Transformers: The Animated Movie #4
IDW Publishing (January, 2007)
WRITER: Bob Budiansky
ARTIST: Don Figueroa
COLORIST: Josh Burcham (assisted by Tim Barnett, Rob Ruffolo, Robby Musso, Matt Moylan, Evan Gauntt, & Mark Brostow–why so darn many?)
LETTERER/DESIGNER: Neil Uyetake
EDITOR: Chris Ryall
Ultra Magnus informs the others that Galvatron took the Matrix and thanks to Wreck-Gar, leader of the Junkions, learns that they’re going to Unicron. Like the movie there’s a minor misstep here in that only Kup and Hot Rod (and possibly Wheelie and the Dinobots) should know who Unicron is. There’s also no sign of Wheelie so I have to wonder if he was dropped off somewhere. Don’t celebrate, Wheelie haters, he shows up in the show to shoot a Sweep in the face. While the Marvel adaptation seemed to think Junkion itself was a spaceship of some kind here we follow the movie that Wreck-Gar can just activate an already existing ship.
Then there’s the scene where Galvatron fails to betray Unicron and we see Unicron’s transformation. Both comics do a good job portraying the transformation to Unicron’s robot mode in their own way, although Figueroa seems to be using still shots as a guide. Then when he draws Unicron attacking Cybertron there’s a lot more force in his strikes than the Marvel version. In the original he just kind of grabs it, but here he slams his hand onto Cybertron before grabbing a chunk of it. It’s a much better visual. The Autobots arrive and instead of the Quintesson ship splitting in two Hot Rod just rams it into Unicron’s eye, like in the movie.
Also here that was absent from the adaptation of the time is Daniel’s character arc, as he rescues his father Spike and the Autobots from the moonbases from being dropped into Unicron’s acid. As for Hot Rod’s fight with Galvatron storywise it’s the same although style points go to the new on this one. They even remember to have Galvatron shoot the Matrix from Rodimus Prime’s hand, and the splash page used to demonstrate Hot Rod’s transformation is much more powerful than the original, showing the change to Rodimus Prime. It’s also less exposition-heavy than the original, so we don’t have to read Rodimus rambling on and on about how he’s Prime now and Galvatron is finished blah blah blah. And of course Unicron’s destruction is more vibrant, especially in the color department (and with all the assistants Burcham had on this it darn well better be!). The final speech from Rodimus is also well done visually.
In the end, you’re buying the Marvel adaptation to see what was changed between the early script and the final product. You’re buying this for a more faithful and visually updated adaptation. Of course you should actually be buying the movie and as of this writing Shout Factory has you covered. Someday I’ll review the movie itself as a Video Review if I can get that off the ground, but I do recommend it, especially in comparison to what Michael Bay’s been putting out.