War, huh? What is it good for? Setting up a billion-dollar movie franchise apparently.
‘Transformers: Exodus’ sets the soon-to-be Optimus Prime and Megatron on a collision course for the leadership of Cyberton, creating a parallel between the civil rights movement, placing the former in the role of Martin Luther King and the latter as Malcolm X.
Megatronus is a gladiator attempting to battle out of a caste system. His ruthlessness in fights becomes legendary and he uses this as a means to gain a cult following. Meanwhile, data clerk Orion Pax becomes enthralled by Megatron’s message and finds himself embroiled in a revolution for Cybertron and facing a fate that will see him become leader of the Autobot faction which wants to find a peaceful resolution to the oppression.
There are some big ideas in this novel and those looking for wrecking balls-to-the-wall action may be disappointed. It takes a little while for that to take place although it does set up the career paths of Megatron and Pax quite quickly.
The book marries the film and cartoon canons quite well, introducing Pax/Prime’s mentor Alpha Trion to the movie universe as well as further establishing Megatron’s relationship with The Fallen.
As a standalone novel, it’s great. It gives the history of Cybertron some real meat rather than bad robots and good robots not liking each other. But as a prequel to the recent Michael Bay ‘Transformers’ movies, it seems somewhat out of place as they were just straight-forward CGI blast-fests with little or no thought put into them.
If, like me, you saw the recent trilogy as nothing more than popcorn blockbusters, don’t let that put you off this book. It doesn’t dumb anything down and there are some strong issues and ideals contained within. It’s a real treat for those who want to delve further into the Transformers universe but are not sure where to start.
(pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books. 276 page hardback. Price: $27.00 (US), $32.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-51985-6
pub: Titan Books. 276 page paperback. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84856-858-7)