Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Transformers: Escalation TPB

I recently picked up a ton of IDW Transformers trades and they're quite entertaining. I was unimpressed when IDW got the license since the first two issues of Infiltration were so boring and human-filled, but that isn't really a problem in Escalation. The humans now play a small supporting role, but in this trade they've got Ratchet and Iron Hide around, so there are still Cybertronians around to capture my interest.

In fact, Simon Furman is juggling a ton of plots here, making this the most complicated Transformers I think I've read. The main plot has Megatron's Decepticons ramping up the "Escalation" phase of their conquest of Earth, with Prime and his team of Autobots trying to stop them. Then there are at least two factions of humans trying to get control of the Transformers technology. One group has captured Sunstreaker and created an army of clones of him, while the other has captured Ravage, Laser Beak, and has just uncovered the Dinobots and Shockwave out in the American Southwest. That's a helluva lot of plot. Furman actually wraps up a good confrontation with a souped up Megatron and his squad (Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Thundercracker, and Skywarp) against Prime and his crew (Jazz, Prowl, Wheeljack, Hot Rod, and Hard Head).
Part of what makes this series so interesting is the gradual way we're getting characters introduced. There are a ton of Transformers in use here, and with the Spotlights giving us additional time with both peripheral and main characters, there's a lot of panel time for everyone.

E.J. Su's art is pretty strong. The bots look fantastic, and I really like the way Su has the different guns' blasts looking unique. Note how Prowl's blasters shoot little disks while Jazz and Wheeljack shoot more conventional looking cannons. Su's humans don't look too good though, they're a little blocky and generic. Fortunately, their clothes are distinctive enough to make it easy to recognize the main players.


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