Go-Bots issue 1
|First published||November 21, 2018|
|Cover date||October 2018|
|Written by||Tom Scioli|
|Art by||Tom Scioli|
|Colors by||Tom Scioli|
|Letters by||Tom Scioli|
The invention of the Go-Bot has proved a benefit to humanity, but what happens when these incredible machines begin to question the purpose behind their existence?
Since the invention of the first Go-Bots, human society has permanently changed; originally a solution to the parking crisis, the invention of a vehicle who could walk with their drivers to a destination paved the way for later advances… culminating in the development of the first generation of self-aware fighter jets, who even now take the lead on a hostage rescue mission. Weapons fire downs one of them, though, and so pilot Nick Burns takes drastic action by swooping directly into the enemy compound, transforming his partner Leader-1 as he does so. Authorized to use lethal force, the robotic jet easily overwhelms the enemy forces and uses his prodigious firepower to blast open the cell door containing the hostages.
Elsewhere, Scooter drives his owner, college student A.J. to her "Go-Botics" lecture, delivered by Professor Braxis. The professor invites her mechanical companion to the lecture as a guest; using Scooter to introduce his class to the subject, he explains the origin of the Go-Bots and how each of them have distinct artificial personalities, before turning his attention to the subject of the most popular sport in the world today, Go-Bot racing...
On a speedway, hotshot driver Matt Hunter and his partner Turbo take the lead on the racecourse and win, thanks to some quick-thinking shapeshifting on Turbo's part. In the winner's circle, Hunter's egotism grates on Turbo; that night, however, Hunter is approached by the mysterious T. Coriander Banks, who has a "business proposal" for the cocky racer, and the two racers follow Banks's limousine to a run-down industrial district. After that limousine reveals himself as Stretch, the pair receive a firsthand demonstration of a new sport taking shape, far from the prying eyes of the law... the illegal blood sport of Go-Bot pit fighting. The current champion is eager for a new challenge after murdering the last contender, and is eager to take on Turbo in the ring… but when Matt refuses to enter Turbo, he's grabbed and thrown into the ring by the bloodthirsty fans in the hopes that the need to protect his owner will goad Turbo into action. Matt shakily asserts that the Go-Bot's G-chip won't let him harm humans, but before the Go-Bot can test that strategy, Turbo leaps to his defense. The gladiator wonders why a Go-Bot would come to the defense of a human; Turbo retorts that his foe isn't much different, as he fights for their amusement… and then leaves, taking Hunter to safety.
Later that night, Matt returns, bringing the police to the scene. The cops aren't inclined to believe Matt's accusations until they discover the remains of a mangled Go-Bot and the bodies of the arena crowd. Someone, or something, has massacred scores of humans… and Hunter and Turbo immediately identify the perpetrator: "Cy-Kill."
At the Pentagon, Nick and Leader-1 report to the Go-Bot Command Center for a briefing regarding their next mission: taking out a cell of runaway Go-Bots. When Go-Bots go rogue, they're rounded up and deactivated, but this latest group has managed to evade capture by human authorities and is holed up somewhere along Route 66. Nick meets with the latest victim of their attacks, a gas station worker who relates that he was assaulted by one of them, a race car, who took offense when the worker asked to see her "master." Retorting that she had no master, the car transformed to knock him out; when he came to, the robots had taken all of the fuel, money... and ammunition.
Out in the desert, the pair perform a flyby, and are about to give up and call it a day when they spy an unmanned convoy of vehicles: the "renegades" that they'd been warned about. Before they can intercept the vehicles, however, they're intercepted by a helicopter, and though Leader-1 blows him out of the sky, the dogfight prevents him from catching Cy-Kill, who's already escaped into the canyons below. Leader-1 springs an ambush on the bike-bot, but is outmatched by Cy-Kill.
Cy-Kill takes advantage of a lull in the fighting to expound on his plan; Go-Bots are naturally superior to humans, and thus it stands to reason that they should eventually take charge of civilization. To do so, of course, they'd need the nuclear launch codes… launch codes that Leader-1 already has in his brain. Though Leader-1 attempts to talk Cy-Kill down the Renegade leader has other plans, and orders his new subordinates to pin down their enemy to extract those codes. Tank does so easily, but Cy-Kill tells his followers that the battle has forced his hand; now that the Pentagon is aware of their existence, they won't be content to let the rogue robots live in the desert—and so this is their only opportunity to conquer the world!
Some time later, A.J. has been invited to dinner by Braxis, who's pleased with her progress in the course and her intuitive knowledge of Go-botics. In fact, Braxis tells her, he has a Go-Bot of his own, and invites her into the basement to meet him: the monstrous Vamp! The ghoulish Go-Bot advances on the helpless A.J. before Scooter intervenes, and wraps his hand around Braxis's neck as the scientist pleads for mercy.
Outside is a scene of pure chaos as Go-Bots of all shapes and sizes run amok in the street. Scooter informs his erstwhile master of the situation: the deactivation of the Asimov Laws responsible for modulating the behaviours of Go-Bots have allowed Go-Bots across the world to rise up and turn on their former owners. Gazing out on the revolution, A.J. nervously asks Scooter if he's going to hurt her, as the red Go-Bot's hand clenches into a fist...
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Just remember one thing. You don't ride us... we ride you."
"Our whole purpose is to serve, Cy-Kill. If Go-Bots took over the world, what then?"
"We nuke them. We herd up the survivors, cage them, put them in storage. I'm sure they're good for something."
- —Leader-1 and Cy-Kill have their first encounter
- Arriving just in time to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the brand, IDW's Go-Bots comic book is the first original piece of GoBots fiction since the end of the original line to not be produced through the Transformers Collectors Club. As a mass market work of significantly greater note (and arguable legitimacy) than online prose stories and Facebook posts, it is also subject to a greater degree of legal scrutiny, and hence has to use the actual Hasbro-trademarked spelling of the franchise name, "Go-Bots," rather than the original hyphen-less "GoBots." However, it does mean that the story does not have to dance around the characters identities or reimagine their appearances to sidestep potential legal issues the way the Collectors Club did; the Go-Bots are all able to be accurately drawn based on the original Bandai/Tonka toys.
- The comic is a brand-new take on the GoBots brand unconnected to the classic cartoon; if it's comparable to anything, it's to the European The Robo Machines comic, which depicted the toys as mechanical robots constructed by an alien race, versus the toyline and cartoon backstory that presented them as a race of extraterrestrial cyborgs.
- Naturally, the comic focuses on giving three main "origin stories" for the Guardians Leader-1, Scooter, and Turbo, as they were the primary three Guardians who appeared in each episode of the original cartoon series.
- Zeemon is depicted as one of the first Go-Bots, fitting with his cartoon counterpart's history as an elderly GoBot.
- Though tradition suggests that Cy-Kill will soon adopt this name for him and his growing faction, it's no surprise that the general refers to him and his followers as "Renegades". Of note, several characters sold as Guardians appear with him, including Blaster (in his original toy's orange color scheme instead of the green and orange toy that the majority of his appearances in the cartoon was based off of), Good Knight, identifiable by his block head and downwards pointing trapezoid on his chest, and an all white GoBot that might be Bullseye, judging by his long, flat hands.
- Several characters appear in alternate color schemes than their more famous animated counterparts:
- Crasher appears in the white-and-blue paint job her toy was originally released with (both in Machine Robo and the first year of the GoBots line), rather than the more famous black, white, and orange repaint that came later, upon which her colors in the cartoon were based. Perhaps she'll get a new paint job down the line?
- Stretch, likewise, is black rather than white, though why is not immediately clear. A Renegade who looks like Stretch's original toy (which was released under the name Tux) appears later as one of the Renegades who pile on Leader-1.
- Water Walk appears among Cy-Kill's followers, though he's depicted in shades of blue and white as per his international release.
- The Pentagon contains a wing known as the "Go-Bot Command Center", referencing the classic playset from the original GoBots toy line.
- When Cy-Kill punches off Leader-1's toy-accurate "rebreather"-like mouthplate, a mouth is revealed beneath, giving Leader-1 a profile closer to his Hannah-Barbera animation model, as seen on the cover of the issue.
- Vamp, traditionally female, appears to be male in this continuity.
- Good Knight is orange and blue, rather than red and blue.
- Go-Bots are noted to follow the "Asimov Laws" that dictate their interactions with humanity, referencing science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov and his famous Three Laws of Robotics.
- Designated for release in October 2018, this issue wound up slipping into late November.
- Cover A: Leader-1, by Tom Scioli
- Cover B: Blank cover for sketches
- RI-A Scooter and Cy-Kill, by Dash Shaw
- RI-B Turbo vs Crasher, by Ben Marra
- Local Comic Book Day special: Leader-1, Scooter, and Turbo, by Diego Jordan Pereira