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Transformers #9 (2023) review

Prepare for battle!

That’s right! With Robert Kirkman’s Void Rivals having launched Skybound’s new Energon Universe, noted writer/artist rolled-into-one Daniel Warren Johnson takes the reins on the linchpin of this new initiative, a brand-new Transformers comic series! Well, he maintains the reins on the writing of this series at least, as does Mike Spicer on colors. Jorge Corona takes over regular penciling duties with a style that barely misses a step from DWJ’s previous efforts.

In this ninth issue, the Autobots take the fight to the Decepticons and drive them off Earth and everyone lives happily ever after! ...Right? No, of course not. Things go horribly, horribly awry.

Wry, huh? Sounds funny.

I said “A-wry”! Optimus and crew venture forth in Bizarro Action Master Jetfire to take down the Decepticons, but the Decepticons now have an operational space bridge and access to Cybertron. New characters enter the battle for Earth, and the Autobots find themselves on the back foot again! It’s a relatively fast-paced issue, mostly being taken up by a fight scene, which Jorge Corona renders quite ably.

Elsewhere, Spike re-enters the spotlight as Triple Changer Astrotrain comes to abduct him. After Astrotrain’s debut in this series last issue, you wouldn’t expect him and Spike to have the dynamic that they do, but their interaction is actually kind of fun. I’m legitimately interested in this version of Astrotrain now.

So what other new stuff works?

Um… I dunno. I think this issue is where DWJ’s limits as a storyteller are really beginning to show. Characters take seemingly fatal damage, which is either DWJ’s way of showing real consequence in this story, or just taking advantage of Transformers’ traditional durability and ability to be repaired. Sometimes it’s hard to determine which is which though, and I think that’s where a lot of Transformers writers stumble. I’m kind of unsure how to feel when _______ takes what looks to be a fatal shot from Shockwave here.

Oh yeah, I guess SPOILERS, but Shockwave plays a major role in this issue and his characterization is… not quite what anyone is used to. I guess a new take is to be expected, but he says things in this issue that I feel are not quite “Shockwave-specific”, and that threw me off too.

Oh yeah again, someone does a pro wrestling move in this issue. When was the last time THAT happened?? Must have been at least one or two issues ago!

So cube?

We’re hitting a point where my ability to just enjoy something for what it is and my years of Transformer fandom are starting to clash. On one hand, there’s some really nice kinetic art and action scenes here, and the Astrotrain and Spike stuff was pretty interesting. On the other, the big dust-up between the Autobots and Decepticons just kind of left me with an unsettled feeling, and not in a good, dramatic way. It’s like… DWJ keeps throwing these raging parties and every time he does, I’m less and less interested in the cleanup afterwards and build-up to the next rager, you know?

What am I even talking about? I dunno.

Buy Transformers # 9 this week, and watch out, cuz the hippies are EVERYWHERE, man.

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