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SECOND LOOK: The Transformers: Infiltration

Written by Fred McNamara

Its often mind-boggling how some people are unaware that the Transformers are, more often than not, capable of telling engrossing stories without the need to bombard its audience with meteor-showers of explosions. Perhaps such was the case for legendary Cybertronian scribe Simon Furman when beginning a new journey for the Transformers via IDW. Almost a decade after its initial publishing, the IDW-verse is a very different beast from its humble beginnings in The Transformers: Infiltration.

While not the first chronological story in the IDW-verse, Infiltration was the first instalment to be produced, and does a fabulous job in creating this new world for the Transformers to fight in. On the surface of it, Infiltration doesn’t offer anything wholly revolutionary in its story. Rather, the awesomeness of Infiltration lies in its execution of ideas and themes that have long been woven into Transformers mythology.

Infiltration sees a rag-tag group of Autobots and Decepticons operating in total secrecy – that is, until an unfortunate human being discovers Starscream and co.’s secret base and becomes a target for a ravage Decepticon execution. The knowledge of this base falls into the hands of three other humans – bitchy Verity, nerdy Hunter and easy-going Jimmy, who unwittingly become Autobot Ratchet’s plucky sidekicks in finding out why the Decepticons have so ferociously broken their undercover protocol. Could it just be the location of their base becoming known to others, or is it something deeper that could threaten the very Decepticon regime?

As mentioned above, the story’s eventual climax provides nothing new. The story itself concerns Starscream’s discovery of a new source of power called Ore 13, something that’s deadlier than any amount of energon one can chug down. Consuming such power, Starscream believes himself to be omnipotent among Transformers – until Megatron shows up. I don’t need to spell out what happens after he shows up!

What Infiltration lacks in originality it makes up for in style – after decades worth of stories, the Transformers FINALLY appear to have some form of rules for battling on other worlds (In the IDW-verse, Earth is just one of several worlds the Transformers engage in combat on). That fused with the strict, covert-like leadership of Prowl (who leads these Earth-bound Autobots) provides Infiltration with a true spy-fi feel, and gives the Transformers franchise a story that finally lives up to its robots in disguise motif.

Infiltration, which spans six issues, is a satisfying read yet does feel like the first stages of something larger. Indeed, the final page shows Optimus Prime stomping into the Autobot HQ having been summoned to take charge of proceedings now that Megatron has come to Earth. Infiltration remains a solid and entertaining entry in the Transformers franchise. Its pace is deliberately slow, almost too slow at times, yet one can’t deny its fresh take on the well-worn characters and plot devices serve it well. The duo of Furman and artist E. J. Su are a force to be reckoned with, and while all this is going on, there’s the events of Stormbringer to consider as well…

Have you read The Transformers: Infiltration? What do you make of it?. Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Fred McNamara