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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
Manga
Other Books
and Titles
Titan Books
(2001-2010)
Club/Con
(2001-2016)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
IDW Publishing
(2005-now)

TRANSFORMERS TITLES FROM TITAN BOOKS / MAGAZINES

Titan Transformers Animated #1
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

A strangely muted opening, despite the wacky human super villain there’s little of the humour or fun of the Animated cartoon, or indeed the earlier Dino-MIGHT! strip, present here. It’s functional and a fast read but little lingers in the memory.

The art is nice and fun and appropriate to the show, but the writing lets it down. And introducing an all-new Autobot at the stage of readers not knowing the regulars yet is almost certainly a mistake (the assumption may have been that everyone would be very familiar with the cartoon and the strip could just jump right in... if so this may have been a fatal error) and Afterburner is just dull, with his “mystery” being so obvious you have to wonder why they even pretend he’s a real Autobot.

Hopefully from these average beginnings the comic will be able to pull back some of the silliness and produce an entertaining title.

Notes

After more than a year of Titan’s Movie comic being a steady success the company decided to launch a sister title tying directly into the Animated cartoon that was beginning to air on cable TV. Taking basically the same format but skewing at a younger age group it was hoped it would repeat the success of the original comic. Sadly it didn’t, for reasons we’ll theorise about when we get to issue 3, but the net result is for the first time ever the UK had two ongoing comics featuring original material at the same time, albeit briefly.

As with the Movie comic more than half the issue is made up of reprinted material. This posed something of a problem as IDW’s own Animated comic had only just began and was therefore out of bounds, and reprints of different continuities would likely be of little interest to the target audience. The solution was to reprint material from IDW’s photocomic books that take screen grabs from episodes and make comics of them (a popular idea in the 70’s -- I have several old Star Trek ones in the garage -- but fairly antiquated post-home-video). This caused complaints from some older fans, most obviously in the title’s entry on the TF Wiki, of it being a rip-off to present TV episodes at the comic’s price. However, it’s worth remembering that in the UK Animated airs on a channel that has viewing figures of three goats and a badger, so for the majority of the target audience of young children this is all-new material. It’s likely that had the comic continued for any length of time they’d have switched to the original IDW material at some point.

Early promotional material referred to the character of Afterburner as Sideswipe. Why the change was made is unclear; it’s possible that as he turns out to be an evil soulless villain that Hasbro requested a more obscure character name be used.

All of the UK Animated comics are set during the second season of the cartoon.

At the 2008 Auto Assembly John McCrea revealed he’d previously had no interest whatsoever in drawing Transformers (odd perhaps for the guy who’s been producing the How To Draw… feature in the Movie comic) but the “Jack Kirbyesque” designs for the Animated cast appealed to him enough to change this stance. Afterburner basically looking like Iron Man may well be a nod at Kirby’s Marvel work.

Though Furman has written the first issue this was mainly intended as a hook to get the older readers in; he’ll produce the 4th published strip that finishes the Afterburner arc started here, but the rest of the Animated material is by Robin Etherington.

Goofs

Perhaps a stylistic choice rather than a goof but Optimus has his faceplate throughout.

Fantastic Free Gift!

A missile blaster. It has to be said this sort of gift is much more suited to a comic aimed at the younger end of the market.

Extras

Starscreamers: “Hilarious” jokes told by Starscream;
Bots and Bolts: Short Robocapers style comedy strip, script by Etherington and art by Diego Jourdan;
Roll Call!: Quick character introductions and recap of the cartoon’s format;
Character Puzzles: Starscream: Puzzles about the character of Starscream;
Transform Your DVD!: Spot the difference competition for two Animated DVDs;
Team Titan;
The second half of The Many Faces of Optimus Prime poster (part one is in issue 17 of the Movie comic) including a sub feature on other Prime’s including Primus and Optimus Primal;
The other side is a Animated Optimus Prime close up;
Challenge Megatron: Fiendish puzzles set by the Decepticon;
Bee Mail: Letter and art page hosted by G.B. Blackrock. No, I of course kid, it’s Bumblebee. Unlike the suspicious letters in both the first issue of the Movie comic and Panini’s Armada titles the heavy pre-promotion given the title in the sister comic means there’s been more than enough time for kids to get writing.

 
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