Transformers: Retribution

Transformers: Retribution Book Cover Transformers: Retribution
David J. Williams, Mark Williams
Del Rey
January 28, 2014

For decades, Transformers fans across the globe have marveled at the mighty clashes of Megatron and Optimus Prime, and speculated about their arrival on planet Earth. Now, in Transformers: Retribution, the prequel to the Transformers animated series, the epic odyssey of these two great warriors is finally revealed as Autobots and Decepticons battle one another . . . and the most diabolic foe they’ve ever encountered.

Aboard the Ark, Optimus Prime leads his Autobots through deep space, searching for the AllSpark so vital to their home planet, Cybertron. Megatron’s not far behind, and his Decepticons are itching for war. But a mysterious planet conceals an enemy far more cunning and powerful: the Quintessons. Masters of tyranny, technology, and twisted double crosses, the Quintessons are out to enslave both Autobots and Decepticons. Their deadly bag of tricks includes fiendish trials and a secret link all the way back to Cybertron, where Shockwave is wreaking havoc with supercomputer Vector Sigma. In the coming conflagration, Star Seekers, Wreckers, Alpha Trion, and Sharkticons all have their parts to play. For none can dodge the Quintesson juggernaut of evil, and none will escape the cataclysmic life-and-death battles that will catapult Autobots and Decepticons to Earth.


This review will contain some spoilers for the previous two books, Transformers: Exodus and Transformers: Exiles, as well as the related Transformers Prime television show and the video games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron.

Transformers: Retribution brings a new author to this trilogy of books with David J. Williams and Mark Williams picking up where Alex Irvine left off. And it shows, it certainly shows. Retribution is a significant improvement over the last two installments, with clearer details and more attention paid to continuity. Despite that, having to continue the story from the mess that was Exodus and Exiles does prevent this story from doing as much as it could have stand-alone.

Picking up where Exiles left off, the Decepticons are in pursuit of the Autobots with the space pirates the Star Seekers after them both. The Star Seekers are one big issue with this book, as their story is left unresolved and they never popped up further down the continuity line in Prime. One other major issue with characters is the sudden appearance of the Aerialbots, a group of flying Autobots, on the Ark. The last book repeatedly showed Silverbolt as the only flying Autobot onboard, which constantly left the Autobots at a disadvantage against the flying Decepticon Seekers throughout the story. No explanation is given as to what the Aerialbots were busy with during Exiles.

All things considered, the transition from Irvine to the Williams went pretty smoothly. We were given lots of details that were nowhere to be found in the last two books, such as more descriptive action sequences and actual physical descriptions of the characters that Irvine never bothered with. Ultimately, having to clean up after Irvine was just too much for one book to do. If the Williams had more page space they probably could have done it, but even by the end of Retribution there is still a lot of time where who knows what happened between here and the start of Transformers Prime.

For die-hard Transformers fans, this book is recommended. While it is not the best, it is still part of the Aligned continuity family. Important bits of the lore that could still be relevant, as the Aligned universe is still being added to, are introduced here. Not to mention all the nods to the original Generation 1 series. But for general sci-fi fans or the casually interested, this trilogy can probably be skipped. Just play War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron instead.

April 16, 2017

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