on 28 March 2013
Ever since the original Marvel UK comic series of Transformers came to a close in 1991, I always dreamed what could have been should it ever continue. Well now I don't have to dream any longer!
Volume 1 of Regeneration One reunites original writer, Simon Furman and artist, Andrew Wildman back to the fold as they set about giving the series the closure that it deserved; and i have to say, although they recapped enough of the original story to bring you up to speed, they come out of the gate wiith all guns blazing and propelling us on as if no time had passed at all
I look forward to reading more of this series and the future volumes to come.
'Transformers: Regeneration One' is the long anticipated continuation of the U.S based comic book that ran throughout the 1980's and early 90's, written by Transformers mainstay Simon Furman and illustrated by regular Transformers artist Andrew Wildman.
The series picks up many of the loose ends left dangling at the end of the regular series. Set 21 years later, a rejuvenated Cybertron is seemingly at peace under the watchful eye of 'The Last Autobot', and the Decepticons are in exile - although all is not well. Grimlock - having lost his ability to transform after using the unstable fuel Nucleon in order to revive his Dinobots and many other deactivated Autobots so that they could battle the planet-eater unicron - embarks on an unsanctioned mission to cure himself and those others afflicted by the serious side effects of the fuel. Meanwhile Optimus Prime is ill at ease after his resurrection (occurring just prior to the end of the U.S series) and many of his most trusted lieutenants are unhappy with his decision to allow the various factions of Decepticons to slip away to plot again.
and plot they do....
On Cybertron, Decepticons hiding in the wastelands and led by Soundwave enact a plan to retrieve the last remnants of the Creation Matrix, perverted to evil, dormant within the corpse of the Decepticon Thunderwing and kept under lock and key. Meanwhile Blugeon and his army travel the cosmos invading and destroying societies of other mechanized life forms for reasons not yet known. On Nebulon a resurgent Scorponok also plans to retake Cybertron.
...and what of Earth?
The last time the Autobots visted their adopted planet their spacecraft The Ark, filled with advanced technology and dozens of dormant, injured Transformers, was crashed benief the ice of the Yukon region of Canada, and many of the Autobots greatest enemies - including Megatron, Galvatron, Shockwave and Starscream - unaccounted for. Surely the ice will eventually give up these secrets, and then what fate will the Earth face....?
The series is a who's-who of pretty much every Transformer who ever appeared in the regular comic. Nearly all of them appear in one form or another, from the original crew of the Ark, Dinobots, Headmasters, Pretenders etc - although most of the page time is reserved for those characters who writer Furman favoured most during his many years on the book, such as Prime, Grimlock, Hot-Rod, Kup etc. Also addressed is the fate of supporting characters such as Spike Witwicky (last seen on Earth as Fortress Maximus' headmaster partner), as well as numerous other cameos and tips of the hat (such as a brief appearance from Berko and his 'Cosmic Carnival').
There are also some notable departures from the regular U.S continuity, in particular a prominant role for one of Furmans creations - the Wreckers - who were regular stars of the UK comic series but never appeared in the U.S series at all - and also key roles for the likes of Hot-Rod, Kup, Springer and Ultra Magnus, who were important members of the cast of the Transformers animated movie and TV series, but barely featured in the U.S comic strip.
The series isnt without its problems however, including numerous continuity issues, specifically the inclusion of various Transformers who shouldnt be standing upright, such as several who were last seen being literally consumed by Unicron, and also Scorponok -the details of his survival after being melted into a pool of molten metal by Unicron being white-washed over. Wildmans art is very traditional, however it appears that he may have got a little lazy in his old age and the fact is that his finish isnt anywhere near as sharp and polished as it was all those years ago. Later issues, such as when the book starts to deal with the fate of Earth - and specifically why the Autobots havent made so much as a phone call in the last twenty one years to the planet they called home for so long - defy any logical explanation.
Then theres the issue that whilst Simon Furman worked incredibly hard and was largely successful in amalgamating the seperate U.S and UK comicbook continuities into one coherent storyline, he decides to completely abandon all of that effort in order to give us a story that entirely ignores the events of the UK series (which is considered by many to have been the better of the two series), and is arguably a poorer story because of it. Finally, this is a series that can only be best enjoyed by long time fans who have experience of the long running saga it follows, and new fans may struggle to enjoy it or appreciate the significance of many of the events there in.
Overall however this is an entertaining book-end to a long running series that in Simon furmans own words ended too soon and before had done everything he had intended to do in it.
on 29 January 2013
Yes! After over two decades, the orignal story of the Transformers (which was first published in the 1980's/90's) returns! It's been a long wait. As a massive fan of the orignal comic (it was pretty much all I read when I was growing up), I was overjoyed to hear of its comeback - and with the original creative team too!
Just got my copy today, and even though I've been buying the single issues of this comic every month I read it straight away. It reads great in trade form (perhaps even better than in single issues), and the story builds nicely. There's lots going on in this first stork ark (sic) and plenty of surprises.
The art (from original artist Andrew Wildman) is great, and the vivid colouring (by newcomer John-Paul Bove) is also excellent, giving the book a very distinctive and fresh look. The art somehow manages to be retro, yet relevant, and took me by surprise when I picked up the first issue (well, issue 80.5 - given away on Free Comic Book Day, which is also thankfully included here). My only slight quibble with the art is that sometimes I struggle to get a feel for the environment, but that doesn't affect my enjoyment at all. Credit should also go to inker Stephen Baskerville, who's thick linework looks amazing.
It's great that all the covers from the series are included throughout this book (by Andrew, Guido Guidi and the excellent Geoff Senior - my personal favourite Transformers artist of all time). There's also a nice tribute page to one of the fallen Transformers at the end of the book, which came as a nice bonus.
If you were a fan of the original series, this book is much more than a trip down memory lane. I'd definitely recommend picking this up, and hopefully newer readers will also give this a chance. It was almost impossible for Regeneration One to live up to my sky-high hopes, but it has started well, and I can't wait to see where the story will take these characters next...
on 15 January 2015
This is a continuation of the original US Transformers Marvel Comics which ended on number 80 (yes there were hundreds of TFUK issues, but it is the 80 US issues that are being expanded upon here).
This is probably the most freedom Simon Furman's ever had in writing for the franchise, as there are no toys that HAVE to be incorporated or advertised in the strips, AND...he can seemingly kill off anyone he wants! There were, at the end of the original run, a LOT of loose ends to tie up and fittingly, that is the title for the first few issues apart from the, I guess, 'Prologue' issue that is 80.5 which basically introduces the series.
The story picks up 21 years after the end of the first run, Optimus Prime's Autobots rule a peaceful Cybertron, but how long will it last? Not long, as there wouldn't be a series without some robotic faction war. The Wreckers return to Earth to find it very different to how they left it and Grimlock continues on his quest to cure his Dinobots and other allies from the side-effects of the Nucleon he used to save them.
As you'd expect, there is a lot of seed planting going on in these issues, but that is not to say there is nothing happening! There are many unexpected events, shocking returns and plenty of action and intrigue to keep the fans happy. Is it the same as the original? Probably not, but it IS much darker and more adult in tone I would say and probably shares more of its DNA with the recent IDW reworking than it does the original, not a bad thing in my opinion, but maybe not for everyone.
The artwork is great and is really typical of the human-esque style they were trying to achieve back in the day. The Transformers' faces are full of expression and really convey the emotion of the strips better than a more faithful, robotic style would, it is also much more glossed and wreaks of more class and time spent than the originals - which is to be expected as I can't imagine there were as strict time limits this time around.