Loyal readers of my column have probably noticed a pattern in my last fews posts. For the newcomers or casual readers, I’ve been on a series Transformers kick these last few weeks, looking at IDW’s core continuity with Infiltration and Stormbringer. Next in the reading order is Escalation: Optimus Prime arrives on Earth to help combat the Decepticons as they try to extract more Ore-13 (aka Ultra Energon) in their quest to rule the galaxy. Did this title live up to the high standard established in earlier volumes?
Escalation, as the title suggests, is all about the escalating conflict between the Decepticons and the Autobots. Following his battle against the revived Thunderwing, Optimus Prime and some of his most loyal troops have redeployed the Earth. Megatron is not the only foe, however, as a group of humans target the Autobots and seem to know more about the Transformers than the Cybertronians themselves expect. Who will rise to the top in this multi-pronged conflict?
Simon Furman’s epic run continues unabated in Escalation. I definitely sound like a broken record at this point, but Furman knows these characters inside and out. Each Transformer has a unique voice and is relatable. Though it’s all right to see the human characters now and then, I like that the vast majority of emphasis is on the machines. Furman also succeeds in balancing a large cast, giving everyone enough time to shine (and the readers a chance to learn their names). I’ve got no complaints about the writing.
E.J. Su returns to art duties with this volume. After seeing the art in Stormbringer, the quality here looks decidedly lower. That is not to dminish Su’s talent as an artist, but there are some glaring things I disliked. His human characters, for instance, have odd-looking faces and their proportions are sometimes off. Luckily, his drawings of the major characters (i.e. the Transformers) are great. The backgrounds remain rather flat an uninteresting, regrettably. Overall, however, these are mostly nitpicky concerns, and the art for this comic is good. The battle scenes are especially awesome and give Transformers fans exactly what they want: epic scale conflicts between giant robots.
Transformers: Escalation continues the tradition of quality IDW-continuity stories. Furman’s writing continues its greatness, meaning I’ve become deeply invested in this story arc. E.J. Su’s art is fairly good as well, but there are some areas that could use improvement. This is not a comic you can just jump into, but it’s one you should read. Make sure to check out Infiltration and Stormbringer so you have a chance to read this excellent comic!
-exciting battle scenes
-great continuation of previous storylines
-backgrounds and human characters’ appearences range from bad to mediocre
-need to read Infiltration and Stormbringer beforehand
-idea of “mass displacement” is a nice try…but is still somewhat stupid
Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. If he doesn’t see an appearence by Shockwave soon he’ll be very unhappy.