TRANSFORMERS #1's hard reset for IDW's long-running series is a promising start. It's clear that Ruckley, Hernandez, Whitman, and Lafuente understand the mythos. It's safe to say that this new reboot is in good hands.
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After 16 years, TRANSFORMERS is getting a reboot. IDW Publishing’s Editor-in-Chief John Barber declared “Make it new!” to quote Ezra Pound. Enter TRANSFORMERS #1, written by Brian Ruckley with art by Angel Hernandez and Cachét Whitman and colors by Joana Lafuente. This series goes back to its roots starting at planet Cybertron and takes place during a time of peace. Ever wonder what everyday life is like on Cybertron? Or what kind of creatures live on the planet? You’ll learn all those answers and more.

TRANSFORMERS#1 explores the relationship between Orion Pax and Megatron before war eventually drives them apart. In addition, Ruckley and company promise to humanize the robots in disguise. Whether you’re new to the series or a longtime fan, this issue offers a glimpse of what’s to come. Should you buy this new series? As someone familiar with the franchise, I think this reboot has a bright future.

Cybertron Reimagined

When TRANSFORMERS #1 begins, we meet a recently forged Autobot named Rubble who’s new to Cybertron. Soon, we learn that Rubble travels with his mentor, Bumblebee. Bumblebee takes Rubble on a tour through the outskirts of the city. The pair is on their way to see Brainwave, an Energon (Cybertron’s energy) engineer. Later, we meet Windblade, a female Autobot who works in security operations. Notably, Windblade travels with Rubble and Bumble to the Energon transmission station where Brainwave is.

Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

Meanwhile, in the city, Ascenticons (Megatron’s followers) march through the city to a place called Tarn. Here, we meet Orion Pax who awaits a meeting with Megatron. In TRANSFORMERS #1, Orion Pax and Megatron are senators of Cybertron with opposite ideals. However, despite their long-time friendship, their relationship is on the rocks because the meeting is tense. Soon, we learn that Megatron plans to give a speech at Tarn. In addition, we also learn that the last Ascenticon rally hurt various Cybertronians.

Interestingly, Ruckley paints the Ascenticons as an alt-right movement. Of course, this doesn’t sit well with Orion Pax who’s more of a pacifist. This foreshadows the war that is yet to come. Indeed, TRANSFORMERS #1’s biggest strength is that the world-building is quite excellent. For instance, we learn that several out-of-action starship Cybertronians act as planetary defense. Furthermore, the cliffhanger shows that peace on Cybertron is not meant to last.

TRANSFORMERS #1 Features New and Familiar Characters

One of the big questions is who is Rubble? In TRANSFORMERS #1, Ruckley focuses on developing Rubble’s character, really fleshing him out. Through Rubble, Ruckley lets us see Cybertron through a fresh pair of eyes. Rubble has a child-like curiosity as he remarks how beautiful Cybertron is. This plays well off the much older Bumblebee who’s been around the block. We also learn that Rubble eventually will have to pick an alternate form such as a truck. In fact, all Cybertronians have an alternate form in addition to a job. I’m fascinated to see how Rubble changes over time.

Also there’s lots to enjoy about the series’ old characters. Although his appearance is brief, Ironhide is Orion Pax’s confidant in this series. Also, we learn that Prowl has an icy temper as Ironhide compares Megatron’s mood to Prowl’s. Furthermore, Megatron and Orion Pax retain their familiar values. What eventually forces Orion Pax and Megatron to fight? We’re offered a glimpse in this issue. I also look forward to seeing how other TRANSFORMERS characters fit into the story.

Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

The Living, Breathing World of Cybertron

Ruckley’s TRANSFORMERS #1 is brought to life thanks to Hernandez’s and Whitman’s art. The former draws most of the panels that involves Rubble’s subplot, whereas the latter draws Orion Pax’s subplot. While I found it odd that two artists split art duties, they complement each other well. One of my favorite things about Hernandez’s art is that he draws facial expressions and gestures quite well. The page below successfully captures Rubble’s sense of curiosity in contrast to Bumblebee’s cool attitude.

Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

On the other hand, Whitman knows Orion Pax’s and Megatron’s famous designs. In TRANSFORMERS #1, we recognize Orion Pax’s pointy bat-like “ears” and Megatron’s scowl. I also liked the way Orion Pax and Megatron greet each other. Rather than show a handshake, Whitman draws them with their palms touching like a high five. It’s a tense but tender point that only lasts one panel, but it stands out.

Lastly, Lafuente vibrantly colors TRANSFORMERS #1. I quite enjoyed the lush greens, blues, and violets of Cybertron’s outskirts. Thus, Lafuente makes the outskirts feel mysterious. In contrast, Lafuente’s pages with Orion Pax and Megatron feel gritty because it takes place in the city. Lafuente captures each character’s individual color scheme, such as Orion Pax’s blue, grey, and red. In short, Lafuente bolsters both artists well in this series.

A Promising Start for TRANSFORMERS #1

TRANSFORMERS #1 has some great world building. The relationship between Orion Pax and Megatron is fascinating. In addition, the cliffhanger adds a mystery subplot that makes it worth waiting for issue 2. There’s no doubt that it ties into a bigger plot that the creators hint at. TRANSFORMERS #1 is in good hands with Ruckley, Hernandez, Whitman, and Lafuente. With this being a bi-monthly series, the wait for the next issue is just around the corner!

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