By Todd Matthy
Before you read this review please take your time to support S.L.I.F.E.R. Needs You. Lobo co-creator and Story Editor of the Transformers cartoon, Roger Slifer was the victim of a hit and run on June 23rd. No arrests have been made. This group is dedicated to giving Roger financial support and working together to supply the Police with information that will lead to the perpetrators arrest. Thank you.
Does the original generation of Transformers still have the same magic as it did twenty years ago? Read on.
Twenty-One years ago Marvel Comics published the final issue of the original Transformers comic book. The story concluded with the Autobots defeating the Decepticons and finally bringing peace to Cybertron. Unfortunately, the abrupt conclusion left many plot lines dangling. Some of these were resolved in Marvel’s short-lived Generation 2 series, but writer Simon Furman had a far grander story in mind. A story IDW is finally allowing him to tell in Transformers ReGeneration One.
The big question surrounding Transformers ReGeneration One #81 is whether or not it’s accessible to non-fans. The answer is yes. The series is set twenty years after the last battle between the Autobots and Decepticons, putting all readers on the same page. The Great War is over; the Autobots have won and are adjusting to a life of peace. But, not all is peaceful. Several Decepticon dissidents are unhappy with the new regime and are starting to get violent. And where is Optimus Prime? Living in seclusion and battling personal demons.
Simon Furman understands his audience. He knows he is continuing a beloved saga that ended twenty years ago, yet he also knows he has to please the mass-audience. So, he takes a page out of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, issue 81 is not about a war but a society coming to terms with peace after millennia of war. Nowhere is this more evident then in the character of Optimus Prime. Optimus Prime was a great leader during a war but during peacetime, he’s whistling stranger in paradise. Prime has a vision for the future but is not focusing on the present. Instead he lives as a hermit talking only to Hot Rod. With the rise of Decepticon dissidents, his fellow soldiers are looking to him for leadership and he is torn between two philosophies. Kup believes the Autobots need to strike back and take out the dissidents before they become an army. Ultra Magnus prefers the conscious approach, fearing this is just a phase of readjustment. The two articulate their philosophies well, especially Kup, who seems to inherited Hot Rod’s hot headedness. Furman also gives a tip of the hat to fans of the old comics with a cameo from a rather creative space enterprise. And as for you Megatron fans, fret not, he’s there and he makes his presence known.
Art wise, Andrew Wildman is on top of his game. He employs his a fluid, expressive, style that invokes feelings of nostalgia. Also, if you’re going to pick up a cover I highly recommend Guido Guidi’s retro cover. There’s something special about seeing spot coloring and Optimus Prime in the upper left hand corner of a comic book. Definitely check it out.