Review – IDW Transformers Vol.1 TPB For All Mankind or Prime goes Emo

IDW Transformers Volume One  – For All Mankind is written by Mike Costa with art by Don Figueroa. The trade collects together Issues 1-6 of the rebooted Transformers series that takes place two years after the events of All Hail Megatron.

Now a couple of weeks ago I reviewed the First Issue of this new series. The long and short of it was I wasn’t very impressed at all, but put off judgement of the series until I got hold of the Trade.

Well here we are, and after reading the Trade I’m pretty much in the same place as I was with the first issue. Now I searched out these Transformers comics after the very strong Ironhide mini-series, I thought cool the Transformers have been rebooted, and the stories reflect that they are Soldiers stuck in a millennial old fight. I was sadly wrong after reading this trade I found myself longing for the bumbling bots of the G1 cartoon.

Find out why after the jump.

Lets start with this problem, now remember the Transformers have been locked in a fairly intense war, and therefore should be used to perils of soldiering. So…

Why does Optimus Prime after the death of Ironhide go all Emo? He becomes as Spike puts it a self-flagellating Truck. Through all six issues he mops around in a cage doing what Prime seems to do best… Talk…

Now I understand after losing his bodyguard and life long friend he would be upset, and grieve for him. Maybe even get angry and blame himself for his death. Optimus is a leader, and lets be realistic this wouldn’t of been the first time an Autobot would of been lost under his command; but this time we are treated to Emo Prime. All he needed was a floppy haircut and a nice black paint job.

Now with Prime gone the Autobots do there usual fall apart act, and half of them split with Hotshot to find a way off Earth. On the way they fall in with a group of ‘cons  seeking the same thing, and of course with Hotshot being naive, and no other Bots including Prowl saying anything they go along with it.

Then Ultra Magnus arrives, saying he was sent to investigate the death of Ironhide which is standard procedure for a death of an Autobot. Because you know, no Autotbot has actually died in this eons long war ever! Very clumsy way of bringing in Magnus, but at least he comes across as a giant cheese head.

Of course the main reason why the Autobots decided to stay on Earth was to protect them from the predations of the Decepticons. Yet throughout this issue the Humans Special Ops Unit Skywatch shows remarkable aptitude dealing with giant robots, taking them down in less than two panels, were it would take Transformer vs Transformer entire comics to do. Sure they use Giant Robotic Combat frames, but at one point they do this wearing just Spandex jumpsuits! (I kid you not).

As the story moves on Skywatch’s ability to deal with Decepticon threats seems to diminish the closer their alliance with the Autobots becomes. Its like the Autobots have a collective suck factor when it comes to fighting that effects everyone around them.

The only character that seems to go under any transformation, and has an interesting arc is Thundercracker… Yep, that’s right; Thundercracker… This much ignored Seeker seems to have gained an interesting love for Earth, even if its for the sitcoms.  He actually seems the most at ease with all the changes and demonstrates aspects of a personality, that is simply fun.

Everything comes to head at Hotshots, (who has taken the name of Rodimus), spaceship building site as the ‘cons do the predictable double cross. Which feels like a clumsy reason to have a fight, but I suppose the arc had to have some type of resolution.

Prime stops being Emo long enough to take down a new combine ‘con, and then promptly gets back in his cage for more flagellation. Bumblebee, who is now the new leader of the Autobots has an interesting chat with cheesehead Magnus, and surprisingly shows more leadership balls in six panels than Prime has for the all whole book. While this is going on Hotshot sneaks off and steals Magnus’ ship.

That sums up the story, and you can tell I’m not all that impressed. For an opening arc it felt clumsy, the feeling of building peril is just not there and felt forced.

Saving grace is the art work by Don Figeuroa is super detailed and you get a nice feeling of scale. The damage the Transformers do to each other is realistic and the robots have a nice heavy look.  In the back of the book we are treated to some G1 portraits as well as the comic book covers from the first six issues.

In all if you are fan of Transformers you might like the series for the art alone, with only Thundercracker and Bumblebee actually being the only engaging characters; I’m not sure if it is enough to  keep you reading and wanting more.

3 thumbs up out of 5

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About Nick

Just an Englishman lost in the USA who happens to write now and again... Anyone got a cup of tea?
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