Transformers vs. GI Joe is the best comic book ever.

Oh hey, it’s been a week, hasn’t it!

Unfortunately, this whole ‘being an adult’ thing has kept me busy this last week or so– though I’ve almost finished a Mil Sci-Fi book of … dubious quality, which should make for a fun review. Also, I’ve got the script written for another YouTube episode of AnArmchairAcademic, but upon re-listening to the stuff I recorded last night, I think I may need to go back and re-record.

BUT.

To keep myself writing, and to do something a little different, I thought I’d branch out into a comic book review! While I’m geeky enough to know the gist of the Marvel & DC universes, I typically don’t follow the monthlies … with a couple of key exceptions.

Exceptions like IDW’s Transformers vs. GI Joe, which just wrapped up on Issue #13. It hit the stands yesterday, so I get to be timely and stuff for once!

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There’s nothing quite like a great ending. It’s always fun to see artists pull out all the stops for a great, grand finale. And yet, at the same time, a well done ending can also make me rather sad. I mean, it’s the finality of it all, knowing that, for as much as I’ve enjoyed something, there just isn’t any more of it. For example, I will still talk your ear off about The Legend of Korra finale if you let me. Transformers vs GI Joe #13 puts me in that same kind of place, even if it’s thoroughly lacking in kung fu lesbians.

Lucky thing is, Tom Scioli pretty much crams everything else I could want into the comic. Ninjas, giant robots, explosions, space pirates, a smattering of romance, magical unicorns, more ninjas, more giant robots, goddamn robot dinosaurs, and so on. And it’s all drawn in Scoili’s Kirby-esque style, which looks like something you’d doodle in the margins of your algebra notebook. Honestly, I could make this entire post nothing but random Scioli pages and be pretty content with it.

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There have been several TF/Joe crossovers from several companies over the years, all the way back to the original Marvel comics runs of both franchises in the 1980’s. And for the most part, they tend to play out the same way most superhero crossovers do. Only instead of Spider Man and Wolverine getting into a ‘misunderstanding fight,’ it’s whole armies of tanks and robots. But at the end of the day, all the characters involved are the same going in as they are going out.

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I’m not going to admit how many of these dudes I have in toy form.

Scioli uses the general templates established by 30-some years of toyline canon … but then he twists it around, blowing it up (figuratively and literally) until it’s something new and crazy and awesome. You have Duke as the rookie on the GI Joe Team, Destro as a nigh-immortal cyborg, and Megatron as a Darkseid-esque tyrant-god ruling from his throne in the mouth of a mile-high robot dinosaur. Hell, by the end of the first issue, GI Joe invades Cybertron, and terraforms it using captured Cobra superweapons. And shit gets crazier from there.

Scoili draws deep from both the Transformer and GI Joe canons, bringing in all kinds of obscure characters, though not without putting his own spin on them. The highlight of each issue is a little interview in the back, where Scoili and Barber give a page by page breakdown of that month’s comic. A lot of it boils down to ‘I had this toy as a kid’ or ‘remember this guy?’ or even ‘I can’t believe they let me get away with that.’ Entirely too fun.

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Still more coherent than a Michael Bay movie.

Transformers vs. GI Joe is an unpredictable, eventful comic that speeds along at a breakneck pace. There’s a grand action sequence every issue– hell, sometimes even in every page. There are gaps in the storytelling– the focus just whips from one scene to another without bothering to fill in the details. One could argue that this reflects the inherently chaotic nature of war (especially one fought between giant tank robots), but really it’s just there so Scioli can cram in MORE STUFF.

Really, the thing I admire the most about this comic is that Scoili knows exactly what he wants to do: to put the grandest, wildest, craziest adventure he can think of into thirteen issues. This clarity of vision leaps off every page, making Transformers vs. GI Joe unlike any other comic on the racks these days.

Seriously. Go read it.

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