Review: Hasbro’s First Strike

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Review: Hasbro’s First Strike

IDW’s big crossover event has been going on for a couple of months now, and a secret group of pro-Earth forces is getting closer to their goal of wiping out the entire race of Transformers, plus any G.I. Joes who get in their way. Click the jump for a look at the story so far and some preview images of Hasbro’s First Strike #3.

The series starts with G.I. Joe’s Scarlett pretty much on the same page as most of the rest of humanity. She understands why Optimus Prime would annex Earth into the Cybertron Council of Worlds, but she can’t help but worry that this could make things worse. After all, it’s only been a few thousand years since Earth warfare involved rocks and pointy sticks, and humans have now been dragged into a civilization with giant robots who have been at war for a few million years. Good intentions aside, it’s nerve-wracking to be allies with a race that can defeat most of your technology by stepping on it. But Earth’s major governments have decided to accept the protection that Optimus is offering, and the Joe’s have provided security for the Induction ceremony on Cybertron.

An attack right when the ceremony is getting started shows that not only does someone disagree with the decision, but they’ve got the means to do something about it.

The idea of humans v Cybertronians sounded to me like tilting at windmills, especially if the fight was supposed to take place on Cybertron itself. Then the writing team of Mairghred Scott and David A. Rodriguez revealed how they actually planned to do it and I thought, okay that…might actually work. The team of mercenaries involves several favorites from the G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K universes, and between all of them they’ve got robot ninjas, a tiny warrior who can take over a much bigger body, and Joe Colton, the original G.I. Joe himself, carrying a superweapon that can commit robotic genocide. And he has zero problems with using it, because in his mind it’s either the race of terrifying alien robots, or us.

“You know, I’m not saying Colton is right…”

“But you can maybe see how he got there?”

“Little bit.”

The first issue and a half is pretty human-heavy, with the G.I. Joes having to deal with the fact that their opponents are led by the man who helped train Scarlett and who seems to know every move she makes before she can make it, and the Anti-Cybertronian force having to deal with, well, each other (it’ll be interesting to see who ends up betraying the rest of the group first).

The Cybertronians take on a bigger role halfway through issue #2, with the entertainingly snarky helicopter twins Skyburst and Stormclash helping to get Soundwave and Scarlett’s band of G.I. Joes to Cybertron, and Starscream and Elita One proving that it’s not just the bad guys who have trouble working together.

(As an aside, I’ve loved how Elita One has been characterized since she first appeared in the IDW continuity. This is a character who was introduced in the Generation 1 cartoon as a delicate flower/love interest for Optimus Prime; here she’s a bad-ass, a “pastel-plated warmonger” as Marissa Faireborn refers to her, and a ruthless leader who seems to hate absolutely everyone and is willing to go as far as mass-murder if it will make things less complicated. This is a lady who needs her own mini-series, pronto.)

Max Dunbar has the unenviable task of drawing scenes of humans and towering Transformers in the same frame, and he manages to do it in a way that keeps the action flowing and highlights some of the problems when your teammates are finding you literally underfoot. And there are a couple of full-page shots in issue #3 that are nothing short of epic, like the moment the Joes and the Transformers first step through the spacebridge to Cybertron, or the final page where the humans find out exactly how ticked-off the Cybertronians are at the pack of humans running amok on their planet.