CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Ironhide #1: The Iron Age
Reviewed by Blackjack
"Recruiting ambitious idiots like this is why you'll lose."
Well, I have to hand it to the art team. The colours and shading in this issue is marvellous, with shading the colours done wonderfully. That moment where Optimus does his little 'fighting an idea' speech is coloured splendidly. Rumble having half his face broken by the punch is drawn well too. However, Casey needs to work a little on his layout. That moment where Ironhide runs Soundwave down isn't done well, and in the spread page it looks like Prowl and Groove are firing at Blurr. Also, having the eyes light up half the face like a halogen lamp is very distracting. While not as jarring as the Perceptor story in AHM, it's still a little too obvious. The dialogue is repetitive. While Optimus Prime's little speech with Kup and Ironhide is miles better than his overbearing dialogue in the ongoing, in the beginning he says 'hold the line!' four times in the space of three pages, something that surely could've been improved on. Optimus Prime is done better here than in the ongoing; Costa still needs to work on his version of Optimus, but the little showboating that Optimus does here could be accounted to him being newly elected leader and needing to prove himself to the likes of Prowl. Speaking of Prowl, he's finally in character here, not what had happened to him in the ongoing. And Axer... well, nearly twenty years of never appearing anywhere except for cameos, and the bounty-hunter's first proper line is 'death to Autobots!' which proves that Costa randomly picked a post-1989 character without even glancing at his tech specs. Likely the same thing was how Needlenose and Quake got into the ongoing. Still, this issue reads well because it's more character-driven (Optimus Prime, in this case... Ironhide doesn't do much this issue) and it's more cartoonish than the self-indulgent and dry ongoing.
As for the titular character, this issue is probably the first to get me interested in the red minivan. Having watched the live-action movie before I delved into G1, everytime someone says Ironhide, I instantly remember the gun-happy robot from the movie before the red minivan clicks into my mind. The cartoon and the comics, until now, haven't had Ironhide do anything special. I mean, like Jazz he's always there, shooting at people, but the only memorable scene I could recall about Ironhide is his violent death in TFTM. While this issue has yet to imprint Ironhide in my mind, it sure did got me interested in him. It is a shame, though, that despite Ironhide's death being somewhat like the stepping stone to Costa's new start, he is revived as soon as four or five months after his death. Half the fandom already expected this- Ironhide's death in the ongoing wouldn't be permanent in any way, making Optimus Prime's emo-fication in the ongoing so much worse. The script of this issue seems to be a little off from finalized. It looks as if we spent half the issue so Ironhide could tell Prime how great a leader he is. And Ironhide saying that he loves Prime is... cheesy. Still, there are attempts of Costa trying to reconcile this with AHM and
the -ions. Elements from AHM (present-day Cybertron being uninhabited but not radioactive) and the Furman-ions (Gizmo and Download) as well as a Spotlight Ramjet reference (that felt like it was shoved in just for the hell of it) are all present. However, it looks like Costa is cherry-picking the parts of his predecessor's stories that he likes, if the ongoing is any indication. But at least as a mini, Ironhide will be hopefully self-contained. Granted, I read this with fairly low expectations since the mess they made with their last character mini. There are some decent moments and the art is pretty, but all in all the issue is mediocre in terms of storytelling and dialogue. It shows promise, though, and if Costa plays his cards right, Ironhide might be a veritable success.
Surprisingly enough, the body that present-day Ironhide finds himself in is not
his Universe body, but his Don Figueroa body.
While most of the minor characters in the flashback use their War Within bodies, Ironhide uses a Cybertronified, G1-ized version of his Don Figueroa body. Most notably he doesn't have the toy's windshield-over-face, which is how he appeared in War Within and Megatron Origin. Optimus Prime, meanwhile, is more streamlined and has a bit of yellow in his back. Kup uses his normal G1 design.
Maccadam's, the bar first introduced in Marvel UK's Target 2006 (and had appeared numerous times in various continuities), is mentioned here.
The way Ironhide intercepted that shot meant for Prime is, of course, copied from his pose when doing the same thing to Hot Rod in the first Ongoing.
How does delivering a stash of energon into the middle of a city the same as destroying the city? They couldn't possibly use them as bombs or they'll be vaporized as well. And if it's just some kind of distribution/transfer thing going on, it means that the Autobots shouldn't waste their time getting drunk and instead brace for another attempt, right?
Bluestreak is referred to as Silverstreak. Yes, I'll keep adding this in every review that has 'Silverstreak' because Bluestreak has been named before. Hell, in this issue Bluestreak still has his 'blue' body.
Windcharger: "I can do it too, Optimus. I'm fast."
Optimus Prime: "Not as fast as Blurr."
Soundwave: "Rumble, transform and go for the optics."
Optimus Prime: "Kup... I'm a soldier. Words don't come easily for me. And I don't think they want to hear me stumble around like I've had too many at Maccadam's."
Optimus Prime: "Because what we're fighting here... we're fighting a philosophy. We're fighting an idea. And you can't defeat that."
Ironhide: "You're saying we can't win?"
Optimus Prime: "No. An idea can't be defeated... but it can be changed."