Okay, what was this again?
You uncomprehending dolt, have you already forgotten? This is the third issue of Void Rivals, Robert Kirkman, Lorenzo De Felici, and Matheus Lopes’ new sci-fi comic. It tells the tale of two crumbling planets linked by a “Sacred Ring” (it’s not Halo), their peoples at war for generations. When a member of each culture are stranded together, the two find they must put aside their differences if they want to survive. This story takes place in the so-called “Energon Universe”, Skybound Entertainment’s new initiative to relaunch properties like Transformers and G.I. Joe within a shared universe that also happens to include the original characters and setting of Void Rivals.
Last issue, our two titular rivals of the void were captured by the Skuxxoid and brought aboard his Rockeroid whilst trying to avoid the Noid! (That last bit may not be true.)
Right… so should I keep reading?
I wouldn’t quit yet, and I’m not just saying that! Kirkman delivers a more action-heavy issue as Darak and Solila take on their “host”, find themselves lost on his ship and are forced to mount a daring escape! The “frienemy” dynamic between these two continues to be compelling and the art by De Felici and Lopes paints a foreboding, alien atmosphere aboard the Rockeroid. De Felici does well with the other alien species that our main duo encounter during their jaunt and there’s a nice sense of scale and dynamic action during a fight scene.
Darak and Solila face a choice towards the end of the issue over who to trust, and with typical storytelling pragmatism, Kirkman has them act smartly as to not insult the audience’s intelligence or waste their time. I’ve always appreciated that about his writing- that he usually won’t bow to cliché or genre tropes simply to artificially extend a situation that savvy readers know will end in tears. That said, a whole NEW conflict for Darak and Solila is opened up with the ending and it certainly makes for an effective cliffhanger.
Okay, Sarak and Dolila, sure, but where’s mah TRANSFORMUHZ??????
This issue certainly does contain more Transformers… references, at least! Another alien species known to Transformers fans makes their appearance, and there’s even a reference to the Dreamwave era of Transformers comics, if you can believe it! (I can, considering Dreamwave spawned forth from Image Comics, as did Skybound.) Our good buddy the Skuxxoid is quite on brand, his characterization directly lifted from the Sunbow cartoon, and he references a few OTHER Transformers-linked alien species as well!
While there aren’t ACTUAL Transformers in this issue, the creative team makes sure you don’t forget this story is taking place in a universe where they DO exist! That may or may not be enough to tide you over until the upcoming Transformers comic by Skybound, but I did appreciate the effort and the world-building on display.
Alright, enough with the hard sell, where’s the cube at for this installment?
Void Rivals # 3 continues the solid premise and presentation from the previous two installments and while this issue is more action-heavy than the last, I enjoyed the slight detour before proceeding with the overarching plot. The next issue may pull back on the larger “Energon Universe” references, considering the setting, but if you’re not invested in Darak and Solila as characters by now, then you probably could bow out. Comics ARE expensive nowadays (and have been for quite awhile now, actually), but Void Rivals is one that I feel has been worth the tag thus far. I’d put the cube around here for this issue-
Help Skuxxoid support his family and buy Void Rivals # 3 this week!