Transformers vs GI Joe #2

Story: Book 2: Transformed
Publisher: Dreamwave
Release date: September 2003
Cover variants: One cover
Cover price: $2.95
Writer: John Ney Rieber
Artwork: Jae Lee (pencils) Benjamin Lee (letters) June Chung (colors)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Ian Arrowsmith

Stormshadow has some powerful back-up in the form of Ravage!

The Ferra Islands, summer 1939. Roadblock and the other surviving G.I. Joe members are making plans to regroup and reassess the situation having been taken unawares last issue. Somehow though they have stumbled onto what has enabled cobra to take most of Europe, more giant war machines. As they trek through the robotic graveyard they disturb something. It lights up rockets out of the ground, chanting "explore explore". The G.I's can only watch on as they see it travel off and the robots eyes light up. From the satellites work it is granted a new form; as Starscream watches on, Ironhide becomes operational.

Elsewhere on the battlements of the fortress, Stormshadow and Snake-eyes continue their battle. Snake-eye's feels the pain of Stormshadow's blade across his face, but he blocks it out and instead strikes back successfully against his nemesis, before Stormshadow flees in retreat. He flees back to an outpost and tells his charges to shoot Snake-eyes on sight, while he draws him out. Unfortunately for them, Snake-eyes doesn't give them get a chance to see him when he attacks. With his blood draining fast Snake-eyes needs to do something to stem the flow, with no time on his hands, all he can use is fire. Cracking open some bullets he seals his face in flames. With his face wrapped he continues his pursuit of Stormshadow.

Back in the ravaged wastelands of the Cobra fortress, what was just Ironhide has now become Grimlock, Optimus Prime, Jazz, Prowl and Bumblebee. The Autobots have awakened. Much has changed in the 3million years since their slumber, but the Joes can't hang around to wait while the Autobots update themselves, they have a mission to complete.

Nearby Starscream and Megatron consider moving their stock of energon away from the prying eyes of Destro, but before they get a chance Megatron notices that reactivated repair drone. Action will have to be taken against Optimus. Moments later, Cobra commander dispatches a squadron of fighters to investigate why all his forces seem to be incommunicado; all at the humble suggestion of Destro, the ball is rolling. The Joes trekking away from the Autobots contemplate how their world would be if they had battled for the same six million years as they Autobots and Decepticons, would they have a world left? No one gets a chance to answer before they start being shot at by inbound fighters. Just when the Joes think they are up against it Grimlock emerges from the rubble to smash Decepticons.

Across the island Snake-eyes pursues Stormshadow, through the castle it seems too easy and a little suspicious. Snake-eyes learns why when he encounters the robotic panther that is Ravage.

******

Comments:

The twin threads of Snake-eyes and the rest of the Joes are kept at a fair pace while slowly we are introduced to the machinations of the Decepticons. This builds the plot from several different angles and adds depth to the overall feel of the story, making it more complex than simply good guys versus bad guys.

The characterisation is spot on if becoming a little clich´┐Ż and playing to the Transformers obvious traits. Like the fact that Starscream is once again plotting Megatron's downfall, and Grimlock is headstrong and ready for battle. I hoped given the vastly different setting some of the characterisation may have changed a bit too, but the writers thought that changing both may have been a step too far and decided to play safe.

Jae Lee's art is refreshing, seeing how he depicts the Transformers is good especially as it is not so much the Dreamwave house style of detail and bright colours. The headshots of Megatron and Optimus are notable as is the TV shot of Zartan. The colours used do really add to the atmosphere but they suck away a lot of the detail with the book being so dark in tone. In short there are no glaring losses or mistakes in the book, it is good, but I get the feeling that it could be a lot better. At least it does have room to improve into though.

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