The first issue of Transformers did a great job at setting the stage for the new series under the Energon Universe. The set-up was much bleaker with the Decepticons, led by Starscream, wreaking havoc on the Autobots. With the roster of Autobots changed a bit from the iconic version of the team how will the Autobots handle their new status quo? We got the chance to check out an early copy of Transformers #2. Find out how it turned out with our advance review.
Writer & Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooton
“THE SMASH-HIT SERIES CONTINUES! The Decepticons have been unleashed! As Optimus Prime and Autobots regroup, Starscream terrorizes humanity. This issue features a surprising first Energon Universe appearance!” – Skybound Entertainment & Image Comics
Daniel Warren Johnson takes what he did with the debut issue to tell a more controlled story in Transformers #2. There is no need to rush things to get to the next level. The stakes and scale of the story are already established. That allowed Transformers #2 to take things at its own pace.
The best example of Johnson letting the story go at its own pace is the opening of Transformers #2. We get a wonderfully layered interaction with Optimus Prime and Spike. Johnson uses the environment to show the reader how Earth is the completely opposite of what Optimus Prime knows a world to be. It’s an emotional moment that helps ground the Autobot so he and Spike can speak as equals. All of this is done in a show, rather than tell, method as Johnson has the dialogue enhance what we see in the artwork.
This made the way Johnson goes about given exposition about Cybetron to be part of the natural flow of the story. By doing so Johnson is able to focus on the emotional side of how Optimus Prime is relaying his history. In the process the connection with Spike is made strong from the beginning of the friendship. To Spike’s credit, he realizes how Optimus Prime is talking with him so that he can talk with him as a friend, breaking down any barriers there are between them.
Focusing on these two early on made how Carly, Cliffjumper, and other Autobots are brought into the story work as well. Spike and Carly are in the early phases of their friendship with the Autobots. But at least now their friendship is established that the series can now focus on how the Autobots get acclimated to their new home and deal with the Decepticons. All that set-up creates its own struggle with how much the Autobots have to work with.
That leads in well with the second half of Transformers #2 that focuses on the Decepticons. Once again Johnson emphasizes the brutality of the Decepticons. They are not holding back with how they go about operating. They are pure villains and revel in that fact. This reflects well in establishing Starscream shaping the Decepticons under his leadership.
This second half will also likely be what fans remember Transformers #2. That is thanks to the ties to the greater Energon Universe that we get a brief glimpse of. This glimpse is all you need to get event more hyped about what comes next in the Energon Universe. It’ll certainly be something that’ll have fans talking a lot about.
The artwork for Transformers #2 is more of a mixed bag. Johnson does a great job at establishing what the scale of this version of the Autobots and Decepticons are. There is a lot of good used of framing to make moments hit well. The action when also delivers on the loud choreography you expect from the Transformers franchise.
That said, there are moments that aren’t as detailed as others. In particular, there is inconsistency with detail on the humans. This is made even more noticeable when you see how much detail Johnson puts into each Transformer that appears. It makes the rougher panels stick out even more.
Transformers #2 draws the reader in with incredible character interactions that pull on all the emotional heartstrings. Daniel Warren Johnson understanding of the Autobots, Decepticons, and human characters of the Transformers franchise is clear. Add in the intriguing ties to the greater Energon Universe, and Transformers #2 is yet another can’t miss comic book.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10