IDW Recent Hits Sale at comiXology – What to Buy!
With comiXology holding a “Recent Hits Sale” on select IDW Publishing comics, it’s a great time to catch up on IDW’s Transformers, the Hasbro Universe, or any of the other acclaimed titles offered by IDW. Read on for our editors’ recommendations on what to pick up!
At $3.99, Windblade: The Last City is more than worth its price, solely for the original 4-issue Windblade miniseries within; but the remainder of the collection is… a mixed bag. Issues 1-3 of Windblade volume 2 are practically unreadable thanks to a massive screw-up by IDW that leaves out the alternating issues of Combiner Wars it was meant to be read alongside, resulting in a completely disjointed reading experience. Issues #4-7, meanwhile, are much more cohesive as stories, but suffer a great deal from having to work as a prelude to Till All Are One – and Corin Howell’s artwork, while not BAD, doesn’t fit the tone of the stories at all. Still, at that price, it’s definitely worth the price to read the first chapter of Windblade’s story.
Windblade: Distant Stars is also on sale for $4.99… a baffling decision, as it contains less than half of the content of The Last City. Unlike the larger collection, it does contain the Combiner Hunters one-shot; but when that itself is available separately for only $1.99, there’s no reason to get the smaller collection when it costs even more than The Last City.
Though Lost Light volume 1 takes a top spot as one of the sale’s “Fan Favorites”, it’s hard to deny that – in the eyes of many fans – James Roberts’ Transformers saga has fallen far from its former glory. While “Dissolution” reads better when read in one go than staggered out over the course of six months, a weak use of the alternate timeline premise and lack of meaningful conclusion makes it a hard sell to anyone except die-hard fans of More than Meets the Eye. Volume 2 fares no better, taking the “misery-for-misery’s-sake” writing critics have decried to a new level.
By contrast, John Barber’s Transformers writing has gone from strength to strength; and paired with the art of Kei Zama, Optimus Prime is one of the best Transformers comics of the last few years. Volume 1, “New Cybertron”, tells the story of the tensions between the Autobots and humanity when first contact is made with the Junkions, and makes for a perfect jumping on point that will give you an idea of whether you’ll like the series as a whole; volume 2, meanwhile, explores a collection of one-shots focused on Optimus’s Autobot team, from Bumblebee to Arcee – and features the acclaimed “The Life of Sideswipe”, considered by some to be the best work of Barber’s career. Volume 3, by contrast, suffers from the need to tie into the First Strike event and set up the pieces for both “The Falling” and Transformers: Unicron – but that build-up is worth the wait, as both of those climactic stories have embodied the best aspects of Barber’s writing.
Revolutionaries, something of a spinoff to Barber’s main Transformers saga and spiritual successor to his Action Man miniseries, is perhaps his magnum opus: eight one-shot stories that add up into an often bizarre, sometimes heartwarming, and always hilarious saga that chronicles the adventures of four misfits investigating a mystery that spans worlds and time while making countless meta references, continuity deep cuts, and incredibly silly jokes. With a deeply lovable found-family cast, earth-shaking continuity revelations, and a World War II soldier that talks like a 90s stereotype, Revolutionaries‘ sole flaw is its somewhat open ending to lead into First Strike – but with the two volumes at $4.99 and $2.99 respectively, it’d be a must-buy even if it didn’t set up plot threads that are paying off in Unicron.
Transformers/G.I. Joe: First Strike is a heartbreaking one. For the majority of its run, the miniseries is a deeply character-driven story about G.I. Joe’s leader Scarlett and the betrayal of her mentor Joe Colton, that elegantly mixes drama, sci-fi action, and hilarious villainous bickering. And then, in the last issue, it all goes awry; the plot is completely derailed to promote an entirely different comic, and the plot threads introduced in the series go without satisfactory resolution. Meanwhile, First Strike: Champions is entirely redundant; everything in it is also printed in the collections for the series they tie into. Pick up the main event TPB if you’re interested in having the full story of the IDW universe, but otherwise it’s difficult to advise spending your time and money on it.
Transformers vs Visionaries, similarly, is hard to recommend, despite its position as one of the “Editors’ Picks”. From the editorially-mandated death in the first issue to the way the plot just kind of fizzles out, everything about it feels half-hearted – likely a consequence of how the plot had to be retooled from the author’s original concept when it was changed from being only about the Visionaries.
The trade paperback of John Barber and Paolo Villanelli’s Action Man miniseries is on sale for $3.99, which is an absolute steal. Something of a prelude to the Transformers spinoff Revolutionaries, this action-packed spy drama will have you in love with its characters from the very first page; packed with the best of Barber’s comedy talents, it weaves a compelling story in its four issues, plus a one-and-done story that sees our hero rescue Kup from the forces of G.I. Joe. If you’ve ever considered picking this one up, you owe it to yourself to do so now.
IDW’s delightfully meta Clue, from Paul Allor and Nelson Dániel, uses the premise of the classic murder mystery board game as the jumping-off point for a very post-modern whodunnit. With a cast of very colourful characters (if you’ll pardon the pun), Clue’s story is an engaging labyrinth of twists and turns, which we’re guided through by faithful butler and our charismatic, fourth-wall-breaking narrator Upton. A brilliant, beautifully drawn story that flew under the radar much more than it should have, Clue is a must-buy even without its discounted price of $3.99.
ROM provides a near-comprehensive showing of the Space Knight’s IDW history, with the three volumes of the ongoing series plus Rom vs Transformers: Shining Armor; the only part of the saga missing is the finale, Rom & the Micronauts. Though I personally believe that volume 2 and R&tM are the best parts of ROM, if you’re a Transformers fan curious as to whether you’ll like it, Shining Armor is the way to go – if you enjoy that, you’ll definitely like the ongoing.
Scarlett’s Strike Force, a laugh-out-loud action comedy with gorgeous art and engaging characters, makes for a depressingly flawed offering despite everything I love about it, it’s a very incomplete story; the two G.I. Joe volumes that preceded it are missing, and due to some notorious behind-the-scenes drama, the comic was cut short before it could be completed. Despite that, I’d still recommend it at $3.99 – it’s a very enjoyable comic on its own merits.
The only Micronauts comic on sale is Wrath of Karza, the finale to Cullen Bunn’s Micronauts saga… which is, unfortunately, definitely the weakest of the IDW Micronauts collections. If you’re interested in the world’s tiniest heroes, check out Micronauts volume 1 and Rom & the Micronauts, but be prepared to pay more than you would for the comics that are on sale.
The much acclaimed Jem and the Holograms, similarly, has an unfortunate selection of offerings; the only collections on sale are the disappointing Jem: Infinite, and the insubstantial Jem: Dimensions. If you want a taste of IDW’s Jem, pick up the Jem: The Misfits miniseries instead – just be aware that it’ll cost you more to buy the TPB on Comixology than the issues individually.
(M.A.S.K. is also on sale. Don’t buy M.A.S.K..)
IDW’s Back to the Future comics, written by Transformers mastermind John Barber and legendary BTTF creator Bob Gale, expand the world of the fan-favourite film franchise beyond the screen. If you’re interested in a sampler, I’d recommend picking up any of the first three volumes, on sale for $4.99 apiece. Volume one, “Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines”, is made up of ten anthology stories from the mouth of Doc Brown himself, whereas later volumes go for a more serialized approach; volume 2, “Continuum Conundrum”, is an anachronic mystery about how Doc got back from the Old West, while volume 3, “Who is Marty McFly”?, delves into some of the more philosophical questions fans have long asked about BTTF’s approach to time travel. Citizen Brown, the comic adaptation of Telltale Games’ Back to the Future adventure game, is also on sale – but a lot gets cut in translation, so if you’re interested, I’d much more recommend grabbing the game itself!
IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics have drawn acclaim in much the same way as their Transformers titles for the way they reimagine the goofy classic franchise in a way that invites more drama and pathos, but, unfortunately, none of the main series is available in the sale. However, the first four volumes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe are; if you’re curious, volume 2 (“The New Strangeness”) acts as an excellent sampler. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters II is also on sale, but without the context of the first miniseries, you might be a little lost.
Love is Love, an anthology from IDW and DC Comics from which sales go towards helping survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting of 2016, is available digitally for $3.99. The stories within range from heartfelt to tone-deaf, but it’s still a noble goal, and worth picking up just for that.
The IDW Recent Hits Sale has just under a week left to run, so get your picks in while you can!
Have you got something different to add? Maybe you want to recommend IDW’s My Little Pony, or disagree with some of our assessments? Have your say in the thread on our forums, or join the conversation in our Discord server!
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