By any definition Transformers vs. G.I. JOE #1 is a mess – one hell of a god awful mess. Written by Tom Scioli the story (such as it is) is a non-linear attempt to throw in as many characters from both franchises into a single comic without any attempt at all to create plot to tie the various panels together. Jumping wildly from one set of characters to another the comic reads like a giant finger to actual storytelling or some kind of poorly designed logic puzzle the creator actually needs your help to solve. In fact the comic makes so little sense IDW felt the need to include writer’s notes for every single page (taking up far too many pages of a $4 comic book) in an attempt to explain what the hell is going on.
If the story is crap the visuals aren’t that much better. Although I don’t have an issue with John Barber’s nostalgic throwback-style art of some of my favorite characters from both franchisees, I was very much distracted by the attempt to make the comic look like faded newsprint of an 80s comic on glossy current comic stock. The attempt to make the comic feel vintage actually makes it look incredibly cheap and (even more) half-assed. Pass.