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xx The Transformers: For All Mankind review
« Thread started on: Jan 5th, 2012, 4:17pm »

This review is for The Transformers vol. 1: For All Mankind TPB that collects The Transformers (ongoing) #1-6 and as a bounus I'm including a review of The Transformers Spotlight: Prowl #1 that is not in this TPB.

Transformers Spotlight: Prowl #1 focuses on the classic Autobot. Set roughly 2 years after the events of All Hail Megatron, the story shows that Prowl is starting to realize that logic can't solve everything and shows him undercover as a cop car but when a building is about to collapse on a human Prowl jumps to save them against any logical reason. The art by EJ Su is OK but fans of earlier work might be disappointed by it. The story by Mike Costa is a great character driven story and shows that there is more to Prowl and explains some of his action in Ongoing.

Transformers: For All Mankind is the TPB name for Ongoing #1-6.

Set roughly about 3 years after the events of All Hail Megatron shows the Autobots wondering why they're still on Earth. Hot Rod begins to challenge Optimus Prime and becomes the voice a growing number of Autobots who want to leave. But when the Stunticons attack a plant and Breakdown is captured by a Skywatch unit led by Spike Witwicky and when Prowl is captured trying to help free Breakdown Optimus Prime orders the Autobots to free Prowl and during the escape Ironhide is killed (but he gets better) and Optimus Prime feeling guilt over the death of his friend and feeling that he can no longer lead the Autobots, resigns without picking a successor and then surrenders to Skywatch.

Hot Rod and a group of Autobots try to find a way off Earth and after Omega Supreme says no, they are attack by a group of Decepticons consisting of Swindle, Thundercracker, Motormaster, Dragstrip, Dead End, Wild Rider, and Scrapper. During the battle Swindle and Hot Rod face off and realize why are they fighting? The war is over. Realizing this the two teams work together to build a space ship to get off the planet and Swindle tells Hot Rod that he should call himself Rodimus Prime.

Meanwhile the other Autobots elect Bumblebee as the new leader of the Autobots, much to Bumblebee's dismay (this is story is told in Transformers: Bumblebee 4 issue mini-series).

Thundercracker reminisces how he survived the ending of All Hail Megatron and his growing respect for organic and human life.

Optimus Prime and Spike Witwicky talk about the burdens of leadership especially through a time of change.

Ultra Magnus arrives to investigate Ironhide's "death" and learns that Swindle is on Earth (this is a continuation of the events in Transformers Spotlight: Ultra Magnus #1) and goes off to arrest Swindle and learns that Rodimus Prime and Prowl are working with them. Rodimus tells Magnus that the war is over and the factions are a thing of the past and leaves but tells Rodimus that he will be back.

Realizing that they could get more done if they had more help Swindle suggests to Rodimus that they recruit one more of the Contruticons, Rodimus doesn't think that would be a good idea due to memories of the Autobots fighting Devastator and his trashing NYC, Swindle then suggests freeing Breakdown. Rodimus agrees and Motormaster, Dragstrip, Wild Rider, and Dead End go to rescue Breakdown who is currently the personal transportation of Spike. The Stunticons rescue Breakdown and Spike escapes and returns to the Skywatch base. Where they learn the location of Rodimus and Swindle's base, but realizing that they lack the firepower to take this many Transformers, Spike goes to talk to Optimus Prime.
Ultra Magnus returns to Bumblebee's base and demands that Bumblebee's team help him arrest Swindle and Rodimus. Bumblebee agrees and his team races back to Swindle and Rodimus base, where Rodimus tries once again to tell them that the war is over and that living with the humans is impossible. Swindle betrays Rodimus and reveals his newest creation: Mensor and orders Mensor to destroy the Autobots.

All the Autobots on both teams try to take down Mensor but with little effect, when Optimus Prime and Skywatch joins the fray does Mensor finally goes down and is captured.

Optimus Prime refuses to retake command and Bumblebee is now the undisputed leader. Spike makes Bumblebee a deal for the Autobots to join forces with Skywatch to hunt the remaining Decepticons on Earth and Bumblebee accepts. And a disheartened Rodimus steals Ultra Magnus' spaceship to finally escape Earth.

The art by Don Figueroa is good but some of his new designs suck (like Hot Rod/Rodimus and Thundercracker) and some are great (like Jetfire, Mensor, and Omega Supreme) the biggest compliant with fans are his faces especially for the Autobots and I agree. But I must say that his attempt to mix the orginal G1 designs, with the newer Classic/Universe/Generations designs and the Live Action Movies designs is a nice try but overall it's a mixed bag abut IMHO the series would be better without it.

The story by Mike Costa stats off slow but builds to exciting, action packed, and rewarding climax. I like that just when you think Costa is going with the tradional pick new leader for the Autobots (Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime) he instead gives the job to Bumblebee. Costa also makes what could be read as a statement on the USA's Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by having Hot Rod stating "The war is over so why are we still here?" I must also say that the Witwicky's finally makes sense in a Transformers universe. I like that Spike is a conflicted and has to deal with his father who is also his superior officer and deal with Optimus Prime who just wants to be punished.

Final Thoughts: Finally a new and different direction that actually feels new and different. While some of the new designs take some time to get used to, but if you can survive that and go into this series with an open mind then do yourself a favor and check it out. I give it a 4 out 5.
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