Comics, Reviews

Void Rivals #1 Review: More Than Meets the Eye

Dive into the tale of a man, a woman, and a passive-aggressive android glove working together to escape a desolate planet in the middle of a strange universe.

Void Rivals #1 Review cover
Image: Skybound
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:05 AM

Void Rivals #1

Review
Rating
10
Excellent
Void Rivals #1 Full Cover

Writer: Robert Kirkman

Artist: Lorenzo de Felici

Publisher: Skybound

Release Date: June 13, 2023

Page Count: 30

Format: Comic

Void Rivals quickly establishes itself as an exciting story with interesting characters set within a beloved shared universe.

By its credits alone, Void Rivals has the ingredients to be another great ongoing series from Skybound and Image Comics. It’s the latest comic from Invincible and The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. He reunites with his Oblivion Song co-creator and creator of Kroma, artist Lorenzo de Felici. With their work on Oblivion Song, the duo has proven they work incredibly well together in creating engrossing sci-fi stories with unique aesthetics and heartfelt narratives. Void Rivals continues that trend of theirs, except this story has a very exciting twist to go along with its intriguing premise.

With that, let’s begin my review of Void Rivals #1! But we warned! I will be diving into spoiler territory for this one.

Void Rivals crash siteImage: Skybound

Story Overview

The story opens with a ship crash-landing on a lonely planet. The pilot of the vessel is Darak from the planet Agorr. With nothing but his talking AI-powered glove named Handroid, Darak barely makes it out of the wreckage alive. It doesn’t take long for him to get confronted by Solila, the Zertonian pilot who chased him down and inadvertently sent both flying into an uncharted quadrant in the galaxy.

Agorrians and Zertonians have been locked in an interplanetary war for generations. As part of the Sacred Ring, the two sides fight a never-ending battle for control over the little remains of their planets. As fate would have it, the bitter rivals must work together to find a way to get off the planet alive. Codes of honor and ethics be damned.

Void Rivals face offImage: Skybound

Review

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first. The big reveal of Void Rivals is that the story takes place within the new shared universe involving the Transformers and G.I. Joe called the Energon Universe. It officially kickstarts the collaboration between Hasbro, Skybound, and Image Comics. This revelation was a very well-kept secret, as Void Rivals completely downplayed its connection to the Transformers leading up to its release. Now that the secret is out, a whole universe of possibilities is open for the series to explore.

The way Void Rivals connects to the Transformers is what I find most interesting about the comic, but not for reasons you’d expect. As big of a deal as it is to have the story within Energon Universe, Void Rivals leans very lightly on the Transformers and its established lore. Apart from the one brief scene that introduces the existence of Cybertronians, the story of Darak and Solila stands well enough on its own. The trope of two enemies stranded together was executed well because of the unique dynamic that develops between the characters. But knowing now that this whole adventure will take place within the Energon Universe feels like a cherry on top of what was already shaping up to be an intriguing new comic from some of the industry’s best creators.

Having Void Rivals be the first step of the Energon Universe tells me they have big plans for the comics to come. While it’s exciting to see new Transformers and G.I. Joe comics on the way, Void Rivals is a sign that the creative minds within Image Comics have set out a clear goal to explore new corners of the universe. While we still know very little about planets Agorr and Zerton, it’s intriguing seeing the Transformers universe expand right from the jump. Diving straight into uncharted territory makes the concept of the new shared universe already feel lively and bustling. As Kirkman himself says in his author’s notes, this first issue only scratches the surface. As a reader, I’m clamoring to see what comes next.

Void Rivals in troubleImage: Skybound

Final Thoughts

The first issue of Void Rivals accomplishes so much in just thirty-two pages. Not only does it kick off Skybound’s new Energon Universe initiative, but it also does so by introducing us to new characters within an exciting original story. As easy as it could have been to rely on the popularity of the Transformers name, Void Rivals sets out to create its own identity in a beloved universe. With this being only the beginning, there is still so much more than meets the eye for Void Rivals and the rest of the Energon Universe.

Why You Should Read Void Rivals

  • It opens up exciting possibilities within the new Energon Universe
  • The story of Darak and Solila is intriguing already on its own
  • Robert Kirkman has a great track record of building a universe filled with unique characters and alien races 
  • Artist Lorenzo de Felici is one of the rising stars in comics today
TAGGED: Skybound
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