06 December 2016

Review: The Transformers: Devastation by Simon Furman, E. J. Su, et al.

Comic PDF eBook, n.pag.
Published 2008 (contents: 2007-08)
Acquired October 2016
Read November 2016
The Transformers: Devastation

Written by Simon Furman
Art by E. J. Su, Nick Roche, and Robby Musso
Colors by Zac Atkinson, Liam Shalloo, and Josh Burcham

Colors Assist by Chris Carter
Letters by Chris Mowry, Neil Uyetake, Amauri Osorio, and Robbie Robbins

There's a bit of a gap between Infiltration and Devastation-- apparently some kind of escalation has taken place. Still, I was able to follow things well enough. Furman is really good at throwing the reader right into the action but also filling in everything the reader needs to know in the meantime. The Autobots are fighting both the Decepticons (Megatron has called in Sixshot, the living weapon usually reserved for phase 6 of the infiltration protocol even though it's only phase 3) and the Machination, a human conspiracy to reverse-engineer Transformer technology (they've captured one of the Autobots as well as their human ally, Hunter; this will later become important in All Hail Megatron).

IDW is transforming Ratchet into one of my favorites. I really feared for the guy here!
from The Transformers: Devastation #3 (art by Nick Roche)

Devastation follows a somewhat predictable format: action, reprieve, action, reprieve. The Autobots are attacked on their spaceship, escape, and then on the ground. Hot Rod and Wheeljack fight the Machination Headmasters on the streets, and then in a junk yard. But Furman and Su pull this format off very well. Basically, the tension keeps going up as the Autobots barely scrape through again and again, and the reader is aware of the bigger picture in the background, but the characters are too focused on staying alive to have to time to even notice. Furman dribbles out information at exactly the right rate to keep the reader intrigued.
Are these the only clothes Verity and Jimmy own? I don't think Verity gets a different outfit until Last Stand of the Wreckers.
from The Transformers: Devastation #4 (art by Robby Musso)

Some of the plotlines I do have to withhold judgment on: Hunter being forced to become a Headmaster is a little more grotesque than I'd prefer from a Transformers comics, and I know where that goes in All Hail Megatron, but I also know that wasn't Furman's original plan for the character. There's also some stuff about the Dead Universe and about some weird alien horde that comes to Earth recruit Sixshot, and I'm not really sure how that fits into anything here. On the other hand, I do appreciate that Furman portrays the Decepticons as characters-- ones that stammer, and connive, and get sad when their friends die-- instead of unfeeling monsters.

Starscream and Megatron: more than just a bromance.
from The Transformers: Devastation #6 (art by E. J. Su)

If Devastation falls down anywhere, it's that it's clearly a small part of a larger whole. Optimus Prime decides to pull Autobot resources off Earth at the end, apparently in response to something that happened in another book, and there were two volumes where Furman paid off some of his plots (Revelation and Maximum Dinobots) that came between this and All Hail Megatron. At least, I hope he did, because I know many were cut short by All Hail Megatron. So what comes at the end of this is clearly not an ending, just a transition to a new phase. But if you're willing to accept that (and as a comic book reader, I've long gotten used to that kind of thing), this holds together pretty well.

Next Week: One more big jump ahead: find out what happens to Earth after the Autobots abandon it, in All Hail Megatron!

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