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Short introduction to 3H comics

So, at the some time after G2, with the advent of Beast Wars, Transformer fandom become a wee bit more organized, especially as the Internet grew. The first-ever BotCon was an unofficial convention in 1994, and every year someone would set this up. Jon and Karl Hartman, the brothers that organized the first BotCon, created 3H Enterprises in 1997 with fellow fan Glen Hallit, and has become the official producers of BotCon as endorsed by Hasbro. However, financial problems between the creators and other complex stuff caused 3H to lose the license in 2004, which was picked up by Fun Publications.

However, in this span 3H Enterprises managed to produce several series of Transformer comics, centering mainly on the year's BotCon exclusives, the Universe toyline, and several odd otherwise-unappreciated toys from the Beast eras like the Mutants.

In 1997, when BotCon became 'official', the first official BotCon-exclusive fiction, the Beast Wars one-shot comic 'Critical Mass', spotlighting that year's exclusive toys Packrat and Fractyl. Despite not being a particularly good comic, it was a hit, leading to the spawning of a storyline, the 'Reaching the Omega Point'. Which, truthfully, reads like a bad fanfic. See, Reaching the Omega Point involves on a tongue-in-cheek script reading, several text stories and finally a comic. It's badly scripted, badly paced, full of characters that have no business being there, and basically a general mess filled by the writers trying to cram as many guys they can. The story is basic enough, I suppose. Unicron's Chaos Matrix or whatnot selects a new herald, Shokaract, who travels to the past. A bunch of Zodiac-inspired demigod Transformers created by Primus, 'the Covenant', is forewarned about this and decides to stop it. One of which infiltrates the Predacons as Sandstorm. They fall into Beast Wars... cool, right? In paper.

But they had to throw in this Apelinq character, a Wrecker from the future, who doesn't contribute anything to the story that any of the other characters couldn't. Then there's this whole passage dedicated to additional heralds Antagony and Cataclysm, who doesn't do anything at all but die, be resurrected in the comic, and die again. There's also this super-powered dual sparked Windrazor, who... well, he probably is supposed to do something. I dunno. They could probably be justified by having toys, but throwing in the G1 guys who basically walked out of retirement? And a bunch of toy-exclusive BW guys? Bleagh, it reads like a horrible fanfic.

Good thing is, Reaching the Omega Point is basically ignorable and is reduced to a simple paragraph by the time we kick-off the most memorable parts of 3H Universe and Wreckers. Shockaract, Sandstorm and Antagony are dead, Windrazor disappears and Apelinq returns to the future in the period of the Beast Machines.

See, now this, has potential. Two titles run at the same time. 'Universe' takes place some time after the end of Beast Machines, where Unicron begins to awaken and transformers from all continuities G1 cartoon and comic, BW, RID, Dreamwave, Armada... it was great, silly fanwanky fun although being constrained by having to promote Universe toys hampered it somewhat.

'Primeval Dawn' takes place on Earth after Beast Wars, reviving several of the dead BW cast and introducing several familiar faces.

'Wreckers' took place during Beast Machines, which follows the events of Omega Point and Primeval Dawn. Apelinq meets up with Primal Prime's bunch from Primeval Dawn, and along with some old faces (Rodimus, Arcee) and new ones (Rotorbolt, CatSCAN, Tap-Out) the Wreckers are reborn, and are sent by the Oracle... which turns out to be a Quintesson shell program. While the Wreckers team are a solid bunch of characters, there are too many peripheral characters that they try to squeeze in, like the Dinobots and Mutants and Deployers and random guys who basically get culled by the second issue. The series would end with a Quintesson invasion, the Predacon Cryotek trying to absorb the power of Primus and stuff.

Sadly, in 2002, 3H lost the license after internal feuding, leaving all three stories dangling. Primeval Dawn's ending could probably be guessed, since it's a prequel to the other two, and basically Primal Prime's guys would find a way back to Beast Machines-era Cybertron. Wreckers was left dangling for a bit before Fun Publications concluded it, tying all the loose ends, making it one step before the Universe comic and tying in the finale with Fun Pub's own exclusive fiction. That bit is an admirable work on the part of Fun Pub, one of the few things they did right.

Universe, meanwhile, would be left hanging with Alpha Trion, Optimus Primal and Omega Prime gathering recruits. The final conclusion of Universe (the in-between events are not told) is later published as a flashback in a Fun Pub story, the aptly-named Balancing Act.

So, 3H. Is it any good? Definitely the Omega Point bits are rubbish, but once you have enough confidence in your knowledge of Transformer continuities and stuff, give Universe and Wreckers a spin. They are not that bad once you get past the excited let's-introduce-everybody phase.

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