Two issues into IDW's Revolution event, and while the purpose of the event is to combine most of the various Hasbro toy properties into a single, unified world and not to keep score on who's winning the big fight, I think we've found a pretty clear leader. Rom The Space Knight, who returned to comics after a thirty year absence, is mopping the floor with everybody else in this book.
Seriously, in the first issue, he interrupted a stalemate between the Transformers and GI Joe by taking out four Joes all by himself, and in the second issue, he straight up judo-flips Optimus Prime into a creek. All the other teams have at this point is a missing arm and somebody who wants to quibble over the definition of "decimate." Like I said, there's a clear leader, and you can see it for yourself in an exclusive preview below --- but be warned, there are some pretty big spoilers if you haven't read the first one yet!
More than anything else I can think of in recent memory, IDW's Revolution is a comic book that suffers from the crushing weight of expectations. In a lot of respects, it's also the easiest sell to come down the pike in a long while, taking most of Hasbro's toy properties --- with the notable exceptions of My Little Pony, Jem and the Holograms, and Dungeons & Dragons --- and combining them all into a single universe, bookending it all with the return of Rom, the Space Knight. The thing is, in doing that, it's not only attempting to create a new foundation for a shared universe that will involve all of those properties interacting with each other and also pursuing their own storylines, it's competing with everyone who grabbed two different action figures at once and banged them together as a kid.
That puts a ton of pressure on Cullen Bunn, John Barber, Fico Ossio, Sebastian Cheng, and Tom B. Long, but they've found a pretty elegant solution: Just straight up overloading the reader with action in a first issue that opens with a mountain exploding and ends with one of the more surprising deaths in recent memory.
Over the past few months, I think I've been so excited about IDW's upcoming Revolution event --- which, as you probably know by now, is the big reboot that combines Transformers, GI Joe, MASK, Micronauts, Action Man and Rom The Space Knight into a single universe full of the crossover potential that some of us have been waiting thirty years for --- that I'm not sure if I've ever stopped to consider what's going to happen next. I mean, presumably we'll see Snake-Eyes fighting Megatron at some point, but beyond that? I hadn't even considered the possibilities.
Now, however, we know that at least one of the things we're going to be getting comes in the debut issue of John Barber and Kei Zama's Optimus Prime, in which the leader of the Transformers is going to be fighting a giant corkscrew from space. No, that is not a typo, and yes, I am into it. Check out all three covers for Optimus Prime #1 below!
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.
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.
The new blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film is in cinemas now, and surprisingly it patches the flaws from its predecessor and ramps up the ridiculousness in a way that makes it an enjoyable family superhero film for the summer. The Turtles have been mainstays of film, TV and video games for decades, but their origins go way back to the black and white independent comics boom of the '80s.
If you’re a fan of Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, odds are you’re already keeping up with IDW’s excellent ground-up re-imagining of the franchise, but if you want more in that vein, we’ve selected five of the best independent, creator-owned, or alternative licensed comics that live up to the spirit of Turtle Power!
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.
Way back in 2014 when the zero issue hit stands on Free Comic Book Day, Transformers vs. GI Joe kicked off with the death of Cobra Commander. And folks, it was a death - that dude was stabbed straight through the heart by Snake Eyes and then immediately crashed the fighter jet he was flying. So naturally, it only makes sense that he'd return from the dead in the grandest possible fashion.
The one thing that I've always said about Tom Scioli and John Barber's Transformers vs. GI Joe is that it feels like a comic that shouldn't be allowed to happen. From the zero issue that came out on Free Comic Book Day and gave us Snake-Eyes stabbing Cobra Commander in the heart while Cobra Commander blew his face off, it felt like we were dealing with something that went way beyond a crossover between toy properties, and ended up somewhere that was equal parts subversive and surreal.
Now, it seems like reality is finally catching up with us. When Transformers vs. GI Joe #13 hits shelves in June, it'll be an extra-sized 48-page final issue that ends the series --- and possibly the entire universe.
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