We are often get reminders in not-so-subtle ways, cartoons sell toys, toys sell comics, comics sell toys. Transformers has always been an integral part of this marketing and sales cycle since 1984.
Hasbro, in collaboration with IDW has successfully introduced some great toylines, such as Generations, Combiner Wars, and the newest offering, Titans Return.
The first issue kicks it off as a one-shot with the same title. Also to note, this falls under an overarching banner titled: Road to Revolution, which features IDW and Hasbro tying a number of their major properties, and reintroducing old ones such as ROM the Space Knight, MASK with familiar titles such as GI Joe and Action Man, to name a few. This one-shot flows in with tie-ins from the other Transformers comics, where Starscream continues to reign over Cybertron, Optimus Prime is on a quest for redemption, Megatron attempting to find meaning, all the while something dark and sinister has been biding his time, waiting for the cliché’ moment to strike.
And strike he does. In jacked up armor with unyielding resolve, an old Autobot nemesis returns to rightfully claim his empire. Events primarily unfold on Cybertron, however it inevitably makes it way to Earth, where Optimus Prime and his united Autobot and Decepticon forces attempt to push back at Galvatron and his soldiers from using Earth as another pawn in their plans for conquest.
For a one-shot, it is a solid issue. We get the big bad reveal early on, which at times can be a letdown, but for the reader, it is pivotal to know the returning antagonist and the narration of his plans plays a key role in our understanding and anticipation of events to come. The documentary shown aboard the Lost Light is shown with a perspective never before considered, and the information discussed by the crew, is meant for the reader to become even more fearful of our returning foe.
The obvious toy tie-in comes at the end of the issue, and while the final page is a bit of a “oh, so that’s how they’re doing it” actually was a seed planted long ago by IDW with just a few panels flashing back to early comics featuring the pre-civil war era. Thankfully, the toy tie-in is not slapped in our faces, but simply introduced in a non-invasive way into the series.
As for the Road to Revolution tie-in, you will have to read the bonus material at the end of the comic, featuring characters from various series, names recognized as Miles Mayhem, Scarlett, and Joe Colton himself. Mentions of Action Man, ROM, and the Micronauts are placed throughout, as well as the horrifying fate of a Transformer.
IDW is at its peak with creative storytelling and what appears to be a bold grand plan for the future of many of its high-profile Hasbro-owned properties.