This expanded edition of Dark Cybertron Chapter 1 features commentary and development notes bringing new insight to the beginning of the multi-title crossover event. Featuring commentary by James Roberts, John Barber, Phil Jimenez, and Andrew Griffith, with additional notes by Brendan Cahill and Carlos Guzman.
The narrative presented is no different from the regular release of Dark Cybertron #1, reviewed here two weeks ago. But in the Deluxe edition that's only half of the book. After you finish reading the story, you're treated to a behind the scenes of the creation of the issue on a page by page basis. James Roberts, John Barber, Phil Jimenez, and Andrew Griffith talk about factors that helped decide circumstances, page structures, and more, with a few notes by Carlos Guzman and Brendan Cahill mixed in along the way. The original script for the issue is used to detail each page, most interestingly following the prologue sequence. Because the book was written "plot first" the majority of the script only describes the circumstances, and thanks to various editing passes not everything matches exactly what developed in to the final print version of the book. Besides being interesting to see where things can shift and diverge through the creation process, there's also some insights that can be gained thanks to the original author intent displayed here.
Other than reproducing the original script, we get to see the layouts for every page - sometimes in multiple versions alongside the finished uncolored line work. IDW showed one example of this around the same time the normal version of this issue had hit shelves, and even seeing the whole book's worth, it's no less amazing to look at how it can go from rough figures staged around a page to intricately detailed characters bringing that structure to life. The prologue section differs slightly since Jimenez did not contribute to those pages, so instead you see Brendan Cahill's pencil version of a page along with the inked, uncolored final. Some other treats are essentially "concept" artwork by Griffith in case references are needed, including interiors for Starscream's headquarters in Iacon. It's explained in later comments that a similar set of reference drawings were made for the Lost Light's bridge at previously unseen angles, but sadly those were not included in this book. ("Art of More Than Meets The Eye", please IDW?)
I found the most value to this edition of the book that the notes themselves help to bridge some gaps in the original presentation. I made no secret that I felt like the issue was entirely too short to contain everything it did and most of it was rushed along leaving no time to get in to or even fully understand a scene or situation. Now with the chance to go back one page at a time, I can start to understand not only what the writers had in mind when planning this out, but also where the artists were at in how they rendered those ideas. Sometimes that's really important when there's really not any other way to get needed information behind a piece of fiction. I ended up deciding that this Deluxe format is how the book should have been published for the comic shops from the beginning, while the original edition should only have existed as the toy pack-in format. It's worth being double the price since it greatly increased my enjoyment of the story. It's still not a great result for Dark Cybertron #1 that it needs 25 pages of notes and explanations to finally start to "work" for me, but I'm glad that the option now exists. Given the case where you need to have a version of this issue for the full crossover set, this is absolutely the one to get, and I very much hope this material will also be collected in the trades for Dark Cybertron.
|Date||November 18th 2013|
|Score||(9 out of 10)|
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