Monday, November 12, 2012

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (Comic)

Around the release of the game Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, IDW Publishing announced a pair of tie-in comic books, both of which center on the Dinobots; the first of these comics was a 6-issue digital series that shares the game's name and was released on a bi-weekly schedule coinciding with the release of the game; the second comic is a 4-issue series titled Transformers Prime: Rage of the Dinobots and will be released on a monthly schedule beginning this month. The first comic, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, recently finished its run, which I have been keeping up with through the Comixology digital comic service, each issue costing $1 USD for 8 pages of content each. Incidentally, this is actually the second digital comic I have ever purchased, the first being Transformers: Autocracy (another digital exclusive). At a total of $6 USD for 48 pages of story, the question remains: Is it worth it?

The story of the Fall of Cybertron comic serves as a prequel to the events of the game, focusing on how Grimlock, along with the rest of the Lightning Strike Coalition, became a test subject for the Decepticon Shockwave. This story is written by John Barber, an editor at IDW and currently the writer of the ongoing Transformers: Robots in Disguise comic. Barber has written some good Transformers material, in fact using his skills to cleverly cover up holes in IDW's G1 continuity, and I think he wrote this comic well, save for one or two spelling errors. Based on what's been seen of the featured characters in the game, I believe that everyone is in character, to where I could imagine the characters' voices as I was reading it (though since the Robots in Disguise comic also features characters in War For Cybertron bodies, I ended up almost mixing up the voices, trying to think of Sam Riegel instead of Chris Latta for Starscream and almost thinking of Corey Burton instead of Steve Blum for Shockwave). It feels like a good transition into Grimlock's side of the story in the game and his characterization was, at least for the most part, consistent. This may seem like nitpicking, but what kind of bothered me a little was that Grimlock's text boxes were purple while Shockwave's were red; Grimlock is an  Autobot, so I thought his boxes should have been red to match the color of the Autobot insignia, and vice-versa for Shockwave. I'll give it this though: the comic is at least consistent with this color choice.

The artwork for this story is drawn by Dheeraj Verma, who actually does a really good job for his first Transformers work. Every character in the comic has a great amount of detail accurately portraying how each robot looks in the game; this sort of backfires a little however, since based on the context of the story, Megatron should still be in his War for Cybertron body and the Lightning Strike Coalition should theoretically not have bodies resembling their Dinobot selves, though the latter was likely done for lack of pre-Dinobot designs in any material for the game (that I know of). Putting that aside, Verma's pencils are amazing, backed by some great colors from the handful of colorists working on the comic. Verma also draws the covers for each issue, which along with his interior work perfectly capture the essence of Fall of Cybertron.

For $6 USD, the Fall of Cybertron comic is a worthy investment. It provides more insight on what happened before the events of the game and adds more depth to the character of Grimlock. Aside from a couple errors, this comic is a must-read for Transformers fans who enjoyed the Fall of Cybertron game and/or are keeping with the current Transformers continuity. My only hope is that this comic, like Autocracy before it, gets released later in a physical form, perhaps in a trade paperback like Autocracy or something.

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