REVIEW: ‘Transformers/Back To The Future,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Transformers/Back To the Future #1 cover

Transformers/Back To The Future #1 is an IDW published crossover. The writer is Cavan Scott and the artist is Juan Samu. The colours are by David Garcia Cruz and the letters are by Neil Uyetake. The plot combines the two franchises, both emerging around the same time in the mid-1980s. Marty and Doc Brown are being chased in the DeLorean by the terrorists, similar to the events in the original film. Observing them are the Decepticons, stunned by the revelation that these humans have discovered time travel. The robots watch Doc Brown’s return before starting a battle with their Autobots nemeses. Their conflict interrupts the conversation of the two men, forcing the duo to separate. Marty returns home, but when he wakes up, he is in for a huge surprise…

This series has one of the most interesting plots in regards to Transformers crossovers. The idea that the narrative takes place at the end of the original BTTF (the present timeline at least), meaning that the story is relatively untarnished. It is at that point that the two worlds collide and from there begins an original tale. The direction Marty is taken in was very surprising and unexpected. There is a reveal on the last page that was predictable in nature, but its implementation was very well done. 

Fusing the franchises doesn’t initially seem possible, as writers sometimes force the Transformers into the world they are partnering with, to varying success. . But for Transformers/Back To The Future #1 it feels equal in how the story has been mixed. Scott uses BTTF’s rules and science to set up conflict brilliantly.

Scott is very effective at writing the dialogue and personalities of both human protagonists. Both Marty and Doc feel exactly like their screen counterparts. Marty’s bewilderment and Doc Brown’s exuberance is very enjoyable. If the energy of those two is maintained then it will be fascinating to see how they respond to more of the Cybertronians.

As for the Transformers, all of them are recognizable. They have amazing banter with each other, with either enemy or ally. Megatron berates Starscream, Bumblebee is as wisecracking and jovial as Marty and Optimus appears as noble as ever. 

The biggest disappointment and this is the fact in several crossover series, is that there are not enough Transformers to see. In this first issue, the only Autobots seen are Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Opposing them are four Decepticons. It is understandable that these are the most widely recognized figures within the franchise, but it does make the comic feel empty at times. Having more characters to exist even on the periphery would fill the empty space and add some variety to the team-ups.

The art makes Transformers/Back To The Future #1 so much fun to look at. The opening shot is the chase scene from the actual movie, and it’s drawn in a very dynamic way. Samu uses very thick line weights on the Cybertronians and occasionally on the human characters, creating a very cartoonish look. There is a lot of attention to detail on the robots and their sense of scale is brilliant when placed next to humans. 

The action scenes are brilliant. The impact of each punch and attack is drawn around the metal fists, resulting in an epic feeling when the reader sees the two sides fight. The human characters involved in the story are also given great detail by Samu. Both characters are very emotive, and that is captured beautifully in the facial expressions etched in the panels. The colours by Garcia Cruz are bright and suit both universes. The DeLorean jumping through time fills the panel with blue light, and the same excitement is felt as it was in the first viewing of the movie. The Transformers have beautiful shading, with the colours changing within individual metal plates. Primary colours are used for most of them, but the alteration within them provides depth to the panels. This use of different shades and tones is visible within the hair of Marty and Doc Brown as well, which gives them a voluminous quality.

For the most part, the lettering is high quality by Uyetake. They don’t take up much space and it is easy to discern who is talking. If there was one way they could be improved, it would be that are times the balloons and text are too small. On occasion, it takes a bit of effort to read the balloons purely because the words feel too close together. 

Transformers/Back To The Future #1 is a riveting team-up that manages to merge the best parts of what both franchises represent. The pure excitement that radiates from the human characters was always fantastic within BTTF, and Scott and Samu supplement that with the terrific action that Transformers brings to any scenario. The two universes being combined aren’t as jarring as other IDW attempts, with time travel serving as an effective tool to bring them together. The art creates more charm for the comic to give off. it will be interesting to see how the crossover unfolds moving forward.

Transformers/Back To The Future #1 is available where comics are sold. 

Transformers/Back To The Future #1
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