Tom Scioli (co-writer, artist, colorist, letterer) and John Barber's (co-writer) TRANSFORMERS VS. G.I. JOE #1 is such a fun love letter to the classic years of both franchises.This isn't a slick and modern look at what would happen if these two popular franchises clashed. Instead, we're treated to a world that feels like it's pulled right from the golden age and full of wonderful Jack Kirby-esque artwork.
Seeing as this is a new timeline, the gloves are off and anything and everything can happen in this limited series (TRANSFORMERS VS. G.I. JOE #0 showed this with Snake-Eyes and Bumblebee). This gives the co-writers the chance to do whatever they want and you can really tell they're passionate about these franchises. So many characters are thrown into the mix and some pages feel like the result of a fan playing with sets of toys from both iconic franchises. Many of these are just so enjoyable and there's a consistent feeling of nostalgia, excitement, and anticipation for what's to come.
The story may not be anything out of the ordinary but it's more than enough to bring these worlds together and has a hook or two that's sure to keep things interesting and exhilarating. The co-writers know readers are shelling out money to see these famous characters leap into battle and they've certainly wasted no time making sure that happens right away. Throw in the classic vibe and delightfully fitting visuals (even the page borders seem a bit aged) and the end result is something that's guaranteed to please longtime fans of both franchises.
As much as I appreciate the artwork, some pages felt a little too crowded (be it characters or dialogue boxes). The occasional splash page of a battle is quite cool, but this was used frequently and sometimes it was less effective. And even though the visuals are very commendable, it's noticeable that a few bits feel static instead of conveying the pure energy and craziness behind the situation.
TRANSFORMER VS. G.I. JOE is a dream come true for lovers of the early animated shows and classic comics. The creative team does a ridiculously good job making this feel like a comic taken from the golden era and reprinted for modern audiences to enjoy. Now, that's not saying it's blatantly dated and doesn't hold up! It has the kind of dialogue you'd see in many of the classic comics -- it sometimes embraces this for an intentional laugh -- but it never loses sight of its objective: to have a blast and deliver pure fan service. It definitely succeeds with that goal and will absolutely leave you wanting to see more.