4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Shane McCarthy hits upon a great idea here. If the good guys win all the time, how can you take them or the bad guys seriously? If the outcome is too obvious, you can't get behind either protagonist or antagonist. You can't believe in either of them, and that takes so much away from the powerful concepts of heroism and villainy.
And that's the reason why All Hail Megatron works so well. Transformers have always been cool since day one, but the Autobots did win virtually all the time. And that took a lot of credibility away from the Decepticons. The best episodes from Generation 1 included the ones where Megatron and his lads looked so in control and poised for total victory, for example "More Than Meets The Eye", "Heavy Metal War", "Megatron's Master Plan", "The Key to Vector Sigma" and "The Rebirth". It made you love both Decepticons and Autobots even more. The baddies for presenting a real challenge and the goodies for delving deeper within themselves to overcome the odds.
With all this in mind, McCarthy's saga kicks things off with the biggest bang possible. Set in the IDW continuity for Generation 1, All Hail Megatron is the devastating aftermath of the great war between Autobot and Decepticon. Megatron has triumphed completely over his enemies, the shattered remains of the Autobot army has been exiled to the dead planet of Cybertron...and Earth is now for the Decepticons' taking. America swiftly falls despite humanity's valiant (but ultimately futile) efforts and...well, it's not looking very good for hope, eh?
As you've gathered, it's pretty much worse case scenario in the Transformers' world, but what makes All Hail Megatron so refreshing is how well it's presented. The core cast of Decepticons are all here, written and drawn in full glory. Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, the cassettes, Seekers, Triple-Changers, Insecticons and Constructicons are all painted as they should be, both in talk and action. It's a real nightmare that harkens back to classics like Bob Budiansky's "Beginnings" and "New Order" arcs. Only it's exemplified. The Decepticons act like true sadistic, military geniuses, making you really believe in their unmatched capacity for evil. All Hail Megatron? Absolutely!
The Autobots are wisely kept out of the story in the first few chapters. When they finally turn up halfway through, you really do feel for them. Broken down, dejected and scarred, without Optimus Prime, suffering an unknown traitor in their midst and hanging on by a thread. It's a picture we're not used to seeing, so you wonder what Jazz, Ironhide, Kup and the others can possibly do to turn things around. Obviously, it takes more than one volume to wrap this whole saga up, so there's no happy ending yet, but even in total defeat, there's hope to be found in gathering yourselves up, and as Volume 1 progresses, you become more and more convinced that despite the devastation they've suffered, the Autobots will somehow find a way to fight back.
But McCarthy also touches upon an excellent question for the baddies. Once you've won and conquered everything...what do you do NEXT? Soon after his triumph, Megatron is left haunted by this prospect, and it's moments like this where both he and Starscream are painted in a new light. Their relationship has always been classic antagonism that's produced many a classic story, but the dialogue here is so sharp, deep and thought-provoking. Megs and Screamer have so many quality conversational moments that not only stay true to their characters but also develop them. Both display respect yet intelligently criticise the other for not seeing the complete picture. It's so true and makes us all wonder how they (and us for that matter) could've missed it.
Of course, there are humans present in Volume 1, and the focus here is just as brilliant as that on the Transformers themselves. Old G1 favourites the Witwickys are reinvented as military colonel and commander, which works so well. It gets them into the thick of the action, and symbolises a lot of humanity's positives, such as keeping it together in the face of overwhelming oppositions. Other notable new human characters appear, with their struggles mirroring that of the Autobots. It reminds us about how humanity fares in the face of adversity, how it can organise quickly...or quickly fall apart, as subtlety pointed out here and there by McCarthy.
Guido Guidi and Casey Coller's artwork goes without question. It truly captures the spirit of Generation 1, everything from the pencils to the colours. Unlike Dreamwave and Pat Lee's stuff, there's so much expression and dynamism that brings McCarthy's story to life. Everything from the action to the conversational pieces, nothing can be faulted at all here.
All Hail Megatron is a saga that has really impressed me. All the rave reviews about this are totally justified, and Volume 1 has really inspired me to check out more. Shane McCarthy and his team have produced a story worthy of Simon Furman and of everyone's favourite Decepticon leader himself. Mandatory for all fans of the Robots in Disguise.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2009
When I received this item I was so excited that the illustrations looked so good and extremely detailed in its colours, lines and dynamic shots; I immediately loved it, no questions asked. That's why I consider it not merely a comic book but a piece of art that deserves to be duly praised for the effort and talent put into making it so finely drawn. It even includes sketchwork at the end of it so you can see the pencil work on TFs' figures. The storyline is new to me but I like the idea of the bad guys winning for once and seeing what consequences follow from it; don't we all have a wish like that? Plus, another thing I like, is that we see the Autobots more realistically struggling with personal problems like trust and seeing how they deal with them. The only thing I think could use a little work is the dialogue, because, for me, there's a tad too much pausing and interruptions by characters. I'm used to reading books, and they don't include too much of that so it may just be me, but it gets slightly annoying when I can't hear the words so they sound right. Maybe the creators aimed for the realistic dialogue too much. But that slight con should not deter you from buying this book; it really is a masterpiece for a comic, and any TF fan will not be disappointed because the G1 looks are dedicatedly kept true to their forms, with some special modifications from the basic boxy look of the cartoon. If not a fan, an artist would appreciate it nonetheless.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2009
This book is as awesome as I've come to expect from the IDW series. The plot resolves around how the decepticons, who have finally won on Earth, go about their business... which basically involves them going around laying waste to humans. Great!!!
There are some fantasic scenes, especially with the interaction between characters as both autobots (who are exiled on Cybertron, and all look like they've been kicked around a bit!) and the decepticons fall into in-fighting.
The characters included are all generation 1, so it's nice to see a few old friendly faces amongst the rubble and explosions!
My only slight quibble was that I'm not sure how this fits in with the larger transformers story chronologically. Not that it matters, the ending left my waiting for volume 2... bring it on!
on 11 May 2010
I've been looking for this volume for quite some time now, and I have to say, it was worth the wait!
The artwork is amazing, the story is engaging, with a nice view on the original characters.
It brings home how ruthless and intelligent megatron is as a Tactition, at the same time making him frightening as a commander and soldier.
The "human" side to the story, (like previous IDW publishes of transformers) are their for a reason other than "for the reader to relate". From the get go, you see the humans perspective of the war, which makes it horrifying and compelling... Bravo IDW.