REVIEW: ‘Transformers: King Grimlock,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Transformers: King Grimlock #1

Transformers: King Grimlock #1 is written by Steve Orlando, illustrated by Agustin Padilla, colored by Jeremy Colwell, and lettered by Jake M. Wood. It is published by IDW Publishing. During a battle on Cybertron, Dinobot leader Grimlock is pulled into the realm of Menonia by a magic spell. Arnak, the elder of the Valerift people, intended to call Optimus Prime to defeat the despot known as the Golden One. Grimlock chafes at the fact that he was the second choice and refuses to help, which leads to Arnak’s daughter Arko chasing after him.

Animal-based Transformers are making a comeback this year. From Beast Wars celebrating its 25th anniversary and Transformers: War For Cybertron-Kingdom to the upcoming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts premiering next year, there is no shortage of giant robots who can also transform into giant animals. The Dinobots happen to be the first example of this in canon, and it’s quite clear from the events that transpire that Grimlock is a favorite of the creative team involved. It’s also a genuinely new take on a Transformers story. While Transformers have encountered humans before, those humans tend to utilize modern technology—the humans Grimlock encounters on Menonia feel more like they stepped out of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. There’s even a character sheet for Grimlock at the end of the book, which makes me hope there’s a King Grimlock RPG game in the planning stages.

Orlando’s script places Grimlock’s strengths and flaws on display. He is one of the most physically strong Transformers out there, but he feels that brute strength will solve all his problems. This puts him in conflict with Prime, who often uses diplomacy and strategy while dealing with threats on Cybertron. Grimlock also has a less than cordial interaction with the citizens of Valerift and even ends up fighting and killing some of the local wildlife when he is teleported to Menonia. A two-story robot that can transform into a Tyrannosaurus rex with omnipresent bloodlust is a unique choice for a protagonist, but Orlando more than seems up to the task. And Arko seems like a perfect foil for the Dinobot, as well as a fresher take on the usual “grizzled badass teams up with/cares for a child” trope.

The art team delivers work that perfectly fuses the hi-tech world of the Transformers with a realm dripping in swords and sorcery. Padilla’s artwork shifts from the massive steel towers of Cybertron to the lush green forests of Menonia. And he draws creatures that are just as big and bloodthirsty as Grimlock, including a horde of razor-tusked boars and giant gold-skinned giants. Colwell’s colorwork gives each character a unique look; Grimlock’s silver and gold look act as a contrast to Optimus Prime’s trademark red and blue color scheme. And Wood’s letters feel as big and bold as the giant robots that populate this world; my favorite use of lettering is the sound effect that follows Grimlock’s transformations. The effect is broken up across panels, stopping when he reaches his desired form.

Transformers: King Grimlock #1 perfectly mixes sword and sorcery into the Transformers mythos, beginning a bold new adventure for the Dinobots’ leader. Transformers fans old and new, along with Dungeons & Dragons fanatics, will definitely want to pick it up.

Transformers: King Grimlock #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Transformers: King Grimlock #1
4.5

TL;DR

Transformers: King Grimlock #1 perfectly mixes sword and sorcery into the Transformers mythos, beginning a bold new adventure for the Dinobots’ leader. Transformers fans old and new, along with Dungeons & Dragons fanatics, will definitely want to pick it up.