Monday, 9 November 2015

Transformers Infiltration 1

Transformers Infiltration 1

Synopsis :
This issue opens on a  laptop showing a conspiracy website, with the title Mechatopia, operated  by  Hunter, who  firmly believes that  there is alien  life out there.
Cut to the present, where he and Verity  are  stuck in a  odd  ambulance  with  a  driver who seems to have a  frozen smile, careening through the south Californian desert  at  190 miles an hours.
It doesn't take Hunter long to realise that he has found what he has been looking for, extra terrestrial life. 
Just after  his car  was blown up  by  an unmanned plane, and him and Verity nearly with it. 
The mystery cars  return with a vengeance however  and they  like to play rough. 
The ambulance manages to shake them with  some build in weaponry,  as the  jet  turns up again.
 It never rains but it pours as they say. The ambulance releases  a sticky smokelike substance, which deals with the plane  for a  moment. But  all that this does is buy them a few minutes, they need a  place to lie low. 
A place Verity  can  provide, after  logging on  the  ultra portable.
The garage of Jimmy Pink. 
Who  wastes no time getting under the ambulance  and  soon figures out that this is no  ordinary  ambulance,  you might even say one that out of  this world.  

The jet and the cars  are prowling around, waiting  for somebody to  activate the  ultra portable again so they can home in on it's signal. 
And lo and behold, somebody  does activate it.
Hunter is putting  his  suppositions together  and  just as Jimmy finishes repairs he throws around his theory.
That  the  ultra portable was stolen by Verity. That  it's the reason why they were targeted and that it contains images that  could get them killed.
And according to the  smiling driver, it's all true. 

Fed up Verity  leaves in a prickly  huff,  before she is back in an instant  babbling incoherently. 
Something or someone  tears the door out of the garage, and we see our first transformers in robot mode.
Runabout and Runamuck.  

Credits :Writer : Simon Furman, 
Artist:  E J Su,
Colors by : John Rauch and Josh Burcham,
Letters by :  Tom B Long and Robbie Robins.
Editor  : Chris Ryall.  

Notes : second  apperances of :  Ratchett
and Starscream.
This issue  had  4  variant  covers.
Hunter uses Internet explorer apparently. 
His page mechatopia  isn't just  there  to fill up his laptop's screen. It's a  reference to the upcoming Spotlight : Shockwave. 
First full issue of  the IDW Transformers series, which is still going  10  years later.
IDW  has overtaken Marvel Comics output, whom held the Transformers licence from 1984 till 1994. 
And released more Transformers  comics then any  of the other license holders, bar  Marvel UK with  it's 332  issues. Marvel UK had a weekly schedule though. 

Review  :
All action, all the time. 
Compared to the slowburn of  issue 0, issue 1  is  like greased lighting.
But when you put the brakes on  it, (  yeah I think that's enough speed metaphors  ) you realise that there isn't much to the issue,  beyond  a car chase. 
But what a stylish chase it is. 
I haven't mentioned  EJ Su's art  last time, but I would be remiss  to do  so now.  He brings a  kinetic  feverous energy to the  proceedings, which helps translate what  are basically snapshots, to a thrilling action pace.
Action is hard to convey  in comics, even more so  when  it's a car chase. 
But Su manages to do  it with  aplomb.  

Sadly  Su  left  the comic  book industry behind him, and he is now  head of  R&D  for  Trident Cases. 
But he is on fine form here, firing on all cylinders and makes what  could be a very boring issue, a riveting if very shortlived read. 
Because outside  the chase we don't  get to see much, beyond a few  flashbacks which issue 0 makes  superfluous. But then again we cant  really  expect  that everybody has read issue 0 now can we?
A reiteration  of  Hunter's  alien life form's are real attitude  and Verity's  ..prickliness. 
Hunter  also seems to  have some smarts, since he twigged out fairly  early  that Ratchet is not human. 
Course Ratchets avatar has a fixed smile, so it's not that hard  to figure out. 
Then again  hunter  is smart enough to put  1 and 1  together, in regards  to the  ultra portable. 
Ratchet is mostly  understated  with some snarkiness, but he is mostly in his G1 Marvel comics mould. An unwilling  soldier, who  cant and wont sit idly by  as long as he can help  them, even if that means risking everything. 

As for Jimmy Pink, beyond his silly last name he is obviously a throwback to Sparkplug Witwicky, who all the way back in 1984  (  damn  that  long ago already  ? )  had  Bumblebee in a similar spot in his garage and also immediately noticed, that this wasn't a normal car.  Especially the suspension  remark 
But the  comic is  light on  the Transformers  in robot mode,  while this sounds dull it isn't it just  builds up the suspense  and  heightens the  subterfuge feel of the  story so far. 
It's something to look back on, because it wont last. 
But right now  Autobots and Decepticons are still in full on cold war mode, with cloak and daggers being the name of the game. 
Humans don't know they are here and they want to keep it that way,  which is why the Decepticons are after the sm40  

And  because of all the skullduggery,  we only get out first  real look at  any  transformer in this  series and in the whole  IDW- verse,  on the very last  page
and its a pair of battlechargers no less.  

Infiltration 1 is an excellent issue, it might be a bit of a retread after issue 0  but that  doesn't hurt it at all
 The art is gorgeous, the action fluid  and kinetic and the slowburn isn't that much of detriment. The story isn't  stretched to it's breaking  point or  run unnaturally  long   just to fill 6 issues. 
Later storylines will suffer from this.   
But Infiltration  at the moment  manages to balance between intrigue, decompression and speedy storytelling. 
It's also reads as a breath of fresh air where the tagline "Robots In Disguise" is  actually  more then just a spiffy tagline, but an integral  part of the  storyline.
And all this intrigue  comes crashing down  because of a few  pictures on an ultra portable. 
As far as  IDW  Transformers goes, this  issue is ground zero. This is where it all began 10  years ago. 
And it's still a great  read  10  years on.  

1 comment:

  1. I really liked Su's artwork too. After Dreamwave, it was nice to see an artist who could draw great Transformers and excellent humans, too. I loved some of the facial expressions he gave the human characters.

    About my only complaint regarding Su was the redesigns he gave the Transformers in their robot modes. Some were fine; you barely noticed the difference, such as the Battlechargers, Megatron, and Optimus Prime. But his Ratchet, Ironhide, and especially Bumblebee drifted way too far from their G1 incarnations for my liking. Bumblebee's chest is supposed to be the roof of the car, darn it, not the hood!!