IDW Publishing: "Transformers: Galaxies" #1 "Constructicons Rising!" Review

in 2019, Comic Book Review, Constructicon
IDW Publishing

General Information:
Title: "Constructicons Rising!"
Cover Price: $4.99
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: September 25, 2019
Writer: Tyler Bleszinski
Art by: Livio Ramondelli
Letters by: Tom B. Long
Editors: David Mariotte and Tom Waltz

Special thanks to IDW Publishing for providing a copy of this comic book for review.

Official Synopsis
Long ago, after the War Against the Threefold Spark ended, the Constructicons emerged to help rebuild the decimated planet in grand fashion. But what happened to them in the years since? Why had they been erased from Cybertron’s history… and what have they been planning for their devastating return?

Galaxies
Transformers: Galaxies is a new spin-off title by IDW Publishing released in September 2019. IDW's official description of this series is as follows: "Featuring story arcs that delve deeper into the origins, motivations, and world-shattering machinations of the extended Transformers cast, Galaxies launches with a story arc dedicated to the fan-favorite crew, the Constructicons!". In many ways, this series resembles the old "Spotlight" issues. However this gives each character(s) the ability to shine over the course of multiple issues.

If you are curious about the creators behind this title, check out the interview below with artist Livio Ramondelli and writer Tyler Bleszinski.

Review (SPOILER ALERT)
In Generation One, there was an episode titled "The Secret of Omega Supreme" which chronicled the story of Omega Supreme's past friendship with the Constructicons in Cybertron's distant past. This was one of the first times that Transformers fiction showed fans popular Decepticon characters as "good guys" in the past. In the episode, we saw the Constructicons as builders and a friendly group who were eventually turned to the Decepticon side when their minds were altered by Megatron's "Robo-Smasher" machine. It is a tragic tale and one of the best episodes of that season in my opinion.

Fast forward to 2019 and once again we have a fresh look at the Constructicons in Cybertron's past. This story takes place in two different time frames. First there is the "present" era of IDW Publishing's new Transformers title launch. Then there are flashbacks to a time right after the War against the Threefold Spark that is referenced in the Transformers title running cocurrently with this book. Cybertron is in ruins, but where Wheeljack sees one huge mess to fix, Termagax sees opportunity to rebuild Cybertron in a way that has never been done before. To do this, she recruits the newly forged Constructicons!

It is fun seeing the Constructicons in their young states. There was always a line of cynicism that ran through the team. Although their names imply they build things, they were mostly known for forming Devastator, a force of destruction. In various portrayals over the years they had a tendency to be mean spirited and downright cruel a lot of the time. Whether it was turning a bunch of Autobot bodies into a throne or trying to take over Decepticon leadership, the Constructicons were not exactly the nicest guys around.

"Constructicons Rising" shows us how the Constructicons were as builders with full confidence in themselves. I appreciate the way the team is constantly working together and offering new ideas that the older Wheeljack may not necessarily agree with. This is a sharp contrast to how the Constructicons are after they are given the ability to form Devastator by the Enigma of Combination. There, shades of darkness begin to creep into their minds. Combining is clearly difficult and it takes a mental toll on the Constructicons. When Hook tosses a pipe that hits a Cybertronian, he barely reacts which is a sure sign that the Constructicons have already begun to take a dark turn.

While it may not justify the carnage they will bring in years to come, it is not hard to sympathize with the Constructicons feeling a bit taken for granted. They rebuilt Cybertron into the beautiful world we see in the current "Transformers" comic book series and their reward is to be shipped off to another project off-planet where they appear to not even have enough Energon to fully power up. That is a downer to say the least. Worse, they appear to just be tools to be used by the powers that be. At no time does it seem that the Constructicons are asked "What would you like to do?" despite the great feat of rebuilding major parts of Cybertron such as Iacon City. I am sure this will come back to haunt everyone down the line.

The final panels of this issue are ominous but also trace some story parallels back to "The Secret of Omega Supreme". Bombshell is famous for his mind controlling Cerebro Shells and it is no surprise that he may play a role in turning the Constructicons fully to the dark side.

I am a fan of artist Livio Ramondelli's style. It's angular nature reminds me a lot of Geoff Senior's work on the Marvel Transformers title. The gritty style of coloring he uses gives the Transformers a very rich appearance that really draws my eyes in. This issue is some of his best work, with more refined lines a lot less reliance on dark coloring on many of the characters. He also lays out the panels in a dramatic way, whether it is the Constructicon roll call or Devastator's first appearance he helps the story move forward visually at a good pace.

Continuity and Story Notes:

  • The "War of the Threefold Spark" was a major conflict that has been referenced in the concurrent "The World in Your Eyes" series out at the same time as this comic.
  • Termagax is a leadership figure also introduced in the other Transformers comic book running alongside this one. She believed in Transformers dictating their own fates. She is also the founder of the "Ascenticon" movement which would later grow into the Decepticon movement.
  • When Devastator "comes to life", artist Livio Ramondelli pays homage to Devastator's two animation models by first giving him two separate eyes, then one long visor going across his eye area.
  • When Termagex talks about the war and a previous Combiner, she is clearly referencing Abominus even though we only see his silouette. Indeed, Termagex uses two key words that give it away: "Terror" and "Abomination".

Final Thoughts:
"Transformers: Galaxies" #1 reminds me a lot of the old "Spotlight" comics by IDW and that is a good thing. The title allows you to spend more time with a smaller group of Transformers characters and as someone who loves the diversity of characters in the franchise, this helps bring them into sharper focus. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series. Recommended!