Energon Universe - ongoing Transformers and G.I. Joe comics from Skybound

Salt-Man Z

that is not dead which can eternal lie
Citizen
Dreamwave? Their War Within series made it clear that that was a new G1 continuity incompatible with either the cartoon or Marvel comics, since the overall Dreamwave G1 series was like a mixture of both.
Maybe. When it started, DW was definitely trying to be a sequel to a version of the cartoon where the Movie never happened.
 

Tuxedo Prime

Well-known member
Citizen
Dreamwave? Their War Within series made it clear that that was a new G1 continuity incompatible with either the cartoon or Marvel comics, since the overall Dreamwave G1 series was like a mixture of both.
Dreamwave-G1 was -- or perhaps became -- its own thing, but it definitely hit many of the same story/setup beats of both major English-speaking prior continuities (we'll just set aside the brain-breaking temporal nightmare that is Toei-G1, for now), with whichever one being the most homages depending on the writers (Patyk and McDonough going very cartoon-centric with Shrapnel's grayscale font, Cliffjumper distrusting Mirage, and Bruticus starting his dialogue with "UUURRRRRRR!"; while Furman's War Within beings back Strategic Grimlock, Primus, and onomatopoeiac sighs. Ironically the one flip between the two is that Furman wrote Sunbow Shockwave and the present-day writers had him turn into Marvel Shockwave ("Logic dictates I am badass") while Megatron was away....).

Also too, their analysis of Vector Sigma and use of the Covenant of Primus in the ongoing G1 comic suggests that they were laying groundwork to make their G1 the backstory to Mainframe-Beasties (which also dropped references to both Marvel -G1 and Sunbow-G1). So while mixing up all three prior major Anglic versions of the G1 continuity family, Dreamwave made a new recipe....

IDW(2005)-G1, however, pretty much made a new story from scratch. No 4 million year hiatus, new altmodes, a new mission unrelated to prior versions, and the leaders don't even come to Earth until the end of the first story arc....
 

Undead Scottsman

Well-known member
Citizen
Read the issue
If this was just a limited series or something, I'd be fine with what it's doing as an approximation of MTMTE but darker, more violent and a high body count.

As the start of a shared universe that will likely last for years and I'm less fine...

Hope nobody was hoping for more Jetfire. Gonna have to wait and see if someone retcons him back to life in five years now.
 

The Phazer

Well-known member
Citizen
This is a franchise with more characters than you could ever, ever possibly use to be honest.

It's fine to kill people sometimes.
 

Andrusi

Lun!
Citizen
This is a franchise with more characters than you could ever, ever possibly use to be honest.

It's fine to kill people sometimes.
I certainly prefer this over
bringing in, say, Stormshot and Freewheeler so you can kill off a cool jet and a little yellow guy without departing from the nostalgia of people who were born in 1979.
 

Undead Scottsman

Well-known member
Citizen
This is a franchise with more characters than you could ever, ever possibly use to be honest.

It's fine to kill people sometimes.
It's the first issue. Maybe give characters time to develop before offing them. Jetfire is less of a character here, and more of a plot device.
 

Haywire

Collecter of Gobots and Godzilla
Citizen
I'm not ready to write them off just yet, but this story direction isn't really doing much for me.
The last panel is...disturbing, particularly if it becomes the rule when Decepticons, or even just Starscream, interact with humans. Definitely not sharing this one with the kid for a while.
I suppose time will tell if the Autobot and Decepticon deaths are permanent or temporary, but I have a hard time getting too worried about those characters just yet.
That said, I don't want a comic series full of bleak outlooks for everyone, and so far, this just looks bleak.

The preview cover for the upcoming Duke comic has Starscream in it. Similarly, the cover for the companion Cobra Commander book has the Ark in a similar placement, but that also looks an awful lot like a gun-mode Megatron in the Commander's hand. Maybe just a sly tease with no connection to the actual story, but just might be a hint at Megatron's whereabouts...
 

Shadewing

Well-known member
Citizen
I kinda liked this overall. I think its an interesting and slightly darker start to things; but I feel like there is plenty of room for things to evolve. I liked the action, and am fine with what happened to some of the characters. This is a nice counterpoint to Void Rivals which is such an immensely slow burn; for this to be quick and snappy and get right to things without drawing anything out too much.
 

Shadewing

Well-known member
Citizen
I think so far what I like best about this series is that it just feels like a mash-up of the Cartoon and the early Marvel comics. We've not really gotten a darker take on the Cartoon origins before, and between the style of the art, and how much its willing to show with violence feels like a lot of early Budanisky era comics where no one is really safe. Dreamwave kinda tried that seeming like it wanted to fill in the years between season 2 and the movie, but kinda felt like it was intentionally going for spectacle with Superion sacrificing himself to stop a nuke and kinda quickly started doing its own thing. It felt like it was all intentionally trying to be big and epic. IDW did something completely different in both their works. But even when they tried to make something that felt like Marvel it still felt off. And I think part of that was the art looking too clean. The art style here, feels kinda nostalgic to me becuase its gritty and messy, its not clean, it doesn't feel like its been polished. While its benefits from modern techniques it still feels like a classic old comic.
 

Tuxedo Prime

Well-known member
Citizen
I think so far what I like best about this series is that it just feels like a mash-up of the Cartoon and the early Marvel comics. We've not really gotten a darker take on the Cartoon origins before, and between the style of the art, and how much its willing to show with violence feels like a lot of early Budanisky era comics where no one is really safe. Dreamwave kinda tried that seeming like it wanted to fill in the years between season 2 and the movie, but kinda felt like it was intentionally going for spectacle with Superion sacrificing himself to stop a nuke and kinda quickly started doing its own thing. It felt like it was all intentionally trying to be big and epic. IDW did something completely different in both their works. But even when they tried to make something that felt like Marvel it still felt off. And I think part of that was the art looking too clean. The art style here, feels kinda nostalgic to me becuase its gritty and messy, its not clean, it doesn't feel like its been polished. While its benefits from modern techniques it still feels like a classic old comic.
In my earlier analysis of the Dreamwave era above, I had forgotten to mention the Early Installment Weirdness that was Sarracini's first miniseries. And any Transformers story that opens with a nameless human soldier that the Internet would soon dub "Smokey Fullbladder" is definitely going to be unusual....

The first mini is somewhat tonally different from the rest of the series, though we can see perhaps some inspiration for McCarthy's "All Hail Megatron" arc over in IDW. that latter didn't really have a Sunbow-style MacGuffin, though, and built on Furman's "*-ation" series even as it wrenched the storyline down a different path. But this, with elements of the US military trying to off both sides of an alien war on their soil and Another Devastation of San Francisco, while some Autobots try to stop a cyberforming wave up the Far North, feels like the last gasp of the "We is Hardcore Now!" Marvel G2 ethos. The second mini and the ongoing would shift the focus more on the Transformers, but also take a more cartoon-centric tone even as it laid down both Megatron having an epiphany and Shockwave playing at.... something overarching.
 

Magnusblitz

Active member
Citizen
I found this to be a solid, if not spectacular, start. The art is absolutely amazing, very kinetic and colorful. Even the panel that's just Optimus and Ratchet driving in vehicle mode looks awesome. My only complaint visually is probably the scratchy font they chose, kinda hard to read.

As for the writing... yeah, ok, I can see how the violence would turn some people off, and at least for this issue it definitely feels a lot like "MTMTE (cartoon) but dark." But I think it does have its place: it's a way to winnow the cast size down, and it really does help set the stage that these guys are giant alien war machines, which I think is a perfectly legitimate tack to take, especially with a Earth-centric storyline. We had a lot of redeemed Decepticons in IDW 2005 and even a fair amount of shades of grey in IDW 2019, so seeing Starscream be an out-and-out villain from the start is also a bit refreshing in a way.

That said, I am hoping the familiar setup is just a start, and things do head in a more interesting direction. Right now the only real mystery is what's up with Megatron. Johnson is known for digging into character's emotional beats so I'm still hopeful. (I definitely could relate to his note in the back... though, while I was able to draw Optimus Prime, that most decidedly did NOT mean I could draw anything else...)
 

LordGigaIce

words pain, funny man
Citizen
I really liked it. The art is stunning, in the best way.
And I don't even mind going with the MtMtE setup because really... when was the last time it was reinvented?

In fact using the very broad strokes "G1 cartoon" setup as a base to tell new stories is pretty inspired to me in a world where everything else seems to have amalgamated into IDW1/Aligned backstory, which eschews stuff like the G1 human characters, the Ark, and the Transformers being asleep for millions of years.

There's also a timeless quality to the setting? It feels lived in and "real" for lack of a better term. And it seems retro without clearly being retro. Is this the present day? The 80s? 70s? It doesn't matter because it's not our world. It's recognizable but different and I dig it.

There's also a lot of talk about low energon levels and not enough raw materials. It makes me think that, like the setup, this version of the TF mythos is going back to the G1 cartoon's backstory of energy shortages being the cause for the War.

And I'm here for it. IDW1, IDW2, Aligned, and almost everything else seems to have leaned into some version of "it's all politics! Fascist analogs! Communist analogs! Megatron is Jeremy Corbyn!" and it's just strange that the central conflict of G1 got forgotten while the rest of it got respun again and again.
So I'm all for going back to the energy issue as the inciting incident here.
It's very timely anyway.

Finally, tying into that, it seems like whatever caused the War preceded the factions. I've posted elsewhere here recently that the handling of the factions and the War in general always gets messy in TF fiction so I'm interested in seeing where they go here.
 

MrBlud

Well-known member
Citizen
Given Shockwave’s level of disgust, it’s possible the Quintesson Rebellion drained all the energy and rather than being defeated the Quintessons simply abandoned the dead world.
 

Undead Scottsman

Well-known member
Citizen
The feel like the reason the central conflict of G1 was forgotten is because it felt, to me, to be inspired by the multiple energy crisis(es) in 1970's US. The OPEC embargo stemming from the US supplying arms to Israel during the Israeli/Arab war in the early 70's caused the first one and then a massive decrease in iranian production in 1979 lead to another one. Two happening in the same decade definitely left it's mark on the American psyche and fear it would happen again carried into the 80's. Energy was an extremely hot button topic of the era. People were taking out ads in magazines like National Geographic espousing how dangerous they felt America's dependence on foreign oil is. I would generally be surprised if that stuff wasn't on the mind of the creators when they were writing that stuff. (Not saying they were making a statement on it or anything, just that they were inspired by a then major current event)

These days, the problem people have isn't the amount of energy available, but the price and what the environmental impact is, and that's a little harder to base a Transformers comic around, hence why the franchise moved on.
 

LordGigaIce

words pain, funny man
Citizen
The feel like the reason the central conflict of G1 was forgotten is because it felt, to me, to be inspired by the multiple energy crisis(es) in 1970's US. The OPEC embargo stemming from the US supplying arms to Israel during the Israeli/Arab war in the early 70's caused the first one and then a massive decrease in iranian production in 1979 lead to another one. Two happening in the same decade definitely left it's mark on the American psyche and fear it would happen again carried into the 80's. Energy was an extremely hot button topic of the era. People were taking out ads in magazines like National Geographic espousing how dangerous they felt America's dependence on foreign oil is. I would generally be surprised if that stuff wasn't on the mind of the creators when they were writing that stuff. (Not saying they were making a statement on it or anything, just that they were inspired by a then major current event)

These days, the problem people have isn't the amount of energy available, but the price and what the environmental impact is, and that's a little harder to base a Transformers comic around, hence why the franchise moved on.
First, I'd disagree with your last point. Back in the 70s/80s the concern was America's dependence on foreign oil but these days the amount of oil period is the concern. You could still weave a timely story about that.

Secondly to your broad point... yeah. I get that.
Thing is, that the Aligned/IDW1/IDW2/Cyberverse/Earthspark/etc take on 1) the war being about political upheaval and 2) the Transformers arriving on Earth in the present day, skipping the millions of years in stasis plot point has been so all-encompassing and ever-present that this series going with a more G1 cartoon conflict/origin is refreshing.
 


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