Energon - Volume 2

Author: Simon Furman
Artists: Joe NG, James Raiz and Alex Milne
Titan Books
RRP: 6.99
ISBN 1 84023 959 X
Available 24 February 2006

The Decepticons have made a deal with the Transformers' ultimate nemesis - Unicron: in exchange for new powers and forms, they will reactivate the evil, colossal robot. It's up to the heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, to try and stop the Decepticons from resurrecting this harbinger of disaster. Following a distress signal to Earth the Autobots once again confront their long-time adversaries in a race against time to stop the beginning of the ultimate doom...

Transformers Energon puts a new spin on the ever-evolving story of the Autobots and Decepticons. In this all new Transformers universe, the forces of Optimus Prime and Megatron fight on both Earth and Cybertron for the rare and potent substance known as Energon.

For those of you who believe the Transformers comic strips are outdated relics from the 80's, rush-written to help sell a range of kids toys, and better left dead as they were never very good in the first place, then you are of course absolutely right.

However, at a push, it has to be said that this second volume of relatively new strips from Transformers Guru Simon Furman, does at least offer a refreshing and surprising glimpse of something new and darker evolving in the Transformers Universe.

The first thing to hit you is the vibrant, dynamic artwork, displayed here in glorious full colour and far removed from the drawn-whilst-waiting-for-a-bus look of their 80's heyday. Optimus Prime actually looks quite slick here, and not like he belongs on the back of a fun-sized cereal packet.

The storylines too are ever so slightly deeper and darker than we have been used to - whilst this volume continues Furman's sweeping Energon arc, some of the strips here are self-contained and can be enjoyed in their own right. The highlight of the collection is Aftershock, an almost sombre tale dealing with some of the consequences of war, again not something you would expect from a comic strip based on big bright children's toys.

Let's not get too excited here - at the end of the day, this is still a relatively simple collection of strips featuring big silly transforming robots, but for those of you who thought Transformers died a death in the early 90's, this collection could well be a good starting point to find out what you've been missing.

Danny Salter

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