Sunday, August 06, 2006

Stormbringaaaahhhh ichi ban!

This is the script I wrote to guide me during the latest audio commentary segment I recorded for It's my review of IDW's Stormbringer #1. The audio version (which is vastly different) can be found at TFWire's listener soundoff audio archives in their comics section.

In this week's installment of crazysteve comic reviews I want to talk a little about IDW's Transformers: Stormbringer number one. Stormbringer is a four parter, set in the same universe as Infiltration, written by Simon Furman with Don Figureoa doing the pencils. Issue one went on sale the week of July 19th.

IDW has been promoting Stormbringer as "cover-to-cover giant robot action with guaranteed no humans!" and well hey I'm all about that. Furman is truly in his element writing these robots. He's back to his old ways of burning things, blowing crap up, and killing robots. You can tell it's Simon writing about war, but this time he's focusing on the consequences to the environment that the centuries long Transformers war has had on Cybertron. This is an environmentally concious Simon Furman, but he's not writing delivering his message as in your face as a Captain Planet cartoon. The concept of a burnt out, shut down Cybertron might be something we've seen before in the Dreamwave books, but with Stormbringer Furman explores the actual scope of the environmental damage to the planet. There's a mysterious and dramatic tone to the book. It has those elements of a science fiction thriller movie.

The art is stunning-sharp and crisp with really interesting character designs, but that's Don for you. I almost take the quality for granted. Josh Burcham who does colors deserves a mention. The book has this dark atmosphere whether the robots are in their spaceships or on Cybertron. He portrays the blackness of space well. It reminds me of the first Alien movie. Stormbringer's darkness stands in strong contrast to the bright colorful world of Infiltration. The flashback portions of Stormbringer have a muted tonality that looks like a sepia filter is being used on the camera. So I like Josh's work a lot.

Stormbringer number one came out with only three variant covers. Cover A is a wraparound featuring Jetfire and the Technobots and Cover B features Thunderwing emerging from a fiery inferno. The retailer incentive looks to be the raw pencils from cover A uncolored, but I don't know if it's the entire wraparound scene or just the front cover portion. IDW announced that Stormbringer number one sold out in its first week of release. I know at my comic store, cover A with Jetfire sold out first.

That reminds me. I was talking to Don at Iacon One last month and he said he wasn't satisfied with the initial promo art for Stormbringer. You might remember the image. It featured a mostly blackened out Cybertron against a deep crimson red backdrop. The same image is used for the inside front cover of the book. It's a version of the planet with large spears and spike looking structures jutting unimaginably far out from the surface of the planet. It's a look that dates back to the very earliest depictions of Cybertron from the G1 cartoon and Don told me he didn't care for it. He asked me to imagine how huge those structures would be if they actually existed. They'd be gigantic monoliths hundreds of miles tall, which he felt was rather silly. So the Cybertron that actually appears within the pages of Stormbringer is Don's own design. It's a more realistic rendition that's unlike any other version of Cybertron you've seen before. If you look closely you'll see he got rid of the spikes.

At Iacon One Don told me a couple of other things about the designs he was using in Stormbringer. I asked why the robot modes were different but similar to his War Within designs, and he said he came up with these looks for the characters because he wanted to do something unique for the IDW comics. The War Within look defined the Dreamwave era somewhat and he wanted to come up with something new for the new company.

At IDW's website,, there are two really nice Stormbringer wallpapers for your desktop. One is the Jetfire cover variant to issue number one and the other is a depiction of Optimus Prime fighting alongside Omega Supreme from the inside of issue one. The Optimus scene is from one of those flashbacks done in the muted tones I mentioned earlier, so it looks great on a desktop.

Well that's it for my meta bits commentary of Stormbringer number one. Did I mention there's a throtllebot in it? Stormbringer number two is scheduled to hit the week of August ninth, which is next week as I record this. So until then, this is crazysteve saying if you can't bring the storm, just bring the crazy!

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