Friday, September 19, 2014
AND NOW BACK TO TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE
Previously, twenty years after the events which ended the Marvel series, the Autobots returned to Earth to find it a barren wasteland, conquered by Decepticon leader Megatron. Optimus Prime dueled Megatron one last time and the villain was killed thanks to the intervention of Autobot security officer Kup. But at that same instant, the diabolical Galvatron, Megatron's alternate future self, returned to life.
The Autobots left Earth with the exception of Optimus Prime, who stayed behind against the wishes of the planet's dwindling population, in order to destroy all remaining sources of Cybertronian technology and help rebuild. But Prime's mission was for naught as Galvatron joined forces with Starscream and Shockwave, repaired the long-crashed Autobot spacecraft Ark, and departed the planet as Prime watched.
Meanwhile, one-time Headmaster Decepticon Scorponok coerced Dinobot commander Grimlock into aiding him to take control of Cybertron. But Scorponok's reign was short-lived as Grimlock betrayed him and both perished in final battle. At the same time, Optimus Prime's protégé, Hot Rod, ventured beneath the surface of Cybertron, where he encountered a race of "proto-Transformers" created and discarded millennia ago by the Transformers' god, Primus.
I found that I generally enjoyed the series with regards to the tight plotting from Furman, and the wonderful artwork by Andrew Wildman and Stephen Baskerville. I did take issue with some of Furman's choices such as the destruction of Earth, and the deaths of certain characters -- but when reading a Furman TRANSFORMERS comic, carnage is usually par for the course. On a bigger level, I thought the idea of picking up the story twenty years in the future, but only ostensibly one issue later, to be a questionable plan. My other, more minor nitpicks were Furman's continued use of the intelligent Dinobots (not something he could avoid, however, since they had always been played that way in the original comics), and his "wussification" of Optimus Prime.
But Furman certainly wrote the series in the vein of a classic Marvel comic, with plots and sub-plots galore, a practice I loved -- even if his story arcs often felt overly padded and drawn out. He came in with a plan to cover twenty issues in four 5-part arcs, which seems an inorganic way of writing a continuation of a series which, once upon a time, was comprised mostly of "done-in-one" stories with only occasional multi-part arcs, relying on sub-plots for issue-to-issue continuity.
However, once I sucked it up and began to roll with all these bits and pieces, I found the ride enjoyable overall. In the case of TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE, it certainly was possible to go home again. For more detailed thoughts on the first ten-plus issues, feel free to spend the coming week looking at my previous reviews in this series -- then come back next Friday for REGENERATION ONE #91, as we'll see if Furman can keep my interest and close things out on a high note.