Strange to think there was once a time when the Transformers franchise in one form or another wasn’t as widely prevalent as it is today. A time when although toylines and cartoons still existed, the fandom was mainly the province of older fans looking fondly on finite times passed. Outside of Conventions, there wasn’t even a comic due to now infamous occurrences at Dreamwave. Suddenly in 2005 IDW pop up and they have got the legendary Simon Furman. He is going to build a whole new G1 continuity in what would turn out to be a not too disimilar way to Kirby creating his Fourth World.
I’d like to think the success and popularity of Furman’s initial IDW run was a contributing factor to live-action movies eventual coming to pass. Simon of course was then given the supporting comic material for the movies in various forms and created something uniquely elaborate and wonderful there as well. So it is my absolute pleasure to review the third chapter in Furman’s “-Tion” series of G1 comics; the aptly named Devastation.
Each chapter of the “-Tion” series is named after a phase of Decepticon Invasion Protocol. However the situation in the prior two phases – Infiltration and my favourite Escalation – has gotten so far out of hand Megatron summons one of his Phase Sixers. These are his literal world destroyers. Megatron’s scheme is simpler. Exposing The Autobots to the world at large. This isn’t the only threat Prowl’s team face. One if the quirks of this G1 incarnation is that Prime is not so much front and centre. Appearing only at the end of the first chapter. Back to the story though. Certain parts of humanity are very much aware of Transformer-kind and wish to utilize them to their own ends. Indeed it is the machinations of the Machine-Nation that brought Megatron and his counterpart Optimus Prime to Earth.
Seeds sown in earlier Spotlight issues bear fruit as Devastation plays out. These Spotlight issues were essentially one-shot stories focusing on a specific character. These stories however had a collective function as well, and Devastation is where we see the more curious ones come into play. Specifically Spotlights Galvatron, Hot Rod, and Sixshot. The addition of these into what had been a relatively realistic earthbound story certainly adds to the effect of the guano really hitting that proverbial fan.
Since we are discussing realism we can talk about Devastation’s artwork. E.J. Su continues in his mechanically accurate style. Wherein we really get to see the specifics of what part of what Transformer goes where and why. These exquisitely engineered characters are no less vibrant or alive than their human counterparts. Paternity meant some artwork on Devastation was provided by future IDW Transformers Alumni Nick Roche and Robby Musso. These two add a slightly more animated aesthetic that accentuates the change in narrative pace without abandoning Su’s general design. Of course, there is the inevitable covers gallery as well which delights further.
Devastation even with its abridged story so far opening is perhaps not a first choice of jumping on point for new readers. That said it serves its role as a penultimate chapter very well. Anyone picking up this book first may be intrigued to see where things go. There are also various hook moments, some seemingly familiar to Transformers fans. These sow the seeds of curiosity as to how things reached the state they are in as well. Megatron and Starscream bicker. Soundwave gets his cool Cassette-Con moment. Hot Rod is a bit of turbo rubbing young punk and Prime consistently throws himself into the jaws of death to save others. For me, the takeaway is – as it has been since the Infiltration #0 preview book – EJ Su’s refreshing realism and reinterpretation of classic G1 characters and their alt mode aesthetics.
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