Actually, should they have revealed Unicron on the cover?
Transformers: The Movie #3
Marvel Comics (February, 1987)“The Final Battle!” ADAPTATION: Ralph Macchio PENCILER: Don Perlin INKERS: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey COLORIST: Nel Yomtov LETTERER: Janice Chaing EDITOR: Bob Budiansky
There actually aren’t a lot of changes from the movie in this one. The scenes on Junkion play out like they should with two notable exceptions. The biggest one I actually know why they changed. Originally Ultra Magnus was supposed to be drawn and quartered by the Sweeps, as reflected in the comic. However, someone thought that looked too gruesome for a kids movie…and Prowl’s smoking from the inside near the beginning of the movie was just fine? They also took out the battle between the surviving Autobots and the Junkions before the others arrived in the Quintesson ship but that was probably for time. Also, Daniel’s exo-suit (which used to be Spike’s even though he was older than Daniel when he first met the Autobots) is red and blue. Why Nel Yomtov of all people, who uses blue shadow later on Bumblebee and miscolors Cliffjumper, would give himself more work with Daniel’s exo-suit I can’t imagine.
Speaking of Daniel, his whole scene rescuing Spike, Bumblebee, Jazz, and Cliffjumper is removed from the adaptation. This was the whole reason having Daniel in the story, so the kids could see one of their own get to be a hero, but without it he’s entirely pointless to the story. He could have been written out of the comic adaptation and not affect the story. IDW was right to give the adaptation four issues instead of three, and remember these are the guys who only gave three comics to the adaptation of Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, which really hurt that one in the end.
Another thing hurt is Hot Rod’s transformation into Rodimus Prime. No, this isn’t my usual dislike of Rodimus in play. The adaptation really doesn’t give us the build-up. The scene with Hot Rod saving Kup on Quintessa was removed last issue, the foreshadowing glow from Optimus’ death scene was removed from the first issue, and anything that shows Hot Rod’s inner leadership qualities are removed, losing the full effect when he finally grabs the wrongly-drawn Matrix (which does match the early design, and for some reason in this issue only keeps getting called the Leadership Matrix instead of Matrix of Leadership, and if you’ve seen the show the word switch is noticeable) and becomes Rodimus it comes out of nowhere.
If you really need an adaptation of Transformers: The Movie (although the DVD is easy to find–granted Amazon has it rather expensive new but there are other avenues) I think you’re better off tracking down the IDW adaptation–sadly the only time they let Budiansky write a Transformers comic. It’s a lot better and closer to the final product. I’d only hunt this version as a curiosity.
[UPDATED ADDITION: That means the next two weeks will look at the IDW version of the finale. Like I said here, this version is only interesting for the minor changes between the earlier script and the final animation. The art looks like the other Transformers comics Marvel was producing at the time, Hot Rod’s journey to becoming Rodimus Prime as well as Daniel’s whole purpose was removed, and it’s just not as good an adaptation as it could have been. Hopefully IDW’s is better. We’ll see over the next two weeks]