The Transformers #1
Marvel Comics (September, 1984)
You may notice that some of this review seem familiar. Last year, IDW reprinted this comic in a $1 reprint (at some point they reprinted it as the “Classics” series) and I reviewed it. This repost has been retooled to reflect the original comic, which I also own.PLOT: Bill Mantlo SCRIPT: Ralph Macchio PENCILER: Frank Springer INKER: Kim DeMulder LETTERERS: Higgins & Parker COLORIST: Nel Yomtov EDITOR: Bob Budiansky EDITOR IN CHIEF: Jim Shooter
Millions of years ago on the planet of Cybertron, life evolved as machines called “Autobots”. But Megatron, leader of a faction known as “Decepticons”, started a war for the future of the Cybertronian race and the planet itself. So mighty was the war that the planet was ripped from it’s orbit and sent hurtling through space. When that path headed for an asteroid belt, the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, race to blast a path through, only to be attacked by the Decepticons. They end up crashing on Earth, awakening centuries later in the year 1984. Their war is restarted and a boy named Buster Witwicky is destined to be drawn into their struggle.
What they got right: Note that a lot of my enjoyment of this comic comes from nostalgia. I love the Transformers, it’s my #1 fiction. We get a proper introduction to the Transformers and their situation, and we are also introduced to our human characters. The Autobots not realizing that the local lifeforms aren’t machines makes sense since this version never had any interaction with “carbon-based” lifeforms. (At least before the Ark took off.)
What they got wrong: Although one would think they would monitor communications and come across a TV signal. The real problem with the comic, if any, is the dialog. The way Macchio has the Transformers talk is a bit TOO proper, making the guys who use contractions stand out a bit more. There are also long discussions like Megatron warning Ravage to not switch sides that feel way out of place and came to nothing as Ravage’s loyalty was never in question through the entirety of the 80 issue run (plus two miniseries featuring stories in canon).
Also, here’s a comment I’ll only make now as this was a problem the whole series run. Nel Yomtov, who colored most if not every Transformer comic Marvel put out, does a very good coloring job as a whole. However, he has been known to take short cut, sometime just coloring everyone in a scene blue if they’re far enough from the “camera”. There is the occasional coloring error, but few comics don’t have that. Whether it was laziness or time I can’t say, but since it was bi-weekly at this point, it could only be time-related if he was working on more projects, which is possible, but at times it’s rather obvious unless they’re really far away.
Recommendation: This is a piece of history and unless you bought an Optimus Prime reissue that came with the comic or one of IDW’s reprints this is a must have for any Transformers fan, and worth hunting down.