IDW Publishing "Infestation 2" #2 Comic Book Review
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: February 15, 2012
Written by: Chuck Dixon
Art by: Guido Guidi
Inks (pgs 15-22): John Wychough
Colors by: Joana Lafuente
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Edits by: Bobby Curnow
Consulting Editor: John Barber
In the North Atlantic, the HMS Indomitable finds tracks an emergency signal form the Miskatonic, when they come upon the supposed survivors however all they see are the decayed bodies of men who have died of fright!
Meanwhile at Port Cenotaph, Transformers and humans alike, infected with the influence of Cthulu call to their master and soon he arises from the sea, a gigantic, powerful being from the beginning of time. He has arrived to consume all human life!
Six Hundred Miles Away...
Near the inert body of Optimus Prime, Nikola Tesla and Tobias ready his device to extract power from the Earth itself, seemingly right out of thin air. To start up the device however it requires power to be put in first, and one by one the Autobots volunteer to sacrifice their own power to start it up. As the field builds, Tobias watches on in wonderment.
On the course to Nova Scotia...
Ships from the United States, France and even Germany have gathered to face the threat that has taken people from each of their countries. Their Captains are determined to stop whatever has caused the loss of their ships!
The last Autobot falls and it appears the experiment has been a failure as Prime appears to still be slumbering. Just as all appears lost, Optimus Prime awakens! As he rises, Optimus tells the humans to update him on the they face as he uses his own power reserves to reactivate the Autobots.
The human fleet has arrived and begun their assault. Decepticons including Shockwave and Dirge try to repel the invaders even as Deep Ones try to invade the ships. Even Ironhide has fallen to the infection of Cthulu and fights alongside the Decepticons! Suddenly, Optimus Prime comes charging onto the scene with the other Autobots. As the Autobots battle the Decepticons and try to restrain Ironhide and save him, Optimus Prime dives into the sea, charging at Cthulu himself.
As the Autobots and humans fight on, Optimus Prime uses saw blades built into his arms to begin slicing away at the Elder God piece by piece. Tentacles wind up everywhere as he appears to be losing, but before long Optimus emerges from the sea victorious! He is unsure if the creature is dead or merely wounded but as he and the Autobots leave, he promises to be ready to face the threat again should it ever return.
As I reread this issue a few times before writing this review I couldn't help but feel three things:
- This mini-series could have used one more issue.
- There were missed opportunities.
- I would love to see what comes next.
Knowing the "Infestation" event is meant to be a super brief entry into the IDW universe, I don't want to be overly harsh on this issue since I know it's a challenge to tell a tale and wrap up a "big" storyline in one issue, however the story left me a bit flat by the end after a promising build up in the beginning. The story starts out really well, with the quest to reactivate Optimus Prime requiring sacrifice on the part of the Autobots. I love the idea of a hastily assembled human fleet going to face the threat of the Elder Gods and I really enjoyed some of the creepy stuff involving the human Zombies and Deep Ones.
Where I felt the story fell a bit was the resolution - it went way too fast. Optimus barely seemed to work up a proverbial sweat taking on the Cthulu creature. Some sliced tentacles here and there and - that's it? I would have hoped to see him struggle more since that's how we know our hero has "earned" his victory. I will say that care was taken to draw him a bit damaged at the end, so yes, we know he's been in a fight for sure, but it didn't have the weight I had hoped for in this final battle.
As a Transformers fanboy, I also felt there was a missed opportunity with the Decepticons being controlled by the Elder God. The Decepticons were dispatched with pretty easily by the human/Autobot forces I felt. And that's fine. This is another era, a different type of Transformer and so on, but I kept waiting for the Seacons (introduced last issue) to jump into the fray and maybe even merge into Piranacon to act as a surrogate body for the Elder God. How spectacular would that have been? Seeing Prime battle a Combiner on his own, but one with creepy crawlie tentacles sticking out of it? As it stands, we really don't know what happened to the Seacons and I find myself a bit bothered by that.
What I will say I really enjoyed was the use of Nikola Tesla's real life theories as a plot device to reactivate Optimus Prime. Clearly some research was done here before this tale was written and I do appreciate that given the alternate timeline this is set in.
What I did find piquing my interest however was the end of the story. With several world militaries represented, two scientists and bodies of Transformers everywhere, there is a great set up for an 18th century version of "Sector Seven" from the movies to be set up here. Combined with some of the residual "magic" elements from Cthulu's body parts lying around, the potential for a Steampunk story is almost mind blowing. Imagine if the humans took the Cybertronian technology and began an arms race? There are possibilities here that I hope to see explored in the future.
The artwork in this issue is fantastic. Guido Guidi continues to use his characteristic style that blends modern day design with shades of a retro G1 animated look. His shapes are blocky, relatively simple yet just complex looking enough to suggest robots of an alien origin. i did enjoy seeing the infected Decepticons and Ironhide with tentacles sticking out and generally looking gross despite being machines. Speaking of creepy and gross, I love Guidi's take on the Elder God. It had all the markers of a sea creature combined with some freaky Anime influences that made for a creature I wouldn't want to see in my nightmares!
On another note, I really enjoyed Wheeljack's new design. We didn't get to see him do much, but I'm glad his "glowing ears" were kept in and I found a bit of the "Transformers Prime" influence in the character (via his use of swords in battle) a fun sort of modern day homage.
Kudos also go to Joana LaFuente for some fantastic color work. Just as withe the previous issue, the colors used in bright scenes really contrast brilliantly with the darker Nova Scotia scenes. The characters all look vibrant when necessary and dark and "dead" when the plot requires it. I also appreciate the "glowing" effect applied around the eyes of the Transformers and Wheeljack's "ears". Fantastic stuff!
Overall, I feel "Infestation 2" #2 is full of potentially awesome ideas but few are properly realized. It's worth the read if only to conclude the story from the last issue, but it's not the ending I had hoped for. The artwork is fantastic and makes me want to see more of this universe in the future. Mildly recommended.