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'Transformers' #4 Does Something You Haven't Seen Before

We review the latest DWJ joint and consider the external and internal brawls devastating our favorite characters.

Transformers 4 Review Daniel Warren Johnson

Before you began this review, you probably already had the big moment from this issue spoiled for you. I wasn't out of bed before seeing a certain splash page spread over Twitter this morning. I get it. It's awesome and something I've never seen before from the Transformers franchise (a sentiment re-iterated by Lord Retail). On the off chance you haven't had the moment spoiled for you, I'll tread softly and avoid its specific brilliance. Besides, as rad as the image is, it's not even the best bit from the book.

Look up. Stare into Carly's glare in the header image above. Her determination and readiness to bring down Starscream's murderous confidence is Daniel Warren Johnson providing major damage without the flash of nostalgia. It's straight-up badass cartooning, sticking a landing to a relationship we didn't even realize was building until this panel. She and Cliffjumper may be as significant to the Transformers story as Prime and Spike, certainly, in terms of my emotional experience.

Transformers #4 picks up seconds after the last issue. Spike is dying, crumpled unconscious in his father's arms, strapped inside Optimus Prime as he speeds away from Starscream's attack. Prime gets on the horn to Ratchet. He needs backup and firepower quickly. The Autobots' resident doc knows just the right soldier to revive, but Carly and Cliffjumper beat him to the scene.

Nothing could top the beatdown between Optimus Prime and Skywarp from issue three. That was DWJ pulling out all the stops and executing the action flawlessly. Transformers #4 does its damnedest though, with the Decepticons throwing everything they have at Prime, hoping to expose the hero to as much tragedy as they can before ending his life.

Unfortunately for them, Prime has an ace up his sleeve...or on it. And that's as close as I'll get to naming the moment that put a thousand geek jaws on the floor this morning. We get a page-turn most of us will be recalling for years to come, and it is oh so damn good, but the image from this issue that will stick with me even longer will be Carly's read-to-kill, blazing scowl.

She's already lost so much since she and Spike discovered the Ark. Her pop is gone. Her boyfriend stands on death's threshold. The world is at war with alien robots in disguise. All Carly has is her action, and placed behind Cliffjumper's wheel, with her seatbelt clicked firmly into place, she can do something. Be a part of something. "Get his ass."

If Starscream survives the next issue, it truly means Optimus Prime is the best that sentient life offers. I'd pop him just for what he did to poor Bumblebee. Considering that we still have two issues left in this first arc, you know Daniel Warren Johnson has a few more tricks to reveal. And maybe a few more Transformers, too.

Quickie Review: Transformers #4 continues Daniel Warren Johnson's war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. As with most projects from the artist, it's deceptively emotional while jammed with wall-to-wall action. The big surprise hits hard, but not as hard as the tiner panels with their extreme expression close-ups. Carly, where you go, so go we all.


Transformers #4

Transformers 4 Daniel Warren Johnson Review
Image Credit © 2023 Skybound Entertainment

Writer: Daniel Warren Johnson

Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson

Colorist: Mike Spicer

Letterer: Rus Wooton

Price: $4.99

On Sale: 1/10/24

Synopsis: When the Decepticons attack the Autobots at their weakest moment, an unlikely new hero joins the battle! With human and Transformer robots' lives at stake, can Optimus Prime unlock the true power behind the Matrix of Leadership to save them both?


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