Today I have the opportunity to look at something that any Transformers fan should also be excited for: the new Shattered Glass series from IDW. Handled by the writer/artist team of Danny Lore and Guido Guidi, this new exploration of the fan favorite mirror universe of Evil Autobots and Heroic Decepticons starts off small and simple with a narrow focus. This debut issue gives just enough world building and hinting toward future plots to inform the uninitiated, as well as draw in longtime fans.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Transformers: Shattered Glass #1!
The star of the issue is one of my personal favorite Autobots, Blurr. Or at least, this twisted, sinister bounty hunter version of him. He’s the reader’s guide in getting caught up on the whole premise of Shattered Glass: the Autobots are evil, the Decepticons good, and so on. You’ve all watched Star Trek or read one of DC’s Earth-3 stories by now, I’m sure. I really enjoyed all the little details being set up, far too many for me to start to name, but it all serves as great world building to let you know just how different things truly are. It’s not quite just the regular Transformers status quo with some names and colors flipped around, as you may expect going into this, and the book stands out better for it.
The actual meat of the plot is fun, as well. Blurr’s been tasked with finding one of the last remaining high ranking Decepticons… none other than everybody’s favorite flyer, Starscream. We see our fast-talking felon attempt a sadistic ploy with the heroic Seeker, trying to earn his trust by feigning neutrality in order to get him to surrender willingly… if for no other reason other than it’d be cruel and ironic, and he’s just that bored with regular smash-and-grabs. Of course, even when serving the side of good, Starscream is still… well, Starscream. There’s no out playing the master manipulator, and Blurr’s actions land him squarely offline, his entire ploy only serving to give Starscream information on the whereabouts of his leader, Megatron.
Even if Blurr is our POV character, Starscream is where all the interesting character stuff is at. It’s surreal, and yet very satisfying seeing him still feel so distinctly himself with a completely reversed moral compass. All the things that make him who he is are still there, but the entire vibe of his character is (pun somewhat intended) transformed. He’s still vain, sneaky, and a lover of showmanship, but all in the service of a noble cause, which is a really fun contrast to see in action. It’s just downright fascinating, and also proof that Lore knows what they’re doing in making this whole book come across as authentically as possible.
The artwork is also solid. Guidi’s stuff here is nothing short of good work. Some of the facial expressions could use some extra oomph, but I didn’t really mind too much. The designs of the inverted characters are pretty awesome, even if some come down to a simple palette change. Blurr’s is the most visually engaging here, with a lot of wear and distinguished roughness going on compared to his normally fairly sleek and clean look in main continuities (Starscream could have used a few more dashes of blue, though).
All in all, this was a great start. Mirror universes where the villains are the heroes (and vise-versa) always seem to be popular, and usually for good reason. Shattered Glass is a well established and already beloved take on the robots in disguise, so this issue really needed to leave a good impression. And in my eyes, it did that superbly well. With some fun writing, great characterization, interesting designs and overall solid art, this feels like the start to something truly great.
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