TRANSFORMERS VS THE VISIONARIES #2 BY MAGDALENE VISAGGIO, FICO OSSIO, AND DAVID GARCIA CRUZ
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
TRANSFORMERS VS THE VISIONARIES #2 demonstrates the powers of the Visionaries' magic. As vividly illustrated the conquest of the planet is, the issue seldom highlights Ironhide and his team and brushes their involvement to fight back under the rug until the very last few pages.
78 %
AMBITIOUS (SECOND) ATTEMPT
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Tension is in the air, magic gets taken up a notch, and the fight for Cybertron continues. Writer Magdalene Vissagio provides more context for the Visionaries this time around as readers peer into their plans. Despite the advantage, the Darkling Lords face internal conflict as opinions clash. The Spectral Knights, who are aware of the necessity of a new home, cannot bring themselves to kill off mechs. Cue aggressive civil strife between the people of New Prysmos in TRANSFORMERS VS THE VISIONARIES #2.

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It’s still a bit of struggle to realize how the series uses Kup’s death for shock value. You can’t exactly forget either because, after a few pages in, readers witness Virulina and Cindarr flaunt Kup’s head to the crowd. It was a cheated death that, in the back of my mind, I am nowhere near close to accepting. If Kup is meant to go out in a blaze of glory for all that he has done, I hoped it would be something exclusive to the series. Not so much in a strange, disjointed spin-off series. Regardless, as unusual as the plot’s direction is leaning toward, the retaliation from the bots in the later issues might be promising.

 Stylization in TRANSFORMERS VS THE VISIONARIES #2

Transformers Vs The Visionaries #2
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

The current run of TRANSFORMERS VS THE VISIONARIES hasn’t wowed me as a story, but it impresses me with its artwork. The Darkling Lords and the Spectral Knights haven’t grown on me as characters. However, when it comes to their new appearances, they do not disappoint. Virulina floors me with her confidence, which emanates from her appearance alone. The above panel exerts Virulina’s authority through stylization, pose, and heck, even her cape fluttering in the open. You get an overall sense of her empowerment. It’s something regal, awe-inspiring, and could not be done properly without Ossio and Garcia-Cruz. Even Merklynn looks sharp, powerful, and all-knowing. Garcia-Cruz gives the artwork that extra oomph it needs to visually impress you, even if the series isn’t entirely your cup of tea.

What you can also see from the page is the grand difference in design between the Visionaries and Kup. However, it does not extend to the rest of the bots. Wheeljack and Breakdown are unattractive to the eye. It’s a shame because the cast charm you through aesthetic alone. Admittedly, the series’ charming point is the coloring. While the illustrations are flawless for the Visionaries, the work needs to be extend to the Transformers. David Garcia-Cruz is phenomenal when it comes to coloring the line art.

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A World (Potentially) Under “Fleshy Little Starscreams”

The highlight of this issue is Ironhide reporting to Wheeljack that Cybertron is getting overrun by “Fleshy Little Starscreams.”  Virulina’s thirst for power resembles Starscream as an aggressive devout to the New Prysmos’ agenda of a new world-building. However, that essentially is the problem. Is she just an antagonist through and through? Does something make her upset, or angry, or anything else but headstrong and dangerous? There are not many dimensions to these characters. So, while plans are being enacted (the Spectral Knights against Merklynn and Virulina’s genocidal ideologies/Merklynn and Verulina attempting to wipe out the cybertronian race on the planet) there’s not much else to go on. Readers do get a sense of morality from Leoric. Despite his association with the Visionaries, even he knows that the intentional extinction of a species is inherently wrong.

Transformers Vs The Visionaries #2
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing.

TRANSFORMERS VS THE VISIONARIES #2 has something going for it: a unique idea for a standalone story. With the second issue in, I think THE VISIONARIES could have debuted as its own idea rather than shouldering another series along with it. With Transformers’ sci-fi setting, the elements imposed by the Visionaries’ futurism and medieval qualities is too jarring. The issue reveals more of their combat and magic. But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t fit well in the Transformers universe in either of its attempts. I’m still trying to get over their magic’s energy manifesting into animals. If THE VISIONARIES was its own comic, it would gain higher merits for its world-building and interesting looking cast. The overall story of the Visionaries falls flat when balancing their re-adapted versions with the TRANSFORMERS comics’ current continuity.

Final Thoughts on TRANSFORMERS VS THE VISIONARIES #2

This series’ framework is similar to Michael Bay’s TRANSFORMERS films — more emphasis and time dedicated to everything but the Transformers. After I finished the issue, I went back to count how many pages Ironhide and his team appeared. Not including the pages dedicated to Virulina parading Kup’s decapitated head, the bots only appeared for five pages. The issue heavily concentrates on the Visionaries. Which, in most cases, benefits the advancement of the plot. In this case, it only serves to retain the rigidity and one-dimensionality of most of the cast.

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TRANSFORMERS VS THE VISIONARIES #2 provides a vague (emotional) understanding of the Spectral Knights and the Darkling Lords. We still know next to nothing about Virulina’s unyielding devotion to Merklynn. Leoric is among the few who exhibits his emotions. He expresses his opposition to species genocide and wants to form an alliance with Ironhide. Although the plot is rather rushed for Leoric, I can appreciate his non-static development. With this limited series hitting its midway point, perhaps TRANSFORMERS VS THE VISIONARIES #3 will improve on its lackluster areas.

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