The Beast Wars between the Maximals and Predacons rage on. However, there are at least three stories that focus on what they may do outside of the wars. These are those stories. Yet, which, if any, of the three are true?
Writers Sam Maggs, David Mariotte, and Nick Marino all create competent scripts. However, they all feel like they are alternate universe parts of the current series. Meaning that none of them truly fit into either the current series’ narrative style or its version of events. Also Maggs and Mariotte’s respective stories end too abruptly. While Nick Marino has some bits of characterization that are debatable.
Artists Lanna Souvanny, Phillip Johnson, and Andrea Bell all have appropriate color palettes for their styles, respectively. Souvanny does a brilliant job with sequencing, but seems to rush some of the line work. This primarily occurs with the facial expressions on the last few pages. Johnson does fine when it comes to designs involving exaggerations. However, Johnson seems to have be of two minds when it comes to character designs. Lastly, there is Bell, who displays a great sense of depth and characterization. The only flaw that is obvious with Bell’s work is an incomplete coloring of one eye.
Letterer Jake M. Wood letters all three stories. While Wood does a good job on all of them there is a poor choice of colors for the internal monologue in story one.
Cover A by artist Ryan Miller features a great sampling of textures. Also the proportions and depth are very impressive. Unfortunately Miller’s choices for the color palette have too much gray affecting them. This arguably results in it being a bit of an eyesore in comparison to the variant cover by Lanna Souvanny. Yet, Souvanny does have a more confusing design due to the split-screen effect. Souvanny’s use of the effect results in three characters looking like they might be four. Thus, while Souvanny possibly wins in a comparison of the colors Miller wins when it comes to comparing designs.
For those who can look past this annual’s many problems there may be something for both casual and die-hard fans of the Transformers brand to enjoy. Yet, for those strictly looking for something to entertain a child there is far worse you could do than this annual.
Transformers Beast Wars 2022 Annual is out now from IDW Publishing