IDW Revolutionaries #5 Review

IDW wasn’t kidding when they said they were folding all of Hasbro’s properties into one shared universe.

Thoughts and Synopsis

This was the fear ever since that not-Hearts of Steel Bumblebee/but totally Hearts of Steel Bumblebee showed up a few issues ago. Revolutionaries has finally brought Hearts of Steel into the main IDW canon. The steampunk Victorian-age Transformers story was presented as an “elseworld” concept. A “what if?” that was separate from the main timeline. It was revived a few times for various pan-IDW crossover events, but it was mostly it’s own thing. Not anymore.
The appearance of Hearts of Steel Bumblebee and Optimus Prime from the previous issues of Revolutionaries is finally explained. The Eukarian ship Axalon captained by the very Optimus and Big Convoy-looking Domitius Major crashes on Earth during the last ice age. They’ve been shot down by Shockwave. The logical Decepticon has returned to Earth to check on Ore-13. He finds much of the crew still alive, but badly damaged.
Shockwave decides to conduct an experiment. He reformats the crew of the Axalon into copies of notable Autobots and Decepticons. Domitius Major is remade as Optimus Prime, Centurion as Bumblebee, and so on. He implants false memories and goes about recreating the war on prehistoric Earth for science. Or something. Their energon reserves run low though, and fate intervenes to pull Shockwave away from his experiment. The Axalon crew goes into hibernation and awakens in Victorian America to kick off Hearts of Steel. Still thinking they’re the Autobots and Decepticons we know and love.

Final Thoughts

The Hearts of Steel flashbacks are fun. The retro art style adds a lot of character to a story that is bound to be divisive. On the whole? This was an admirable attempt to fold Hearts of Steel into the main Hasbroverse Revolutionaries exists in. Whether you think it should be done or not. The execution was commendable. It’s not perfect. It is as good as you’re going to get though.
Hearts of Steel had its fans. Those fans appreciated the fresh take on the Transformers story and the unique steampunk/victorian setting. I totally understand where they’re coming from when they say this isn’t to their liking. To them this retcon essentially said “that fresh and different take on Transformers wasn’t really the Transformers at all!”
All I can offer is that, like all fiction, you have a choice. Hearts of Steel can still be read as an Elseworld-style book. It can still be enjoyed as its own unique thing. It’s just that it’s also this different thing now as far as the IDW Hasbroverse is concerned.
I don’t know if folding Hearts of Steel into the primary IDW continuity had to be done. I would say it didn’t need to be, personally. Still? I liked it. I thought the attempt was well done, and I enjoy the possibility of meeting some of these Eukarian characters again once they have their memories restored.
Sorry about my lack of actual Revolutionaries team discussion. The continuity-wide retcon took up a lot of space. More to come next time!
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