Comics, Reviews

Transformers #1 Review: A New Generation

Buckle up for the thrilling debut issue of Daniel Warren Johnson's "Transformers" #1 from Skybound!

Transformers #1 Review Cover
Image: Skybound
By: Javier ReyesJun 6, 2024, 12:23 PM

Transformers #1

Review
Rating
10
Excellent
Transformers #1 Full Cover

Writer: Daniel Warren Johson

Publisher: Skybound

Release Date: October 3, 2023

Format: Single-issue

Optimus Prime hits Starscream with wrestling moves in this comic. What more could you ask for? The story being a unique and captivating retelling of the classic G1 animated series is the icing on the cake.

When Skybound announced that Daniel Warren Johnson was doing the new Transformers comic, my immediate reaction was, “That’s perfect!” From reading plenty of his other comics like “Do a Powerbomb” and “Murder Falcon,” his flair for action and emotional storytelling just feels right for the bombastic world of the Transformers. It’s no surprise that the level of hype around the new comic is enough to power up Cybertron itself. After months of anticipation and teases from Void Rivals as well, the day is finally here to dive into more Transformers goodness! Did the comic live up to the hype? Buckle up for my review and let's find out!

Spike and Carly find the AutobotsImage: Skybound

Overview

Spike and Carly just wanted to spend a quiet, romantic night looking at the stars in the mountains. The last thing they expected was an earthquake to drop them right on top of a crashed spaceship hidden underneath the rubble. Inside the ship, they find the aftermath of a battle between Cybertronians that’s long been forgotten. That’s until Jetfire arrives and reactivates the ship, Teletraan One, hoping to revive his fallen comrades. Little did he know that so much had changed between the Cybertonians since he left for his mission centuries ago. While his intentions were good, he inadvertently reignited the war between Autobots and Decepticons.

The two teenagers find themselves caught in the middle of a fight that nearly destroys Teletraan One. With battle lines drawn between the two sides, the Cybertronians piece together their situation of being stranded on Earth. Unfortunately for humans, the Decepticons have some devious plans in mind.

Optimus Prime suplexes StarscreamImage: Skybound

Review

Admittedly, I came into this comic blind on its premise beforehand. Knowing it was a new Transformers title done by Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer was enough to sell me on it. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see the comic unfold as a reboot of the original G1 animated series, the Transformers I’m most attached to. I couldn’t help but feel a rush of nostalgia from seeing the classic scene again of the Autobots and Decepticons getting rebuilt in the wreckage of the Teletraan One. But, as cliche as it is to say this, there’s more than meets the eye in this retelling. While longtime fans will be happy to see some familiar moments, the story’s fresh coat of paint is something everyone can immediately dive right into.

Beyond the fun of seeing Autobots and Decepticons beat the living hell out of each other, core to the Transformers story are the humans that stand alongside them. Like many of DWJ’s other books, the human side of the story carries powerful themes revolving around family and the struggles and joys that come with them. While the issue doesn’t dwell on it for too long, it does just enough to establish the rocky relationship between Spike and Spark and how it stems from a lost loved one. I can see this as the emotional anchor that ties the entire story together. As much as the buzz will deservedly be around the comic’s incredible action sequences, I’m gearing up for an emotional ride when the father-son story starts to unfold.

Now it’s time to talk about the juicy bits. In true DWJ fashion, he delivers on adapting his distinct and highly energetic art style for the world of Transformers. Even with the classic boxy designs of the Transformers, there's a fluidity to how the characters look that gives the comic plenty of life. Then, as hyped as I was to see how he’d put his spin on the action sequences, he exceeded far beyond my expectations. Words can’t describe how hilariously awesome it is to see Optimus Prime hitting wrestling moves because he can’t get a hold of his blaster. You can tell he had plenty of fun making this comic with how he seamlessly blends his influences of heavy metal music and pro wrestling into the story. With so much wild stuff packed into the first issue alone, I can’t wait to see more from the rest of the series.

For the other G1 fanboys out there, you’ll be interested in knowing the comic boasts interesting lineups for the Autobots and Decepticons. The most notable is Megatron not being part of the starting roster. While there is a small tease of good ol’ Buckethead, it’s the loud-mouthed Starscream calling the shots now for these Decepticons. As an unabashed mark for Starscream myself, I couldn’t be happier. Putting biases aside, having Starscream take the helm right from the jump brings a unique twist to the classic story. It’s already a lot of fun seeing the contrasting leadership styles of Optimus Prime and Starscream at play. But by this issue’s shocking final page, Starscream proves he’s as slimy and ruthless as ever.

Optimus Rolls OutImage: Skybound

Final Thoughts

Simply put, this comic is just high-octane fun from start to finish. Whether you’re a longtime fan or just getting into the franchise because of the hype surrounding the Energon Universe, this comic delivers plenty of exciting moments that will leave you smiling from ear to ear. If you’ve ever dreamt of seeing Optimus Prime hit Starscream with a German Suplex, then this must be on your reading list immediately. That alone gets an instant five stars from me.

Why You Should Read Transformers

  • The comic brings everything fun about the Transformers with a fresh coat of paint.
  • DWJ’s incredible artwork brings so much energy to the action sequences. 
  • There’s plenty of emotional tension with the story of Spike and his family. 
  • The story is a fresh start that anyone can get into.
TAGGED: Image Comics, Skybound
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