"Transformers: Beast Wars" Savage Landing Part 02 Comic Book Review


General Information
Title: "Transformers Beast Wars" Savage Landing Part 02
Written by: Erik Burnham
Art by: Josh Burcham
Letters by: Jake M. Wood
Assistant Editor: Riley Farmer
Editor: David Mariotte Supervising Editor: Tom Waltz

Disclaimer: IDW Publishing provided a digital advance copy of this comic book for review. BWTF sincerely thanks IDW Publishing for its partnership and kindness.

The second issue of IDW Publishing's Beast Wars series takes an interesting direction in that it chooses very consciously to not have the Maximals and Predacons engage in a full blown battle the way they did by the first episode of the original animated series. Instead, post-crash both sides are playing a very cautious game. The Maximals are trying to get the Axalon to extend its sensor range to detect danger. The Predacons are trying to figure out the source of odd energy signatures on the Darksyde. This is a big contrast to the original cartoon where both sides pretty much went out into the wilds starting with episode one. I appreciate this approach as it gives us more time to see the characters on each side interact and it gives us a sense of their priorities. For instance, Tarantulas is trying to solve the mystery of strange energy signatures but Dinobot is more concerned about what may be on the planet that could kill them. Both are valid concerns, especially considering the issue's other reveal.

In the original Beast Wars cartoon, our heroes and villains were caught up in a mystery around the strange planet they crash on and other worldly forces at work around them. The mystery was given a couple of season to develop, but in this series the team behind this book is going for broke right from the beginning. Instead of keeping the mysterious Vok a secret force manipulating things behind the scenes, this issue introduces us to Pakak, Tikaani and Tonrar: three Vok who are watching everything the Maximals and Predacons are doing! They mention Earth is an experiment (serving as a callback to the original show) and we see them debating what to do about these new elements introduced into their experiments.

What I find a little odd (but interesting) is that the Vok in this comic seem to have no idea who or what they are dealing with. They speak about the Cybertronians as if they do not know what they are. This is strange since, according to the lore of the Vok include a Cybertronian origin of their own: The Swarm from the Generation 2 comics. I guess it's possible the Vok here are so far advanced beyond that phase of evolution that they have forgotten their distant past. Granted, this was largely based off the intent of Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio and authors like yours truly, so I can easily see this origin point being discarded in favor of a new storyline and Vok origin.

The issue concludes with a brief aerial chase between Terrorsaur and Nyx (now using his newly formed bat mode). It is not much of a battle, with Nyx mostly just running (and eventually getting captured). I found it odd Nyx did not try to transform and fight the way say, Airazor would have. Is she even armed? Is she not that great of a fighter? I wonder if this will be addressed later.

The artwork duties continue to be fulfilled by Josh Burcham. I struggle with the art not because of his style, which I find counter intuitive for a Beast Wars title given its emphasis on angles and exaggerated proportions. Rather, some of his design choices just feel odd to me. One of the most distinguishing features of the Beast Wars characters are the organic parts that make up sections of their robot modes. In the original show and toy line, Rhinox has the bottom of his beast mode mouth on his chest, teeth and all. Optimus Primal had curved, beefy looking proportions like a body builder.

However, in this title the use of organic looking parts ranges from character to character. On the one hand, Dinobot and Nyx have very organic looking parts including Dinobot's rounded arms and Nyx's bat head on his chest. On the other end of the spectrum, Rhinox looks almost entirely mechanical. The chest panel has no teeth (or even hint of teeth) and his legs are blocky instead of rounded. There is also very little texture such as scales or fur being drawn on the characters. This is not a matter of ability, it is a choice being made that I do not quite understand. In this issue we see Rattrap and Nyx in beast mode and they are fuzzy and organic looking. They look fantastic, I just wish the other characters all shared this look.


  • The floating mountains calls back to the Beast Wars episode "Power Surge" where Terrorsaur gains some incredible power.
  • I appreciated the chat between Rhinox and Rattrap about organic food. Rattrap was seen appreciating some good food a couple of times in the tv show and it's nice to see that carried over here.
  • Megatron's "Rubber Ducky" makes an appearance, which no doubt for many fans will be one of the highlights of the issue. The "character" of the Rubber Ducky has gained a lot of love over the years from fans and I appreciate it being included here.