Reviews, Comics

Transformers #5 Review: All Out War

Lock in and roll out for the latest issue of Daniel Warren Johnson’s hit Transformers comic series from Skybound and Image Comics.

Transformers 5 Review Cover
Image: Skybound
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:07 AM

Transformers #5

Review
Rating
10
Excellent
Transformers 5 Full Cover

Writer: Daniel Warren Johnson

Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson

Publisher: Skybound

Release Date: February 14, 2024

Page Count: 32

Format: Single-issue

Daniel Warren Johnson’s Transformers kicks into high gear with an emotional and action-packed issue that showcases the Autobots at their best and the Decepticons at their worst.

The comic book world is filled with perfect pairings guaranteed to make magic together. Alejandro Jodorowsky and Mœbius. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Jeff Lemire and his obsession with small, rural towns. However, only a few pairings are as perfect as Daniel Warren Johnson and the Transformers. With his flair for dynamic action and emotionally gripping storytelling, he’s done more than just add a fresh coat of paint to the beloved franchise. This series is the Transformers unlike anything anyone has seen before, making it the perfect comic for new readers and long-time fans to enjoy together. In a series that’s been nothing but banger after banger, issue #5 might be one of the best yet. Continue reading for my full review of Transformers #5! 

Overview

With supplies and manpower low on both sides, the Autobots and Decepticons resort to unique tactics to revive their fallen comrades. While the Autobots use natural resources to generate the energy they need, Starscream and the Deceptions take a much more heinous approach. In this battle between sworn enemies, even the most desperate measures are necessary to turn the tide of war. Who will come out on top? And at what cost? 

Transformers 5 - firingImage: Skybound

Review

As someone who’s read plenty of Daniel Warren Johnson’s other comics, I believe he’s doing some of his best work here with the Transformers. As much as people love his knack for illustrating some of the most bombastic and visceral action sequences imaginable, DWJ is also excellent at crafting well-rounded, emotionally complex characters. His characterizations of Optimus Prime and Starscream have been a consistent highlight throughout the series, as both feel like fully realized versions of the characters many fans grew up falling in love with. I said it in my last review, and it rings even more true now, but this comic has the best version of Optimus Prime ever written. This latest issue explores more of Optimus’ emotional state, portraying him as a powerful hero but one who is also irreparably scarred by war and conflict. However, he’s a hero with a mean streak. When it’s time to throw down, Optimus will absolutely wreck Decepticons that threaten the lives of humans and his people. And it's a beautiful sight to behold. 

For every perfect hero, there must be a perfect villain, and Starscream is just that. This issue is a masterful example of utilizing parallelisms and contrasts to emphasize the best (or worst) traits of characters. Every compassionate action done by Optimus is met with Starscream firing back with absolutely demonic behavior. Even speaking as a big Starscream fan, it’s unsettling how vicious he can be in this comic. It’s then impressive how this latest issue has a brief moment that one-ups the horrible things he’s committed already. It goes to show that even the tiniest of details can make significant impacts on characterization and storytelling. With how great DWJ is at shaping these beloved characters, I can’t wait to see what he has in store for Megatron when he finally makes his long-awaited appearance in the story.

Transformers 5 - transformers angryImage: Skybound

While it goes without saying that DWJ’s art is incredible, this latest issue is just next-level stuff from start to finish. Starting from an emotional opening scene that creates a visual parallelism between the tragic stories of Optimus and Sparky, the issue progressively ramps up the action every time you turn the page. With characters literally getting blown into scrap metal, it’s always incredible seeing DWJ translate his usually violent art style for the Transformers. Even without blood and guts explicitly splattering all over the page, the visual cues of “gore” in the battle between Autobots and Decepticons make the action feel gritty and impactful. With that said, I’m excited for the mayhem that’s coming in the finale when it rolls out next month.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of this title being about the Transformers, it’s one of the hottest comics right now for good reason. Daniel Warren Johnson is putting out his best work into a story that beautifully humanizes the Autobots and demonizes the Decepticons more than ever. Transformers strikes the perfect balance of being exciting and emotional for all readers while still supplying long-time fans with references and callbacks to the original series. With the comic kicking into high gear for its first story arc finale, you don’t want to miss out on the fun that happens across every page of this series.

Transformers 5 - transformers talking to each otherImage: Skybound

Why You Should Read Transformers

  • These versions of Starscream and Optimus Prime are the best they’ve ever been.
  • Daniel Warren Johnson’s art brings so much weight and impact to the thrilling action sequences.
  • The story seamlessly flips between emotionally gripping and action-packed. 

TAGGED: Skybound
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