Transformers vs. G.I. JOE #5 escalates the conflict between Decepticons and Cobra against the fragile alliance formed between the JOEs and the Autobots. Twists, turns and a ton of complexity and Easter eggs for multiple read throughs, but is it good?
Transformers vs G.I. Joe (IDW Publishing)
Tom Scioli’s artwork is once again top notch with its old school nostalgia; it really is the only thing on the shelf that has this unique look. His coloring is very bright and there are a ton of colors on each and every page whether it is the yellow and red of gun blasts or the green of the JOEs’ uniforms and vehicles. Scioli’s panel choices are also extremely unique and varied. On one page he uses hexagonal panels cutting through the middle of the page adding a psychedelic effect to coincide with the mind trip taking place on the page. My favorite panel layout of the entire book breaks down Fortress Maximus into multiple boxes, each displaying different action sequences taking place within him. Your gaze lingers on each page as there is so much happening: JOEs rappelling down from Fortress Maximus, Decepticons flying around shooting JOE helicopters, or Optimal Prime running over Cthulhu-robot minions. Every page is a visual orgasm.
The story jumps around a bit as expected and you never know who Scioli and Barber are going to focus on when you flip the page. The story with Optimal Prime, Duke, and Snake Eyes is especially trippy as they are attacked by a new Cthulhu-looking robotic foe taking them on a journey through space, time, and into their own minds.
Scioli and Barber do recognize the story jumps around a lot and they are prepared to help alleviate the confusion with an excellent breakdown of the book after the story. They explain everything from finding characters that only made one appearance in the Transformers’ universe to providing context for the Cthulhu-like Quintessons. If you have any questions, they answer them.
There are excellent combat sequences featuring Grimlock, Trypticon, Metroplex, Megatron, and Fortress Maximus and his many heads. These combat sequences come one right after the other, which can be a tad confusing when Barber and Scioli don’t show or tell you how some of the fights end, rather leaving it up to you. This and the constant jumping between storylines does make it quite difficult to follow at times.
Scioli and Barber continue to develop and add personality to the main cast as well as introducing new characters when they appear. The multitude of characters can be a little difficult to remember especially in regards to the supporting cast, but the number of characters also adds to the idea this is a war and there are so many moving pieces and players it is difficult to account for everyone.
Is It Good?
Tom Scioli and John Barber’s Transformers vs. G.I. JOE #5 continues to deliver a nostalgic and unique art style with loads of action sequences and Easter eggs. The story jumps around a bit leaves room for the reader’s imagination. They continue to introduce more characters as the war rages on although it does become a little cumbersome trying to remember who they all are.