Transformers Animated Free Comic Book Day Special
IDW Publishing (May, 2008)
SCREENPLAY: Marty Isenberg
ADAPTATION: Zachary Rau
In this futuristic Detroit the city is reborn thanks to switching from cars to robots, created by Sumdac Industries. A tour by the creator and CEO, Isaac Sumdac, is interrupted by his daughter Sari and then by an experiment gone haywire. The experiment also wakens a group of Autobots, in stasis in a nearby lake. Taking on local vehicle forms the Autobots–Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Prowl, Bulkhead, and Ratchet–manage to take the creature down while Bumblebee makes friends with Sari. She sneaks aboard the Autobot ship with Bumblebee and stumbles upon an artifact called the All-Spark, which alters a key around her neck, allowing her to help repair Prowl, who was damaged in the fight. The Autobots return her to the surface and reveal themselves to Dr. Sumdac and the machine-hating Captain Fanzone of the Detroit PD.
The comic is a short summary of the first episode of Transformers Animated, the last time Cartoon Network treated a Transformers cartoon like they wanted people to see it. The show came out around the time of the first movie but is set in an original continuity. Optimus Prime isn’t the leader of all Autobots in this continuity but a space bridge work team commander who stumbled upon the All-Spark, an ancient artifact lost during the Great War. (It also takes elements from the original cartoon.) This is not explained in the comic since it starts after the Autobots crashed on Earth protecting the All-Spark from Megatron and the Decepticons, a betrayal by Starscream seemingly destroying Megatron and forcing the Autobots into stasis on Earth. So you don’t really understand ALL the important details unless you were already watching the show.
Additionally the comic uses screenshots of the cartoon rather than new artwork. While this works better with cartoons than it does live actors, it’s still kind of lazy, even for a Free Comic Book Day offering. (Which is only free for the readers. The stores still pay for these things which is why I always ask you buy something while you’re there if you can.) The story and art are good, if you don’t mind the art and animation style Animated went with, which I don’t mind at all. But anything good comes from the episode, which you’re better off watching that running to track this down.
This was followed by a miniseries I’ll start looking at next time. This comic though just isn’t worth getting after the fact. Watch the show instead.