Friday, October 24, 2014


Writer: Simon Furman
Art: Casey Coller, Geoff Senior, Jeff Anderson, José Delbo, Nick Roche
Inker: Stephen Baskerville (p. 7 - 16) | Colorist: John-Paul Bove
Letterer: Chris Mowry | Editor: John Barber
Editor-in-Chief: Chris Ryall

Cover by Andrew Wildman
The Plot: Sent into "Zero Space" by Primus, Hot Rod witnesses key events in the Transformers' history, across more than one timeline. First he sees a group of Autobots on Earth, led by Optimus Prime in his PowerMaster form, battling a Creation Matrix-spawned creature called the Deathbringer. Next he is sent millions of years into Cybertron's past, where he witnesses Jhiaxus steal the secrets of the Underbase and erase all records and memories of his own existence from Cybertronian history. Then on Earth once more, Hot Rod views the beginning of Megatron's campaign against the human race.

Finally, in a parallel timeline, Hot Rod sees himself, as Rodimus Prime, battling Galvatron on the Planet of Junk, amid the corpses of his fellow Autobots. Rodimus is destroyed and the Matrix flung from his body. Hot Rod touches it and then materializes on Cybertron as Rodimus Prime, just in time to challenge Bludgeon.

G1 Continuity: Lots of it here! The Deathbringer was part of a throwaway flashback in one of Furman's Marvel issues. The actual story behind the flashback was published in the U.K. comics. But since those events do not exist in this timeline, Furman has repurposed the scene here.

Jhiaxus, as noted last time, debuted in the GENERATION 2 comics. He is seen here speaking with Boltax, the Transformers' "High Circuitmaster" from TRANSFORMERS #48. The Underbase is a power source from Cybertron corrupted by Starscream circa issue 50.

Megatron's invasion of Earth features an appearance by Spike Witwicky's younger brother, Buster, and his wife Jessie. Buster was originally the main human POV character for the Marvel TRANSFORMERS series. Spike came into the story much later as Buster's heretofore unseen brother.

Lastly, the battle on Junk seems to be an homage to TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE, though it's obviously not an actual scene from that film.

Body Count: Jhiaxus "kills" Boltax in a sort of group-mind experience, but he lives on in real life. In the scene featuring Megatron's Decepticon zombies, Buster and Jessie are killed by Ratbat while hiding in a car wash. Also, as noted, in the parallel timeline on Junk, all Rodimus Prime's allies -- Ultra Magnus, Kup, Springer, and Arcee -- are seen dead before Rodimus himself is killed.

Variant "retro" cover by Guido Guidi
My Thoughts: I'm not sure who had the idea to produce a Number 0 issue featuring art from classic Trasnformers pencilers, but I like it. Geoff Senior in particular was always one of my favorite G1 artists due to his ability to stick very closely to the Sunbow Animation model sheets, coupled with a great energetic feel to his action scenes.

And the coloring by John-Paul Bove is a tour de force for this issue. For the scenes by senior and Delbo, set during or shortly after the original Marvel series, he uses a dot style coloring technique to match the comics of the eighties. The bit on Cybertron with Jhiaxus, illustrated by longtime Marvel U.K. penciler Jeff Anderson, is given a sort of watercolor treatment to help it look like those British comics. And the bit on junk, inspired as it is by TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE, is colored with an animation cel-shading technique. But all the while, as he travels through the timestream, Hot Rod remains colored in the normal REGENRATION ONE style.

As for the story -- well, I feel like Hot Rod has seen a few important things, but I'm not sure how they're all related yet. I suspect that as the series winds down and Jhiaxus comes in as what I assume will be the final "big bad", these visions will fall into place and make sense. But for now, the only real revelation to come from issue 0 is Hot Rod finally becoming Rodimus Prime.

And perhaps I've been too hard on Furman for putting the transformation off for so long. It's just that Hot Rod's hero's journey is such a standard part of the Transformers saga, and Furman is such a fan of the 1986/TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE characters, that there was absolutely no way he wasn't going this direction. We knew it wasn't a question of "if", so the inevitable "when" was an unacceptably long time in coming.

But he's Rodimus now. Let's see where Furman goes with this.

Final Opinion: It remains to be seen if this story will be an integral part of the saga, or merely "supplementary material". But in any case, I enjoyed all the homages and continuity nods -- though I'm sad to see Buster and Jessie killed off even though we pretty much knew they hadn't survived Megatron's attacks -- and Bove's coloring is spectacular.

Available as part of TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE, vol. 2 from

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