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VINE VOICEon 24 February 2004
Save for the 'Return to Cybertron' storyline in issues 17 and 18 (published in the next volume, 'Cybertron Redux'), this book contains Bob Budianski's finest work on the US Transformers comic, featuring a story arc which stretched from issues 5 and 6 (in 'Beginnings') through to issue 12.
The main thrust of the story is that Shockwave has taken over, deactivating all the Autobots (save Ratchet) and holding Optimus Prime's head hostage in an effort to create new Decepticons using the Creation Matrix Prime (supposedly) holds within him. Through this the Constructicons and Jetfire are born.
There is a sense of urgency to much of the book, as Ratchet and the Autobot's human ally, Buster Witwicky, desperately try to fight back. The Dinobots (probably - nah, DEFINITELY - the greatest Transformers of all time) make their debut, as does Bob Budianski's greatest human creation, Circuit Breaker, and future events are set up as the Decepticons contact home...
As with many of Budianski's stories, the focus is too often on the human supporting characters at the expense of the robots, although the people who feature prominently here - G.B. Blackrock, in addition to the aforementioned - are his most memorable and believable characters, infinitely superior to later characters. Another flaw of the US comic - the occasional weak artwork - is also evident in the later pages (although William Johnson's work on the first two stories is excellent).
For its minor flaws, however, this is an excellent read and well recommended to Transformers fans old and new - but buy 'Beginnings' first...
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on 18 October 2003
This collection (from issues 7-12 of Marvel's 1980s Transformers comics) continues from where book one, "Beginnings", left off. Autobot leader Optimus Prime is a prisoner, most of the Autobots have been deactivated, and new Decepticon leader Shockwave has some nasty plans in store when he plots to use the Creation Matrix to make more Transformers! Add into all this the Dinobots, Constructicons, Jetfire, Ratchet playing hero and Megatron's attempts to usurp Shockwave, and you have a story literally bursting with ideas. Perhaps too many ideas... an awful lot is crammed into these pages, and the stories do feel a little rushed at times as the writer tries his best to keep up with the toyline and introduce yet another new character. However, the sheer sense of fun, excitement and "coolness" of these comics (Dreamwave take note) outweighs any substantial criticisms. Heartily recommended.
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