Do You Already Know the Big Surprise of ‘Void Rivals?’

Monday morning, I was sitting around minding my own business when I received the following text from EiC, Andy Burns: “If I sent you an embargoed comic from Skybound that speaks to your interests, think you could do something for Wednesday?

To which I responded, “You men the worst kept secret in comics for the last week?” accompanied by a contextually appropriate gif.

The lengthy preamble is to provide a buffer so that if you’re one of the few people that have managed to avoid Void Rivals big reveal, you still have a chance to turn back. Spoilers are going to be in full effect right after the blurb for the issue.

Void Rivals #1

Robert Kirkman (W)

Lorenzo De Felici (A)

Matheus Lopes (A)

Image Comics/Skybound

SERIES PREMIERE The blockbuster OBLIVION SONG team of ROBERT KIRKMAN & LORENZO DE FELICI debut the biggest new comic book series of 2023 with the launch of AN ALL-NEW SHARED UNIVERSE and a SURPRISE you won’t see coming! War rages around the Sacred Ring, where the last remnants of two worlds have collapsed around a black hole in a never-ending war. However, when pilot Darak and his rival Solila both crash on a desolate planet, these two enemies must find a way to escape together. But are they alone on this strange planet? And what dark forces await that threaten the entire universe?

Are we alone now? Good.

The above mentioned SURPRISE is that Transformers are back in comics, baybeeee. Which I wouldn’t have seen coming except for the existence of the Internet and anyone with a Twitter account that couldn’t keep it in their pants until after the issue hit stands. 

IDW was the previous license holder for the Transformers (and GI Joe) properties up until 2021 when Hasbro opted not to renew their license. All part of the business, right? IDW had a pretty stellar run with the Transformers books but it was becoming apparent that it was time for a change. The handoff to Kirkman’s Skybound imprint was rumored but was kept hush-hush until now and I’m expecting a torrent of Transformers (and GI Joe) news any second now.

So how is THIS book? It’s a mildly interesting, boilerplate sci-fi that’s unfortunately overshadowed by the big reveal of the Autobot Skyfire Jetfire who hilariously “Poochies” out of the story as quickly as he appears. He has to go. His planet needs him.

However, I’m not entirely dismissing the series or the new “shared universe” entirely out of hand. Thanks to Bedtime for Bonzo’s Ronald Reagan and his deregulation of children’s television in the 1980’s, I am fiercely brand loyal to the Transformers so I am compelled to open my wallet to whatever new robot stuff comes my way.

I’m curious where Void Rivals is going to go from here. How will it slot into the story of Transformers? How does GI Joe fit into this? Should Transformers and GI Joe exist in the same universe? Will second issue sales fall off a cliff after the inevitable sell-out of the first issue? 

Personally, I kind of think the Joes and Cobra existing along side the Autobots and Decepticons is a bit too much. Both franchises have existed just fine for decades independent of each other. I do get the feeling that the overlords at Hasbro caught wind of what Disney/Marvel was doing and went, “Hey! Get me one of them shared universes! The kids love that stuff!”  But I will concede that half the fun of playing with toys was mashing together characters that typically had no business being together. 

Void Rivals #1 is in stores now and if you don’t have a copy it may already be too late. 

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