Thundercracker has always been my favorite Transformer, because he’s a blue jet. When you’re 6 years old, that’s enough. So I was interested to see how he was being characterized in the new Transformers comics from IDW. Thundercracker had been in hiding since being “discharged” by Megatron. Since then, the war between Autobots andd Decepticons ended with humans victorious. Megaton was defeated, Optimus Prime surrendered to Earth authorities, and the remaining robots are scattered and in hiding. Thundercracker is found by some Decepticons lead by Swindle, one of the Constructicons. They've joined Autobots under Hot Rod to build a spaceship to leave Earth. Swindle is manipulating Hot Rod into filling the void left by Optimus, and starts calling him Rodimus Prime. Thundercracker looks at his fellow robots with pity. They are unable to adapt to their new situation. He’s come to realize organic life’s ability to adapt to and overcome obstacles makes it superior. He sees the beauty in life simultaneous fragility and resiliency.
In short, one comic gets me up to speed on recent events, the current status quo, the major players, two continuing plotlines, and one character’s personal growth. You just don’t see that enough in today’s comics.
It looks like Mike Costa is writing a truly epic series about the ongoing war between two alien races. The Transformers are portrayed as more than just the “good guys” and “bad guys” they were on the cartoon show. They have personalities, feelings, desires, and fears. Swindle’s argument for Hot Rod leading them into a post-war age is very persuasive. He plays on Hot Rod’s better nature and his desire to protect his fellow robots. It’s not just clever, it’s downright insidious. Who’d have thought a Transformers comic would have such compelling dialogue?
Figueroa draws the Transformers as truly living machines. These aren’t the block, plain toys we used to play with. Nor are they the random patchworks of metal from Michael Bay’s Crimes Against Culture: 2006 & 2009. Their exposed wires and shifting outer shells create the impression that they are alive and in motion. Older characters haven’t been redesigned to look sleek or modernized. They look more like themselves than they ever did.
I feel like buying more Transformers comics based on this book. And that’s the best sign of a good comic.
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