Review – Revolution prelude (IDW Publishing)


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Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: John Barber
Art: Fico Ossio
Release Date: 11th August 2016

IDW’s Revolution will bring six Hasbro franchises (Transformers, G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Rom, Action Man and M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) together into one shared universe. And if the prelude is a glimpse of things to come, then Revolution will be something special.

The eight-page prelude is told from the perspective of General Joe Colton aka G.I. Joe, Scarlett and a mysterious man called Manheim. The trio meet in secret at a weapons facility to discuss the threat the Cybertronians pose to humankind among a few other threats.

Right off the bat, I have to applaud the plotting of this story. John Barber’s use of Adventure Team to establish a baseline for this story is genius! He continues to ratchet the “stranger” elements into the story like The Transformers and ROM, but he also knows when to hold back. Both M.A.S.K. and the Micronauts are included in this issue, as Scarlett brings up the idea of threats they don’t know about. But their presence is simply a tease for the reader. So far the only character who feels forced into the story is “Young Action Man” as Manheim refers to him, which is odd since Barber is also writing that comic.

In addition to grounding the story, Barber plays with our perception of these familiar characters by giving them shades of grey. Optimus Prime is best known as the leader of the Autobots – the good guys – yet this story tells us that Prime vanished. This allowed Megatron and his Decepticons to launch a full-scale assault on the world, which wiped out nearly a billion people. The attack is classified as “the worst onslaught in Earth’s history.” The narrators of this story aren’t saints either though; they operated in the shadows until a showdown with Cobra in Nahzaho brought the team into the public eye and their failure cost them the trust of the American people. The way the book ends, (which I won’t spoil) reveals a fourth individual in the room and the way Colton and his team treat this individual can only be described as barbaric. (Fun fact: this my favorite panel in this issue.)

That said, the weakest part of this story is the inclusion of Ore-13 – a crystal found only on earth that when refined becomes energon or fuel for the Transformers. Both Joe and Scarlett are aware that the world’s reserve of Ore-13 is unstable and has the potential to engulf the world in a nuclear inferno. The race against time idea might be clichéd but it works. However, after being introduced to both of Earth’s most destructive events, this plot point seems like overkill.

Fico Ossio’s artwork of Colton, Scarlett and Manheim can be a bit inconsistent at times, but his ability to draw literally everyone else is unbelievable. The man creates epic panels! Seriously give this man a splash page or a spread because it would look gorgeous! Whether it’s Megatron and Devastator destroying a city or Snake Eyes going into battle against Cobra forces, Ossio captures the moment in great detail. (Again check out the second to last panel.) The attention to detail is amazing and the color choices by Sebastian Cheng brings it all together.

Everyone needs to check this issue out, which you can download for free from IDW’s site directly (here).

If you were looking forward to Revolution, then this issue will get you even more excited. If you were on the fence or didn’t even know this event was coming, then this one will win you over.

Rating: 4/5.

You can download a FREE copy of the prelude by clicking this link –

Lawr_avThe writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511


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