Transformers: It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

Posted July 8, 2014 by Jake Morris in Nerdy Bits

While the latest entry in Michael Bay’s directed Transformers film series recently saw a release worldwide, lifelong fans of the giant transforming robots have took to the internet in protest over yet another sequel.
The film has already brought in a ton of money, so the films do not look to be ending the franchises presence on the silver screen anytime soon. Is it the end of the world for Transformers the world over though? The future still looks bright for the robots in disguise, plus there is still enjoyment to be found in previous incarnations across multiple forms of media.
Here is a list of awesome stuff that either new fans, fans wanting to fill their fix for a new found love for Transformers, or fans looking to be reminded that Michael Bay’s films are nothing but a drop in the pool of a franchise containing entertainment stretching across over three decades.

More Than Meets the EyeThe Current Run From IDW
In 2005 the rights to publishing Transformers comics went to IDW after the previous publisher, Dreamwave, went bankrupt. In the time since then, IDW have reinvented the core mythology of Transformers while also staying close to the framework built in the original G1 cartoon. The line of books has gone through significant changes in the run up to where they are currently at and has provided some of the best looking Transformers art to date.
Currently IDW produced a soft reboot in their books that launched two new titles (Robots in Disguise and More Than Meets the Eye). The latter focusing on a now named Rodimus (you may know him as Rodimus Prime) captaining a ship containing Autobots on a mission to find the fabled ‘Knights of Cybertron’. It is very much an ensemble piece with branched off stories surrounding the crew members, many of which fans will know of, spiced with a comedic edge. Robots in Disguise focuses on the political side of a war ravaged Cybertron now attempting to rebuild after the end of the civil war between Autobots and Decepticons. You’ll find interesting allegiances and a three way fight for control between Bumblebee, Starscream and the Decepticons.

Transformers: PrimeTransformers Prime
The most recent TV series based on Transformers began in 2010 and was the first 3D animated series since Beast Wars and Beast Machines. The show is intertwined within a separate continuity than that of the current comic book run, the original cartoon and any other subsequent form of Transformers lore, instead linking with the Cybertron game series (more on that later) and a collection of novels. Prime brought the Autobots back to Earth after the civil war that had raged on for millions of years, had tore their planet apart, rendering it no longer liveable. The show featured a few human characters as well, all of which, add a nice dynamic. The roster of Autobots was a thin one to begin with and finally featured a great incarnation of Arcee, accompanied by the ever present Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Ratchet along with the newest addition, Bulkhead.
Transformers: Prime aired for three seasons including a TV based film ‘Beast Hunters’. During its life on air, the show received a positive reception, with a follow up series Transformers: Robots in Disguise planned for release in 2015.

Transformers CybertronThe Cybertron Game Series
All of those cries and pleas for an only Transformers centric film may have been doing the rounds for years prior, but the Cybertron games developed by High Moon studios cemented those demands. Set on Cybertron during the latter days of the civil war between Megatron’s Deception forces and Optimus’ Autobots, War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron was the closest fans have come to a perfect Transformers game.
Cybertron has never been so real. The desolate wasteland battlefields surrounded by crumpled monolithic buildings built out of the advanced Cybertronian technology. The dark and Gothic corridors found in the inside of such technology showcased just what this alien world could truly feel like. Boasting a huge cast of characters and chapters focusing on both factions, it was not just the ability to blast Decepticons with Optimus’ canon that appealed, but the care put into the story and the incredible voicework from Transformers past and present.
Unfortunately High Moon have been despatched to take on the Call of Duty series, leaving the latest Cybertron games in someone else’s hands.

The Original G1 Cartoon From the 1980sTransformers 1980s
If you are already a Transformers fan then you know about the original 80s cartoon, if not then you’re in for a treat. Admittedly it does not hold up all that well and the arching storytelling is not in the same league as Prime, but this is all about seeing where it all started. The show was really just a giant toy advertisement but that does not mean there is no fun. From the introduction of the Dinobots to witnessing an Optimus Prime alligator thanks to the devious plans of the Decepticons, the show is unapologetically 80s but with so many episodes, there is enough content to satisfy anyone wanting to dive into Transformers lore.
Let’s also not forget the original movie from 1986. A movie that scarred children at the time due to (SPOILERS) the death of Optimus Prime, and even continues to do to this day. It should be considered a dare to watch the film and not get pumped every time you hear The Touch by Stan Bush every time afterwards.

250px-MarvelUS-01Marvel Comics’ Transformers Run
Lastly on the list is the original comic series from Marvel. The published run is often claimed and named as ‘a four part mini series that ran for 80 issues’. Which if you haven’t guessed is because Marvel only ever planned to put out a four issue mini that would tell the tale of an alien race that could transform into vehicles. Success proved that four issues were not enough and it carried on for the majority of the 80s. The G1 cartoon is often named as the essential part of Transformers lore, and mainstream wise it is difficult to argue, but the original comic that came before the cartoon is still the foundation of everything that has come after it.
Very true of its time, the run does feel tied to that era but there is fun to be had and picking apart the sources of where modern Transformer storytelling originates from gives an intriguing insight. IDW also happened to relaunch the original run under the ‘Regeneration One’ moniker which ended recently.

Well, that just about rounds out the recommendations from us here at We The Nerdy. Always remember that the Transformers films no matter how bad they are, there is still fun to be had in all of the other forms of media that Transformers can be found in… and with that, to readers, whether you be a Decepticon, an Autobot or a non-aligned indigenous life-form: ’till all are one!

About the Author

Jake Morris

When is Deadman going to get a film? Never, you say? Well, I'm just going to sit here and sulk. Comics, films, stuff... I like it aaaaall.