REVIEW: “Transformers: Beast Wars,” Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Transformers Beast Wars #1 - But Why Tho?Transformers: Beast Wars #1 is written by Erik Burnham, illustrated and colored by Josh Burcham, and lettered by Jake M. Wood. It is published by IDW Publishing. “Savage Landing” serves as a reboot of the Beast Wars series and follows Optimus Primal and a crew of Maximals as they encounter Megatron and the Predacons. Megatron has stolen a disk full of information from Maximal Command and intends to use it, along with a time-traveling transwarp drive, to gain ultimate power.

The new series serves as both a reboot of the Beast Wars story, as well as a celebration of the series’ 25th anniversary. I grew up watching the original Beast Wars series, which was a trailblazing series in terms of computer animation and storytelling. To tell a story that celebrates the rich history of a franchise while also serving as an entry point for new readers is a tricky needle to thread. Yet the creative team handles it with ease, delivering an engaging story that eases audiences into the world of Beast Wars and throws enough Easter eggs to make older fans happy but not choke the story with references.

A large part of this is thanks to Burnham’s scripting. Burnham is no stranger to writing for IDW, having scripted several Ghostbusters comics for the publisher, including a one-shot for the franchise’s 35th anniversary. Burnham nails the characters’ personalities: Optimus Primal is a driven yet noble figure, Rattrap’s a whiner, and Rhinox the voice of reason. This also extends to the villains, with Megatron being just as power-hungry and ruthless as he was in the original series. Burnham also takes advantage of the super-sized issue, packing two issues’ worth of story into one and justifying the $6 price tag.

Burcham’s art and colors perfectly capture the design of the characters and make for some striking action sequences. He places the Predacons, particularly Megatron, in shadows, adding to their sinister nature and highlighting the purples and greens that make up their color scheme. In contrast, the Maximals are usually shown against a bright blue background that matches Primal’s red and blue color scheme. Burcham brings an animated flair to the designs. The Maximals and Predacons still look robotic but unlike their other Transformers counterparts, there’s a fluidity to their movements, especially in a scene where Primal and Rhinox spar with each other.

The issue also introduces a new pair of female characters to the series: the Maximals’ pilot Nyx (who transforms into a bat) and Predacon warrior Scold (who transforms into a reptilian creature.) Burnham said in an interview at the back of the book that he introduced the characters primarily to shake up the series’ dynamic and introduce more female characters in the narrative, as Blackarachnia was the sole female character in Beast Wars. Of the two, Nyx is my favorite-the joy she expresses upon learning her bat form has wings is a purely heartwarming moment.

Transformers: Beast Wars #1 perfectly hits the balance between being a reboot of the Beast Wars series and celebrating the series’ 25th anniversary, with art and writing that makes it feels like the pilot for a new animated series. Lifelong Beast Wars fans and newcomers to the franchise will want to pick this book up, and I personally can’t wait for future issues.

Transformers: Beast Wars #1 is available wherever comics are sold and through Comixology.

Transformers: Beast Wars #1
5

TL;DR

Transformers: Beast Wars #1 perfectly hits the balance between being a reboot of the Beast Wars series and celebrating the series’ 25th anniversary, with art and writing that makes it feels like the pilot for a new animated series. Lifelong Beast Wars fans and newcomers to the franchise will want to pick this book up, and I personally can’t wait for future issues.