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.
It used to be a truth universally acknowledged that any time a robot gets emotional, comics are about to get real bad. But bucking the trend and breaking the mold are the Transformers, and specifically the Transformers of the Lost Light in More Than Meets The Eye #53, by James Roberts, Alex Milne, and Hayato Sakamoto. Those robots are in a real devil of a pickle now, and they're making their peace with it the best they can.
Even movies about toys need writers. That’s why Hasbro, in an effort to compete with Marvel, DC, and every other company out there trying to create an integrated multiproperty cinematic universe has assembled a writer’s room of talent to figure out how to merge their assorted toy brands, including G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., ROM, Micronauts, and Visionaries, into one streamlined movie continuity. The Hollywood Reporter says the Hasbro writer’s room will meet for the first time on Monday with an impressive roster of talent.
For those of us who are obsessed with the licensed comics of the '80s, the biggest news story of the year is unquestionably the return of ROM The Space Knight --- four words, very important --- to comics this summer. Considering he was a popular character at the time who hasn't starred in a comic in a full 30 years, it's a big deal, and IDW is taking the opportunity to reintroduce him in a pretty big way.
In July, ROM is making an appearance on variant covers across IDW's entire line to celebrate his return, and today, we're happy to reveal his appearance on Brendan Cahill's cover for Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #55, where he and Rodimus are now best friends. That's what I'm assuming, anyway.
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.
I think the record will show that I'm a pretty big fan of Hasbro's cartoons from the '80s, and one of the things I love most about them is how great the soundtracks are. Not just the theme songs, but the incidental music that provides the background for Jem and the Holograms, or that smooth jazz version of the GI Joe theme that plays under the closing credits. Heck, even in the years before More Than Meets The Eye came along and made me stop hating the Transformers, I still had to admit that the music was pretty great.
The only problem is that I can't listen to it whenever I want, but now, it looks like that problem might be coming to an end. Composer Robert J. Walsh has confirmed that he's remastering the soundtracks for the Hasbro shows, with plans for Sony to release high-end versions that will include new footage and artwork, too.
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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