IDW Publishing "Ironhide" Chapter Two: Iron in the Blood Comic Book Review
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: June 2010
Written by: Mike Costa
Art by: Casey Coller
Colors by: Joana Lafuente
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Edits by: Andy Schmidt
Assistant Editor: Carlos Guzman
Associate Editor: Denton J. Tipton
Ironhide is alone on a desolate Cybertron, not the one he remembers which was rich, alive and glowing with life. As he wanders he heads to an old race track stadium where he once worked security. There, he remembers stopping the Autobot Outback from assassinating Drag Strip, long before he knew anything about Megatron and the Decepticons. As he walks away from the stadium, he is suddenly attacked by two Insecticons! He destroys them both, shaken that this desolate Cybertron may now only be inhabited by odd creatures such as these. He drives away and distracted, winds up crashing into a wall.
In a dream state, Ironhide sees several Autobots including a half destroyed Outback telling him that he did something wrong by not stopping the Stunticons, but at the same time Wheeljack tells him he is about to do everything right.
When Ironhide awakens, a Transformer stands over him telling him that he must follow him. The Transformer is clearly a simple drone controlled by someone else as all it does is repeat the same phrases over and over as Ironhide thinks aloud. As Ironhide follows him, they go through several dead portions of Cybertron until they suddenly reach a bright, energy filled section: the Autobot Metroplex!
A lot less happens in this issue than the previous one, but it is no less interesting. The first issue had a lot of scenes taking place on the "old" Cybertron, allowing us to ease into Ironhide's current state of seemingly being alone on a destroyed Cybertron. Now we get to see the Autobot wander about, hoping to find life. What I enjoyed about these scenes (including the Insecticon ones) is that we get to see several phases of Ironhide's process in adapting to his new situation. He is sad of course, confused, but then resolves to find someone and gets hopeful, then let down and when the stakes are high, he becomes the warrior we all know he is. That's a lot of facets of a character to cover in a few short pages and Costa manages to do it well.
The sudden turn of showing Metroplex is fantastic. It was clever to design the Transformer who finds Ironhide different than his toy form, but when I took a good look at him I realized it was Scamper, the small black vehicle included with the Transformer Metroplex in his 1986 toy incarnation. Scamper never got a whole lot of spotlight time in any media, so seeing him in this modern day form is really cool. It's also good to see where Metroplex wound up since his hasty departure in "Spotlight Metroplex". Considering how high the stakes are in terms of Cybertron's current condition, it makes sense for Metroplex to be the last functional city on the planet, and I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here.
I gushed a lot about the artwork styligs in the first issue, and what I'll say is that the trend continues. Prowl is clearly based on his "Classics/Universe" toy model while Scamper is a redesign of the original toy with some similarities (such as being a sleek car in vehicle mode). This balance of old and new design sensibilities is fantastic and most welcome to the G1 fan in me. I also loved seeing the old designs for the likes of Drag Strip and the various "generic" robots that were outside the stadium. Coller has a great eye for classic Transformers robot design and it's nice to see simple, blocky Transformers, especially if they're from a bygone era.
The color contrast between the old Cybertron scenes and the current Cybertron scenes is fantastic, and also kind of sad. To see what such a vibrant world came down to in the present day is difficult for me to think about. Even in its darkest days in the animated series or original comic book, Cybertron was shown as having life (even if a lot of them were just non-intelligent, but not so here except for Scamper, Metroplex and some nasty critters thus far. I particularly enjoyed the flashback to transmissions about theraceBut what is the mystery of Metroplex city? Who is there to greet Ironhide once he gets in? That's where we will get to in the next issue of this series.
This issue read a lot faster than the first one, but it was quite exciting all the same. I'm also glad that instead of giving away the mystery in this issue it was simply deepened with the arrival of Metroplex. Between the action and some cool flashbacks, this issue is a good bridge to the rest of the series.