Quick recap: Hearts Of Steel is an alternate reality where the Transformers had their fist contact with humans in the late 1800’s. John Henry, Jules, Verne and Mark Twain are featured in the story as well.
Infestation 2, written by Chuck Dixon with art by Guido Guidi, picks up after the events in Hearts Of Steel as the Elder Gods, through creatures under their control, locate some Decepticons in the ocean. After reactivating them they are used to further the Elder Gods’ domination of this reality.
The first Autobot to realize something not of this world is going on (and it doesn’t involve Decepticons directly) is Ironhide, who does some investigating and ends up in a very bad situation when confronted with the Elder God-controlled Bonecrusher! We see how the Elder Gods are using the Decepticons to spread their influence over the humans starting in a small port town and, we can assume, spreading across the world.
Bumblebee contacts Tobias Muldoon, the human he befriended in the original mini-series, and explains this new threat is worse than any they’ve faced before and it’s more than they can handle on their own. They are going to have to reactivate Optimus Prime! Problem number one is getting the electric power needed to awaken the Autobot leader: one million watts! Something near impossible in this day and age, and Thomas Edison refuses to even try. Fortunately, Tobias happens upon Nikola Tesla who believes he can accomplish this task.
The two accompany Trailbreaker, Ratched, Hound and Wheeljack to the Canadian wilderness and locate the body of Prime. Now comes that challenge of powering him up and hoping he can figure out a way to defeat the Elder Gods!
I had a lot of fun with this! I know it’s still early, but I honestly think this is going to be better than the original Infestation! This Transformers book is having more of an impact than the Undermind/zombie attack from last year, because it was difficult to take that threat seriously considering the size and power of the Transformers; but in this story the Autobots don’t have the technology they have in modern times and they are facing a threat that could more easily destroy them and everything else in its path! Adding to this threat is the fact that since this isn’t in the current main continuity, well, we could actually have some main characters die in this. Dixon is spot on in this reality, most likely due to the fact he wrote the original mini-series, and seems to more than have a handle on this version of the “Robots in Disguise.” This is a rare great example of taking an alternate version of an established line of characters and working them, seamlessly, into a much larger story.
I also want to applaud Guidi’s artwork. It’s a perfect blend of this world and the dark, moodiness that the Elder Gods bring to the table. I don’t think many people could have blended two fairly different concepts as well as Guidi.
I have to admit, I was really excited about Infestation: Transformers last year and, as much as I hate saying it, I was disappointed. There just didn’t seem to be enough story and certainly not enough of a threat to make it massively interesting. Infestation 2: Transformers, however, is a well constructed wild ride where the threat is massive and the danger feels more real than before.
It’s going to be a long two weeks of waiting to find out if the Autobots can actually defeat this menace, in the meantime, however, we get to enter the world of Dungeons & Dragons next week and see if myth and magic has any defense against this ancient evil!