Marvel Legends and Star Wars Black Serie typically get all the headlines from Hasbro at San Diego Comic-Con, but that doesn't mean Transformers gets left out in the cold. In fact, this year, despite having a bit of smaller showing compared to other shows like Toy Fair and even 2015's New York Comic Con, Hasbro brought out some rather big guns for the Transformers line. We're not just talking about the exclusive Fortress Maximus either.
The Combiner Wars have been running through the Transformers toy line (and through the IDW comics and Machinima animated series), so it only made sense that a new Combiner would make its triumphant debut at SDCC. Liokaiser is a massive Transformer, and one that pays tribute to an oft-forgotten Japanese animated series and that will finally see the character released in the US after more nearly 20 years.
Last year, I essentially made a bet with myself that led me to read every issue of IDW's current line of Transformers comics, and let me tell you, I learned a lot. I learned about alt-modes, about the 4,000,000 year war between Decepticons and Autobots, and I even learned to tell some --- not all, but some --- of those characters apart on sight. But more than anything else, I learned one indisputable fact: Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye is the single best comic book on the stands.
Well. It was. The series is heading for an ending this summer with issue #57, and while the creative team and characters will return in the upcoming Transformers: Lost Light --- a book that writer James Roberts has assured readers is a continuation of MTMTE that will serve as "season three" of his story --- this still feels like the right time to look back at what's happened so far. Seriously: It's the best. Now let's talk about why.
For those of us who have been waiting thirty years for MASK, Transformers, GI Joe and a handful of other Hasbro properties to be thrown into the same universe, but it raises a lot of questions about what it's going to mean for the books that have been around for a while once the big Revolution event happens. For the Transformers especially, the franchise at the center of the action, there are a lot of questions about how it all ties together.
Now, with IDW revealing their post-Revolution plans at San Diego Comic-Con, we've got some answers from Optimus Prime writer John Barber, Transformers: Lost Light writer James Roberts, and Transformers: Til All Are One writer Mairghread Scott. Read on for their thoughts on integrating their complicated history into a new universe, the metaphors behind Cybertronian politics, and whether Roberts feels bad for making me cry about Chromedome and Rewind.
There's no shortage of Transformers collectibles out there, however if you're looking outside of Takara and Hasbro for anything beyond the standard fare, pickings are pretty slim. In recent years, more companies have been dabbling in larger-form figures and statues, and that's particularly true of Prime 1 Studio. While most of you might recall that name due to the company's outstanding Batman pieces, Prime 1 has also released a few movie-based Transformers statues.
Your mileage may vary on what you think of the films and those designs, but Prime 1 did quite a number on bringing them to life. Now the company is taking its talents to the Generations branch, and its kicking things off with the Autobot leader, Optimus Prime. There are about a thousand ways to call something beautiful, and none of them are strong enough to fit for how amazing this new statue looks.
What does your favourite superheroes' colors tell the audience about their personalities? Using the same color theory people use to group-think a corporate logo, or paint their room, we've been exploring what it means to superhero comics.
Last time we mentioned that The Invisible Woman's blue and white is wise, and elemental, but what does invisible mean as a color? The Wasp's one constant through her many costume changes has been her transparent, flighty wings. And while Kitty Pryde, who also can't seem to settle on a costumes (or a name), isn't transparent as a color, she does actually pass through things.
Next week, Tom Scioli and John Barber's Transformers vs. GI Joe finally proves itself to be too good for this fallen world when it comes to a senses-shattering conclusion. But just so nobody forgets that it's the best thing going, they're going out with the scene I've been waiting to see since the whole thing began: Laird James McCullen Destro XXIV, he of the wrist-rockets, the high collar and the Beryllium Steel mask, is stepping into the spotlight for an all-out slugfest against the Joes --- and it's all taking place on Megatron's head while he tries to eat the sun.
In all honesty, I don't know if there's anything going on in comics right now that's more exciting to me than IDW's Revolution event. It's the unification of most of the Hasbro properties into a single universe that finds the Transformers, GI Joe, ROM the Space Knight, MASK and more being thrown together into a unified story, and for someone like me, it's a pop cultural dream come true. But the one big question I've had since it was announced is "okay, but how's it going to work?"
We have, after all, been assured that this wasn't a rebooting of the continuity for Transformers or GI Joe, but since one of those book is about giant robots from space coming to Earth and the other isn't, it seems like that would be something of a game-changer when it comes to world-building. But now, we have an exclusive video from IDW where John Barber, the editor and writer spearheading the new direction, explains it --- and it sounds pretty awesome.
A long, long time ago, a massive spaceship crashed on Earth. Thanks to an opportune volcano eruption, the inhabitants of the ship were woken up just in time to enjoy the '80s. Unfortunately, not everyone on the ship is a good person... or robot. While the Autobots befriend the humans they encounter in the hopes of finding a way back to their home planet, the Decepticons immediately set to work on a plan to eliminate the Autobots, take over Earth and return to Cybertron to rule.
Over the years, the story of the Transformers has taken many forms, from different animated series to movies, comics and games. One thing always holds true though --- Autobots and Decepticons really can't stand each other. That rivalry serves as the backbone for Hasbro's newest mobile game, Transformers: Earth Wars. A base-building strategy game, Earth Wars follows suit with Clash of Clans and Rival Kingdoms, putting you in charge of creating the perfect base for your faction and working to stop the other side. The formula might be similar to what you've seen before, but Earth Wars has enough new wrinkles to make it stand out beyond the license.
Since 2013, Hasbro has hosted two different fan votes to create new robots in disguise for Transformers. The first figure created by the fans was 2014's Windblade, a female jet from Kaon who also got her own comic series from IDW Publishing. Last year, Hasbro opened up another public vote, this time for a Combiner Transformer. Fans were able to vote for each limb/vehicle separately, as well as once again determining the paint app, personality, gender and origin. Out of all those decisions came Victorion, the first ever female Combiner in Transfomers history.
Victorion made her debut at San Diego Comic-Con 2015, and though we knew what to expect from the results, the prototype shown off at the convention caught a number of us by surprise. It certainly wasn't because Hasbro altered the core format of the figure, but because that paint app was so wild compared the rest of the existing Transfomers line. I happen to love it, and outside of Devastator, there aren't many Combiners with nearly as much color coordination going on. That color scheme helps Victorion stand out, as she repurposes a lot of existing bots for her build. It doesn't make her any less impressive once combined though.
The thing about doing comics based on toy properties is that eventually you're going to want to play with all the toys, and today, it looks like that's exactly what IDW has set out to do. After years of keeping them separated into their own universes --- with exceptions like the senses-shattering, soon-to-be-finished Transformers vs. GI Joe --- IDW is combining almost all of its Hasbro toy properties into a single universe.
The shakeup comes in a biweekly event called Revolution, co-written by Cullen Bunn and John Barber, with art by Fico Ossio, which will combine GI Joe, Transformers, MASK, ROM the Space Knight, Action Man and Micronauts into one permanent shared universe.
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