Mixing Transformers and G.I. Joe is nothing new and has been done many times before. IDW’s new Transformers vs. G.I. Joe series looks to bring some fresh elements to the table. The Joes fighting Transformers on Cybertron? Sign me up! Your review awaits!
Previously in Transformers vs. G.I. Joe: Cybertron is approaching Earth. The Joes make contact with the Decepticons and learn just how they got their name. Now, Scarlett leads a strike team to infiltrate Cybertron and take the fight to the enemy.
THE ROLES HAVE BEEN REVERSED
I’ve got to hand it to John Barber and Tom Scioli, they’re holding nothing back in this title. By the end of this issue I felt like I just read what could be the next Michael Bay film. The whole book is like something a ten year old would reenact with his/her toys. Only six pages in and we get a shot of a giant Devastator and Trypticon fighting off G.I. Joe’s space shuttles. Seeing Scarlett drive a motorcycle across Devastator’s gun, up his arm and jumping into a helicopter is just as ridiculous and fun as it sounds. Scioli writes it with childish glee while still respecting the source material. Every Transformer and Joe’s personality is a perfect match of the eighties cartoons and comics. What Scioli and Barber have done that I love the most is flipped the roles of the Transformers and G.I. Joes. Now, the Joes are the aliens invading another planet, with the Transformers defending what is theirs. Hearing Megatron describing the Joes as “Refugees looking to make a home for themselves here because their planet’s days are numbered” was a wonderful ironic touch. Seeing the Joes strafe bomb Cybertron with Green Bombs, converting sections of the planet into lush plant life, put a different spin on things and made me look at them in another light. It will be interesting to see how it plays out because the Joes have made enemies of both Autobots and Decepticons. Not everything works though. The idea of having Transformers speak in “sine-wave” dialogue while humans are around is cool but leads to confusion in some of the action scenes. I also find it hard to believe that the Autobots would mistake G.I. Joe vehicles as Cybertronians, especially after they land on the road right in front of them! It’s silly things like this that took me out of the story. Even with those moments, I enjoyed the issue and would loved to have a Transformers/G.I. Joe book like this when I was a kid.
I FEEL SCHIZOPHRENIC
Tom Scioli’s art is a mixed bag at best. Whether you like it or not one thing is clear: the man is putting every ounce of love into the book. It’s bursting with larger than life moments but his style weakens those moments just from its appearance. He’s clearly trying to reflect the look of the old Marvel comics but many moments in this issue miss the mark. I love the art one minute and hate it the next, so much so that I felt schizophrenic. The two page splash with Devastator and Trypticon has both at roughly the same size. While it’s obvious that Trypticon is standing (due to the crack marks around his feet) and Devastator is in the air, it doesn’t translate well. Perspective is Scioli’s biggest problem, with the panel of Scarlett shooting her crossbow being the worst. Scarlett looks to the upper right of the panel while firing but her crossbow’s front is almost fully visible and the grenade arrow is at angle/view that doesn’t match. It’s extremely clashing and makes what is already a difficult style to read almost inaccessible. I still enjoy a lot of what Scioli does from his shading lines and boxy robot figures that resemble the original packaging art to his use of Kirby crackle/dots. The book is popping with life but the art continues to be its biggest hurdle to overcome.
BOTTOM LINE: FOR THE KID IN US ALL
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #2 continues to be the book that is for the kid in the fans of the franchise. Every idea and moment is something that any child could have imagined while playing with Transformers and G.I. Joe toys. The story is fun and light-hearted while paying respect to the franchises and I loved the role reversal taking place. Tom Scioli’s art instills a sense of the original comics but is very divisive. For everything that I liked about the art there was something that I disliked as well. It is certainly make it or break it for the reader but those willing to give it a shot will find something fun.