Transformers ’84: Secrets and Lies – Comic Review

Transformers ’84: Secrets and Lies from classic TF writer Simon Furman and artist Guido Guidi is a love letter to the original Gen 1 Transformers and any self-respecting TF fan, new or old, should own these comics.

This new trade paperback volume collects the entire Transformers ’84 run, offering the reader a slightly different take on the events that led up to Optimus, Megatron and the others getting buried for millions of years beneath Mount St Helens on Earth. Narrated by double agent Punch/Counterpunch, he tells of how Optimus manipulated the situation to lure Megatron away from Cybertron, to remove what he considered to be the greatest of the Decepticon threats from the battlefield by offering up him and his crew as bait. It’s a daring plan, and one that paints a very different picture of the Autobot leader.

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Once Megatron and Optimus are out of the picture, the factions spring up and we’re introduced to all manner of familiar faces such as Shockwave, the “Dynobots”, Skyfire/Jetfire, Impactor (still with both his hands!) and one of my personal favourites – Lord Straxus. A bot who really enjoys his work. His work is melting Transformers alive in his smelting pit. Everyone needs a hobby, I suppose.

There’s a ludicrous amount of storytelling crammed in here. There’s also a great deal of… not quite retconning, but retelling to make the original continuity fit better with what has now become the accepted lore. How was Jetfire “built” on Earth? What’s the deal with Ultra Magnus? How did the Dinobots end up in that tar pit and where did their beef with Shockwave really start? What happened to the Ark’s computer Auntie? Heck, we even get to see Star Saber from the Japanese continuity worked into this new storyline.

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These comics are simply loaded with references, callbacks, nods and winks to all manner of Generation 1 lore, and at the end of the book is a breakdown of each issue, explaining all those references for those who might not be old enough to remember the original Gen 1 run from back in the day. There’s the usual collection of covers, and some of them would look damn good as prints hanging on the wall. Guido Guidi is a Transformers veteran who captures those iconic Generation 1 looks perfectly. Geoff Senior, Nick Roche and Casey W Coller also provide some really striking covers but for my money you can’t beat Guidi’s work.

This collection serves up tons of story, action and lore to enjoy, along with old characters and side characters getting to strut their stuff. If you don’t own the individual issues, this is a must-by for any Transformers fan.

Transformers ’84: Secrets and Lies is out now from IDW Publishing.

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