Back in early 2001, two comic companies, Dreamwave Productions and Devils Due Publishing, then under the umbrella of the Image print went to Hasbro to make a deal with the devil. In exchange for the rights to Transformers and G.I.Joe respectively, Pat Lee, co-owner of Dreamwave Productions would gain the unfortunate side effect of poor business decisions while Josh Baylock wouldn’t be able to write a G.I.Joe story that didn’t feel rushed at the end. After some time, both companies decided that cross overs were what everyone wanted and decided to do their own much to the delight of everyone until they read the blasted things.
If anyone ever were to ask me, what makes a good G.I.Joe crossover, I’d say the ability to merge them into a coherent story. The current Street Fighter Vs. G.I.Joe story is an example of a great cross over. It only focuses on a smallish cast, each character is practically named when they are appear and each one is distinct enough that it’s easy to tell them apart. There is no ambiguous endings involved so far and if you’re a fan of either franchise you should check it out.
I bring it because I’ve finished reading Transformers/ G.I.Joe by Dreamwave Productions, and while it’s not terrible it is problematic to say the very least. The idea is great on paper, take both franchises and place them into a World War 2 setting and things will be great, but what we got instead is a confusing mess of a cross over. Cobra has uncovered the Decepticons and are using them as engines of war, taking control of Europe in the process. The joes are assembled and tasked to take out the Cobra stronghold and in a very disastrous first few hours they encounter the Autobots and the tide changes
Jae Lee artwork has always been subjective, and while it works in the Dark Tower comic series, it doesn’t work here, casting a shadow over the characters, making them difficult to tell apart or what is even happening. The Joes have no features that help them stand out, making them all look like the same generic soldiers. The transformers themselves also look like they’re covered in shadow half the time, missing finer details of their own bodies. The plot is okay, but there is just too much going on at any time to be engaged in any conflict. There are two Joe teams, each having members you can’t tell apart, a half dozen Transformers who all look the same and an unclear plot. Cobra Commanders goals remain unclear and so does Destro’s. For all of it’s faults, the Devil’s Due cross over had a clear plot you could understand, and you could tell most of the characters apart.
When you throw in ambiguous endings for most characters, it gets a bit much. While a clear cut ending with a nice bow doesn’t always suit the story, if at the end of he story you still have questions about who is left alive at the end of the book then you may need to re-think your story. It’s not a bad story, but it isn’t a great one either. If any thing it should be read to see what shouldn’t be done in terms of plot, artwork and concept. I didn’t mind it, but then I am a fan of both franchises, but it’s a hard sell to any one who isn’t a fan of either franchise.