We continue with Avengers Month 2015 by bringing you… a Transformers comic?
This is one of those weird, weird moments when you’re looking through the Avengers library. Someone asked for this? Really? Someone was like: “You know what we need? We need those New Avengers and the Autobots to team up and fight Doctor Doom and Megatron. It’s a natural pairing.”
The real question for me isn’t even why this exists, but how we’re going to address the elephant-in-the-room of continuity. See, Marvel has always had an odd relationship with its licensed properties, in that it integrates them into the main Marvel Universe rather than have them exist in their own pocket dimensions. As such, there are a few issues of, say, Marvel Two-In-One that can never be reprinted because they guest-starred ROM the Spaceknight, and Marvel no longer owns the rights to ROM.
The original comic-book version of the Transformers was a Marvel Comic. Originally meant to last only 4 issues, it was popular enough to last for 80. So at a few points, the Marvel heroes met up with the Transformers G1 characters, but aren’t really allowed to remember that in mainsteam Marvel continuity… not that that’s a big deal, they don’t often recall every small battle they have, so it doesn’t affect continuity too too much.
What’s going to be interesting tho, is that this comic will briefly bring the Transformers back into the Marvel fold. Will they acknowledge, say, that Spider-Man and Megatron have fought before? If so, will there be some explanation for the difference between those versions of the Transformers, and these new versions of the Transformers? And if this is treated as a new meeting, doesn’t meeting the Transformers twice create something of a continuity flub for the Marvel Universe? Isn’t this a little like how DC had to come up with Earth 2 to explain how Superman and Batman, in their lifetimes, had know both the old and new versions of the Flash and Green Lantern during the Silver Age? Will this team-up destroy the Marvel Universe, resulting in what can only be called the Crisis on Infinite Autobots?
Settle down, cowboy. It’s just a lame crossover comic.
And by lame, I do mean lame. The plot is paper thin and author Stuart Moore seems to have no idea on how to write the Avengers.
The plot revolves around Captain America, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, and Wolverine being called out to Latveria as it seems that Doctor Doom is up to something which could spark nuclear war with Latveria’s neighboring country. When they get there though, they find Doom’s robot army destroyed and a large robotic structure that we the readers recognize and Cybertron tech, but the Avengers clearly do not. All the while the Avengers are snapping at each other, and it turns out this isn’t just bad writing, it’s the the Decepticons have some sort of device that amplifies aggression (I seem to recall a fan-favorite Transformers episode dealing with a “Hate Plague,” unsure if these are related) and are taking that out on each other.
This is problematic. Even with their adrenaline pumping and ‘rage hormones’ on high, there’s certain ways that I can buy Captain America, Spider-Man, and Luke Cage acting. Snapping at each other? Maybe, but even then not in this fashion. Being overtly violent towards each other? Certainly not. For how to write a Captain America that’s just a little out-of-his-mind, see Streets of Poison. Another issue: it’s used only when and how Moore wants it to be: Wolverine and Captain America keep butting heads, but Wolverine and Luke Cage get along just fine. Why is that? Why did this “aggression wave” make them aggressive in such specific ways?
As they bicker, the Avengers are scanned and something is found in Spider-Man that warrants him being separated from the others and kidnapped, so Captain America calls in Ms Marvel and Falcon, with an aside saying that Iron Man will be joining them soon. Before they this can escalate into violence between all involved, the Autobots show up, and the Avengers attack, with Captain America replacing the tried-and-true “Avengers Assemble” battle-cry with the less-popular: “Kill them All!!”… what the heck.
Doom shows up, but he doesn’t seem to be working for the Decepticons, at least not yet. Ratchet has developed small discs (that look the The Controller’s discs) to block the effects of the aggression wave, as we get a bit of clunky dialog trying to retroactively place the Transformers into Marvel continuity, like Ms Marvel stating, in reference to worlds destroyed by the Decepticons:
I… I’ve seen those worlds. During my time out in space, with the Star Jammers. Planet-sized empty husks. Drained of all resources…. all life…
And on the next page, Iron Man states that he has “long suspected” that intelligent alien robots lived among them, and that this just “confirmed it.”
And I the only one that remembers that the Transformers were a part of Marvel Canon at one point? You had two choices, in my mind, on hoe to approach this: acknowledge that the Transformers had been there all along, or treat them like a brand-new addition. You’ve gone a third, what-the-heck route and claimed they were there all along but in a way that contradicts the way that they were previously established as having been there all along… how could you mess this up so badly?
We cut away to Spider-Man, who is being tortured by Megatron… because apparently something in Spidey’s blood (presumably the radiation) can be converted to the highest-concentration of Energon ever seen, and the Decepticons are feeding off it. And of course, this didn’t come up the last time they met, and Spider-Man and Megatron continue to act as though they’ve never met. And may I remind everyone:
… this was the cover to the third issue of the original Transformers comic.
The suped-up Decepticons launch their attack, and Iron Man shows up on the scene to help, proclaiming himself to be “the melding of man and machine”… in what appears to be new armor. Are we trying to institute “Transformer-Buster” Armor here Moore? Because that is not going to happen. But yup, that’s what we’re trying to do here. Wolverine comments “nice suit, boss” to which Iron Man states: “I told you, I’d been expecting something like this.”
Amazing hoe you expected the Robots in Disguise but not the Skrulls in disguise, huh Tony?
What follows is 30 pages of a battle I can’t really follow. Cage says “represent: X-Men style!” and “Christmas.” Doctor Doom double-crosses the Marvel heroes only to be himself double-crossed by Megatron. I think. I’m not really sure. I’ce actually lost all track of what’s happening here, and I don’t care enough to go back and see what happened. I think I’m supposed to be getting excited, you can imagine how well that’s working out.
Wolverine frees Spider-Man — who he apparently has a really strong connection to in this comic — and Spidey can join the fray to… oh, fuck no.
The good guys win, and we end on the possible cliffhanger that one of the Decepicons is escaping disguised as the Avengers’ Quinjet, leaving the door open for a possible sequel that I dearly hope never, ever happens.
I’m just now realizing: IDW published Regeneration One, a comic book continuation of the Marvel transformers series, complete with the original numbering… so, there was a Transformers series that couldn’t acknowledge its Marvel Universe connection, and a Marvel Universe that couldn’t acknowledge it’s transformers connection? Fail.
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
“This is one of those weird, weird moments when you’re looking through the Avengers library. Someone asked for this? Really? Someone was like: “You know what we need? We need those New Avengers and the Autobots to team up and fight Doctor Doom and Megatron. It’s a natural pairing.””