Review: IDW\’s Beast Wars #2- I Don\’t Think We Are Alone Now
IDW’s Beast Wars series continues this month with the second issue. As I said last month, Beast Wars was one of my favorite TV shows as a kid and it was my first experience with Transformers. The TV series featured a surprisingly well-developed cast of characters and overarching plots, firsts for Transformers in America. The new series from IDW by Erik Burnham and Josh Burcham begins with similar plot to the show but features new characters in the protagonist Maximal Nyx and the separatists Predicon Skold. The first issue was really solid start to the series. Does Beast Wars #2 continue that trajectory?
“Savage Landing Part 02”
Written by Erik Burnham
Art by Josh Burcham
Letters by Jake M. Wood
Both factions are getting the lay of the land and figuring out this bizarre planet they have landed on. While figuring thinks out we the readers are introduced to these disembodied heads (They are the Vok from the TV series, but not named here) floating around without the cast realizing their presence, yet. The Vok speak about the need to preserve the experiment or to let the Cybertronians continue to stay on the planet. Additionally, we see Nyx begin to explore the planet before being attacked, thus starting the Beast Wars in earnest.
Erik Burnham continues to build up the characters in this series. The strength of Beast Wars is in the interactions between the cast. Setting up that quickly is essential for any Beast Wars story. Licensed comics are largely predicated on the creative teams to capture the voice of the characters and Burnham does a wonderful job here. The interactions between Rhinox and Ratrap are spot on with the show with Ratrap being the wise-cracking member of the team to Rhinox “I’m too old for this” role.
Burnham is also taking advantage of the foresight of the series and utilizing artistic liberties by establishing and seeding the overarching mysteries of the show early on. Namely the Vok. While the Vok show up fairly early in the series their presence in the second issue and alluding to some of the events that shape the later TV series does make me curious.
Josh Burcham’s art is really solid here, yet again. They employ an art style in line with Transformers Animated Series, with a more cartoony and expressive style. It gives the characters personality. One of my favorite new characters has been Nyx. She is explored a bit more in the writing but we get to see her take flight in this issue. I think one of the reasons I dig her design so much is 1) Bats are cool and 2) Burcham really makes her expressive. Her beast mode and robot mode are both energetic in design and personality.
I also like Burcham’s inks here. Namely how they spot fill the blacks of shadows. Instead of going for solid black, each shadow on surfaces is “roughed” up and provides texture to the characters. Only real knock I have is the moment the Vok show up on panel the color changes to a gray tone to showcase to the reader they are in a different plane of existence. The problem with the color shift is the panel where they first shift features Ratrap and Rhinox. I didn’t catch the visual cue and was confused momentarily on the next page. I resolved it quickly, but I do think it would be better if the visual signposts for the reader was a bit clearer.
I really liked this issue. The pacing is methodical but needed to help flesh out this large cast. This comic isn’t designed just for Beast Wars fan but for anyone with passing interest in the comic. So, it is necessary to establish for the reader the cast. Erik Burnham continues to make strong artistic choices regarding the series and it makes for an Interesting read for the Beast Wars fan. Josh Burcham’s energetic and animated style really sells the book to me. It allows for the emotions and body language of the characters to be distinct especially compared to some of the stiff styles out there. Beast Wars #2 captures the feel of the show and breaks new ground. Can’t wait for the next issue.
Final Verdict 8.0/10