On the metallic planet of Cybertron a race of intelligent robots exist. The planet was at peace for a time until an army was formed called the Decepticons. Lead by a powerful robot named Megatron, they began a war with another faction called the Autobots, who were lead by another powerful robot named Optimus Prime. The two armies battled in a very brutal war using advanced weaponry, but their greatest asset was their ability to change into vehicles and weapons. They would soon call themselves Transformers.
The war had become so fierce that the planet was knocked out of its orbit, and it was heading for an asteroid belt which would spell doom for its inhabitants. Optimus Prime lead a team of his best warriors on the ship called the Ark, to clear the asteroid belt for Cybertron to pass through. Megatron learns of their plan, and realized it was the perfect time to strike and destroy Optimus Prime, thus, breaking the morale of the Autobots. The Decepticons attacked their ship and it crash landed on Earth. The two armies remained dormant for four million years. Now, they have awakened to continue their war with the planet being the prize.
Optimus Prime was able to prevent the Decepticon civil war from escalating thus forming the truce. At that moment both armies were teleported to Cybertron where they would face an enemy unlike any other, Unicron, the monster planet Transformer whom wants nothing more than the extinction of their race. Now the two armies must put aside their fear and face the Chaos-Bringer. -summary
Classic Transformers Volume Six written by Simon Furman contains The Transformers issues 75 - 80, which caps off the year plus long storyline concerning the Autobot Matrix, The Transformers creator named Primus, and his ancient enemy Unicron. To include, these are the final issues of the series officially ending Transformers: Generation One due to the book being canceled. Later on, the series would be picked up again by Simon Furman and retitled Transformers: Generation Two, which would run for only 12 issues until its cancellation as well. Unfortunately, that story is not collected in this edition, which is a shame too because the title was no longer under Hasbro, and Furman had free rein to do whatever he wanted to tell his story.
I use to own this series in original form, and I still remember the build up and anticipation. I knew the final battle with Unicron would deliver on the action with a high body count. The Transformers comic allowed the creative teams to get away with some things they could'nt with the animated series, and one of them was the constant killing of characters in almost every issue. Yes, I am aware that the original animated movie featured character deaths also, to include season three (though no one truly stayed dead in the TV series) but not on this scale by a long shot. The battle with Unicron leaves little to the imagination, as you will see Transformers destroyed in brutal detail either by being burned to death, blasted, and even eaten alive by the world devourer. Simon Furman is indeed a fan of Transformers, and he delivered the type of action fans would've wanted to see.
The battle takes place in issue 75 and is titled On The Brink of Extinction, and it indeed feels as if the two armies are on the brink. Optimus Prime is visibly terrified, and Scorponok couldn't even find the courage to order his troops into battle. Eventually, they have to overcome their fear and fight like they never had before. The pacing is very good, and very little panels pass by without action. Even a group of humans find their way to this battle, and they really don't come off annoying since their roles are pretty small. The storyline ends very well, with both armies being forced to move on with a shaky truce. Grimlock becomes leader of the Autobots, while Bludgeon takes over the Decepticons, and their truce eventually disintegrates which leads to the Decepticons leaving Cybertron for another planet to conquer. The final issues deal with their falling out and ends with another battle to settle things. Furman doesn't skip out on his characters here, as he tries hard to develop the uneasy relationship between Autobots Grimlock and Prowl; Prowl does his best advising Grimlock to maintain the truce, while Grimlock wants nothing more than to sabotage it, because he feels it's impossible to trust the Decepticons. Whenever Grimlock becomes leader, this is when the story is more interesting because he's so much different from Prime, Maximus, or anyone who has stepped in.
The book hits a big snag though; after the main series is over the book moves on to two additional stories, Transformers: Headmasters 1 - 4 written by Bob Budiansky and Transformers: The Movie 1 - 3 written by Ralph Macchio. The former takes place at some point before Transformers issue #38. It's set some time after Prime's force crashes on Earth. The war is still being fought on Cybertron, and Fortress Maximus has grown tired of the fighting. He takes a group of Autobots who want to live in peace and they land on the planet Nebulos, where the inhabitants see them as a threat due to the paranoia of Lord Zarak. Another member of Zarak's court, Galen, feels different about them and wants to give them a chance to speak; a misunderstanding takes place, later Galen and Zarak are at odds, a group of Decepticons lead by Scorponok find the planet, and the war begins there.
In an other wise boring story, the only thing this mini-series can be remembered for is the status quo change, as the story introduces characters from the movie such as Hot Rod, Kup, and Blurr, plus explains the binary bonding between human and Transformer which births the Headmasters and Targetmasters. Those who saw the 3 part episode Headmasters during the TV series run and didn't like it may not care for this one either. The action really isn't imaginative, and although Budiansky does a good enough job explaining the robots increase of power by being bonded with human companions. I don't think the artwork properly handles Budiansky's vision. Transformers: The Movie tries to follow the animated movie, but it feels too rushed and if you saw the movie before reading this, then it feels like a horrid bastardization that will make you want to rewatch the movie, in order to rid your mind of what you just read. Even after more than 20 years, I still find this story unbelievably difficult to get through. These two stories drag down what was on its way towards being an excellent book.
The only thing dragging issue 75 down even a little is George Senior's shitty artwork. His character designs and backgrounds have moments of being just plain bad, and since this was the 75th issue, I would've thought that Marvel would've wanted something visually special. At least the action panels portray the death and destruction well enough. They should've had Andrew Wildman draw that issue. Fortunately, Wildman shows up for issues 76 - 80, and we're treated to some pretty good designs. The action is still good and even disturbing at times, with one moment seeing Bludgeon grabbing a heavily damaged Autobot by his exposed wires to finish him off, and Grimlock punching his entire arm completely through Fangry. Plus the designs for Optimus Prime, Grimlock, and Galvatron look really cool.
It's crazy to say this in a way, but I would've gladly paid the exact same price only for issues 75 - 80. Even as a fan, you couldn't give me Transformers: The Movie and Headmasters, I really dislike those two stories that much, and dislike them even more since I'm forced to lower the rating on what could have been an awesome collection. In any case, I recommend this to die hard Transformer fans. To others, this won't be a good starting point since it concludes the final major story and ends the series. If anything, start from the beginning to see if this would be your cup of oil.
Pros: -Issues 75 - 80 are excellent, Andrew Wildman's artwork
Cons: -The rest are not excellent, nor is the artwork
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