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Blackjack
2013-08-10, 11:11 AM
Infestation 2: The Transformers #1
Publication Date: 1st February 2012
Written By: Chuck Dixon
Art By: Guido Guidi
Inks By: John Wycough (pg 15-22)
Colors By: Joana Lafuente
Letters By: Chris Mowry
Edits By: Bobby Curnow & John Barber

Synopsis: 1887: Underwater in the Atlantic oceans, a group of mysterious fish people arrive near the dormant Seacons, activating them and placing under their call. 1888: the USS Miskatonic finds itself attacked by a gigantic underwater creature. Ironhide, who had been on board the ship in his alternate mode, breaks cover and jumps into the water to escape the giant tentacled monster, realizing that the creature is not of the Earth and heads off to warn the other Autobots. A week later, Tobias and Kitty Muldoon, now married and with children, discuss their life when they are approached by a streetcar who reveals himself to be Bumblebee. Bumblebee asks for their help, explaining about the Elder Gods, who had slumbered beneath Earth’s oceans. Bumblebee asks Tobias to help them gather a lot of energy to reactivate Optimus Prime. Tobias attempts to ask Thomas Edison for energy but is rejected due to the sheer amount needed to be generated instantaneously, but finds help from Nikolas Tesla.

Meanwhile, in Port Cenotaph, the fish people arrive in the thousands, observed by Ironhide. Ironhide is about to engage the fish people, but an enthralled Bonecrusher, empowered by the Elder Gods, manages to overwhelm and defeat Ironhide with his tentacles. Later on, it’s revealed that the entire population of the town has been enthralled as well, while Decepticons patrol the city. Muldoon and Tesla go on a train made up by Autobots, and Tesla finds the train suspicious until the Autobots eventually reveal themselves when they have to go on foot. The humans ride in Wheeljack. They eventually reach the destination… the slumbering body of Optimus Prime.

Featured Characters: Skalor, Deep Ones, Seawing, Snaptrap, Nautilator, Overbite, Tentakil, Elder God, Ironhide, Tobias Muldoon, Kitty Muldoon, Toby Muldoon, Kitty Muldoon, Bumblebee, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Bonecrusher, Trailbreaker, Hound, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Blitzwing, Dirge, Shockwave, Optimus Prime


Review:
”You’re a tool, all right!”
So, IDW attempts to do a crossover again. Only where the first Infestation crossover is a fun romp with zombies that doesn’t really take itself seriously that much until the end, this one takes itself far more seriously, having few to no comedic moments… and being set in the Hearts of Steel universe. A good chunk of the issue is spent on random people being surprised by the existence of Cthulhu, or random people (and Nikolas Tesla) being surprised by the Transformers’ existence. It’s a very slow read, and not much happens. It also takes place in the Hearts of Steel universe… which really should’ve given the author some free rein about what to do, yet all that happens is generic stuff that fails to capture the interest. Add that to a highly dull script (“GODFREY DANIEL!”) and panels wasted on unimportant characters who get killed by Cthulhu moments later, and this is simply boring. What we get is merely dull exposition. Really, can’t they revive Optimus at the end of this issue? Is there a reason for them to spend half the issue trekking through the snow and the humans being all surprised and stuff? Guidi’s art is pretty crisp and nice, I like the highly appropriate use of the Seacons and Submarauders (even though they don’t appear again ever) but otherwise it’s a very dull read, which will leave the audience generally confused. And no, Optimus doesn’t get to fight Cthulhu like the cover promised.

(One and a Half out of Five)

Notes:
Infestation 2 (which makes writing down issue names awkward) takes place in the alternate universe of ‘Hearts of Steel’, where the Transformers wake up not in the modern times, but in the 19th Century. Tobias and Kitty Muldoon had allied themselves with the Autobots back in the ‘Hearts of Steel’ miniseries, and reappear here.

The backstory of Infestation 2 in a nutshell: the threat comes from IDW’s CVO comics (the ones who unleashed the zombies into the multiverse in the first Infestation event), where apparently the Elder Gods, based on Lovecraftian stories, are unleashed into the multiverse (and into nearly all of IDW's properties instead of only four). However, instead of attacking the mainstream G1 continuity, IDW decides to send Cthulhu to their neglected Hearts of Steel universe instead.

The fish people, only referred to as such in this story, are based on the Deep Ones from Lovecraftian literature, but their appearance very much resembles the shell of the G1 Pretender Submarauder.

Ironhide still has the same alternate mode as the first Heart of Steel mini, while Bumblebee has traded in his locomotive mode into a street tram. Ratchet, Hound and Trailbreaker are all train or train carriages, Wheeljack is a hybrid locomotive-snowplow thing. Dirge is based on Hearts of Steel’s redesign of Starscream.

Bonecrusher is the only enthralled Decepticon shown with tentacles. It is uncertain what he transforms into.

Goofs:
The USS Miskatonic, named after the Miskatonic University, is mis-spelled ‘Mistkatonic’. It is fixed in the next issue.

Trailbreaker is mis-spelled as ‘Trailblazer’.

Despite not having woken up and scanned an alternate mode in the Hearts of Steel mini, Optimus Prime is shown here with complete train kibble and whatnot instead of being an Ice Age animal as he’s supposed to be.