Monday, 2 January 2012

Incredible Change-Bots, by Jeffrey Brown – reviewed by Stephen Theaker

The incredible Change-Bots are divided into two camps: the Awesomebots, led by Big Rig, and the Fantasticons, led by Shootertron. Having devastated their home planet of Electronocybercircuitron, they come to a temporary truce and pile into a spaceship, but fighting breaks out over whether word processors and incredible Change-Bots evolved from a common ancestor and they crash land on Earth. With a handful of unfortunate humans caught in the middle, their never-ending but rarely fatal battle continues to continue.

As you have probably guessed, this is an affectionate take on the original Transformers animated series. It’s drawn in a deliberately childish way, coloured with thick lines of felt tip pen. It’s the graphic novel you might have created as a child if a rainy afternoon had gone on forever.

Of course, there’s an adult intelligence behind all this; while the art style is childish, the composition and writing are not. The humour is gentle, poking fun at the daftness of the concept and the quirks of the cartoon (“Fantasticons, I have discovered why we always fail in battle. Improving our aim will lead us to victory!”) and finding its funniest moments through repetition (“Incredible change! Chee chee choo chee!”).

Some robotic rumpy-pumpy and a throat slice make it less than ideal for children, and they probably wouldn’t understand the appeal of the art style, but it’s a very sweet book that I’d recommend over the recent Transformers films to anyone looking to recapture the magic of the old cartoons.

Incredible Change-Bots, by Jeffrey Brown. Top Shelf, digital graphic novel, 144pp.

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