Graphic Novel Reviews

Transformers Vol. 1: Beginnings

  • Ralph Maccio.
  • Jose Delbo.
  • Bob Budiansky.
  • Jim Salicrup.
  • Nancy Jones.
  • 152 pages.
  • 4 stars out of 5.

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Graphic Novel Blurb:

This is where it all begins… the very first shots fired in the civil war between the heroic Autobots, led by the noble Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons, ruled by the crazed Megatron. A spaceship launched from the planet Cybertron crashlands on Earth, four million years in the past. In 1984, its inhabitants are awakened and Earth is plunged into the middle of the greatest conflict it has ever known, with teenager Buster Witwicky and his mechanic father caught in the middle, as Autobots and Decepticons alike battle for fuel and technology. Now it is up to Optimus Prime and his few remaining allies to protect both themselves and their human friends from the threat of Megatron… but surprises galore lie in store for both robotic leaders.


Story.

The story brings together the first ever four issues of the Transformers g1 comic’s, also including issues 5 and 6. In the beginning the story arc revolves around the civil war that takes place on the Transformers home planet of Cybertron, beginnings is essentially an origin story for how the Transformers arrived on Earth, and the beginning of their awakened time here, hence, why the graphic novel is called Transformers: Beginnings, simples!

For those unaware, the Transformers are ‘robots in disguise.’ Robots capable of transforming, the Autobots, who are the good guys and can transform into vehicles, led by the heroic Optimus Prime, and the Decepticons, who are the bad guys and can transform into weapons and aircraft, led by the tyrannical Megatron.

The chaos and power of the civil war on Cybertron, alters the planets orbit, moving it into the path of an oncoming asteroid belt that would inevitably destroy Cybertron, the Autobots build a space craft (The Ark) and set out to destroy the asteroids, thus saving Cybertron, the ensuing civil war is still taking place but saving Cybertron is the priority, otherwise there wouldn’t be a planet to fight over.

Devious Megatron and the Decepticons also build a ship, waiting until the Autobots have destroyed the asteroids and subsequently exhausted most of their energy supply, rendering them easy targets.

With the Decepticons on board The Ark and overwhelming the Autobots, Prime charts a collision course with an empty planet devoid of any life (Earth) and The Ark crash lands.

After laying dormant for millenia, a volcanic eruption on the now populated Earth of 1984 finally awakens a drone on board The Ark, unable to distinguish between the Autobots and the Decepticons the drone then repairs both.

With a dwindling energy supply Megatron sets out to find more, the goal to harvest the abundant resources of Earth. Prime and the Autobots will attempt to stop him.

After failing a couple of times, an old and forgotten Decepticon is unearthed, reappearing, Shockwave returns and then attempts to take command, building to the climax and a battle between Shockwave and Megatron for the leadership of the Decepticons.

The story itself is straightforward, good vs bad, we are even treated to a Spiderman cameo, some may love it, others may hate it, I fall into the former as I really enjoyed the webslingers cameo, it was a nice addition to the story, adding just that little bit extra. There’s some other human elements that I haven’t mentioned (ya know, spoilers), and Beginnings ends with a big…..to be continued cliffhanger ending.

Writing.

The writing is rather ropey, simple and at times cheesy, a well-written masterpiece this is not. There’s a few popular culture references thrown in, the pacing flows well, and overall the writing is serviceable, even if the dialogue between characters is somewhat dodgy. But it does improve in the later part of the omnibus.

My biggest and only gripe with the writing though, is the constant use of introductions for the characters, this isn’t the writers fault, in the foreword at the start it’s alluded to that hasbro had a mandate for each of its toy lines, where by the characters had to be constantly introduced to the reader. What could the writers do? Their hands were tied on the matter, while rules are only guidelines meant to be broken, if you want to keep your job then you have to obey them…….unfortunately!

Art.

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The Transformers themselves at times look to human in their facial features, that is the only niggle for me in the art, it seemed most predominent with Prime in the first part when not wearing his lower face guard, apart from that while nothing groundbreaking, the artwork is of a decent standard, vibrant in colour, and does its job more than adequately.

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Final Thoughts.

This is an omnibus edition of the original comic’s and as such we get most of the iconic g1 style of Transformers, amongst others, Bumblebee is an old VW Beetle, not the sporty Camaro of the Michael Bay films, and Megatron is a gun, this is the original and quintessential version of Megatron, his personality has always stayed the same, but his appearance has drastically altered.

While most of the Transformers still change into something resembling their original designs from back in the 1980’s, Megatron is the most noticeable change and is now a tank, toy guns were fine back in the 1980’s, it was a different era but even by the mid-late 80’s there was issues with children running around with toy guns, and subsequently them being mistook for real guns, it’s a sad situation but understandable why they needed to change the design, so it was bye bye to Megatron’s classic Walther P-38, and hello to the various tank designs from then on.

For me, as a massive fan of the g1 Transformers and especially the 1986 cartoon movie (such a classic and the best Transformers movie there is), my favourite iteration of Megatron will always be as a gun, same for Optimus Prime and the others, in the case of the Transformers, original is better.

But I have digressed enough, can you tell I like Transformers? The geek radar is in full swing on The Tattooed Book Geek today!

It might sound from the review that at times I’m ripping Beginnings, I’m not, and I’m merely pointing out the issues I found. However saying that, it’s an enjoyable read, and a fun way to wile away a couple of hours, a great addition for any Transformers fan.

For me, it was a fantastic trip down memory lane, full of nostalgia and childhood memories, loved it. And now, like the mature adult I am, it’s time for me to transform and roll out.

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Now I’m off to find my copy of the movie and relive my youth!

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19 thoughts on “Transformers Vol. 1: Beginnings

  1. For those not aware!?? Bahaha.. shame on anyone who knows not of Transformers and Autobots 😉 I was going to comment on the fact that the artwork holds very true to that of original comics, but then saw you comment that it was an omnibus of such! Makes sense 😉 Hope you are now happily reliving your youth good sir 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly I am certain that there will be some crazy people out there who haven’t heard of the Transformers and autobots, likewise there are probably people out there who think Transformers started with the Michael Bay films!😂

      I did happily relive my youth, love that film, it’s so damn good.😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks so good, reminds me of the ones I used to steal from my friend when we were kids! 😂 And yes the 1986 movie was by far the best one, I absolutely hate these new reboots they’ve made in the past few years! 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

      1. hahahahahaha 😀
        sorry, Drew… just had to tease you a wee bit! 🙂
        I know who they are, of course, but I’m not a fan.. every time someone says Transformers I think Megan Fox… LOL, I can imagine how sacrilegious it sounds to a die hard fan though XD

        Like

  3. It makes me so happy to see this here! I also grew up with the Transformers. I should have realized there was a comic series– but alas, I had no idea! The art actually reminds me quite a bit of late 80’s early 90’s comics. I really love that feel. It fits the characters, even if this comic was published in the ’00’s.

    Great review! Now I have to find my old movie as well…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an omnibus edition of the original comic’s that were first published way back in 1984, there’s loads of volumes, oh to be rich and buy them all.lol I had the original comic’s, not the whole collection but most, alas they went the way of most things and got thrown out I believe, unless they are lurking in the loft somewhere.😂

      The movie is awesome, one of my favourites.lol

      Like

  4. Made me laugh when you had to explain who and what Transformers are/is. This was one hell of a trip down memory lane for me too. I haven’t read these comics though, it mostly reminded me of the animated series as well as Beast Wars–tell me you were a fan that too! Can’t wait for the day Michael Bay stops directing these Transformers movie though. Someone needs to reboot this and do justice to these bad boys. Fantastic review by the way! 🙂

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did/do like beast wars but the original g1 that I grew up with will always be my favourite.😀

      Yeah, totally agree, I find the Bay films bearable but I’m not really a fan, definitely needs rebooting in some form.

      Lol, I had to explain what/who transformers are…..just in case anyone didn’t know!😂

      Liked by 1 person

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