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More Than Meets the Eye

If you grew up during the 80s, you will no doubt remember the then-popular Transformers toys from Hasbro. In its heyday, the Transformers universe encompassed not only a toy product line, but also a cartoon series, a Marvel comic series and (eventually) a full-length feature film. The toy line faded away in the late-80s, mostly due to lackluster toy designs and increasingly flimsy (read: cheap plastic) construction. The toys eventually evolved into the poorly-conceived Beast Wars line and even spawned a not-so-interesting Saturday morning feature.

After Beast Wars fell flat on its face commercially, it seemed that the Transformers brand was doomed to fade into memory. However, it appears that Transformers is making a comeback. Last year, Rhino Video released two DVD sets covering the first and part of the second season of the Transformers cartoons. These were aptly named Transformers: Season One and Transformers: Season Two, Part One. These releases featured a remarkable Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a fairly decent video transfer.

This year, it seems the comeback is continuing in earnest. Rhino is continuing to release subsequent seasons of the original cartoon series, with Transformers: Season Two, Part Two already in general release. In addition, I discovered today that a graphic novel of a new Transformers comic is now available. Apparently, this new comic has been running for the past few months and is now available in a consolidated format. The artwork appears to be top-notch. Needless to say, I'll have to pick it up.

Last week, I came across this article on IGN describing a Transformers game that is being developed for the PS2. There aren't many details yet, but the screenshots look promising. Hopefully the gameplay will be engaging, unlike previous Transformers games.

Finally, it appears that Hasbro is releasing "collector's editions" of the original Transformers toy line. From what I can tell, not every character is being re-issued. But, it appears that Optimus Prime, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Silverstreak, Prowl, Jazz and Red Alert are part (if not all) of the offering. I'm not sure if Megatron or Soundwave (my personal favorite) will be offered. If they are, I may have to pick one of them up for posterity.


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