IDW's G1 Transformers saga is gearing up to a fevered pitch called Chaos, and after the amazing work James Roberts and Alex Milne did with the Prelude issues, we may be in for the best issues in this franchise since Megatron lost his mind way back in Marvel's Transformers #25. Or, given the scale of the story being undertaken here, the best since the first big Unicron story in Marvel's #75. Big ups to the classics.
That said, given how amazing the last two set-up issues were about showing us the dissolution of Cybertronian society that led to this eternal war between the Autobots and Decepticons, it's only fair to expect a little bit of a let down in this first issue of Chaos proper, as Roberts is joined in scripting by Mike Costa, who gave us some awkward moments in #21. Thus, Roberts' runaway Astrotrain of Awesome gets slowed a little. But there's still some interesting stuff happening here.
Optimus Prime has taken a contingent of Autobots to investigate whatever the hell is going on with Galvatron, who has amassed a giant army of derelicts and the undead using the immense power of his Heart of Darkness, a sort of anti-Matrix, and who has started squatting on Cybertron. Galvatron is convinced there's a massive undead threat looming called the D-Void and he's determined to amass a force powerful enough to fight it when it makes its move into our dimension. Of course, he can't be bothered to tell Optimus and the other Autobots that once they arrive, insisting that he be taken at his word for some reason. The hints are indicating that the big G is a bit crazy. Just how crazy he gets depends on how much they want to call back to the old G1 cartoon (written by comic legend Len Wein, of all people), where his madness was so epically incurable it destroyed a planet.
Naturally, the Autobots refuse, and naturally, Galvatron views this as an affront punishable by death… well, naturally in the G1 toon sense, but not so naturally in how we've seen him behave in the IDW books. He's been a bit prone to quick anger, but he's been mostly logical in building his army in the first place – and during the Infestation crossover, he tried to recruit the Autobots to his side once before, albeit brusquely. Why he's insisting on not explaining the gravity of the threat he so fears is very confusing, but maybe that will be clarified later in this story.
The art from Livio Ramondelli here is also very impressive, although quite different from Milne's work in the prior issues. Ramondelli has a dark and moody painted style – occasionally too dark in that things get a little muddled, but on the whole, it's entirely appropriate for these Autobots venturing into the perpetual night of the realm of the master of the Heart of Darkness. When the conflict gets going, this particular style brings an epic feel to the proceedings.
Transformers is shipping twice a month for the duration of Chaos, but it's also going to be alternating between the Prime/Galvatron conflict and what's going on Earthside with Bumblebee, so the next issue won't bring us the next chapter. However, a thought I had bears mentioning as a potential prediction. Since the Autobots have Megatron as their willing prisoner (who has power enough now that he could likely break out whenever he wants), and we learned in the last issue that the rallying points of the original Autobot cause were based on writings by a very young and idealistic Megatron, he could step in to lead the Autobot charge against Galvatron if/when Optimus Prime goes down. That would be awesome. Megatron and Galvatron have not run into each other at all in the IDW universe, and seeing as how they were once canonically the same being, it seems long overdue…
And it'd be a hell of a climax for Chaos. Lets hope Roberts gets to run wild on his way to that point. If that's where he's going.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 8.6/10