Review: Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe, Vol. 1-6 by Tom Scioli
One line review: If Jack Kirby and David Lynch teamed up to make a 1980s afternoon cartoon, it would look a lot like this.
Writer/artist Tom Scioli has been a darling of the underground comics scene for years. He’s won multiple awards and huzzahs from his peers, and was personally sought-out by pop star Gerard Way when Way launched his own line of comics with DC in 2016.
The reason for this is that Scioli’s comics have a very unique tone to them. There is a playful austerity to them, a po-faced silliness. He blends the dynamic art of 1960s Marvel superhero comics with an almost Cormac McCarthy approach to scripting. The mix is both heady and a headtrip. And kinda goofy.
With the comic book series, ‘Transformers vs. G.I. Joe’, Sciloi was given free reign to do whatever he wanted with two of Hasbro’s best-selling toy lines. He could change their backstories, rewrite their futures, and kill off as many characters as he saw fit. Nothing was off-limits. No one was worried about how it would effect toy sales. The result is one of the most imaginative and unpredictable comics I’ve ever read. At times, it feels like a ‘men on a mission’ movie. At other times it feels like Lovecraftian mythology. Then there are the times it just feels like you’re watching some scarily-smart kid smash their toys together on the floor of their bedroom.
Some stand-out moments include issue 0, a brief intro to many of the leads and a pretty good litmus test as to whether or not you’ve going to want to stick around, and the majorly meta issue 7, wherein the evil Doctor Mindbender makes Scarlett, “a crossbow-toting southern belle with a history in martial arts”, believe her entire existence is a lie and that she and everything else are actually — gasp! — toys.
I read this series 3 years ago, and imagery and ideas from it still pop into my head every week or so. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?
(reviewed by Josh)
All six volumes of this series are currently available to read — FOR FREE! — via the Hoopla app, if you’re a Falmouth Public Library, West Falmouth and Woods Hole cardholder! Click here.
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