Review – Transformers ’84: Secrets and Lies #2 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Guido Guidi
Colours: John-Paul Bove
Lettering: Jake M. Wood
Release Date: 19th August 2020

Set just before the classic 1984 Marvel Comics Transformers series and fleshing out the events that led to the Autobots and Decepticons leaving Cybertron and crash landing on Earth, Transformers ’84: Secrets and Lies #2 capitalises on the strong momentum of the first chapter (and indeed the issue #0 released as part of the 35th Anniversary last year), delivering an issue packed with drama, skulduggery and Dinobot mayhem.

New addition Counterpunch (or “Punch”, depending on which side of the Autobot/Decepticon divide you’re on) continues to narrate the proceedings, gradually unravelling the web of machinations that led to Optimus Prime’s creation of the Ark and the Transformers’ eventual arrival to Earth.  Far from a retcon, developments to this point have only added extra intrigue to the established lore, all while underscoring the fact that good ol’ Prime perhaps isn’t always quite as clean-cut and honest as he might appear to be.

Perhaps the first thing that hits you about this series is just how authentic it all feels, a large part of which is due to Transformers writing legend Simon Furman, who lays things out with his trademark confidence while ensuring that each character has their distinctive voice.  It also doesn’t hurt matters that the artistic partnership of Guido Guidi and John-Paul Bove, last seen together on Transformers: Regeneration One (which was in itself a continuation of the original Marvel Comics series) are absolutely fantastic at bringing that classic four-colour visual style to the modern page.

This issue focuses a little more on the Decepticon side of things, with Counterpunch recruiting Straxus to unleash a little chaos, all in the name of removing Megatron from the picture once and for all.  As I mentioned, the dual-changing double agent is a great new addition to the proceedings, and his machinations on behalf of Prime help to establish the slightly altered status quo of the series (and indeed everything that comes next).

We’re not bogged down by politics and scheming entirely though, because as you may have guessed from the cover, a hefty chunk of this issue is filled up with a knock-down drag-out rematch between Shockwave and the Dinobots (Dynobots no longer).  I mean, everyone loves the Dinos, right?  What I particularly enjoyed about the action here is that not only does it showcase how unashamedly cool the Dinobots are with their new dinosaur alt modes, but it also does a stellar job of cementing just how formidable Shockwave is as an adversary.  Smart, adaptable and nuclear-powered, this is no mere scientist.

If you’re a Transformer fan, particularly one with an affinity for the ‘80s comic series or the cult favourite cartoon, I honestly can’t recommend this enough. Faithfully created and lovingly embellished, this is a series which proves that there’s always more than meets the eye, even when it comes to classic stories.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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