Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Chris McFeely
Release Date: 16th January 2019
Transformers: Historia is an odd beast – a chronological retelling of the entire run of IDW’s ongoing Transformers comics from Infiltration all the way up to the Unicron event (excluding a few crossover and one offs). It takes on the unenviable task of condensing over a decade’s worth of material into a single one-shot, and does so superbly.
However, you may feel like you’re reading a wiki page on the IDW series (a well-written, well-edited one, that is), which is no surprise given the author/curator of Historia is none other than Chris McFeely. Chris is intrinsically linked with the TFwiki site, has a successful YouTube channel on the history and background of the Transformers and is generally regarded as a very knowledgeable chap (he has even done commentary tracks on animated Transformers DVD releases).
There’s no doubt that he was the first and best choice for Historia and it goes without saying that it is very well written, flows naturally and manages to be informative without becoming confusing or muddled when dealing with such a large, sprawling mythology. In particular the ‘prehistory’, if you will, is presented in a clear and accessible fashion which is no mean feat given that snippets of the story and relevant information were sporadically plopped into all manner of threads and arcs throughout the ongoing’s run
I can’t really comment on the artwork presented as it is simply a number of panels culled from the past 13 years to illustrate the greater narrative.
The real question is, who is Historia for? Completionists (like myself) will pick this up, flick through, and likely leave it on the shelf as a kind of bookend. To those who are more recent readers or less avid collectors Historia could be seen as a stop-gap for those older or harder to find volumes, but I dare say it’s just as likely to spur you into plugging those gaps with the real thing. It’s kinda like getting a preview catalogue for what you already own, or tarting up and printing out a wiki page, or two, or ten…
I can’t honestly recommend Transformers: Historia, but I do admire it.
The writer of this piece was: Alex McElhinney
Alex Tweets from @UnicronsBeard