CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Ironhide #2: Iron in the Blood
Reviewed by Blackjack
”At least you’re not a monster.”
While reading this issue, it’s hard not to think about Spotlight Kup. Other than the obvious Outback reference, seeing the main character so… confused about what has happened (we’ll assume he forgot what happened prior to his resurrection) is a little similar to what happened to Kup. While last issue we had a look at the Cybertron-era war, here we get to see some pre-war scenes. It’s beautifully done, a far cry from Megatron Origin. Again, there are numerous continuity references, but unlike last issue none of them feels forced. The dialogue is far superior as well.
The intrigue just builds up, and Costa displays that he can actually write something good when his mind is set to it. He has a great handle on Ironhide, which is something I can’t say for half the cast he uses for the ongoing. The setting as Ironhide explores Cybertron, just looking for someone, is well done, and his murdering of the Swarm, and being utterly shocked by it, is several hundred times more effectively done than what a similar scene in Origin. The flashbacks, while not exactly original, are used effectively. Unlike what he did with the ongoing, where he randomly picks any character, here both Drag Strip and Outback are used effectively, as is Prowl the prick in the dream/vision sequence. Outback’s dead body being used to talk to Ironhide is effective as well, especially since memory-damaged Ironhide seems not to know that Outback is dead.
Also, there’s an excellent usage of the Swarm. One of the good concepts created by AHM, yet executed poorly. The art is great, and I really like the transition between ‘golden age’ Cybertron and the hellhole it is now. However, the present-day Cybertron does seem a little too… clean. It’s just a little quibble, though. It’s starting to feel that it has a slight psychological ride to it, something that I haven’t seen since Spotlight Kup. The lighter tone helps to give this issue some goodness, and while it’s not entirely perfect, Ironhide is starting to look really good.
Since it seems to be a given that all stories set on Cybertron needs to have cameos, the artist managed to sneak in Jetfire, Chromedome and what seems to be Rad (it could be Sprocket or one of the Autobot Pretenders) as scientists. Roadgrabber appears the guards protecting Drag Strip. There is Backstreet among the crowd and one of those Diaclone guys too. The guards that Ironhide handed Outback off too seems to be modeled after the Jumpstarters. One seems to be Twin Twist himself (a slightly different head design, though) and the other is Robot-Man X, a seldom-known green redeco of Topspin.
Several shout-outs to Spotlight: Blurr, namely\ the whole racetrack scenario in the pre-war scene. Ironhide’s boss is also exactly the same as the guy that runs the races in Spotlight Blurr. Blurr himself is also mentioned repeatedly as being one of Drag Strip’s rivals, and is seen on a screen.
There are several references to Megatron Origin as well. The miners seen in front are unmistakably modeled after the same miners in the Megatron Origin comic, and even have those warning stripes. Cybertronians being divided into different classes is also briefly mentioned.
Drag Strip plays dirty, which is why he got knocked out of the raceways prior to the flashback scene.
Ironhide evokes the name of Nova Prime.
Ironhide claims that radiation is off the scale, and that atmosphere is stripped away. The damage described here seems to be closer to those described in Stormbringer. Perhaps in AHM the Autobots had better radiation-shields?
The way Outback looks in the vision thing that Ironhide had is a direct pull-out from his grotesque corpse from Spotlight: Kup. It’s a little creepy, to be honest.
That creepy robot that Ironhide encounters near the end of the story seems to be Scamper, but if it’s him, he had undergone a massive overhaul. However, if the glimmering city is Metroplex (it sure looks like it) it’s unsurprising.
Ironhide is already among the Autobot forces in Megatron Origin, but here he works for a neutral company. Of course, it could be his day job...
In the same vein, Ironhide uses a different design (the same one seen throughout the mini) here than seen in Megatron Origin. In Origin, he uses the original-toy-inspired War Within design. While there’s nothing to say that he didn’t change bodies, it seems impractical for him to change into his WW design after the events of this issue, then change back
again during the war (seen last issue). Of course, since IDW seems to be half-heartedly retconning Origin anyway…
Announcer: “… because when Drag hits the track, the competition gets stripped!”
Ironhide: [apprehends Outback] “We said no autographs.”
Outback: “I feel sorry for you. ‘Bots like you, you’re the reason we’re going to lose all this. Just wandering through it all like you’re in stasis lock…”
Ironhide: “I might be the last ‘bot left alive on Cyebrtron, and I’m goin’ crazy.”
Ironhide: “There’s got to be somebody else here. Somebody else. It can’t be that everyone is dead. Everyone is dead and there’s only monsters left. Not just monsters. There has to be.”