Transformers was a big part of my childhood, thanks to an older brother who owned many of the classic toys and VHS tapes, as well as the Beast Wars television series. My reaction in recent years to Transformers, however, was decidedly lukewarm: I saw the first and third Michael Bay movies which I didn’t hate, but didn’t love either. Luckily, IDW Publishing released some great Transformers comics, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on Transformers: Infiltration, the beginning of the well-regarded IDW-verse of Transformers comics. What did I think of this trade paperback?
Transformers: Infiltration is set on Earth in 2006 and follows the human teenagers Verity Carlo, Hunter O’Nion (which is not pronounced like onion, as he assures everyone), and Jimmy Pink. The three are caught in the crossfire of a Decepticon invasion plan when Verity steals a palm pilot with photos of a Decepticon fortress (remember, this is 2006). Luckily, the Autobot Ratchet rushes to their rescue, and soon the teens are involved in a massive conflict which sees the return of two of the mightiest Transformers to ever exist.
Simon Furman, often regarded as the seminal Transformers comic writer, is Infiltration’s scribe. I like that he balances both the human and robot aspects of the comic: too often in recent years, Transformers stories have focused too much on the humans (see: all the Michael Bay films). Furman acknowledges that a human element is necessary for stories taking place on Earth, but he makes sure to spend time characterizing the Autobots and Decepticons. The dialogue he writes is mostly good, though is awkward here and there. I also wish we could’ve seen a bit more ineraction between the Autobots and Decepticons, but I’m sure that will come through in future volumes.
Artist E.J. Su’s work on Infiltration is great. The character designs, especially important for a series as visual as Transformers, are stellar. He does amazing work with drawings of individual Autobots or Decepticons transforming from one shape to another. The battle scenes are pretty cool as well, getting better as the volume progresses. The human characters look pretty good as well, though at times their facial expressions look strange. My only complaint is that the backgrounds in some scenes are flat and uninspired, but given that a decent portion of this comic takes place in a desert its hard to fault the art team.
Overall, Transformers: Infiltration is an enjoyable comic. Even people without knowledge of the Transformers universe can jump in and enjoy, though fans of the series will definitely appreciate it. Though the first half of the volume is slow, the wait is worth it for a gripping conclusion. This comic also made me respect the Autobots, which is a big deal since I’ve found them lame for quite awhile (except Optimus Prime, of course). Reading this volume makes me feel like I need to read the rest of Furman’s Transformers run.
-awesome art, especially the battle scenes and transformation sequences
-solid writing that balances the human and Transformers aspects
-develops the Autobots as more interesting characters
-backgrounds are dull
-pieces of the story seem a bit dated
Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. He thinks Shockwave deserves his own solo series.
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