After the slog that was Dark Cybertron, I have been very excited about the re-focusing of IDW’s Transformers titles with Dawn of the Autobots. This seems to be the title that is tackling the classic aspect of the Tranformers’ story. There will still be “Robots in Disguise” since the Cybertronians still need to stay hidden on Earth. Plus, with the good and bad guys integrating a lot more in the other TF titles, this seems like the place to see classic Autobot vs. Decepticon carnage.
As I always say, part of the excitement for these nostalgia-based properties is seeing which characters make the cast list in each title. John Barber seems to have a pretty defined crew of Autobots in the spotlight here, and a lot of old favorites get represented. Optimus Prime, Prowl (surely Barber’s favorite character), Jazz, Kup, Sideswipe, Arcee, Cosmos, Skylinx, and Jetfire seem to be the main crew of Autobots returning to Earth. This gives us a good mix of characters, especially since Jazz is responsible for the ‘Bots getting booted off the Earth last time.
One interesting aspect of the book is that it seems the Autobot/Decepticon battle that has ceased on Cybertron is continuing on Earth, giving us a good Decepticon faction too. So Earth may end up being the frontline of the classic battle going forward. On the Decepticon side, we’ve got Galvatron, Soundwave, Blitzwing, the Constructicons, and more.
Still maintaining his neutrality (and maybe even siding with the Earthlings), Thundercracker seems to be a pretty important part of the narrative too. He sat out the last few years of TF stories, choosing to hang out on Earth to get a dog and write screenplays. (Everyone on the message boards seems to love his amateurish attempt to write human-based drama. It is pretty good, but I’m not sure how long the joke will work for…)
The art is uniformly strong, as Andrew Griffith excels at drawing giant robots. The new alt-modes look great, and even when characters have been bulked up or modernized (like Optimus’ new split-chest look), they are instantly recognizable. I suppose Griffith can’t be perfect at everything, because his humans don’t look as good as his robots. The Earthlings have lumpier faces and bodies with odd dimensions. But since this book is called Transformers, that is a trade off I can live with.
I’m certainly interested enough in this GOOD re-focusing to start my subscription again. (I took a little break for Dark Cybertron after the first chapters.)