Transformers: Movie Prequel Special
IDW Publishing/Target (June, 2008)
WRITER: Chris Ryall
ARTIST: Andrew Wildman
COLORIST: Josh Burcham
LETTERER: Robbie Robbins
EDITOR: Ted Adams
CO-ARTIST: Don Figueroa (also cover art)
CO-WRITER: Simon Furman
First a little backstory into these comics. Plural because they were originally two separate comics. “Interlude” was actually a Target online exclusive later given away at the official Botcon convention to promote the movie in theaters (early birds also got one–I think they were gone by the time I went to see it) while “Planetfall” was included with the DVD at Target and also released online. Both of the original PDF versions (which you can download through the title links above until someone at Target realizes they’re still there) utilized “Robovision”, a gimmick with the first Movieverse toyline that harkens back to the old tech specs of “G1”. The titles for the two stories only came with the later IDW collected version I’m reviewing from, where “Planetfall” is listed as “chapter one” despite being the one out second and vice versa for “Interlude”, and does not have the Robovision gimmick since the toys long stopped using it and coming with the decoders (plus the codes didn’t work anyway) when this version came out.
The longer tale shows what the Decepticons, specifically Starscream’s group, was doing when the All-Spark was launched into space. Annoyed at being left out, Starscream convinced the others (two of which are a little too loyal to Megatron) to follow. They arrived on Earth, finding a military base that might be connected to Sector Seven since they know about “NBEs” (the government name for the Transformers, Non-Biological Entities) and destroy the place, adopting their Earth vehicle modes. One of the toy-exclusive characters is left behind after being hit with one of military’s weapons, and Blackout, having obtained part of the information they need to find Megatron and the All-Spark, leaves to begin his part in the movie.
In the shorter back-up, Bumblebee is trying to find information on Archibald Witwicky, the one who found Megatron frozen in the ice, but has to deal with Sector Seven and Barricade.
What they got right: The main story is the better of the two. While the IDW version borrows from more traditional Starscream elements (craving Megatron’s command and power for himself), it’s still more character than the movies gave him. They also give a bit of spotlight to one of the toy-only characters. The Bumblebee tale possibly explains his damages in the first movie (except for his voice box) and is further explored in the IDW miniseries that was release around the time of the movie, which we should be getting to soon.
What they got wrong: There are some contradictions to what came in the aforementioned miniseries, which is odd given it’s the same company involved and possibly some of the same creators. You’d think someone would keep an eye on that, although I’m sure Target didn’t care.
Recommendation: It’s worth getting (depending on price) for the main story if the PDF link no longer works or you prefer a physical comic like I do and can’t find the Botcon or Target DVD comic. (I went with the Wal-Mart exclusive, an altered animatic style cartoon of the miniseries narrated by Bumblebee, the only time Mark Ryan got more than one line portraying the character I think.) The back-up will hopefully be better in the miniseries and not worth hunting down on its own. It’s also kind of short so either get this version or the PDFs.