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Introduction to Armada / Energon

Promotional poster.

As well as the license to use all Hasbro's past Transformers properties, Dreamwave were also contracted to provide a wide variety of promotional material for whatever the current incarnation of the toy franchise was - at the time Armada. Dreamwave were to provide a monthly ongoing series, and also designed box art for the Armada toys, and produced a mini-comic that would be merged with a catalogue and given away free with the figures.

Dreamwave assigned Chris Sarracini and James Raiz to the ongoing series, with a preview appearing in April, and the series beginning in July. While sales weren't as spectacular as the G1 series, they were respectable, #1 landing in the top 10 of the Diamond charts, the the next few issues scoring well into the top 20. However, after this distribution and late delivery of issues saw sales wane. For #6, a new creative team debuted: former Marvel Transformers writer Simon Furman, and company president Pat Lee.

However, sales remained disappointing, and Lee's brief two-issue stint met with poor fan reaction. Former fan artist Guido Guidi took over, and though he was better received, sales still continued to slip. The truth was that an active franchise comic would never be a particularly high seller [though the series was still selling much more than Marvel's 80s licensed titles], especially when attached to such a generally unpopular umbrella as Armada, which despite being a large success with younger children wasn't especially popular with the older readers the Generation 1 comics were selling to.

The series' fate was finally decided when Hasbro decided to start the new Transformers Energon franchise for 2004. Dreamwave brought onboard artist Don Figueroa and allowed Furman to script a four-part Generation 1 crossover for issues 14-17 to bring the comic towards an end at #18 [with Guidi returning to the series] and provide a springboard for the forthcoming Energon comic book series, which would take Armada's place.

Aborted promotional cover for issue 13.

[image]The Energon series was launched by Dreamwave in December 2003, taking over directly from Armada. To emphasize this continuity, Energon's first issue was numbered #19, following on from the final Armada issue, #18. Energon was set ten years after Armada, and retained much of its' original cast [though most would receive new bodies at some point in the series, to fit in with the Energon toyline. It also initally retained the Armada creative team of writer Simon Furman and artist Guido Guidi.

After #19 was a stand-alone story, followed by a four-part arc from #20-23, with #24 & #25 more standalones.

Joe Ng stood in on the art chores for #21, beginning a brief period when six issues would be drawn by four different artists - Guidi pencilling #22, Ng #23, James Raiz coming on board for #24, Ng returning for #25 and then newcomer Alex Milne taking over from #26 onwards.

[image]Issue 26 was the commencement of another four-part story arc running up to #29, with #30 following directly, featuring a no-holds barred battle between Megatron and Scorponok. #30 saw the debut of another artist, Marcelo Matere. Furman had also written a short Energon story for the 2004 Transformers Summer Special, drawn by Raiz, set in a possible future timeline Energon had maintained the steady but unspectacular sales of Armada, and was slated to run until Hasbro introduced the Cybertron line, and that took over Dreamwave's spin-off slot. Furman had set out plans which would have seen Energon reach around #36, including a four-part arc introducing Omega Supreme, and a confrontation with Unicron.

However, Dreamwave's poor financial situation [which may have been responsible for the high turnover of artists on the title - five across twelve issues] and the huge amount of negative publicity it was receiving led to Hasbro withdrawing the license in December 2005. #30 was the final published issue, and even if another company were to pick up the Transformers license, it seems unlikely that the Energon series will ever be concluded.


Dreamwave Guide Index | To Armada #1-10 |
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