Overview

Transformers: Evolutions #1

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Transformers: Evolutions #1

Credits

  • Words: Chuck Dixon
  • Art: Guido Guidi
  • Inks: Guido Guidi
  • Colors: Jay Fotos
  • Story Title: Hearts of Steel
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jul 6, 2006

Mark Twain, Jules Verne, John Henry, and Bumblebee make the cut for the first issue of Evolutions. Will their combined "might" be able to stop Shockwave?

By allowing writers and artists to do with the Transformers what they will, unhindered by continuity, IDW is following in the footsteps of Marvel’s What If? books and DC’s Elseworlds and All Star titles. Chuck Dixon and Guido Guidi are the first to tackle this new concept and they pull no punches. They shake the Transformers mythos to its core and change everything by making them Earthlings, waking them up at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and giving them a distinctly different look. In their version, the Transformers slept for centuries under our very feet, only to be awoken by John Henry as he hammered in railroad spikes. Meanwhile, celebrated satirist Mark Twain and one of the Godfathers of science fiction, Jules Verne, pop up to be present as Bumblebee and Shockwave "surface" and a new age dawns…

The concept of placing comic book heroes in different times and/or places is nothing new. But here Dixon does it with a flair that makes this book better than it ought to be. Adding the folk hero, John Henry, and popular iconic authors, Twain and Verne, only serves to make it more fun to read. It is clear Dixon has done his homework, knowing Twain’s vernacular and mannerisms, and Verne’s fanatical obsession with things others at the time thought were simple "flights of fancy." Since it is a comic book about giant robots who turn into machines, and fictional character, John Henry, is present, we can ignore whatever historical inaccuracies may rear their ugly heads. While a complaint may be that the actual Transformers have few lines in issue #1, the build up is there, the fight scenes are just what fans ask for in these giant robot comics, and the intrigue and wonder is contagious.

Guido Guidi’s Transformers are also spot on. These were the type of robots in disguise he was meant to draw. They are animalistic and savage, or hard, steel clad, and smoking depending on the era we see them in. There is a dark edge to his Transformers that fits the time. Everything was a little grimmer, a little dirtier, before the Industrial Revolution swooped in with electricity, halogen lamps, and tanning salons. Guidi’s art reflects this. And Jay Fotos’ colors only add to it. They are heavy, like a touch of black was dabbed into every color, making a time that seems rougher, dare I say, more dangerous, than today. Apparently he knows that there were, after all, more hardships for the average American in the early twentieth century than in the early twenty-first.

Transplanting our favorite heroes into new and different surroundings is not groundbreaking in the field of comics. However, it can be hit or miss. Transformers: Evolutions looks to be a hit.

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