SECOND LOOK: The Transformers: Stormbringer

Following on from the carefully paced, Cold War shenanigans if Infiltration, Stormbringer feels far more like a conventional, and arguably, more enjoyable adventure for the Transformers. At only four issues long and coupled with far more one-to-one combat, Stormbringer is more recognisable as an all out Transformers saga than the more idiosyncratic Infiltration.

Maybe this is my hyped up-self talking, but Stormbringer has more than a whiff of Age of Ultron to it. The story is set on Cybertron, and displays how the ravages of the Autobot/Decepticon war have all but killed the planet. A pre-insane Thunderwing sets to work on creating some kind of bio-techno-cyber-shell-thingy that could protect Cybertron’s inhabitants from the volatile atmosphere caused by their war. Ultimately however, testing the process on himself drives in mad, and turns Thunderwing into an all-out killing machine that sees Autobots and Decepticons join forces more than once to take on the monstrous Transformer.

Much like how Infiltration displays how the Transformers war spans to greater destinations than Earth or Cybertron, Stormbringer adds to that world building mythos by showing an element to the war rarely seen in other forms of Transformers media. Cybertron is already lost, compeletly dead, uninhabitable for the Transformers to live on, and their war now cascades over several worlds, with Earth being just one of many. The events of Stormbringer run alongside those of Infiltration, giving a greater sense of how in war, there are several battles going on at once. That feeling rarely came through in the G1 cartoon.

Stormbringer itself is a fairly self-contained story, and offers plenty of excitement and adventure in its own right. At only four issues it length, it has to! The plot sees Technobots, Pretenders, Powermasters and Wreckers all having a go at stopping the devious Bludgeon’s plans to bring Thunderwing back to life and have him wreak havoc on the Transformers.

A full proof plan, right?

Needless to say, the sh*t hits the fan, and Optimus Prime himself makes a delayed entrance in leading the Wreckers against a final, majestic confrontation against the ravenous Thunderwing. All the battles and desolate Cybertron landscapes are given glorious visual renditions by Don Figueroa, while Simon Furman‘s plot, as epic as any post-Target 2006 strip, but his dialogue is downright clunky and overwrought with camp phrasings and sentences. Optimus’ speech to Thunderwing, as he pulverises the beast with more guns than he can hold, is painful to read and slows the action down several notches, to the point where when Thunderwing is finally defeated, its as if Thunderwing got bored of listening to Optimus and simply gave up.

The Transformers: Stormbringer is still balls of fun, and a great second chapter in the IDW-verse. Hampered only by flimsy dialogue, Stormbringer has it all – story, artwork, characters, pace, all thrown together in a decisive battle not just for victory, but for pure survival.

Have you read the star-spinning saga of The Transformers: Stormbringer? What did you make of it? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Fred McNamara