'Transformers' #2 Travels Where Autobots Fear to Tread
We review the latest Daniel Warren Johnson comic and find a story that's achingly beautiful and full of surprises.
As much as we loved the first issue, Transformers #2 is where the book really gets cooking and shows off the emotional savagery capable of Daniel Warren Johnson. The first two pages are everything. Optimus Prime pulls himself from the forest and gazes upon the most majestic Earthly landscape. Bottom panel - oof, not gonna tell ya what happens, but immediately, Prime understands the fragility of the world he's now trapped on.
You may recall from our conversation with Johnson and the whole Skybound team at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, Transformers will explore what it means for the Autobots to walk upon a ground that crumbles beneath their massive metallic bodies. In this issue, Prime explicitly states to Spike that they leave no tread on Cybertron. Seeing his immediate impact on Earth, Prime is stunned and a little appalled, but awe creeps in, too.
This noxious emotional mixture is what separates the Autobots from the Decepticons. Starscream witnesses human squishiness, and it emboldens his superiority. He sees himself a god to these small creatures, and it masks the incredible inferiority he routinely felt underneath Megatron's boot.
Oh, yes, Megatron. Where are you? Transformers #2 offers a few more clues about where the diabolical tyrant might be, allowing his presence and absence to loom over everything. Away from his watchful eye, his cronies are running wild on our planet. Much of this month's issue involves the Decepticons laying waste to humanity's feeble defense forces. In the process - well, we start to see how the greater Skybound/Hasbro Energon Universe will stitch together. It's all very exciting.
It's time for the little people to get in the game. Spike and Carly make some tough choices in Transformers #2, propelling them to the series' forefront. And that might not be such a delight for the Autobots. Prime is instantly infatuated with these small folk, but Ratchet and Cliffjumper will need some convincing.
Transformers #2 also features Daniel Warren Johnson pushing what's possible with Autobot and Decepticon anatomy. We've seen these bodies in numerous ways cinematically, on the small screen, and in our mitts, as we've mashed their tiny toy limbs around. Johnson devotes tremendous space to those Transformer moments of transition. Seeing Prime halfway between his humanoid form and truck is mesmerizing. It's equally repulsive and attractive, and these stills would aggressively halt my eye movement. The Transformers are weird, weird, weird. And the awe Prime shows for our breakable world is returned ten-fold by me toward him. He's gross and gorgeous, and I love him.
Quickie Review: The Cybertron War has arrived on Earth. Transformers #2 establishes the stakes for all parties and gives Optimus Prime a reason to defend our brittle planet. It's also proof why Daniel Warren Johnson was the ideal artist to shepherd this series. I'm eagerly anticipating the next issue.
Writer: Daniel Warren Johnson
Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound
On Sale: 11/8
Synopsis: THE SMASH-HIT SERIES CONTINUES! The Decepticons have been unleashed! As Optimus Prime and Autobots regroup, Starscream terrorizes humanity.This issue features a surprising first Energon Universe appearance!