IDW Publishing: "Transformers" #1 "The World in Your Eyes"
Title: The World in Your Eyes Part One
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publishing Date: March 13, 2019
Writer: Brian Ruckley
Art: Angel Hernandez (Pages 1-9, 14-20) Cachet Whitman(Pages 10-13)
Colors by: Joana LaFuente
Letters: Tom B. Long
Editors: David Mariotte, Tom Waltz
Official Description from IDW Solicitation
A NEW ERA DAWNS! In the infinite universe, there exists a planet like no other: Cybertron! Home to the Transformers, and a thriving hub for inter-stellar commerce, it is a world brimming with organic and constructed diversity. Immense structures line its landscape. Mechanical giants roam across its surface. Starship-sized titans orbit its skies, keeping a constant protective watch above and below.
Ancient Transformers merge into its very fabric. Small, mysterious creatures skulk in its shadows. It is a truly amazing realm, long untouched by war, and exuberantly reaching for the stars. This is the Cybertron that Optimus Prime and Megatron vie for in this bold new origin—a world of seemingly endless peace! All that changes when Bumblebee and Windblade take a newly-forged Cybertronian on his first voyage through this world of wonders—they are confronted by the hard reality of the first murder to have occurred on Cybertron in living memory!
Relaunching any Transformers comic book series can be quite the challenge (and this has occurred many times over the past thirty plus years). There is both a simultaneous anticipation and dread over what aspects of previous stories will make their way into the new tales and what will be eliminated. By now, the tale of the Autobots and Decepticons going to war has been told and retold many times, so this new Transformers series starts at a different point than most Transformers comics - before the war. Mind you, this is not an origin story. By the time this title starts, the Transformers have built up their civilization, there is an established tradition on how to introduce new Cybertronians into the world and there are even aliens living on Cybertron alongside the Cybertronians. This is a very different Cybertron than we normally see as "the present" in a title, and it is an interesting place to start.
On the surface level it may seem like not a whole lot happens in this issue. However this is perhaps one of the most important points in Transformers history. The "Ascenticons" are clearly those who will eventually give rise to the Decepticons (I'm sure I even saw a pre-Decepticon Ruckus in the crowd) and their protest is just a sign of a powder keg that will go off in time.
Acting as a counter point to the protest and unrest, we get to see the world through the eyes of a "newborn" in the form of Rubble. The artists worked hard to make Cybertron look grand and exciting. One of my favorite scenes is Rubble looking at a Cybertronian cityscape while standing on what appears to be a gigantic statue of a robot (at first I thought it was a fallen giant robot or something, but that felt a bit too macarbe at this phase of the Transformers story). It really helps offer a sense of wonder about the world. The way the scene is colored, it even hints at this being Cybertron's "Golden Age" thanks to the splash of sunlight. That part reminded me of something you would have seen in "Heavy Metal" magazine in the 80's and 90's.
Perhaps the most tense scene of the issue is the conversation between Orion Pax and Megatron. It is clear that these two were closer friends at one point in history and despite having different ideologies, they have a deep respect for each other. That makes it all the more tragic that at some point in history, they will be on opposing sides of armies where they will battle over and over again.
The final scene is shocking, not just because it is a murder on Cybertron in an age of relative peace, but also because of who it is. Brainstorm was a very significant character in the previous IDW Publishing titles and even before that he was featured heavily in both the "Rebirth" 3-part series and the Japanese "Headmasters" series. Writer Brian Ruckley could have easily just made up some new, random character and killed him or her off, but using Brainstorm adds a weight to the loss and really makes you want to know just what has happened and why.
The artwork in this issue was done by two different artists, but the flow between the two different art styles works well. That said, there is a clear difference between the models chosen in this issue. The art by Hernandez interprets the models a bit more, smoothing them out. Bumblebee has a few more lines on his face than we're used to seeing, but his body is largely flat panels without a lot of greebles. Meanwhile, Windblade has some significant interpretation happening, especially around the face which is a bit more elongated and angled than most artists draw her. In contrast, Whitman's drawings of Orion, Megatron and Ironhide are clearly based on the current "Siege" action figures, giving them plenty of greebles and staying so close to the toy models that they even have the 5mm ports drawn into the characters! In a very interesting touch, some of the coloring uses Ben Day Dots, giving the artwork a retro feel, appropriate to a comic looking back at the past.
There are a lot of interesting details and questions thrown out that deserve mention:
- Who is Termagax? The issue starts with a quote from her and I like the idea of someone other than Megatron being the catalyst for the fracturing of the Cybertronians.
- Where did the "Voin Scavengers" come from? Why was Windblade so hostile to them? It did not seem like they were attacking Rubble.
- Are there other organic aliens running around Cybertron?
- What exactly does a "Mega Cycle" mean in this universe? It has meant everything from roughly 1-93 hours in the past (depending on the series).
- Who are some of the other Senators?
I enjoyed this first issue and the mystery it sets up. There is a level of gravitas that every page has whether it is positive wonder or the dread of conflict, I am very interested to see what comes next.