G.I. Joe And The Transformers #1
Marvel Comics (January, 1987)“Blood On The Tracks” WRITER: Michael Higgins PENCILER: Herb Trimpe INKER: Vince Colletta LETTERER: Joe Rosen COLORIST: Nel “anybody who thinks they’re coloring Transformers instead of me will be sorry” Yomtov EDITORS: Bob Harras & Don Daley
The Joes have been called in to protect Power Station Alpha, a mobile power station airship. Having heard of it and knowing the Decepticons would love such a thing Optimus Prime sends Bumblebee to keep an eye on it. The Drednocks not only tip off the fact that Cobra is after Alpha but their antics alert Megatron to its existence and he sends Dirge and Bombshell to get it. Bombshell hits it with a cerebro-shell, but not before using one to turn a protestor’s son as a distraction. When Bumblebee rescues the boy the Joes mistake him for an enemy and blast him to pieces. This doesn’t sit well with the soon to arrive Superion!
What they got right: It makes sense that both of the Hasbro properties Marvel was making into a comic would be given a team-up story and the mobile power station is a good way to go about it. Not having read the G.I. Joe comic I can’t tell how accurate Higgens’s characters are written compared to Larry Hama‘s versions but they work for the story.
What they got wrong: On the other hand I CAN comment on his Transformers and their dialog is often stiff in comparison. Not on the level of the first four issues between unnecessary exposition dumps (Silverbolt’s acrophobia never comes up in this story) and less emotional tones (except for Bombshell oddly) they don’t have the lifelike quality of Budiansky’s writing. The robots are also not as visually detailed, and I thought Trimpe would do better since he’s drawn Transformers in the past. I’m willing to blame Colleta, the inker based on what little I know about what happened behind the scenes. OK, I actually just looked and apparently he had a history of erasing some of the penciling to take some of the inking burden off. So yeah, I blame him.
Well, maybe I do have something to say about the Joes. All they saw was Bumblebee rescue the boy and Hawk’s first thought was to blow him away? And nobody questions this. Ever, in all four issues, despite it being a big mistake. The only concern is damage to Alpha since he’s standing near it. Yes, nobody knows the Transformers are living robots with their own personalities so nobody would think to ask “it” anything, even after Bumblebee starts talking to them and even cries out in pain when the blast him, but it seems like he just wanted to blow something up, and this will cost him later and give the Decepticons a major advantage.
Other notes: While the question of whether or not the cartoons took place in the same continuity are up for debate, the comics never seemed to again outside of this story, at least until Generation 2, which was introduced in the pages of G.I. Joe before getting a 12-issue run that also featured appearances by the Joes and Cobra. This is especially hard to take, and I’ll get into it in later reviews, considering the impact this story has on the Transformers, especially the Autobots and double-especially Bumblebee.
Analysis: As the first team-up of the two characters it’s already a positive recommendation so for these four I’m replacing this section with a final analysis. This issue is a fair start but not very spectacular. On the Transformers side the characters don’t have the same life and on the art side there isn’t a lot of detail, even for an 80’s comic. I would have preferred a better start but it’s at least serviceable.