Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
Last week we got the exposition dump from the narrator explaining how the Mini-Cons escaped Cybertron and went to Earth, mostly following the anime’s version rather than the comics. Now it’s time to meet the focus characters of the story, the Earth kids who will serve to draw us into this Transformers continuity.
Human characters in Transformers, especially kids, are often a source of complaint for some fans. “Kids want to be the heroes, not the ones with the heroes.” No, that’s you. I never wanted to be a Transformer, as cool as the Autobots were, but being a human who gets to ride with (and in) Bumblebee? Sounds great to me. Humans also know more about Earth than the Transformers do, which is why continuities where they don’t try to work with humans to help them defend their own planet never sits well with me. Optimus Prime usually takes too long to work with humans. The original cartoon, Transformers Prime (where they secretly work with the military), and the two Rescue Bots shows are some of the rare exceptions when it comes to directly work with humans instead of a small handful unless a series goes on long enough. So let’s see how the Mini-Cons started working with Rad, Carlos, and Alexis in this continuity.
Chapter 1: The Cosmo Kids
The “Cosmo” refers to the Cosmo Scope Research Center And Observatory, a laboratory/telescope complex with so many people working there that they have their own small town. The Cosmo Kids all go to the school, which is where we meet Rad, Carlos, and Alexis. While the Observatory does play a role in the cartoon (I don’t remember if Carlos’s parents work there but I know Rad’s and possibly Alexis’s do) it apparently is a bigger deal here. I wonder if they’ll actually play a part in the later stories? It was hardly important in the anime.
In this version Rad (real name Brad, as if a franchise with humans named Spike and Buster were normal or something), Carlos, and Alexis are already good friends, like in the comics, and all three go exploring. In the anime Alexis didn’t really hang out with the boys despite Rad inviting her and only went to the mountain after the earthquake caused by the Street Action Team awakening to check on them. Here the three go exploring together but decide to take a new route that they never explored before. Apparently Rad is still the kid who doesn’t think before acting and convinces his friends to try the path despite the danger signs.
Rad is pretty much the same in every continuity and Carlos isn’t that different either. Unlike the Dreamwave comics where the three invent things together, here the boys are more like their cartoon counterparts (despite Fred and Billy calling them the “smart kids”) and Alexis is actually right there with them. I wonder if she’s more of a tomboy here? That would be a different take as the boys just follow their toon selves.
A short chapter even by this book’s standards, but I don’t have a lot of time tonight anyway so it’s fine. And future chapters are at least six pages long, still longer than our last book and fine for the intended age group. We’ve met the Mini-Cons, we’ve met the kids. Let’s see if we can bring them together in our next reading.
Next Time: The Cave Of Darkness