Saturday, February 04, 2012

Cthulhu and I Lay Sleeping with Robots in Disguise

Presenting the only cool panel in the whole book!
Along with the usual assortment of DC "Dark" titles and zombie-Westerns, I picked up the first issue of a two part Transformers mini-series at the comic shop for my stepson this week. I had been quietly anticipating this particular issue as it tied into publisher IDWs company wide Infestation 2 event; this time the "infestation" of the title dealt with "The Elder Gods" invading Earth, where as last time it deal with zombies. The phrase "Elder Gods" immediately brings to mind H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and the cover of the comic certainly looked and felt Cthulhu-esque--heck, it depicts a steam-punk Opitmus Prime wrestling with a creature whose design is clearly lifted from popularized Cthulhu designs.

Unfortunately the issue delivered mostly set-up, offering only tentacled Decepticons "possessed" (I think--it was hard to tell) by the spirits of space creatures reminiscent of Cthulhu and his pals. Of course the other Lovecraft tropes made appearances throughout--fish men, underwater cities, zombified villagers, and a coastal town--but they seemed to lack any resonance or purpose. Despite reading the whole thing through, I had little idea what was happening and the 1887 setting confused me to no end--while I don't regularly read the Transformers main titles, but having thumbed through them on a number of occassions I'm fairly sure they are set in a more modern time frame. (They are but after reading online I learned that this story is set in some other Transformers dimension, one during which the robots were "undisguised" earlier in world history.)

There were some redeeming qualities to the book though. The art by Guido Guidi was suitable manga-esuq and evocative of both Transformer and Chtulhu mythos, and some of the nuances of the dialogue were fun and had an Easter-egg qulaity to them. For example, at least in one panel, shared above, Chuck Dixon, who has written many compelling comic books in years past, tweaked the familiar Cthulhu phrase ("Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn," which translates to, "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.") in the interest of dropping Megatron's name ("Megatron lies sleeping still...").

While I remain slightly disappointed, the book wasn't necessraily intended for me as a IDW Transformer comic universe reader, so I'll be passing this along to my stepson who, as a die hard IDW line reader, may be able to explain to me.

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