Review – Transformers Deviations (one-shot) (IDW Publishing)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Brandon Easton
Artist: Priscilla Tramontano
Release Date: 16th March, 2016

Transformers the Movie is one of those films from my childhood that will always have a special place in my heart and memory, and one that I unashamedly watch to this day, even after what might be over a hundred viewings. Optimus Prime’s demise at the hands of Megatron was a pivotal moment in TF lore, defined by a rash decision on the part of the inexperienced Autobot, Hot Rod. This one shot seeks to answer the question of what might have been had the impetuous youngster not intervened.

As you might expect, the issue plays out in much the same way as the film, but with a few twists in respect to certain characters. Of course, we know from the synopsis that Optimus doesn’t die, but other central characters follow familiar trajectories, albeit via an altered route. For example, Hot Rod’s overall arc is surprisingly similar, his coming of age and acceptance of responsibility are still the motivating themes, but his journey is more challenging, and he makes more costly mistakes before his ultimate redemption. Starcream’s journey, too, is another important thread, and it was interesting to see him essentially follow Megatron’s example, corrupted by power and blinded by hubris.

The artwork on this issue could very easily pass for cells from the original animated feature. Every detail has been painstakingly included, right down to the perfectly matched colour scheme, to give the book a genuine feeling of continuity. Characters and locations are spot-on, with perhaps the only glaring omission being Hun-Garr and the Junkions, although the Planet of Junk is referenced in the story. Artist Priscilla Tramontano even finds space to reference the great Jack Kirby, with his famous ‘Kirby Crackle’ making an appearance during Starscream’s transformation into ‘Megascream’.

As impressive as the overall aesthetic is, the sheer amount of action and story packed into each page does negatively affect the pacing somewhat. It appears as though the creative team were hampered by the page count, and as such deserve enormous credit for the attempting to condense their story into this one-shot, but the issue is crying out for the occasional splash to allow certain beats to breathe and make the requisite impact. Although citing the amount of content as a possible weakness, it might also be the book’s real strength. There is genuine substance to this idea and Brandon Easton has opened up a universe of questions that could easily be explored over a longer format, and if this creative team where at the helm, I’d happily pay top dollar for the privilege of reading it.

If you’re a fan of the animated movie or Transformers in general, you simply owe it to yourself to pick this up.

Rating:  4/5

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MDAVThe Writer of this piece was: Martin Doyle
You can follow Martin on Twitter

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