IDW Publishing: "Transformers movie prequel" #2

in 2007, Comic Book Review, Movie (2007)

IDW Publishing

General Information:
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publication Date: March 2007
Written by: Simon Furman and Chris Ryall
Art by: Don Figueroa
Colors by: Josh Burcham
Letters by: Robbie Robbins
Edits by: Dan Taylor


Cover A Cover B Black and White cover

Synopsis:
Tearing through space at breakneck speed, Megatron has pursued the Allspark through its journey towards an unknown destination. He has spent a long time tracking it, and finally he has found it! As he draws close, he thinks back to the past, how his quest for this power source was repeatedly thwarted by the Autobots. He begins to feel victorious as he enters the atmosphere of an unfamiliar planet. However he has overestimated his ability to enter the atmosphere properly, and with his Energon reserves dangerously low, he lands on ice and goes through it into the freezing waters below! Before he can react his systems begin to shut down.

Megatron's arrival on Earth triggers a series of events spanning generations as we see Captain Witwicky find Megatron, only to go mad because of the knowledge he gains from the experience. As we fast forward through time, mankind soon uncovers the Allspark as well! This leads to the involvement of the mysterious Sector Seven who quickly seize the opportunity to uncover and begin studying the behemoth under ice. Finally in 2003, the humans learn for sure that "Mega Man" as they have come to know the Decepticon leader, is not alone. A "relative" has arrived on Mars, and the war between the Transformers is about to move to a whole new battlefield!

Story:
Truth be told, a lot happens in this issue but nothing ever feels conclusive except for Megatron's imprisonment in ice in the beginning. The sequence with Megatron is great to see as it is so critical to the live action movie itself. Megatron it seems, is guilty of something that has been the downfall of many leaders: hubris. He is so obsessed with achieving victory and grasping power that he completely turns off logic at a critical moment - and that costs him the very thing he values. It has been fairly well known by the hardcore Transformers fans that Megatron would be found in ice in the live action movie, but until now it did not occur to me how something as simple as that could happen to Megatron himself. I kept expecting an accident of some sort, or maybe Bumblebee shooting him down at a critical moment, but the irony of having him imprison himself inadvertently works better than either of those scenarios.

Megatron has largely been a mystery in the spoiler material released. Everyone knows he looks like an odd silver humanoid with sharp angles everywhere who looks like eats babies for breakfast, but we have not really been in his head until now. Some of what is written jives completely with what we have seen in previous incarnations of the character. While he is power hungry (and by the time of this issue quite consumed with it) - he still has the clarity of thought to realize that in many ways, Optimus Prime and he share the same level of dedication, but to two opposing goals.

I got this feeling that I would have lost a lot of appreciation for this issue if I had not already read a lot of spoilers about the film online. So much of this issue is about "set up" that it is a definite page turner because you want to see how the events of the past affect the events of the present. The two gentleman covering up Captain Witwicky's madness close a door with the number seven on it. This is clearly an indicator that we are seeing early members of the mysterious "Sector Seven" organization that will be featured in the feature film. When Captain Witwicky's personal possessions are looked through, we learn his glasses are passed on to his family and those become a critical item in the movie.

I love the ending of the issue as it ties in with another bit of marketing for the movie - the teaser trailer released several months ago. In it, the Beagle probe on Mars encounters a shadowy robotic figure that takes out its camera. While I'm not sure Bumblebee would necesarily go smashing a camera (nor is he shown doing so), the time frame of his arrival on uin this issue matches the "2003" date shown in the teaser trailer. I'm a big fan of things tying into each other - and indeed that sort ofis the point of a prequel comic. It is also interesting to see how the scope of Sector Seven has grown into something so large they're constantly monitoring not just Earth, but the solar system as well.

Art:

It's not unfair to say that if you read a Transformers comic book it is fair to expect a fair amount of robot action. This issue has a lot less of this than the previous issue. I do like the fact that we get a good look at Megatron. The last issue we got to see his robot mode, here we get to see his vehicle mode and him in action (sort of). I have to admit, the scene with him descending through Earth's atmosphere was very well composed. Aside from Don's awesome pencils, the colors and the blur filter put on the picture gave it a very cinematic feel and is definitely not the type of scene that would have been easy to reproduce with comic book technology twenty years ago. On the flip side we get a really nice flashback look at Optimus Prime holding a Big Freaking Gun that is desktop background worthy.

This issue is very human-centric but I think it services the grandeur of the Transformers through the sheer size differences. When we see one of the Sector Seven members looking at Megatron's frozen body, it's a breathtaking scene worthy of a live action scene.

Final Thoughts:
While not as heavy on the robot action as the previous issue, this serves as an important "set up" issue that also gives us a glimpse into the past of the human side of events we will see in the movie. A good read that gives us a look at how Megatron meets the fate we will see in the movie.