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.
Thus far we have seen how the Mini-Cons came to Earth and were introduced to our human character. Given the title of the next chapter I’m guessing we won’t see the Mini-Cons debut until then. We do have to arrange the meeting place first and seeing as this is a book for younger readers the pacing is still better than our last book. I can’t complain too much.
I’m curious how Fred and Billy, the bullies from the other media, will fare here. In the anime the two reform but Billy still bosses Fred around and they made a lot of jokes about his weight, hinting that he might even have diabetes but still playing his character off for laughs, I think most of us were happy to not seem them return in Energon. In the comics, the first story arc by Chris Sarracini gave us Seth and Sid instead, but as soon as Simon Furman took over, he went with the show’s Fred and Billy, who show up for one page of one issue and are never seen again, which makes them rather pointless. I’m guessing some fanservice since they’re also in the UK comic Furman wrote. We already know Rad and Carlos are close to the same as the show with Alexis getting a new characterization but having her friends with the others like in the US comics. Well, there’s only one way to find out.
Chapter 2: The Cave Of Darkness
I’m betting it’s not as impressive as it sounds. This isn’t a fantasy story.
The title refers to one of the adventurous titles the kids are giving to their quest, which makes me wonder if they’ve seen some kind of serialized program in the style of old movie serials, I haven’t seen that since Read All About It went off the air, a few Filmation shows being the only other time I’ve seen it used regularly seriously. (There may be some show I’m forgetting though.) As they explore a cave they find some drawings I’ll come back to, which they believe Fred and Billy caused, but when we cut to them they were never up here. Interesting.
Fred and Billy are different here, mostly. Instead of being bullies with a future reform coming they’re kids who came to the Cosmo area later than the others. While Rad, Carlos, and Alexis pretty much grew up here Fred and Billy’s parents came later in their lives, making them the new kids. Fred grew up in the suburbs while Billy grew up in the city. Apparently they used to go exploring with the others but were always trying to be in charge so our trio stopped playing with them. I don’t mind this too much. As bullies they didn’t really do anything interesting but as a…rival group of explorers I guess who still tried to hang out with the others there’s more potential in their relationship to each other to explore. They end up taking a different tunnel because at least for now it’s not their time to meet the Mini-Cons.
There are two reasons for me to show this illustration. One is to show off how good the art is. Each chapter (not counting prologue and epilogue) has an illustrated page, which is nothing new for books targeting this age group. It is however the first book in this series that I’ve had illustrations in although some adult books have illustrations as well, mostly older books as you don’t really see it in more modern books for adults. The other is that this is a bit of foreshadowing of what’s to come. I’m assuming at least one Mini-Con is already active and decided to make this. It clearly shows the larger Transformers fighting, what I presume is a Mini-Con and for some reason a car and a jet. It doesn’t look like either is transforming. Seeing as the Mini-Cons crashed here in prehistoric times they couldn’t have seen one even if they did get out of stasis lock. It does raise some interesting questions about what is to come.
As to what that is, next time we’ll see because I think we’re about to actually meet a Mini-Con
Next time: Mini-Con Robots Revealed