Published by IDW Publishing, October 2014
Story: John Barber
Art: Livid Ramondelli
Colors: Livid Ramondelli
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Covers By: Andrew Griffith, Casey W. Coller, and Ken Christiansen
Synopsis: I have been a long time fan of the Transformers series since Dreamwave had the license. Now that IDW Publishing has the license they have been pumping out pure reading pleasure for quite some time now. Some of the content has been great while some could be forgotten and forever pulled from the transformers timeline. When John Barber and James Robert took over the writing for the two series spawned from the rebirth of Cybertron I honestly couldn’t wait to get started. I’ve enjoyed both series and find myself liking More Than Meets The Eye more than Robots in Disguise, now just Transformers Volume 2 starting with issue #35.
This issue #34 changed my outlook on how the series would progress after the Dark Cybertron crossover event and the Dawn of the Autobots. This one issue, this earth shattering, eye popping, holy *beep* I’m literally freaking out issue written by John Barber provided a black hole of sorts in the storyline of the Transformers universe. It opened the door to what has always plagued the Transformers series and that is new content. Both John and James have created an immense amount of new material and I thank both of them for that. However John created new content in the form of history and that is why I’m freaking out!
Alpha Trion has been rescued by the Autobot/Decepticon group led by the now renamed again Optimus Prime but secretly Prowl seems to be pulling most of the strings. Yes as crazy as he has been acting around the group and with his new Constructicon buddies, Prowl still has some core issues resonating from within him that’ll surface soon; surface in a negative way. That being said, can I just say Arcee is badass now that she has a conscience!?!? I’m hoping her curiosity around newly found female Autobots such as Windblade and Chomia will compel her to inquire about her uncanny resemblance to Alpha Trion. Any ways, with all the craziness that is happening and the sad but only downside that this taking place near Earth has kept me glued to what happens next. Boy did I not expect that Alpha Trion and Optimus Prime would sneak away for a quick mind blowing story around Galvatron and Nova near the of age where the last Prime was none other than…yeah, spoiler, Alpha Trion.
John Barber writes in great detail the fabled meeting between Nova Major (later known as Nova Prime) and Galvatron of the Darklands. Prior to this important meeting was another even less known yet possibly of greater significance was the meeting between Alpha Trion and Galvatron of the Darklands back in issue #30. Galvatron had just finished wiping out the Headmaster and his army, followers of Nexus Prime 10 million years ago during the first Cybertronian civil war. You should give that issue a read for more info on that meeting.
We learn a little history about the 13 Tribes of Cybertron united under one ruler, one Prime. Yes, there were in fact 13 Primes residing on Cybertron. In that fateful meeting between Galvatron and Nova Major we learn that there is an object referred only as the Enigma. This object holds the power of combination. That power, controlled only by Nexus Prime who lost to history as Nova Prime fled taking those secrets with him. In this issue John drops bomb after bomb literally seeding the groups journey with tidbits of potential subplots and informational off shoots that could very well lead down future comic book stories of historical importance. However each of those tiny literary bombs are apparently, and I quote, “…a tale for another time” and I can only hope that time is sooner rather than later. The group search for Onyx, an unknown but significant Cybertronian who has gone off the grid so to speak. Nova Major states very clearly that the 13 Tribes shall be consolidated down under one Prime. Nova Major shall now be known as Nova Prime and a new golden age for Cybertron shall arise. “There shall be a place for everyone in our new world and everyone shall be in there place.” This stark view only solidifies Nova’s true ruthless intentions. Optimus Prime was pretty upset at this news that Alpha Trion allowed Nova to become the first of the corrupt lineage of Primes. In hindsight, Alpha Trion understands that it was wrong but at the time a necessary means to unite the tribes.
We later see Nova Prime with that all too familiar scientist Jhiaxus working away on the idea of combination. It seems like the power of combination has been lost with Nexus Prime and Alpha soon learns that Galvatron has been hiding a very tantalizing piece of information concerning the Enigma. This realization provides the backdrop to what really took place between the final encounter between Galvatron and Nexus, prior to meeting Alpha and Nova. We see that Galvatron is deeply disturbed by the Enigma of combination and how it has diluted the purity of the Cybertronian race. However for me what happens next is why I titled this review “Earth Shattering” and that reason is at the end of our story. Galvatron defeats Nexus Prime and picks up the Enigma, an object of uncanny resemblance to the Matrix.
STOP…think…the Matrix, the thing that stopped The Void at the end of the Chaos Theory storyline, Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime carried it, ignited the rebirth of Cybertron? Yeah, a Matrix from a now dead Nexus Prime, one of the 13 Tribes. That means including the Enigma, there are 12 Matrix objects out there holding potentially unbelievable power but more importantly we now have the potential for endless new content concerning the Transformers Universe. John Barber, my hat is off for you and your crew. Lets ditch this Planet once we find the Enigma and get on with the quest for Knights of Cybertron or better yet if we want to call them the original Primes of Cybertron’s 13 Tribes.
Layout & Flow: Ken Christiansen did an amazing job on the retailer incentive cover commemorating 30 years of Transformers. Both Andrew and Casey also did fantastic jobs on their covers, like they usually do causing me much grief when trying to decide which one to order. In a world where money and space do not matter then yes, I would buy all 3 but unfortunately that just isn’t the case for me.
As for the layout and flow, like both current series of More Than Meets The Eye and this one Robots in Disguise, dialog can be lengthy creating the need for smaller and more numerous boxes in each panel for storytelling needs. I’m never disappointed with the art from either of these series. However keep in mind it can put strain on the eyes as it muddles down the detail on some of the panels in order to get an action sequence with dialog placed correctly on the page. With Digital comics you can zoom in and see more while the old fashioned, highly prized by me paper comic is well, you get what you get.
One thing you can always count on from IDW and the Transformer family is consistency, in some form or another. The characters are usually drawn very consistently and I applaud Livid Ramondelli for striving to do just that.
Verdict: I have been a Transformers fan since forever and when both series were announced I was thrilled. The miniseries like Windblade, Monstrosity, and Primacy have all been more candy to consume in the IDW Publishing candy store. What I truly enjoyed about the current Transformer universe was that single fact that humans were excluded. I so enjoy each series knowing that I don’t have to deal with the human element. Although we have found ourselves again back on lame ass Earth in Transformers Robots in Disguise, name now converting to just Transformers Vol 2 after this issue #34, I hope to god that it won’t span too long. Since what was discovered in this very issue, earth shattering as it was for me (…pun intended…), the series literally has an immense amount of potential to exploit, new characters to read about, titans to find, primes to discover, that Earth is no longer a desired storyline that I would like to read about. It has been overused and abused and I’m so done. John Barber, for the love of god, please make this storyline involving Earth end quickly.