The Sequential Chronicles: The New Avengers/Transformers Journey

If you’re someone who has a particularly large comic collection what do you do? Apparently you come up with the idea of talking about your collection on the Internet. In my weird magical adventures online I have always searched for an article that screams me. The Sequential Chronicles seems to be fitting. How strangely appropriate that I’m going to talk about New Avengers/Transofrmers for my first piece in this journey. These won’t really be reviews in any normal sense of the word. Just me talking about my experience and my adventure with it. The journey will be a little strange and weird on occasion but roll with it. In this inaugural piece let’s see how the New Avengers and Transformers get along. On with the roller coaster ride! The thrills, chills, and some giant robot fun along the way.  Time to have some fun.

If you have ever seen my Twitter you know giant robots are part of my aesthetic. How appropriate that New Avengers/Transformers starts me on my collection journey.

New Avengers Transformers #4 Cover

I have had these four issues in my collection for awhile after discovering them at my local Half Price Books. Somehow these books slipped by me back in the day. I knew nothing about the story outside of some fun covers. I note the covers because there are some cool talents on them, Jim Cheung on #1, Jason Pearson on #2, Ed McGuiness on #3, and Tom Raney on #4, which are all fun to see. It’s weird that not much has been said about it outside of an old interview Stuart Moore gave for IGN back in 2007 and that’s it. It must not have done that well as I couldn’t find anything on the Comichron for it in 2007. I guess it has become obscure over the years. Strange huh?

It’s hard to believe that none of the comic sites have done something with this. Crazy huh?

Now the creative team for this book is as I mentioned Stuart Moore, who wrote the entire miniseries. Then this is where I get a little amused. New Avengers/Transformers is a Marvel and IDW crossover but then in issue three the art is done by Top Cow Productions, Inc. as artist Tyler Kirkham and inker Sal Regla worked there. Which technically means three different companies were involved in this. Yes I know Top Cow was just helping on art but I get a kick out of seeing three companies involved in this. Annette Kwok is the colorist for the series with Blond assisting on issue two and Todd Klein handles the lettering here. It’s a solid team overall but prepare yourself as we dive into the story. It’s going to get weird from here kids.

Two points to make already with New Avengers/Transformers: A solid team on paper but it gets a little messy on some aspects. Second point is that the story really is a mess but worth it, strangely enough.

I mean bless Stuart Moore’s heart in having to deal with a crossover story like this, these are not easy to pull off. That this works as much as it does is amazing in its own right. The first issue is sort of your litmus test for the story. The New Avengers are acting all sorts of out of character and not going to lie, it was jarring. You are thrown straight into the story with the Avengers in Latveria and left trying to figure out what is happening. The characterization is a mess for the first and second issues as to how the Avengers relate to each other. Spider-Man and Iron Man are the only two that have some sort of consistent character throughout the first part of the story. It makes reading the first two issues frustrating.

Prepare yourself if you dive into this as it is a frustrating read for at least two issues. Though Spider-Man and Iron Man are fine so that’s cool.

New Avengers Transformers Iron Man Cool Giant Robot Suit

Of course when you learn the reason why the team is acting so weird it all makes sense. It’s caused by some sort of Psycho-Prism that Doctor Doom had in his lab as to why the Avengers were so off kilter. It’s strange and kind of silly but hey it works. That’s how the Transformers come into play as the Autobots help in getting everyone calmed down. Then that’s how you learn why the Decepticons are here. They are trying to get Energon and the Autobots are trying to stop them. Then there’s the threat of war hovering around them as this is going on. A lot of moving parts to this crazy crossover.

You know even trying to streamline the story of this crossover is crazy in its own right.

As this is all happening Spider-Man gets captured and Megatron uses his abilities to supercharge the Decepticons for reasons not made very clear. I’m not going to spoil too much but you do get Iron Man in a cool giant robot suit and that’s neat. The Autobots have their battles with the Decepticons in this too and Doctor Doom plays a role in a confusing but fun way. I think Moore was throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what stuck which fits for this story. I can only do this so much justice as some of this you just need to experience for yourself. Embrace the madness.

Isn’t this a cool splash page?

New Avengers Transformers Splash Page Issue 1

Yeah I think it is a cool splash page by golly.

No I’m not going to spoil it all for you as well, I don’t think I could do aspects of this justice. It’s such an odd story that I was hesitant if I was going to make it through with issue one. Yet by issue four it wasn’t too shabby. Not too shabby at all.

Now if you’re wanting a detailed look into art and so on, Kirkham’s art ranges from kind of rough to solid when it comes to drawing the robots especially. Regla’s inking helps a lot in smoothing out the rough edges of Kirkham’s pencils for sure. Kwok’s coloring is strong throughout the four issues along with Blond’s assist for  #2 and Todd Klein’s lettering is amazing as always. As the story itself serviced in bringing these properties together in a disjointed but fun way, at least by the end. Stuart Moore did well in making this work and also being sure to let the fellow members of his creative team shine via his script. It’s a mess at points but a worthwhile adventure if I do say so myself.

Yeah I’m not writing these to replace the issues here. This is a loose summary into the four issues. Fair warning, Starscream isn’t in this as I read in the IGN interview he was dead at the time. After we get past the lack of Starscream, I say give these a look. You won’t find them on any digital market so you are either going to go back issue bin diving or buying them online at any fine online comic book store. The trade is out of print but you can find it via online sellers, I saw it for under $15. The single issues are the way to go here in my opinion, they are easy to get your hands on.

I cannot state this enough, go with the single issues if you can unless you find the trade for cheaper than $15. If you find this trade for ten bucks, sure go for it but otherwise stick with the singles.

This is the first of The Sequential Chronicles so let me know what you think out there in comic land. Tell me what works and what doesn’t and so on. I’m still working out some stuff with this so any feedback is appreciated. Leave me a comment below, say hi to me on Twitter, and I will catch you all in the next part of this journey. Because the next part of this is an adventure into 80’s cartoon wonderland, see you then.

(Side note: This is so my weird iCandy piece once more too. As in I’m likely the only person even remotely diving into this. This is my life.)

 

 

 

 

 

Wes Reads: Doom Patrol #1: Young Animal Arrives!

Doom Patrol #1 Young Animal DC Comics Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

Doom Patrol is the start of the Young Animal Imprint at DC Comics. Gerard Way unleashes his distinctive vision for Young Animal within the pages of Doom Patrol. Way’s writing on Doom Patrol gives you an idea of what to expect out of Young Animal. If this is what Young Animal has in store for us, this line of comics will be amazing. I’m part of the crowd with Doom Patrol, I like this comic. The tagline for Young Animal is “Comics for Dangerous Humans”, this fits in a good way here. In every review and opinion I’ve read, all across social media, everyone likes this comic. Here’s where this gets fun, why is it so loved? I’m going to give you my personal reasons why I like this comic as much as I do. To the land of the weird and wonderful with Doom Patrol #1!

Enter the Gyro, You never know what you will find.

Doom Patrol #1 Young Animal Gyro

Copyright: DC Comics

 

As the comic explores about a thousand different concepts in one issue, this is surprisingly friendly to a new reader. Gerard Way sets up the concept as if you know next to nothing about the team you’ll be fine. Now if you know a little to a lot about Doom Patrol then it becomes that much richer for you. Way’s Doom Patrol can be appreciated on any level. My level of Doom Patrol knowledge is moderate but I am weak in my knowledge of Morrison’s run on the series which seems to be a heavy influence here. If you haven’t read any of Morrison’s Doom Patrol, you’ll still be fine. Ideas come at you in many ways here and this is a blast to read no matter what.

You can say that Doom Patrol is Weird but a Good Kind of Weird.

Note the heading, yes this is weird but I am so glad it exists. Casey Brinkle helps in being your guide to the madness around her. No matter what kind of weirdness and craziness comes at you, Way lets Casey be your guide to Doom Patrol. People start exploding, no problem, Casey centers the comic. Gyros being their own worlds, no problem, Casey gives you a way to process this in your mind. Sometimes there are comics out there that throw weird out there just to be weird, this is weird with purpose. Casey is the viewpoint for the new readers while the old readers wonder how she fits in. Casey Brinkle works on both levels and Way makes it seem effortless but the thought behind her shows.

From what I can tell, the Doom Patrol is forming around Casey and she’s become a magnet for weird in the process. In the meantime, while the Doom Patrol is coming back to the scene, there’s something behind the scenes perking up. A strange new food sensation is starting up that is going to factor in amazing and odd ways it seems. The people behind this new food sensation are a nightmare fuel corporate group, while still being slick and shiny. I got a NextWave vibe off of them as to how they acted mixed in with a lot of horrifying corporate focus group shows. Even better that this group is discussing the food in a run of the mill hotel, perfection.

Seriously, Absolute Perfection.

There’s so much to this one issue of Doom Patrol and yet it is still easy to piece it together. Robot Man appears and then has something bonkers happen from the start, which adds another element to the story. I am intrigued by Terry None, that intro was the most off the wall thing but Casey’s reaction to Terry made it priceless. Even more curious as what Robot Man was up to before certain events happened to him. Way even addresses Niles Caulder, the founder of the Doom Patrol, in a random one pager, and it all makes sense. There’s so much meat to this comic and so much going on that I can’t imagine what will happen next.

Where’s the Kaboom? Well right on the image below you can see the kaboom.

Doom Patrol #1 Birthday

Copyright: DC Comics

I haven’t even touched the art on this yet, which is amazing in itself!

Attempting a story such as this requires an art team up to making this vision work. Nick Derrington, Tamra Bonvillain, and Todd Klein are beyond up to the task. Derrington’s art on this is without a doubt phenomenal. The art here captures so much in the emotions of the characters and making this wonderland of madness seem tactile. Way’s story blends the weird and wonderful together swimmingly with Derrington being the one to bring and enhance the world of the Doom Patrol and Derrington does that with perfection.

The Expression on the Cat alone makes it all the more special.

Derrington’s art is only part of what makes Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol great, it’s also the coloring that makes the comic shine. Tamra Bonvillain’s coloring is a masterwork. Bonvillain’s coloring on the Robot Man scenes in the Gyro world are impressive. That painted look to those pages that Derrington drew gives it a unique style all on its own. That’s not to say that the rest of the coloring here isn’t impressive, it’s pure beauty that can’t help but make anyone smile. A bright palette for a strange and sparkly world.

You also can’t help but get a kick out of this page showing the brilliance of all involved with this.

Doom Patrol #1 DC Comics Young Animal Blast

Copyright: DC Comics

Todd Klein’s lettering on this is as amazing as anything else he’s ever done. He’s a legend in the comics industry and Klein makes this book sing through his letters. Unique stylings with an unleashed brilliance to match with Way’s off the wall storytelling. It’s quirky, fun, and engaging lettering, making the lettering as much a part of the art process as anything else. It’s delightful and some of the coolest stuff I have seen in awhile.

Young Animal is going to be a brilliant imprint.

Simply put, buy this comic. If you somehow have managed to miss this book then correct that mistake and read it. We could use more of this madness in comics. A great start for the Young Animal imprint and I’m excited for what’s to come for this series and with the imprint itself.