IDW Talks “Robots in Disguise” and “More than Meets the Eye”

{mosimage} Recently IDW held an event at which they revealed more information about their future comic titles “Robots in Disguise” and “More than Meets the Eye”. Previously they had alluded to the basic plot for this comics as well as hinted at it being a reboot of a sort. But just what did they mean by this? And what else do IDW and Hasbro have on the horizon? Prime? War For Cybertron?

 They sorted out the reboot matter by explaining that the two titles will both still be set in the same universe as the current story arcs. However since those are currently wrapping up and “Robots” and “More” both feature a substantial shift in story direction, it can be more or less be seen as a reboot by some. Not a hard reboot going back to the start of everything, but a soft reboot focused on telling a new set of stories. “The thing we’re really trying to do in this is make something that long-time Transformers fans can enjoy and builds on what we’ve done before but creates a really great jumping on point for new fans…It’s our way of saying ‘Hey if you like Transformers – if you like comics – you should check this out’” Barber said.

 So then with that straightened out, what stories do these two titles tell? After "Chaos" ends and the war between the Decepticons and Autobots is over, Cybertronians are faced with a brand new challenge. How do they proceed? How do they recover from the war and go back to normal? The answers to these questions apparently aren’t universal amongst the Autobots, leading to a philosophical rift amongst their forces. The two options on the table: Stay or go.

These decisions are the foundations for the two titles. “More than Meets the Eye” will focus on those Transformers looking to leave Cybertron. Taking up this mantel and leading the voyage off-world is Rodimus. Barber explained, “Rodimus as you know – if you know the character –  is a very brash Autobot, but he’s also held the Matrix. He’s someone who has tasted the history of the Transformers – the Autobots – and wants to reclaim what was great about Cybertron society.” His objective in this endeavor is to find the Knights of Cybertron, a group of ancient Cybertronians said to have been charged with the task of guarding the secrets of the original Cybertronian culture. The Knights, however, have fallen into the depths of myth. So while there are believers amongst Rodimus’ group, there are also those that have joined either to simply get away from Cybertron or for their own motivations.

“Robots in Disguise”, on the other hand, will tell the story of those who stay behind on Cybertron. These Autobots are led by Bumblebee, who is as surprised as anyone that his command has continued as long as it has. “When the Autobots voted him [Bumblebee] leader, no one thought that it would have lasted this long”, Barber said. “And now he has to face a future where there’s nobody there backing him up. It’s Bumblebee without the guiding hand of Prime behind him.” The reason that Bumblebee has decided to stay isn’t one optimistic about Cybertron’s past. He and his followers believe that there was never anything  that great about Cybertron’s culture and society, as it has been subject to war for most of its history. So instead, they wish to go forward with a new society and new history, hoping to build a better tomorrow without the flaws of the past. Along the way, they will face some very difficult challenges. Because not only are the Autobots on Cybertron, but so are the Decepticons who survived “Chaos”. And what’s more, there are civilians returning to Cybertron now that the war is over. With each new day, more and more arrive. And none of them care for the differences between Autobot and Decepticon. So Bumblebee and the Autobots must find away to merge these groups back together into one workable society. It doesn’t sound like an easy task as each group vies for its own power, with Starscream of all people playing a key role in the story.

Fans of obscure Transformers characters may have a few characters tossed your way. While IDW doesn't want to use too many unrecognizable characters, they also want to show they do have an appreciation of the lesser known characters in Transformers history. "There are going to be a lot of characters getting a lot of love", Barber said. The only character that they were willing to reveal at the time was Metalhawk, but with James Roberts working on a title, that is inevitably the tip of the iceberg!

 Speaking of the minds that compose the creative teams, they are currently planned to keep those same teams in place for as far as they have foreseen. So that’s John Barber and Andrew Griffith on "Robots in Disguise" and James Roberts and Nick Roche on “More than Meets the Eye”. There is the possibility of the artists being rotated, simply as a matter of how the comic book industry works these days. Very few artists can provide the level of detail that is expected in just four weeks, so to alleviate some of the pressures, alternate artists may be called upon from time to time. Although fret not about different styles and designs randomly appearing with each new artist, John Barber made it a point to state that the comics will maintain their “strong artistic identities.”

Both comics will feature five variant covers. Four of which will connect for a larger image. For “More than Meets the Eye”, these covers will be drawn by Alex Milne, while Marcelo Matere will provide the variant covers for “Robots in Disguise”. These covers each feature one character important to the story, and then “link up” into one large image for each title. For those looking to find the image in one place, without piecing it together, there will be a Retail Incentive gate fold cover providing just that!

And while you’re at your comic book shop inquiring about the Retail Incentive cover, ask them about the other promotion. IDW will be sending out temporary tattoos in the form of Autobot and Decepticon symbols along with the first issue of the comics!

 “Robots in Disguise” and "More than Meets the Eye” weren’t the only titles discussed. Also mentioned, albeit briefly, were "Infestation 2" and Simon Furman and Andrew Wildman’s continuation of the original “Transformers” comic! Although not too much was revealed about the latter, it was said to have great surprises in store and that it would “blow everyone away”. The other upcoming comic that they touched on briefly was “Autocracy”. Again they did not say much about this title, and repeated several times that an announcement would be made soon. Both regarding release dates and method – digital vs. print. They did say, however, that it will be set in the same universe as the two Ongoings, but will be set in the past so that it won’t directly be influencing events in either title. Although there will still be some surprising revelations made.

As for comics they won’t be making or had no comment on, there are currently no plans for an Animated comic book. The same goes for any side miniseries spun out of the Ongoings, like the previous Ironhide and Drift miniseries. They declined comment on Transformers Prime comics, as well as War For Cybertron comics. Each time one of these titles were brought up, it was stated that they are currently focused on “Robots in Disguise” and “More than Meets the Eye” for the time being.

A suggested comic that they did take interest in was a profile book covering all of the new and re-imagined IDW characters. “That could be fun”, Barber commented.

Last but not least, Michael Kelly from Hasbro had a few things to say outside the realm of IDW. First of all, he confirmed without a doubt that the War For Cybertron video games are in continuity with Transformers Prime. The same goes for the two Del Rey Transformers novels Exodus and Exiles. He also confirmed that more such novels are on the way, and that they will also be set in the Transformers Prime continuity. When asked if there were going to be any novels set outside of Transformers Prime, he offered a “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Like last time, there was a lot of great information shared concerning present and future projects. We would like to thank John Barber, Anna Maria White and all the members of IDW that participated as well as Michael Kelly from Hasbro!

Check out the images below for more information on “Robots in Disguise” and “More than Meets the Eye”.