CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Beast Wars: The Gathering #1 (of 4)
Reviewed by Bombshell
When I had heard that IDW Publishing had taken up the rights to do the Transformers comics, I wasn’t totally energetic about it. I mean, after having blown a whole lot of money on the Dreamwave stuff (and not exactly thinking it was a good idea in hindsight), I made the promise that I would not buy any stuff that they put out.
Then I heard the announcement that they would be taking up where Dreamwave left off and doing the Beast Wars series that Dreamwave had planned to do in early 2005. Considering that I wanted to get that series, I made the decision to buy it. I got the first issue and, I’m happy to say, it was well worth the year-long wait.
Now, this isn’t the first time that Beast Wars had been in comic book form. From 1996 till 2002, the Botcon conventions published a series of comics that took place during the cartoon’s run (1996’s “Critical Mass” taking place in the show’s first season, while 1998-2000’s “Reaching the Omega Point” story taking place during the show’s third season and 2001-2003’s “Wreckers” saga taking place during the “Beast Machines” show.) There was also the short story “Ain’t No Rat” in Dreamwave’s Summer Special, which was meant as a prelude to their own Beast Wars miniseries (whether or not this series will build on what was established there isn’t really known right now, though the fact that the three characters that appeared there appear here means that it's likely.)
In any event, what makes this comic different than these others is that this issue (and the miniseries in general) is the first publicly available Beast Wars storyline in comic form, meaning that it will reach a more broad audience than the convention comics ever did (of course, the fact that this is the tenth anniversary of the Beast Wars line means that will have an impact, as well.)
Now, as far as the story goes, it’s pretty good (though I should mention that my expectations were rather low going in, not to mention that the technical mumbo jumbo allowing it to happen seems a little too cliché for my tastes.) But for what is essentially a recap and introductory comic serving to both remind readers what came before and showcase what’s to come, it works rather well. Some fans may bemoan the fact that this series will not focus on the television cast (aside from the casual cameo appearance), but I think that it would be nice to see characters who you might not expect to be fan favorites get their time in the spotlight. The fact that already established favorites such as Drill Bit, infamous for being the least
liked toy in the entire Beast Wars line; Ramulus, who made a string of guest appearances in the convention comics, and Optimus Minor appear here means that we might have characters who will end up becoming as popular, if not more, than Dinobot and Rattrap ever were.
Artwise, Don Figueroa outdoes himself again. Having done the artwork for the aforementioned “Ain’t No Rat”, we’ve already learned that he’s as good at doing organic robots as he is at doing mechanicals. He also gives some rather interesting vehicle alternate modes for the Maximals and Predacons (including a motorcycle styled Razorbeast.)
About the only thing I disliked about this issue was the fact that IDW is apparently suffering from MCS (Multiple Cover Syndrome.) As with their “Infiltration” line, IDW released multiple cover variants hoping to draw in the collector along with the fan. I was never a fan of this during the Dreamwave era, and it really brings me down that they’re doing the same here. (For those who must know, I picked up the Magmatron cover, only to discover the Optimus Primal cover a few days later. Personally, I would have wanted to get the Megatron cover, but whatever.)
Basically, I’m not disappointed that I got the issue, and from the look of things, it will end up being a good series that I’ll enjoy reading. I just hope it doesn’t do what every single
Dreamwave story did and succumb to the literary equivalent of premature ejaculation.
The timeline of the story appears to be early season 3, established by the fact that Depth Charge is on Earth and the events of the “Agenda” trilogy are mentioned as having just passed. Ravage is called “Tripredacus Agent” by Magmatron. Lio Convoy, Heinlad, Big Convoy and Magmatron’s appearance in this issue are a nod to the characters that appear in the Japanese “Beast Wars” shows (though Magmatron was released in America as a Target exclusive during the Beast Machines line.)