Comic Name: The Transfomers (Marvel)
Writer: Bob Budiansky/Steve Parkhouse
Artist: Don Perlin/Jim Fern/Ian Akin/Brian Garvey/John Ridgway/Jose Delbo
# of Issues: 13
Release Date: 2012
Reprints The Transformers (Marvel) #26-38 (March 1987-March 1988). Optimus Prime is dead and now the Autobots have a new leader in the Dinobot Grimlock…and not everyone is happy about it. As the Decepticons continue their attacks, the Autobots find themselves fractured and once important team members Goldbug and Blaster set out on their own to battle the Decepticons. As the danger to humans grows, the Autobots must decide if they are there to defend humanity or if humanity has become a distraction to their battle. Plus, the Autobots go international as a story from London of a Man of Iron finds himself in battle.
Written primarily by Bob Budiansky, The Transformers Classics—Volume 3 continues IDW’s reprinting of Marvel Comics classic series The Transformers which began in the ’80s with the arrival of the toys from Japan. The collection also includes The Transformers #33-34 (October 1987-November 1987) which reprinted the UK four part story “Man of Iron” which originally ran in Transformers magazine #9-12 (January 12, 1985-March 8, 1985).
This section of The Transformers feels pretty original. Previous issues felt a lot like the popular cartoon that was prevalent in the ’80s, but this volume takes the story a different direction with the death of Optimus Prime in the last collection.
The story here finds the unlikely leader in Grimlock…the dense T-Rex Dinobot. The plans of the Autobots shift radically and most of the members find themselves not liking Grimlock’s rule which is closer to Megatron than Optimus Prime. It is an interesting twist on a story, but unfortunately, the story feels pretty shattered and unbalanced due to individual stand-alone issues…this series does better as a serial.
Another bright spot in this collection is the two UK issues collecting the “Man of Iron” storyline. It is loose adaptation of Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man which formed the basis for The Iron Giant and has a boy befriending an Autobot. It also has some great art by John Ridgway.
Unfortunately, missing from this collection is the four issue The Transformers: Headmasters series which ran from July 1987 to January 1988. The last few issues of the series deals with the Headmasters’ arrival on Earth and without some knowledge of who they are, a bunch of new Autobots and Decepticons show up (along with Buster Witwicky’s older brother Spike). It would have been nice if these issues were included…or at least a short supplement volume.
The art in general is pretty strong for what it is. Drawing robots that look like existing toys can’t be easy, and it is awful hard to give robots (sometimes without mouths) personality. The writers and artist for this series struggle with this and it comes off so-so here.
The Transformers Classics—Volume 3 is a must for fans of the Transformers. If you think you grew up with the Transformers watching the cartoon, check out these collections for a different spin on the characters that you thought you knew. The Transformers Classics—Volume 3 is followed The Transformer Classics—Volume 4.
The Transformers Classics—Volume 1
The Transformers Classics—Volume 2