Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Transformers: Punishment One Shot
Barber & Ramondelli
The world of Transformers comes out with a one-shot that was apparently material used for a motion comic with this printed comic book edition entitled, Punishment. The letter in the back discusses how this story actually fits into a current storyline that picks up in Robots In Disguise #39. However, the book reads like a self-contained story and a very good one at that. You get forty plus pages for six bucks, but if you can get past the price tag then you will find a very good read for your money. I definitely recommend picking this up.
The comic is basically a whodunit, but the themes are much deeper and darker than that. In simple terms, Decepticons are being murdered and naturally the Autobots are suspects and these events are creating unrest among the larger population. With peace threatened, Optimus Prime, Starscream, Windblade and the Dinobots are looking into matters. What they find is more questions for the reader as well as themselves than answers. This is a terrific comic.
The aspect of the book I liked the most was the tough questions that Barber is asking in the comic among the cast. Groups like the Wreckers committed unspeakable acts during the war. Did Autobot command know of this? How deep in the dirt did Prime get during the war? Can bots (of either side) that have a single purpose, such as killing, rejoin a peaceful population? If not, should they have been killed when the war ended? All of these questions are relevant at the end of many real-life wars and hold the fundamental question of: “how do those that fought the war adjust afterward?” and it is a deep exploration within this comic.
The book has a lot of mystery to it as well and while I can’t say I saw the ending coming, it certainly brings to light that many of the characters within the book could have and would kill off Decepticons. For nothing more than because that’s what they do. While Decepticons are clearly ready and willing to fight whenever they get the opportunity. It’s a very clever book with no heroes in it, despite Prime being the central character. Perhaps Windblade gets by because she was not part of the war but she does take sides which blurs the line a little bit. You really don’t need any background to appreciate the characters and their positions in this comic book. It’s a solid study of a small cast.
The artwork is not the bright and shiny look you might be used to in a Transformers comic book. This is a bleak book with dark shadows and blurred lines. I do find it difficult to keep track of characters when the action starts but that may be the desired effect. The comic has a nice flow to it and the art provides a 1940s film noir look that you might find in something like, “The Third Man.” Artistically the book fits the mood and the story well.
This one-shot will probably slip under a lot of people’s radars. Unless you pick up everything Transformers related you might not even realize this exists. This is a great story that explores a darker side to war and does so without compromising continuity, but allows for this to be revisited in one or more of the ongoing series. This is an excellent comic.
4.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles