Heroes & Villains: Does ‘Void Rivals #2’ Maintain the Series’ Initial Momentum?

Has it been a whole month already?

Void Rivals #2 came out this week and my curiosity got the better of me when I was offered the chance to take a look at it. As a lifelong Transformers fan and an at best fairweather GI Joe fan, I’m interested in how the Energon Universe is going to come together.

Void Rivals #2
Robert Kirkman (W) Matheus Lopes, Lorenzo De Felici (A)
Image Comics/Skybound Entertainment

ROBERT KIRKMAN & LORENZO DE FELICI’s new shared universe continues here!

After the jaw-dropping reveal in the debut issue everything Darak and Solila thought they knew about the Sacred Ring’s never-ending war has changed.

To deliver the truth back home they must first get off this deadly planet-by any means necessary.

The second issue of Void Rivals has the unenviable task of providing more context to the events of the prior issue without an Autobot to be found. The more cynical among us have been left to ponder if the central plot point of warring alien species has enough gas to keep readers around without the central intellectual property of the shared universe being overtly involved (for now.)

It’s difficult to judge Void Rivals on its own merits knowing that its part of a larger whole, and it’s almost impossible for this to not feel like a detour from the main event. I know there are giant transforming robots out there and making me wait for them feels like I’m being kept from the fireworks factory. The ultimate question here is are fans willing to stick to stick around while new groundwork is being put down that will add a new wrinkle to a decades old franchise?

To the best of my knowledge, Transformers has only changed comics publishers three times in the last thirty-nine years and IDW most recently held the publishing rights the longest. I don’t think I’m telling tales out of school when I say that Transformers fans like things a certain way when it comes to their space robots. I can still remember the fervor that Beast Wars was met with when it premiered and most Transformers purists felt it deviated to far from the original concept. This is probably the most eloquently that someone has ever written about the “Trukk not munkey” meme in recorded history. Ironically, for fans of shape transforming robots, some of us are surprisingly resistant to change.

Do I count myself among them? It’s hard to say. I’ve dipped in and out of mainline Transformers fandom since the original show. Personally, I loved Beast Wars and Beast Machines, but shows like Robots in Disguise and Energon did absolutely nothing for me. All that said, I’m really trying to be patient with Void Rivals and give it a chance to grow.

The artwork is compelling, giving the series a fresh and alien feel which I guess is appropriate since the series takes place in space. Without delving too deeply into spoiler territory I can say that this issue does, in part, connect again to the larger Transformers universe…but only if you know what you’re looking at. As a diehard fan of Transformers, I only vaguely knew what I was looking at and admittedly had to consult a wiki before nodding in approval. It’s a pretty deep G1 cut, I’m sure of that much.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Void Rivals to see what voids they’re going to be rivaling in the near future. My hope is that the series continues to strongly transform evolve and that they’ll stay away from 18-20 pages of exposition with a SHOCKING LAST PAGE REVEAL/CLIFFHANGER (no doubt Transformers-related) that will keep readers coming back monthly out of some sense of obligation.

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