IDW’s core line of Transformers comics continues on from Infiltration in a trade paperback called Stormbringer. Though published later, the events of Stormbringer actually happen simulatenously as Infiltration, explaining what Optimus Prime and the Wreckers were up to while Prowl and company investigated the Decepticon forces on Earth. As a story set away from Earth, this story focused entirely on the robotic characters of the series. How did I enjoy this next installment of the series?
Stormbringer is a story with a decidedly dark message: sins of the past will come back to haunt you if not properly dealt with. Because of millenia of Autobot versus Decepticon war, Cybertron, homeplanet of the Transformers, became totally devoid of resources. One intrepid Decepticon scientist, however, hoped to find a solution to the problem, but instead turned himself into a horrid monstrosity. It took an alliance of epic proportions between the Autobots and the Decepticons to defeat him once before, at the cost of more damage to their homeworld. Now, however, a mad figure seeks to revive this monster and use it for his own ends. Can Optimus Prime halt this beast, perhaps atoning for his greatest failure?
Transformers scribe supreme Simon Furman penned Stormbringer in 2007. I’ve said it before in past reviews of his work, but Furman clearly understands the Transformers characters and canon. He will make you care about the struggles of giant robots. Optimus Prime’s guilt-ridden internal monologue was gripping and, to a degree, heart-breaking. It was good to see the all-powerful Leader of the Autobots admit his shortcomings. Furthermore, I liked that the Decepticons are not portrayed as irredeemably evil: there are two occassions in this volume where they help the Autobots (albeit for partially selfish reasons). One downside of this comic is that it includes loads and loads of characters who can be easy to confuse or forget who they are, but given that only a few of them are key to the plot this isn’t a big problem.
Don Figueroa’s pencils are the central point of the artwork. I think he’s a great artist, and does some exceptional character designs; in fact, I think I prefer his designs over those of E.J. Su who drew Infiltration. The backgrounds of some scenes are bland leave something to be desired. Josh Burcham’s coloring is superb: it’s not so bright as to bother the eyes, but not so dark that it betrays this series roots in the colorful action figures of the 80s. Overall, the art is probably the best in any Transformers media I’ve seen thus far.
Stormbringer is an enjoyable comic, especially for Transformers fans. While it isn’t necessary to read Infiltration beforehand, doing so does help inform the story and allow the reader to become more invested in the major conflict. For anyone interested in Transformers, find a way to read this comic!
-awesome art, perhaps the best in modern Tansformers comics
-engaging plotline and character analyses, specifically of Optimus Prime
-great portrayal of the Decepticons as not inherently evil
-backgrounds are lackluster
-many characters introduced in a short period
Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. He’s surprised someone with the name “Springer” can be a total badass.