Heroes & Villains: A New Transformers Series Arrives + Image’s Little Bird

There’s a lot of exciting comic book stuff to write about on this New Comic Book Day! In fact, it’s probably one of the better NCBDs in recent memory…It was hard to pick just two to write about today. It’s a good problem to have. Onward!

TransformersTransformers #1
Brian Ruckley (W)
Angel Hernandez, Cachet Whitman (A)
IDW Publishing

Since I’ve written at length on the subject of Transformers before, it’s safe to say I approached IDWs relaunch of the Transformers franchise property with a critical eye. IDW recently ended their long running interconnected series of Transformers last December, and in my opinion it was probably one of the best interpretations of the franchise out there.

Given that they announced the relaunch as soon as the prior series ended there was an cloud of “too soon-ness” for me about the new series. That’s only because, as a comic book fan, I’m part of a superstitious and cowardly lot, conditioned to hate and fear the new by the collective unconscious of the fandom. It’s something I actively try to combat in this column because new takes on things are good and good for you.

So, with that out of the way I’m very pleased to relate to you that the new Transformers book is excellent. Isn’t that a relief? The previous franchise iteration had been going on for a long, long time and, I’ll admit, had become a bit impenetrable. I had only been reading one of the titles and was fairly confused by the final crossover that brought those series of books to an end. I mean, Rom the Space Knight was there! What did I miss???

Transformers takes things all the way back to before the great Cybertronian civil war and is a great jumping on point as first issues often are. Megatron and Orion Pax (not yet Optimus Prime) are, if you can believe it, friends of a sort. Not yet at war, the seeds of future conflict are on full display this issue. I’m sure eagle-eyed readers will notice that on this issue’s cover Megatron isn’t rocking the Decepticon shield just yet. I’m sure everything will work out fine.

Ruckley does a fantastic job of resetting things for this universe along with keeping up the high quality of work that IDW Transformers readers have come to expect. He’s got a definite vision for where he wants to take the series and I’m totally on board for it. The art in the book is as amazing as it has ever been with Angel Hernandez and Cachet Whitman splitting the art duties. There were some nice details present like a lot of the primary characters sharing design aspects with their toy counterparts.

If you’re a Transformers fan you have to check out this issue…and even better, the next issue will be out in two weeks!

Little Bird
Darcy Van Poelgeest (W)
Ian Bertram (A)
Image Comics

Little Bird is one of those books that completely grabbed my attention from the first page and would not let go until I finished reading the book. Twice.

If I accomplish one thing with my column, I hope that I get some people out there to pick up a book they normally wouldn’t and give it a fair shake. There’s some amazing work being done in comics right now and Little Bird is one of those special books your should go out of your way to check out. If your local comic shop isn’t carrying it…ask them to.

The book is set in the far future, as the American Empire attempts to make inroads into Canada and follows the journey of one lone member of the resistance as she tries to stand against them. The scope of this book is pretty amazing and I find it hard to believe the story will be contained to only five issues. Speaking of containing the story, the back-matter of the book points out that there are no immediate plans for a collected edition of the story after it finishes its run. So to those of you out there that are “trade waiting”…stop it. Get out to the store and pick this book up.

The story is pretty surreal and, to me, seems to embody some of the (justified) anxiety Canadians must have about their downstairs neighbor. You know, the one who’s up all night, causing a commotion and screaming crazy shit constantly. I’m loathe to compare one artist’s work to another’s, it probably speaks more to my limitations as a writer than anything, but Ian Bertram’s art has a dreamy Frank Quitely-quality to it that I absolutely adore.

I’ll bring it on home with my third and final request that you check out this book. It’s strange and bloody and I had a great time reading it.

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