CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Animated: The Arrival #1
Reviewed by Blackjack
As with Armada
(though not the case with Cybertron
, which coincided with Dreamwave's bankruptcy), with the dawn of a new Transformers TV series a new series of comics would be produced. Usually, as in the case of Armada
and most of the other comics, stories follow an arc or particular plot line. Not so with Arrival
. Each issue is standalone, with little or no connection with the other stories in the Arrival
series. In my honest opinion, I think this is a bad idea. Animated is a series that has a large potential. The entire series feels more like half-written spotlight-wannabe stories and some humour, although the scripting in this issue is okay and the monologues are pretty nice. Brizuela's art is good for this issue, unlike what is to come.
The first issue is little more than a recap and 'behind-the-scenes' of the pilot movie, "Transform and Roll Out". Like Reign of Starscream
#1, this is a waste of paper. Furthermore, the story jumps around abruptly, and monologues are hastily chopped up between characters, abruptly jumping from one to the next. Nearly every one of the main cast has a name-tag and a dialogue monologue that extends only for one page. The most significant moment -- Prime's death and resurrection -- is cut short. Still, there are some nice moments, like Blitzwing's eulogy and Starscream's fight with Blackarachnia, and Sentinel Prime shines well in this issue. However, they could've delivered the same impact by cutting the comic to half its current size and ignoring all the recap.
This issue is titled 'Dispatches' in the TPB.
Monologues include: Optimus Prime, Sentinel Prime (sort of), Captain Fanzone, Sari, Bumblebee, Prowl, Ratchet, Starscream, Blackarachnia, Bulkhead. Starscream gets two and a half pages total, and Prime has two pages total. That's crammed into ~22 pages, counting splash pages and introdumps.
The issue is generally a quick retelling and recap of 'Transform and Roll Out'. Differences include the reactions of the Elite Guard on Cybertron and the Decepticons on New Kaon, Isaac Sumdac's rise to success, Starscream's fight with Blackarachnia and the other members of the main cast discovering the Allspark energy signal. As a result, the real recap (the Earth scenes) are jumpy and cut short, scenes jumping around without explanation if you haven't watched the pilot episode itself.
The Decepticons are based on a refugee colony on the galactic rim dubbed 'New Kaon'. There's a very large crowd listening to Blitzwing's eulogy, making the Decepticons look more like a full-fledged militia instead of a ragtag group of killers. Blitzwing appears to have taken temporary command of the Decepticons, as Starscream is searching for the AllSpark.
Sentinel Prime delivers the eulogy for Optimus and his crew. His speech is rather touching, but his monologue (inserted between speech bubbles) makes it clear how he really feels. This is very charming. Also, Sentinel prevents Longarm Prime (in reality Decepticon double agent Shockwave) from embarking on an AllSpark-finding mission. That decision actually saved all the Autobots.
This is the only
place you could see Animated Jazz's Cybertronian mode, and even then it's from the back.
Blackarachnia is drawn very oddly in this episode. Instead of following from her character model (both the older and the revised one), she is a mixture of both models, her main body and arms being block-coloured black. She also has no mouth, but the art makes it look like she's wearing a faceplate. Not likely, though.
Sentinel Prime has a normal Autobot insignia throughout the entire episode when he should be wearing an Elite Guard insignia.
Longarm Prime, meanwhile, shows off his Elite Guard insignia while he should have been wearing a normal Autobot insignia.
Optimus is missing eyes on Prowl's flashback ('Lend a Servo!').