Last month the announcement was made that Skybound has acquired the rights to Transformers and G.I. Joe. Part of this announcement was even through a surprising reveal halfway through the first issue of Skybound’s very own new title, Void Rivals. Safe to say, I’m rather excited about Robert Kirkman leading this connected Energon Universe. This new universe will connect Void Rivals, Transformers, and G.I. Joe together with apparent room for new original titles as well. Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici are the fantastic team who together brought us the supernatural sci-fi Oblivion Song and are now the minds behind Void Rivals. We now know Daniel Warren Johnson, whose art I adored in Beta Ray Bill: Argent Star and Jurassic League, will be the writer and artist for the new Transformers series.
For anyone not as acquainted with Transformers or G.I. Joe you may be a little surprised to hear that they’ll be sharing a connected story universe. They’ve been interconnected since the days of Marvel publishing both series into comics for the first time back in 1987 with the four-part miniseries ‘G.I. Joe and the Transformers.’ Both series being Hasbro toy lines it’s not a huge surprise they would get promoted together, especially given their popularity in the 1980’s. ‘G.I. Joe and the Transformers #1’ marked the first time these two teams crossed paths in comics and worked together to stop Cobra and the Decepticons and has a fun focus on Bumblebee.
Speaking of the rad, gold buggy, his red counterpart Cliffjumper is part of our new Autobot team! Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Cliffjumper (first appearing in Transformers #1) as well as Arcee (first appearing in the US in Transformers: The Movie #1) are the new bots who are thrusted into protecting the earth from the Decepticons. I for one am ecstatic for this new team if only because we get to see Cliffjumper be at the forefront again like he was in the Shattered Glass stories. Wheeljack has gotten more popularity from the most recent movies, but I hope we see aspects of this classic gizmo making scientist in this new universe.
There’s another scientist from the bots I’m excited to see return in this new title, Jetfire. First appearing Transformers #11, Jetfire, is still out in space flying back towards Cybertron last we saw of him in Void Rivals #1. Who knows what he’ll find once he makes it back, or if he’ll jet off to Earth if called. I’m particularly interested to know what faction he sides with, as he had no visible insignia when he appeared. Which could lead to speculation as to where Void Rivals is set in the timeline of the events of the Transformers being on Earth. Our Decepticon team was just announced at the very end of June. Starscream, Skywarp, Soundwave, Laserbeak, and Rumble (first appearing in Transformers #1) have all crashed onto Earth with the Autobots. The absence of Megatron is something that causes many questions in the community. All more reasons as to why the Energon Universe will be exciting to explore.
As for the G.I. Joe titles coming our way, I will first admit I’m not as well versed in their lore, being that I largely have only read their crossovers and connections to Transformers. With that said I have a growing interest in the two new titles coming our way. Rather than a single G.I. Joe title we have Duke and Cobra Commander. I’m legitimately intrigued to see where this goes with the focus on First Sergeant Duke (First appearing in G.I. Joe #22), will he be whipping the Joes into shape to face the evils of Cobra Commander or taking the IDW route and promoting to Colonel to lead the team again? Speaking of the grand villain, will the new self-titled Cobra Commander (first appearing in G.I. Joe #1) let me see the mastermind become the man crazed for power and control that we all know?
There’s a lot of questions and little to any answers as to where Robert Kirkman is leading this universe currently, but I can’t wait to read the next issues of Void Rivals (issue two is out now!) and the upcoming stories to see how the Energon Universe unfolds before us. With Transformers #1 releasing Oct. 4th, 2023, we’ll see more of how this universe connects. Following up not long after Duke #1 (Dec. 27th, 2023) and Cobra Commander #1 (Jan. 17t, 2024) will be here before we know it to expand these worlds even further.