IDW Publishing: "Regeneration One" Issue 91 Comic Book Review
Title: "Destiny" Part One
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: May 8, 2013
Writer: Simon Furman
Penciler: Andrew Wildman
Inker: Stephen Baskerville
Colorist: John-Paul Bove
Coloring Assist: James Stayte
Letterer: Chris Mowry
Editor: John Barber
Editor in Chief: Chris Ryall
On the planet of Cresta Superior a genocide has begun. Bludgeon has launched his "Blitz Engine" drones to attack the planet, a demonstration for Soundwave. Their design allows them to use a vast array of weaponry along with regenerative powers to conquer their enemies. The two agree their alliance is mutually beneficial. Bludgeon suggests that Soundwave returns to Cybertron ahead of the Warworld to stir up more trouble!
On Cybertron the mood is somber. The after effects of Scorponok's gene-key tampering has left Cybertronians flaring up at each other and most of all feeling guilty about their role in the fallen Decepticon's plans. Many including Hardhead, Brainstorm and Highbrow have requested detention to answer for their crimes, even though they were not in control when they committed their crimes. As Hot Rod meets with his advisors (including Perceptor and Grapple) to discuss the situation, Ultra Magnus pulls a force of Autobots together to maintain order.
After, he speaks with Optimus, telling him that Cybertron is vulnerable and that the team dispatched to Nebulos has found the population in a state of post-traumatic shock. Optimus wonders if the two traumitized populations may find a joint way to deal with the crisis. Ultra Magnus is worried that Hot Rod is too focused on reintegrating the primordial Cybertronians but Optimus tells Magnus to support him. Prime's concern is focused on Galvatron as he senses the mysterious Transformer is really Megatron reborn!
Meanwhile, The Ark is speeding towards Cybertron with Galvatron onboard. The once-Decepticon leader remembers his own universe where his Unicron destroyed Cybertron and gave him Earth to rule. This time however, he wants Cybertron for himself.
On Cybertron Hot Rod is getting ready to make a speech, one that Kup is vehemently against. Hot Rod explains his visions of a potential future world where it is only he and the Primordial Cybertronians remaining, and he truly feels his path is the right one. He begins to give a speech about reunification and his audience is not happy. Suddenly, an explosive is thrown near him and Kup knocks him down to save him. The Wreckers hold back the crowd while Kup retreats with Hot Rod. Inside the building, Kup tells Hot Rod that it's not his fault Optimus made a bad call leaving him in command and that he should give over command to Ultra Magnus!
Hot Rod is shocked at Kup's assertion and is left alone to think. He asks Trailbreaker to contact Ultra Magnus but before that conversation can happen the remaining Dinobots enter, including Slag who has recovered from his Nucleon infused rage. The Dinobots are willing to follow Hot Rod underground, partly because they believe Grimlock is still alive! When Ultra Magnus appears on the screen behind Hot Rod, he orders him to rebuild Iacon's infrastructure, making it a proper city-state for reunification.
On the remains of Cresta Superior, an sleek, bird-like Transformer flies in and transforms into robot mode. He is Rook, and he reports to his commander about the devastation there. Soon it is revealed his commander is: Jhiaxus!
In each of the mini-arcs writer Simon Furman has set up for "ReGeneration One", the pattern is the same for the first issue, start a breadcrumb trail of several threads that will eventually collide somewhere. He has used this style in the past and it's very effective because it gives you a lot to pay attention to and it also provides a realistic perspective. Stories don't generally happen in a vaccum and just because one set of characters is engaged in one place, it odesn't mean everyone else is sitting around shooting the breeze. To that goal, this issue succeeds in whetting our collective appetites for what is to come.
Of most interest to me is the obvious: the reintroduction of Jhiaxus into the comic books. Newer fans may only know of the character from IDW's other books, where he is basically a mad scientist from ancient Cybertron. Here however I suspect he will be much more like the "Generation 2" version of the character, complete with a particular sense of "order" that goes beyond titles like "Autobot" or "Decepticon". Previously (in another timeline) Jhiaxus was ultimately undone by his own base Decepticon instincts. It will be very interesting to see if that also leads to his downfall here. Showing "The Hub", the network of connected planetoids was also very telling as it hints at the existence of many, many more Cybertronians under his command. I also wonder if Liege Maximo, who was the giant ruler of the "Cybertronians" in the original "Generation 2" title may play a role. Fascinating breadcrumbs indeed!
The other two key stories that are really pulling me in are those of Galvatron and Hot Rod. Both are leaders that are taking actions outside their norm. Sure Galvatron has the Ark and wants to rule, but he's by himself. No Sweeps or Cyclonus, only Starscream and Shockwave in tow. I am very curious how he thinks he will take over the planet, especially without a Unicron to draw power from in this universe. Hot Rod's tale is really interesting, and Optimus makes a good point by saying he is showing leadership by taking the unpopular view and sticking with it. I found it very appropriate that upon having a crisis of faith, it is the rebellious Dinobots that helped him get back up on his proverbial feet and take charge. It reflects his younger, "different" thinking through the Dinobots and I'm looking forward to the results.
For the most part, this is a very sedate issue, so Wildman gets a chance to draw the Transformers doing things other than fighting. Whether it's vacuuming garbage, sitting in depression or Hot Rod having a crisis of faith, all the expressions on Wildman's Transformers faces are very telling and a lot of emotion comes off the page. Hot Rod is earnest and Galvatron is determined. Body language has a lot to do with this too. The scene with Magnus giving a speech was perfect, with him standing straight one second, looking rather perfect, and then slumping a bit once the troops leave, suddenly looking smaller.
I found the inking and coloring particularly effective this issue. There seemed to be more bold lines worked into the art and a lot more dark shades blending with light than usual. The colors are very vivid and striking. It's a beautiful issue to look at.
"Destiny" Part One is a great "set up" issue. No need for lots of action when you are setting up so many simultanous threads. I can already tell however that the next few issues are going to be incredibly interesting!