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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
Club/Con
(2001-now)
Titan Books
(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
Manga
Other Books
and Titles

TRANSFORMERS TITLES FROM TITAN BOOKS / MAGAZINES

Titan Transformers: Age of Extinction #1
"Adrift in Time and Space"

Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Notes

For the fourth film and the fourth volume of the title the comic has returned to being monthly. It returns to the Movie continuity for the first time since 2011, and was released a week before the film was unleashed on the UK.

Despite the name change the format of the comic is basically exactly the same as before, whilst the comic story takes the same format as the early (and in the case of Dark of the Moon, only) issues of the previous Movie based volumes -- prequels set prior to the film leading up to its events.

Exactly when the present day stuff is set in relation to the film (which, according to the wiki, is set four years after its predecessor rather than a real time gap of three) is hard to say, presumably Prime wouldn't leave the Ark alone for very long but it can't be set too close to the events of Dark of the Moon as five years prior would make Megatron dead or frozen. A date of late 2013 is probably the best bet, with the flashback set in mid 2009, after Megatron has returned and before the ennui that affected him in the third movie has set in, at which point he'd likely be less bothered about giving orders to off-planet Decepticons.

This is the first Titan continuity story to establish there is a wider war going on out in the Galaxy, and Megatron was controlling off-Earth events during the course of the film series.

Goofs

Only two Autobots to sort out a massive wreck like the Ark? No wonder the task seems to have taken at least a couple of years.

The Earth is visible from the Luna surface despite the Ark being on the dark side of the moon.

Fantastic Free Gift!

Not one, not two, but three! One of two Transformers: Prime figurines (with more to come over the next four issues, pick between Prime and Bulkhead); 2 Topps trading cards and an “Awesome” Topps gamer mat. Unusually, I'm working from a review PDF here (yes, be impressed, it's like I'm a proper journalist) without gifts so there may be some margin for error here.

Extras

The Lowdown on... Lockdown, a guide to the bounty hunter and potential Decepticon leader;
Ancient Terror, a guide to Grimlock and the differences between him and a real t-rex;
Lockdown's Letters, the Decepticon and Autobot Crosshairs look at readers (mostly still Prime based at this point) art with the same back and forth banter as the previous Megatron/Arcee page;
Competitions for copies of Rise of the Dark Spark and the first volume of season 2 of Prime;
Massive Movie Wordsearch!, a wordsearch about the movie. That's massive;
Crosshairs' Conundrums, puzzle page;
A poster of the Autobots (that seems to be original art rather than just a CGI stock shot);
Supercars, a look at the new car based alternate modes from the film (they have no idea what Lockdown turns into).

Issue Review

Doing this review a fortnight before we see the film makes it hard to be completely sure about how well the story represents Drift (though he's certainly true to him pre-James Roberts IDW incarnation), but there are some nice ideas here. A glimpse into the lives of two Decepticons who are just mates rather than rivals is always welcome, and Lockdown is a nice boo hiss level villain. You could argue it's out of character for any Decepticons to be bothered about killing unarmed prisoners, but then that does tie in with the very odd scene in Dark of the Moon where it takes a naughty human to suggest it, much to the visible shock of everyone present.

Comparing this to the final strips of the Prime comic, it's not nearly as much fun, but the story is better contained within its length, I think Chris Cooper is probably my favourite of the two current authors but this is still a fairly solid read. There's also a surprisingly exciting thrill to be had from being back in the world of the films and getting some follow up on the destruction of Chicago (however briefly).

The art however is a step down from the work of Mr. Ponce, Domingues' work looks a lot more rushed and the colouring isn't at the same level. But then, artists have always had more of a problem recreating the movie characters than the Prime ones.

All in all, this is a good foundation for future stories, hopefully with the films generally being skewered older anyway we'll see a return to slightly more adult (in terms of sophistication, not blood and boobies) storytelling, certainly focusing an issue on the death of a nice (non toy) Decepticon is a step in the right direction and brings more layers to things than most of the fourth volume managed. Let's hope this continues.

 
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