I’ve heard nothing but bad things about this series, from reviews that have blasted every aspect of it (concept to execution) and yet there was something compelling about it to me. I’ve loved the Transformers for a long time, it was one of my favorite toys (and probably the last toy line I was really into as a kid), and I’ve been a fan of Marvel comics for a long time. This seemed like the equivalent of a summer movie blockbuster – maybe not all that intelligent, but certainly it should be entertaining.
And I’m here to tell you it is exactly that. Don’t listen to all the negative press about this series – no, it’s not the greatest Avengers or Transformers story I’ve ever read – but let’s be clear here; we’re talking about superheroes and sentient robots from outer space. Is there any particular reason these two franchises can’t get along? In fact there isn’t – and Ms Marvel makes a point of noting that during her cosmic travels she’s encountered worlds devastated as described by the Autobots (when talking about what the Decepticons will do to Earth should they not be stopped) – but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
The Avengers have gone to Doctor Doom’s country of Latveria because it has recently increased hostilities with neighboring country Symkaria – in what will likely lead to outright war. The Avengers are looking to prevent that, though Captain America notes that the planes he sees flying bombing missions into Symkaria don’t look like the type Doom’s country employs (to the eagle eyed reader, they do look to be the familiar shapes of Decepticons). The Avengers find a dome shaped base, and Doctor Doom who seems as surprised as they are to find it in his country. As they try to break in, they are met by the Decepticons, who take Spider-man because his irradiated blood carries a unique energy signature that they can harness into Energon which will give them additional powers beyond what they are normally capable of.
Ok, so that was a bit of a stretch, but again – superheroes, talking machines – let’s go with it here. The heroes (who by this point are in-fighting incessantly, almost to the point that I was thinking this was the reason people were turned off by this series) retreat, though begrudgingly – and find the Autobots arriving to help. The Autobots explain that the Decepticons have usurped one of Doom’s devices and used it to make an aggression ray of sorts – one that’s affecting all the humans in the vicinity (making sense of the in-fighting of the Avengers, as well as the rising tensions between these countries) as a cover up so that they can harvest the fuel of our world and leave it a husk when they’re done (this is where Ms Marvel mentions she’s seen this happen before).
The Autobots and Avengers then work together to invade the dome and defeat the Decepticons, in grand spectacular fashion. We have Iron Man coming in wearing a Transformer sized armor, Spider-Man webslinging around Megatron the way he’s shown on the cover of the original Marvel Transformers #3 (but didn’t actually occur in that issue) Optimus Prime giving the beat-down to Megatron, and lots of other fun moments. Yes, there are strange out-of-character moments (I think Captain America is singing the Star Spangled Banner as he heads into battle at one point, which just didn’t seem right – but I’ll chalk it up to the lingering effects of the aggression ray), but by and large both the art and the story really impressed me for what this book is. These robots from space fit in as well in the Marvel universe as any other cosmic threat (and are treated as just another one of the many that exist), frankly it can even coexist with the already established appearance of Spider-man (though that’s long been written out of his history) in the Transformers – because there’s really no reference to him having never seen them before. And thought never followed up on, the ending certainly set up the possibility for a follow up Avengers/Transformers series.
But ultimately, if you’re a fan of either series, this is the kind of series that was made to be easy to pick up and read for anyone. I’m a fairly casual fan at this point, having not followed Transformers in comics for since their Marvel days and only reading Avengers since it’s New incarnation – but that’s more than enough to follow what’s going on here. This is exactly as advertised, a big dumb action film – so get out the popcorn and have fun reading it, and don’t worry too much about if it makes sense or not – remember, superheroes and giant talking robots.