4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
All hail the victorious leader of the Decepticons!,
This review is from: Transformers: All Hail Megatron Volume 1: All Hail Megatron v. 1 (Transformers (Idw)) (Paperback)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.