Review: Transformers: Heart of Darkness #3

Yikes.  The long-awaited Galvatron story drowns us in exposition and unpleasant art.  Seriously, it's almost Liefeldian.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Transformers: Heart of Darkness #3

In the revamped Generation 1 universe that IDW has created for the Transformers, Galvatron had the chance to be one of the most fascinating characters to study.  Rather than being a mere remodeling of Megatron in the future, Galvatron was reinvented as an ancient Cybertronian from before the civil war that's engulfed the entire race for so long.  He was lost for eons when the exploratory ship he was on with Nova Prime vanished, never to be heard from again – that is, until he emerged from the mysterious Dead Universe as an undead powerhouse in the thrall of Nova Prime, who had renamed himself Nemesis Prime and set out to murder the universe.

After being destroyed by Optimus Prime, Galvatron has been mystically reborn with an even more immense reservoir of power to tap into – a kind of "anti-Matrix" he calls the Heart of Darkness.  While once he had a death-touch, now he is able to bring the dead back to life, and in the last issue of the Heart of Darkness miniseries, he finally discovered his life's new mission is seemingly diametrically opposed to his prior one – to ensure the life-sucking beast known as D-Void doesn't cross over from the Dead Universe to his to devour all life.  Certainly a Unicron allegory there.

Now, in Heart of Darkness #3, Galvatron is raising an army to deal with D-Void, and our eyes are assaulted by the art of Ulises Farinas.  He seemingly has no sense of proportion, no sense of consistency and while his work can get extraordinarily detailed, it seems to focus on that to the detriment of the basics.  It's practically Liefeldian. His little alien crab pirates in blue jeans were kind of fun, but he seems to suffer when he's drawing Transformers, which is kind of the crux of this gig.  I don't think I've seen Transformers art this bad since Manny Galan slogged out some ugly, ugly robots back during Marvel's Generation 2 series in the early 90s.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have been inconsistent as well in their IDW work, as evidenced in the Infestation event.  While they wrote an entertaining Galvatron in that crossover, this series is a prequel to that, and so far, the star of their story seems to be little more than a font of exposition, dense and not nearly engaging enough – especially when giving what are supposed to be rousing speeches.

Overall, the series has been something of a disappointment, especially considering that DnA have shown that they CAN write an interesting Galvatron.  Perhaps something specific is set to happen in #4 that will bridge the gap between this guy we're reading about now and that kinetic maniac that lit up the Infestation issues, since the end of #3 brings back the reanimated corpse of Nemesis Prime (whom it so happens Galvatron betrayed and killed in a power grab) to butt heads with him.  Either way, the sooner we can get Transformers stories without Farinas, the better.