Strange Times & Places: Transformers Vs. G. I. Joe

Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where today we’re keeping up the Hasbro Universe theme from last week by reading Transformers Vs. G. I. Joe #1-13 by John Barber and Tom Scioli. Buckle up, it’s a thrill ride and spoilers will abound.

How’s It Different?

It’s a Royale With Cheese, blending various familiar elements of both franchises with new twists and turns.

What’s The Story?

The series shows a war between Cybertron, ruled by the despotic Megatron after the defeat of the Autobots, and Earth, defended by the G. I. Joe team, that will see the Invasion of Cybertron, the apparent destruction of Earth, the resurrection of an Elder God, and a great deal of ancient secrets revealed before it is through.

Best of Differences

  • Cobra-La, the very goofy antagonists of the animated G. I. Joe movie, get a top shelf reimagining: Koh-Buru-Lah is a Cthulu-like elder god worshipped by Cobra Commander (who is now a used car salesman turned terrorist lizard person) and characters like Golobulus, Nemesis Enforcer, and Pythona are implied to be similarly transformed beings.
  • The half-sibling relationship between G. I. Joe leader Duke and Lt. Falcon, wholly an invention of the aforementioned movie, is given quite a bit of page time and explanation near the end of the series. It ends up being one of the finest bits of characterization in a breakneck story.
  • Destro is stated to be a nigh-immortal Scotsman whose lifespan and technological ability are the result of contacting ancient Transformers. This is a nifty piece of backstory that links the two mythologies and explains the sci-fi nature of Cobra’s weaponry – which has always been over and above that of the Joes.
  • After killing Grimlock, Megatron wears the tail and head from his beast mode on his arms – an homage to Beast Wars that warmed this 90s kids heart.
  • The Joes & the Autobots capture Scorponok, a city-sized Decepticon, by killing his Headmaster partner (I.E, the smaller being what does his thinkin’) and replacing him with Scarlett. She’s still in control of him after the war.
  • The Oktober Guard and EVERY animal partner the Joes have had get reimagined in a way that needs to be seen to be believed.

Worst of Differences

Despite being thirty issues, the series’ breakneck pace and Scioli’s splash-heavy art (which looks like Jack Kirby and Indie Comix got thrown into a blender in the best way) leave little room for expansion on certain ideas – even important ones, like the Headmasters. Even so, it’s one helluva page turner.

Come back Next Week for Tokusatsu Gesundheit!

About Chris Walker

Chris Walker (@back2past) is affectionately referred to as Back to the Past’s social media lackey. He’s all over finding nuggets of pop culture news, wherever they may be hiding!

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