Review: Transformers vs The Terminator Vol. 1

Writers: John Barber, David Mariotte & Tom Waltz
Artist: Alex Milne
Colorist: David Garcia Cruz
Letterer: Jake M. Wood
Publisher: IDW & Dark Horse Comics

Who would have thought Transformers vs The Terminator was the crossover you needed but wow does this pop with joyful nostalgia.

PLOT AND STORY

1984: When a deadly race of machines emerge from another time, will a robotic guardian be able to protect the Earth from a dire future…or will the T-800 fail in his mission to prevent the world from becoming a plaything to the Decepticons? The T-800, last hope of its kind, has travelled back to 1984 to destroy the Cybertronians before they can awaken and subjugate his future. But when the Ark systems start to bring the Autobots and Decepticons back online, what will he do against two armies? It’s up to one Terminator to save the future, and nothing’s gonna stand in his way!

David Mariotte, John Barber and Tom Waltz have written a fantastic alternate story to the Terminator and Transformers movies we know and love. I never would have put these characters together but when you think about it they make perfect sense. Robotic machines with a history of war and destruction shows they have a lot more in common than you think.

What I love about this story is how the writers take the plot points of the original Terminator movie and flip it on its head making the T-800 take on the role of Kyle Reese. Every page has little snippets and references to the movie surrounding you in familiarity and nostalgia but that doesn’t mean the series doesn’t have mystery and cliffhangers the further you progress with some great original twists towards the end.. These are also the parts which might confuse new readers to the franchises. The inclusion of characters like Sarah Connor who doesn’t have any real significance to the story is just an alternate timeline nod to her prolific role in the movies. Mountain St Hilary plays a somewhat irrelevant part in the story but again links back to its significance in the Transformers lore. These are the moments a fan of the two franchises will love. 

Being a four issue arc there isn’t much time to flesh out the story and layer it with sub plot upon sub plot which can give this book a slight one dimensional feel. On the flip side to that it makes this a very simple and easy book to pick up and read, especially for a younger audience. 

ARTWORK

Drawn by Alex Milne and coloured by David Garcia Cruz this series feels like watching an HD episode of the original Transformers cartoon. The Transformers taking inspiration from their original designs was an inspired choice as that has always been my preferred version of the Transformers.

This book is all out war and every page is filled with incredible robotic action. The tone shifts much more towards the kid friendly Transformers franchise than the harsh, brutal Terminator world, again making this a great book for a younger audience as it doesn’t quite fit the Graphic novel genre.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The blending of these two franchises and the glittering of easter eggs made this an absolute joy to read with pages of wonderful art taking me back to my childhood.  A satisfying short story arc with enough potential to create a second volume was enough for me to come back for more. 

I read this as a trade paperback preview copy issue by Penguin Random House and received no other incentive to review this comic.

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