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Transformers: The Animated Movie #1 (of 4)
Reviewed by LKW

Issue Review

Well, it’s an adaptation of Transformers: the Movie, and whatever the debatable merits of that story, this issue does a pretty good job of presenting it — certainly a far, far better job than the Marvel Comics adaptation of 1986.

This script — working, granted, with the obvious advantge of being able to view the finished product — is far closer to an accurate retelling of the movie, Don Figueroa’s art is a quantum leap over Marvel’s in both attractiveness and story-telling, and Josh Burcham’s colors are easily more accurate, clear, and vibrant. And Bob Budiansky does find room to make a bit of a mark, adding narration and both tweaking and adding lines of dialogue. Some of the changes seem somewhat pointless — turning “Every time ah look into a monitor, Prime, my circuits sizzle” into “I’m tired of this waiting game, Optimus Prime,” for example — but several do add to the story. It always seemed to me as though dialogue was missing from the chemical-delivery bit at the start of the movie; Budiansky fills that in here.

This issue does a good job of presenting the famous battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron — despite the one glitch I noticed above, Figueroa does very well at portraying it in limited space — and, without almost completely re-writing all of the dialogue, as Marvel did, Budiansky gives Optimus one new line and Megatron two which I felt really added to this scene. Hot Rod’s “Nooo!!!” on page 21 also makes sense. There is a bit of a sense of lost opportunity here — with the notable exception of Snarl, the rumored possibility of “missing characters” appearing has not been carried through. And some memorable fights and lines — including “Such heroic nonsense!” and “…we’re all gonna look like burnt-out toaster ovens!” — are left out. But overall, this issue does a good job of presenting the first twenty minutes or so of one of the best known Transformers stories in comic book form. If that’s what one is looking for, this comic delivers pretty well — certainly much, much — MUCH — better than the old Marvel adaptation.

Whether this series will begin to sag as it gets to the more… iffy parts of the movie remains to be seen; but as a presentation of what many consider to be the best part of the movie, IDW’s Transformers: the Animated Movie #1 does a rather good job.


Though never stated explicitly within the issue, this story takes place within the continuity of the Transformers cartoon of the mid-1980s, using the character models from that series, and presenting a “blue” — really, more purple — Rumble and a red-and-black Frenzy with pile driver arms, a “female” Autobot, and a brunette Spike.

Unicron is recognized by at least Kranix.

While the Decepticons were completing the conquest of Cybertron, the Autobots were apparently busy constructing their fortified Autobot City on Earth. Megatron considers the destruction of this base, not the Autobot posts on Cybertron’s moons, the key to defeating the Autobots once and for all.

The issue includes an advertisement for Alternators Optimus Prime, seven pages dedicated to previewing The Transformers Spotlight: Nightbeat, ads for Transformers posters and the Infiltration TPB, and a back-cover ad for the Transformers: the Movie 20th Anniversary DVD.

And if not for that ad for the movie, incidentally, the author of the movie which is being adapted here, Ron Friedman, would receive no credit (blame?) for his work anywhere in this issue.


Strictly speaking, this would be an error carried over from the movie script, but at least one of the Autobots’ moon bases isn’t as “secret” as the narration claims, as Laserbeak is spying on it, and none of the other Decepticons seem surprised at what he is doing.

There are two attacks of “The Dreaded Drifting Voice-Bubble Syndrome”: in the second panel of page 10, Blurr calls Perceptor “Ultra Magnus” and addresses him with Perceptor’s own lines; Perceptor reciprocates by saying “In other words, Perceptor –”. And on the second panel of page 22, while less blatantly obvious, Hot Rod delivers Perceptor’s line “I fear the wounds are… fatal.”

While Don Figueroa’s page 19 layout generally does a very good job of portraying the Prime/Megatron fight, it doesn't show at what point Megatron loses his fusion cannon; it’s just suddenly gone after page 18.

On page 10, Arcee’s… um, trunks… are colored charcoal gray instead of pink.

And, in the third panel of the page, those “trunks” are a THONG, showing us that Arcee has, by human standards, a… shapely posterior. I suppose this deviation from the character model could be considered an artist’s choice — though it’s basically gone by panel five of that same page — but if so, it’s a bad choice. Yikes.

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