By d. emerson eddy — Nostalgia sells. Memories of your youth, precious moments from your childhood. Especially among geeks. It's one of the reasons why you see so many reboots and remakes of favorite childhood properties like Transformers, She-Ra, and Ghostbusters. It's also often a cynical move on the part of intellectual property holders in order to play a safe bet, but that's a different argument for a different time. Right now, it's about nostalgia.
This week, IDW's Transformers mainline continuity came to an end with Optimus Prime #25. While it grew out of a nostalgia for Marvel Comics' Transformers title, especially with Simon Furman writing, it soared off on its own path, creating a brave new continuity. Although Optimus Prime was an end, IDW also launched a new beginning featuring other robots in disguise, this week’s Go-Bots #1.
The Go-Bots were like the Transformers, technically predating them, featuring robots that transformed into vehicles the same way, along with some that became rocks. Yes, robots that turned into rocks. I had a few of both the regular Go-Bots when I was a kid, as well as a couple Rock Lords, so you could kind of say that this new comics series is aimed at people like me and my feelings of nostalgia.
In more recent years, the Go-Bots became part of the Transformers franchise in various forms. Most in a type of mini-car vehicles utilizing the names but not their original designs, this series from writer/artist Tom Scioli takes us back to the originals.
Scioli is probably best known for his Kirby-esque art on Godland with Joe Casey, but he’s also garnered attention for the ‘80s cartoon inspired Transformers vs. GI Joe for IDW that featured a style similar to this. He gives this series an incredible attention to detail, making this feel like a dated product, from the art style to color reproduction, the faded yellows and browns making the pages feel old, and the little bits and pieces of ‘80s pop culture references that might not even be noticed if you weren't already familiar with them. It's a fun trip down memory lane.
Yet, beyond that, Scioli still makes this a highly entertaining story. If it were just nostalgia, it would likely be fairly empty, but there's a depth to the storytelling that works independently. He introduces us to the major players like Leader-1 working for the military, Turbo and Cy-Kill in the racing and illegal robot combat arena scenes, and every day bots like Scooter who are just fulfilling their function for their doting human companions. Scioli presents a dense tale of a world made better by the Go-Bots, and, in this first issue, a hint of what might happen should their morality chips malfunction.
Overall, this is a fun comic with great art that revels in some of the ridiculousness of the source material (the clever names like Cy-Kill or the new character T. Coriander Banks) while still being enjoyable and comprehensible for new readers.
Writer, Artist, & Letterer: Tom Scioli
d. emerson eddy is a student and writer of things. He fell in love with comics during Moore, Bissette, & Totleben's run on Swamp Thing and it has been a torrid affair ever since. His madness typically manifests itself on twitter @93418.