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Review: Transformers Unicron #1

The end is nigh! The Darkest Hour has come. Optimus Prime stages a desperate gamble as the world-eater, Unicron, approaches Windblade’s homeworld-but that’s just the appetizer. The main course is Cybertron (with a side of Earth)… and it’s starting to look like no force in the galaxy can stop the end from coming.

If you were a kid in the 80s, there’s a good chance that Transformers: The Movie left an impression on you. Beyond the death of Optimus Prime and the rise of Rodimus, Unicron was a villain that seemed unstoppable. A literal force of nature, the character felt like pure destruction and created dread in my young self. Transformers: Unicron #1 sets the stage for IDW Publishing‘s end game for their Transformers line of comics… with who knows what coming next.

Unicron is devouring planets focusing on the colonies of Transformers and clearly heading for Earth and Cybertron next. Transformers: Unicron #1 dumps us into the middle of the action as Optimus and his united Transformers attempt to take a stand against Unicron and figure out a way to stop it. Writer John Barber has focused on the chaos, creating a situation that feels desperate and hopeless in so many ways and by issues end, that’s only enhanced. This first issue picks up from the Free Comic Book Day teaser comic, which feels like required reading to enjoy this issue. It’s not so much a first issue in that way and is one of my few dings against it.

The other major issue with the comic is that the various story threads in the current two Transformers comics aren’t done. We’ve just been introduced to the Maximals in Transformers: Optimus Prime and now they’re on the side of Unicron? Shockwave is in prison? There’s some spoilers for that series’ current story arc and in that way, this first issue feels a bit rushed. That could also explain my feeling like I’m missing something. Perhaps that will all be explained in Optimus Prime or in Transformers: Lost Light (where are they in this comic for instance?) but we still have a bit to go. The fact this first issue is forced out now, and not delayed to better coincide with the other series’ arcs wrapping up, fuels my theories as to what’s next.

Artist Alex Milne does an impressive job fitting in so much on every page and what feels like every panel. There’s so much packed in and there are times it feels like there’s too much. Reading this on an iPad, there’s some issues picking up everything fit into the spreads. The art harkens back to early art from the toys that feels like it fits in dozens (or hundreds when you were a kid) of characters doing battle, each with their own story.

This is the beginning of an epic. One that feels like a desperate battle, one you don’t know who will survive and how it’ll end. For an epic story, IDW and its team have brought so much together to throw it in a pot delivering more than enough for fans to be excited about. As much as I have fond memories of the original animated film, this first issue feels like it’s attempting to recreate that magic (and we even have a sacrifice already!) and by issue’s end, it’s pretty damn close.

Story: James Roberts Art: Alex Milne
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.05 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors are choosing up to five books and why they’re choosing the books. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – Dan Slott’s historic run is done and we’ve got a new creative team headed up by writer Nick Spencer. While Spencer has stumbled a lot lately, in numerous ways, his work on Superior Foes of Spider-Man was excellent. If we get more of that, then this will be a great run.

Come Again (Top Shelf/IDW Publishing) – Nate Powell’s new graphic novel. That’s all you need to know to say you need to get this.

Farmhand #1 (Image Comics) – Rob Guillory gave us some interesting concepts in Chew and it sounds like this one, a farmer who grows organs, will be just as off the wall.

Disney Pixar’s Incredibles 2 #1 Crisis Midlife & Stories (Dark Horse Comics) – Love the movies? We’re excited to get more of this world.

Mech Cadet Yu #10 (BOOM! Studios) – If you haven’t been reading this series, giant mechs and their kid pilots fight aliens, then you’ve been missing out. Enjoy the battles and drama or dive deeper into the concept of a military that uses children and aliens to do battle. It’s layered and so good.

Oblivion Song #5 (Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics) – Much like Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, Oblivion Song is about the characters and how a world has changed than the threat. It’s about trauma and PTSD. It’s so far fantastic.

Outpost Zero #1 (Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics) – Skybound has been putting out some fantastic new series and this one sounds like an interesting one about the smallest town in the universe.

Ruinworld #1 (KaBOOM!/BOOM! Studios) – A new fantasy series that just looks awesome.

She Could Fly #1 (Berger Books/Dark Horse Comics) – The new Berger Books series focuses on a mysterious flying woman who suddenly explodes. Who was she? The concept sounds really intriguing and we want to find out more about this mystery.

Superman #1 (DC Comics) – Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman run really kicks off with this new ongoing series and the first issue picks up the pieces of The Man of Steel.

Transformers: Lost Light #20/Transformers: Optimus Prime #20/Transformers: Unicron #1 (IDW Publishing) – IDW’s end game for Transformers is beginning. We’ve been big fans of their entire run and can’t wait to see how it all wraps up.

Voltron: Legendary Defender Vol. 3 #1 (Lion Forge Comics) – Fan of the animated series? Check this out! It’s a great new take on the classic toy and animated line.

X-23 #1 (Marvel) – She’s back to being X-23 and we want to see where this new series takes Laura and how it makes her again stand out from the pack.

Preview: Transformers: Unicron #1 (of 6)

Transformers: Unicron #1 (of 6)

John Barber (w) • Alex Milne (a & c)

The Darkest Hour has come. Optimus Prime stages a desperate gamble as the world-eater, Unicron, approaches Windblade’s homeworld—but that’s just the appetizer. The main course is Cybertron (with a side of Earth)… and it’s starting to look like no force in the galaxy can stop the end from coming.

FC • 32 pages • $4.99

The Transformers Face Their Greatest Enemy Ever in this Summer’s Event Series Transformers: Unicron

The fate of all worlds are at stake, as the world-eating menace Unicron has set his sights on Cybertron, home of the Transformers robots, and next in line… EARTH! In what’s being descried as a “grand finale to the past 12 years of Transformers comics,” IDW Publishing has announced Transformers: Unicron. The event series arrives this July and will bring about the end of the Transformers universe as we know it. As Optimus Prime gathers his defense against this monstrous threat, it might be too little too late.

Veteran TRANSFORMERS creators John Barber and Alex Milne are joined by colorist Sebastian Cheng to tell the epic conclusion to the current Transformers comic book universe.

In the announcement Barber said:

Transformers: Unicron is a culmination of the years of Transformers comics I’ve been a part of… and the conclusion of one of the longest continued narrative in Transformers history. This is a story of heroism in the face of impossible odds; of a reckoning for an entire universe. I couldn’t be luckier than to have Alex [Milne] right here with me on this—if you know Alex, you know nobody puts more into the Transformers than he does, and nowhere before has he drawn drama, action, and pathos at this scale. Tying it all together is the incredible palette of Sebastian Cheng. We’ve never held back before on our Transformers comics, but this time we’re pushing ourselves—and each other—harder than ever.

Transformers mainstays from the past 12 years will be providing variant covers for the series, including Andrew GriffithNick Roche, and many more. Additionally, legendary comic artist Bill Sienkiewicz will be reinterpreting his classic cover to Transformers #1 as a special variant, along with a new cover by Francesco Francavilla.

The action kicks off on Free Comic Book Day, May 5th, with the #0 issue by the series creative; available for free at comic shops across the country. Don’t miss the world-ending first chapter of the summer’s cataclysmic event!