Transformers lore. But since Ascenticons is a new name that is not the case. We are familiar with Autobots and Decepticons but Ascenticons has not been a thing pushed in other media. As it stands now they are just a name and nothing else.
One other thing that was an odd choice by Ruckley is the design he had Whitman give Orion Pax. His design is straight up the classic version of Optimus Prime. The only reason we know this is Orion Pax and not Optimus Prime is because that is what Ironhide and Megatron call him that. Given where we are in the timeline Orion Pax should have such a detailed look. His Orion Pax form should’ve been kept more simple so that when he does become Optimus Prime the change can be more noticeable.
Overall: Transformers #1 is a good start for a series that is set to explore the beginning of the franchise’s history. Brian Ruckley understanding of the franchise is clearly established with how he captured the voices of Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Wingblade and others Transformers very well. Whether you are a new or long-time fan of the franchise I recommend checking out Transformers #1.
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