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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
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(2001-now)
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(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
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Other Books
and Titles

CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Megatron: Origin #1
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

A bit of an odd one this, despite being called Megatron: Origin we don't really learn very much about old Megs here. He's strangely quiet for most of the issue, but just when you put him down as a dumb grunt he comes out with a full sentence when talking with Rumble. It comes to something that it's a generic nobody that gives the big "mad as hell" speech in the meeting rather than the ostensive star. On the other hand, we do get good work on the new characters, with Decimus (who speaks like William Hartnel's Doctor Who, which is fab), and Sentinel Prime being well defined. It's also nice to see that Prowl has always been the frustrated second in command as well. It's also good to see the Decepticons being given more reason for uprising here than "evil is always fun". The portrayal of slimy politicians putting down the little man may be a cliché, but it does help create reader empathy for the future 'cons. Milne's art is perhaps the real weak link. Whilst I don't think it deserves the kicking it's received in some quarters, it is genuinely hard to work out what the hell's going on at some points - such as how Megatron escapes from his chains whilst Rumble attacks the guard. Considering that the first time Megatron kills an Autobot should be a "big" moment it's also strangely lacking in impact. In fact, that's the issue in a nutshell. Lots of potentially great stuff but somehow without finesse. Hopefully the fascinating premise will be given the story it deserves starting with the next issue.

Notes

Megatron's secret origin as a miner is a take unique to IDW. In the Marvel and Dreamwave comics he was a gladiator, whilst the cartoon had him being built by the Constructicons.

Though he's a new character, Senator Decimus is based on Alpha Trion from the original cartoon. Sentinel Prime was Optimus' immediate predecessor in both the Marvel and Dreamwave comics (though, it may not turn out to be the case here, in the former he looked like Rodimus Prime's brother). IDW have designed him - and indeed most of the new Autobots seen here - in a style like that of the characters in the Japanese Transformers Victory toyline. Also, with his orange colour scheme and retractable faceplate, he looks not unlike a long lost Predacon.

At this stage, the Autobots would seem to be a more of a police force or security service, roughly in keeping with their portrayal in the Dreamwave Armada comic. Though Prime seems to be in charge of the Autobots, he is in turn answerable to the Senate that governs Cybertron’s (mostly unaligned it would seem) population.

According to the miner that gets shot, despite plenty of energon being produced the workers are under fuelled whilst the Senate hordes it. Exactly why the mine hasn't always been automated isn't exactly clear. Giving sentient Transformers a dull and difficult job when they could build a non-alive digger with the same abilities seems odd. The change, and the energon hoarding, may well be down to the start of the energon shortage we've seen in the present day stories.

Rumble, making his IDW debut, would seem to be the Red one. Mind, neither cassette is called by name, so it could still be up in the air if they're both supposed to have the same pile driving attachments to mine with.

Prowl's presence as Sentinel Prime's second in command ties in with Springer's comment that he's "Always been High Command" in the Kup Spotlight.

In Kaon we see an advertising board with a Lizard Man on it; even if it's supposed to be fanciful it still implies the Autobots have contact with organic species at this point in order to be able to know what a lizard is in the first place.

We also see a couple of adverts with fembots on. Make of that what you will.

A Kaon is a subatomic particle in real life.

Writer Eric Holmes is a computer game designer by trade; this is his first published writing. He previously submitted the basic outline to Dreamwave, but got nowhere with it.

Alex Milne makes his debut on a main-continuity IDW book, though illness meant that the first issue was delayed by a few weeks.

Goofs

Why on Earth is Rumble still able to use his pile drivers whilst in prison? Wouldn't it be routine to disable all transformation abilities before tying them up?

Don't they have radar on Cybertron? Because following Megatron’s ship to Kaon should be as easy as pie. Plus, Megatron and company leave convenient, muddy, large, footprints as they depart the ship. That should make following them far too easy as well.

The Cybertronian’s really are ahead of their time. Amongst the ad boards we see the smiley face that simple humans won't invent for a few million years after this.

Unfortunately, the page showing Megatron mining with his tool (if you'll pardon the expression) manages to look exactly like he's breaking into tears whilst singing karaoke in a dodgy bar.

 
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