The Lone Gunmen continue their road trip of intrigue and synergy, this time coming face to face with a couple of robots in disguise. Is it good?
The X-Files Conspiracy: Transformers #1 (IDW Publishing)
The story starts off with a literal bang as an office building explodes, sending three very familiar looking silhouettes falling to the ground below.
Things then immediately flash back to five hours earlier, where the Lone Gunmen have inadvertently summoned Optimus Prime and Bumblebee to a meeting via their internet search history.
“…for he will feel the wrath of those who do not honor agreements made on Craigslist!”
After receiving a quick history lesson in Transfromers mythology, the Autobots explains that Ratchet is being held by an organization known as Skylogic… the same group behind the terrorist attacks that they Lone Gunmen are trying to stop.
With some advanced help from the Transformers, the Gunmen are able to find the person who is going to release the virus. After locating/kidnapping Miles Dyson David Simmons, they explain what is at stake and get him to help them break into Skylogic.
From there, it’s a whole lot of explosions and guns shooting as the teams go in to rescue Ratchet… and keep him from unwittingly being a party to the death of billions.
Is It Good?
Here’s a quick tutorial on how comic reviewers critique artwork:
When I first began reading comic reviews, I was a bit perplexed at how many reviewers could fall head over heels for highly stylized (or even cartoony) pencils, while at the same time seeming ambivalent towards certain examples of photo-realistic looking artwork.
Much of this was due to my own tastes, which I still retain today. But let’s compare the pencils in this issue by Dheeraj Verma to those of Michael Walsh in last week’s X-Files Conspiracy: TMNT #1.
Both artists are very good, but if the two of them were asked to draw a simple character portrait side by side, I would almost certainly pick Verma’s. When put into the context of paneling and story-telling, however, Walsh comes away the clear winner. His work, while not as clean or grounded as I normally prefer, conveys the action, background, and interactions between the characters incredibly well. His sense of motion is also top notch, which is something that often gets overlooked when it comes to critiquing an artists’ work. It’s not small task to take a still drawing and make it convey a ton of kinetic energy. Walsh, however, can do it as well as anyone.
Verma’s pencils, on the other hand, are at times a little stilted. Combine that with the bizarre choice to shadow everything to almost complete blackness (along with very poor paneling), and you have some very pretty pictures… but not necessarily great artwork for telling a story.
And speaking of the story, it’s not bad. In fact, the invented reason by writer Paul Crilley for the two franchises to cross was impressively intelligent/acceptable. The dialogue between Optimus Prime and Bumblebee was also a real treat. The bromance between Langley, and Bumblebee, however, felt a bit forced.
In the end, it’s a fun/disposable issue, but not up to the standard of great storytelling that this franchise crossover has managed to ping once before.