Transformers: The IDW Collection Vol. 5

It happens in cycles for me. I get into Transformers (again), which then leads way to reading comic books (again). This time it's the Transformers comics I've gotten myself into. I found the first free issue of All Hail Megatron on Comixology, and that was enough for me to get the hardcover for IDW Collection #5.

Transformers: The IDW Collection Volume 5
Collects All Hail Megatron #'s 1-12, All Hail Megatron: Coda #'s 13-16
By Shane McCarthy, Guido Guidi, Simon Furman et al.

This thing retails for $49.99, it was on Amazon for $35. Looks like it's temporarily out of stock right now. The hardcover contains all 16 All Hail Megatron issues, and omits a few tangential Spotlight issues that were in a prior collection.

The maxi-series serves as a jumping-on point for new readers, and I must tell you, it worked for me. If you're used to the pedigree on this blog, you'll know I'm used to angsty superheroes, Batman punching people in the face, silly sound effects. So it's a bit of a jump to read about talking, transforming robots.

I first thought this was an "Elsewords" style of story, an alternate universe where the Decepticons won the war and the Autobots had to vacate Earth. But it's actually a "soft reboot" of the universe, and merely takes place 1 year after the previous IDW stories, which happened around Maximum Dinobots. The jump makes some drastic changes to the universe, and it's exciting to unravel them across the 12 issues. For example, you see the effects of the war when Perceptor changes from a laboratory scientist to a hardened sharpshooter. Or, Megatron ripping out the Matrix of Leadership from Optimus Prime's chest.

Yes this actually happened. It definitely helps to have some familiarity with the characters. For example, there are a couple of pages for the new character Drift where, if you didn't know his backstory, you'd be out of the water for those two pages. But if you have some familiarity with the characters, even from just the movie, I could see you enjoying it.

I'm particularly fond of the inversion of the typical, "good guys win, bad guys lose" story that the Transformers tend to adhere to. You learn to fear the Decepticons and just how powerful they really are. It's a slaughter. When the Decepticons raid New York, the human beings flee underground, eg, to the Subway. A great place for the Locomotive Transformer Astrotrain to pillage!

I was thinking about the best place to categorize this story. There's intrigue, betrayal, tactics and flashbacks. I'd call it a comic book war drama, and a good one at that. It's a great introduction to Transformers comics.

Now the flipside.

I was particularly disappointed that there wasn't a cover gallery. There are 16 issues in the collection, but only 3 covers: The cover for the trade paperback All Hail Megatron vol. 1, All Hail Megatron vol. 2 and volume 3. There are no DVD-style extras, cover gallery or sketch art that you might expect from a luxurious hardback like this. As the series pushed out, there were all these Russian Propaganda-esque covers that I was fond of. It's a great visual. The only other place I can recall comics did this was in Superman: Red Son.

So I made a collage of the 12 issues, broken up by volume, myself. I got the images all from tfwiki.

Isn't that just the sickest? Here's one last screenshot, from All Hail #12. Omega Supreme the launchpad/rocket transformer, takes on Devastator, a robot built from 6 construction transformers, and shoots him through the Statue of Liberty.

Robot violence: there's nothing like it.

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