Friday, September 18, 2015

Booknote: Transformers: Combiner Wars

Mairghread Scott,, Transformers: Combiner Wars. San Diego, CA: IDW, 2015. ISBN: 9781631403866. 

I finished reading this volume, and to be honest, I was not really impressed. If you have followed the comics, you know that Starscream is now "the Chosen One" and ruler of Cybertron. As the comic opens, spacebridges become active. These are portals that can go from Cybertron to other worlds. Contact is made with an old colony of Cybertron. Things get messy from there. Another development is the discovery of the combiner enigma device, which allows Transformers to combine together into giant robots. Naturally, Starscream has an interest in this so he can use combiners as weapons. It falls to Optimus Prime and other peace advocates to try to at least keep Starscream at bay; Prime may not like it, but he is not opposing Starscream's rule.

The main problem with this comic is that is basically one big political drama. The opening of the comic has a lot of expository text. If you were concerned you had missed out on the comics, you will catch up and probably get way more than you would have wanted. It turns into a comic that tells more than it shows. The rest of the comic is basically plotting and more plotting behind the scenes. There is some action as an out of control combiner wreaks havoc on the colony they just contacted. Otherwise though, this comic is basically a lot of bots talking and talking and then talking some more. And while there is a cliffhanger at the end, given that reading this comic was just a drag, I am not sure I will pick up the next issue. The writers and artists are going to have to ramp the quality and storytelling on this series to get my interest back.

The other issue I had with the comic was the excessive use of shadows. The cover of the comic is fairly bright and well defined. Well, that is about as much good art as you will get. Most of the comic is drawn in shadows. I get that Cybertron recently got out of a major war, but when the darkness keeps you from being able to tell who is talking because their figures are so poorly defined, because they are swallowed by shadows, it becomes a big problem. Often all you see is silhouettes and speech bubbles. In terms of art, this was not a good volume.

It is very rare I dislike comics. I am fan of Transformers, and I usually pick the comic up when I can. This one was just poorly executed, and it was a turn off for me as a reader. Unless they do some major improvement in the next installment, I will probably lay off this series for a while or go back to reading older issues.

If your library already collects Transformers comics, and you have the volumes leading to this one, that may be the only reason to acquire this for the sake of being complete. Otherwise, I'd say this is one you can safely skip. 

1 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2015 Reading Challenges:

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