Wednesday, March 28, 2018

IDW Transformers Continuity to End with Return of Unicron

IDW has revealed the first look at their take on the robot mode of Unicron and with it the end of 12 years of IDW Transformers continuity. Transformers: Unicron (press release below) will start in July as a six issue series that will release bi-weekly as will current ongoing Transformers: Optimus Prime and Transformers: Lost Light. So if you are a long time fan of IDW's Transformers take, it seems the end is near. Long time Transformers writer James Roberts summarized things pretty succinctly:
To summarise: the current IDW G1 continuity will end (spectacularly) with Unicron #6, OP #25 and LL #25, all in September. All three are biweekly over summer. We've had time to plan for the end, so it's a proper, un-rushed wrap up. Beyond Sept? New IDW TF comics, new continuity.
— James Roberts (@jroberts332) March 27, 2018

Lost Light will end in the way that I always intended MTMTE to end, and I'm so pleased I can say that. Issue #16 marks the start of a 10 part series finale that is HUGE in scope. Expect things get bigger and deadlier and madder and weirder until… the end of the quest.
— James Roberts (@jroberts332) March 27, 2018
As for where the comics will go next, nothing has been revealed. This feels like IDW wanted to provide a proper ending to their continuity instead of leaving it hanging like Marvel and Dreamwave had and Hasbro agreed.

As for why? Hasbro has been pushing for complete control over their franchises. It started with renegotiating their contract with Paramount that gave them much greater control on how the movies are made where I think they are taking point on making the movies via AllSpark Studios. About the same time they forced IDW to combine their properties into a "Hasbro Universe". The result was not good. Best I can tell the move essentially demolished the GI Joe line, cost Transformers titles thousands of readers they never got back and the other launched titles from that event are barely worth the paper they are printed on. Until that merge, Hasbro mostly let IDW Transformers do their own thing that was independent of toy lines, cartoon lines, video games etc which was rather remarkable. Even more remarkable is when the comics ended up guiding the toy designs and character personalities. The best example being Windblade who design was Hasbro's but entire back story and personality was defined by IDW writers and eventually used for the cartoon versions of the character. Whether that back and forth will continue is a big question mark. Ultimately for Hasbro the comics and the movies exist for one purpose - to sell toys. As a result, I would not be least surprised if a relaunch is much more closely aligned with Hasbro toy plans resulting in contained continuity that begins and ends in the same cycles as their various lines (and would explain why IDW felt an ending of current continuity was necessary).

If the choice is no ending yet again vs getting a complete 12 year story then I prefer the latter. Regardless of the future of the TF comic line, Unicron is making his IDW debut on May 5th and will bring the TF universe to an end starting in July. I am looking forward to IDW's Transformers grand finale.

Unicron Press Release

The TRANSFORMERS Bots Face Their Greatest Enemy Ever In This Summer’s Event Series TRANSFORMERS: UNICRON

The First Chapter Launches On Free Comic Book Day

SAN DIEGO, CA (March 24th, 2018) – The fate of all worlds are at stake, as the world-eating menace Unicron has set his sights on Cybertron, home of the TRANSFORMERS robots, and next in line… EARTH! A bi-weekly six issue event titled TRANSFORMERS: UNICRON arrives this July and will bring about the end of the TRANSFORMERS universe as we know it. As Optimus Prime gathers his defense against this monstrous threat, it might be too little too late.

Veteran TRANSFORMERS creators John Barber (Optimus Prime) and Alex Milne (More Than Meets The Eye) are joined by colorist Sebastian Cheng (Revolution) to tell the epic conclusion to the current TRANSFORMERS comic book universe.

“TRANSFORMERS: UNICRON is a culmination of the years of TRANSFORMERS comics I've been a part of... and the conclusion of one of the longest continued narrative in TRANSFORMERS history” said Barber. “This is a story of heroism in the face of impossible odds; of a reckoning for an entire universe. I couldn't be luckier than to have Alex [Milne] right here with me on this—if you know Alex, you know nobody puts more into the TRANSFORMERS than he does, and nowhere before has he drawn drama, action, and pathos at this scale. Tying it all together is the incredible palette of Sebastian Cheng. We've never held back before on our TRANSFORMERS comics, but this time we're pushing ourselves—and each other—harder than ever.”

TRANSFORMERS mainstays from the past 12 years will be providing variant covers for the series, including Andrew Griffith, Nick Roche, and many more. Additionally, legendary comic artist Bill Sienkiewicz will be reinterpreting his classic cover to TRANSFORMERS #1 as a special variant, along with a new cover by Francesco Francavilla.

“TRANSFORMERS: UNICRON is a grand finale to the past 12 years of TRANSFORMERS comics at IDW and to really celebrate that and to celebrate the people who have made it such an amazing ride, we’re getting some amazing, beloved artists to contribute to what I'm sure will be our biggest—literally—TRANSFORMERS story ever,” said David Mariotte, Associate Editor. “This is an event years in the making and one that only works because of the years fans and creators have invested in the comic.”

The action kicks off on Free Comic Book Day, May 5th, with the #0 issue by the series creative; available for free at comic shops across the country. Don’t miss the world-ending first chapter of the summer’s cataclysmic event!

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