Hello there, ladies, gents, and non-binary folk. My name is Rachel Stevens, and you may have read some of my previous work analyzing the heck out of the IDW Transformers books. This is the start of something new and different, something less formal and academic.
As much as I love comic books, I love other forms of media. Including music. I’m going to be looking at some of my favorite comics and matching them up with songs that I think are thematically appropriate, and I’m starting with Last Stand of the Wreckers. Co-written by Nick Roche and James Roberts, penciled by Roche and Guido Guidi, inked by Andrew Griffith and colored by Josh Burcham, this story tells a tale of violence, heroism, stupidity, and what it means to be an Autobot — or a Decepticon.
Issue 1- Invaders Must Die by The Prodigy
The miniseries opens up with a story written and drawn by Roche on his own, and it is definitely a good introduction for what the reader is in for. It starts with a siege on the Autobot prison of Garrus-9 during the Surge, when Megatron had Decepticons raiding vulnerable points in the Autobot war machine thanks to inside information stolen by the mental manipulator Bombshell. The guns firing against the airborne Decepticons puts in mind one song for me, and that’s Invaders Must Die by the Prodigy. The thumping electronic beats of the song’s start call to mind feet pounding, the Autobot guards rallying against their foes. The lights of alarms flash, sirens blare, and the mood is set by the rasping mechanical voice, warning all the listeners that invaders have shown up and need to be destroyed. The stalwart Autobot forces are not going to fall. They shouldn’t have, either, but the rogue Decepticon Overlord showed up, and the tables were turned. The prison fell to the ne’er-do-wells, but the struggling resistance in that opening skirmish is something I can see and hear perfectly in my mind.
Issue 2- Signal Ready by Devo
Yes, I chose a bonus track from a 2010 Devo album. Deal with it.
Really though, this song is one of two songs I think of when I think of the mini genre of music that I’ve mentally identified as “paranoid pilot”- fast paced electronic beats with lyrics about a desperate aircraft pilot. (The other, for those who are curious, is Michael Guy Bowman’s Airwaves.)
Contrasting my choice of song positioning for the first issue, the song I picked for this issue syncs up with the climactic scene of the issue. The Wreckers have to successfully land two drop pods at the correct angle to penetrate a forcefield guarding the now Decepticon run prison of Garrus-9 so that they can rescue the guards, avoiding being shot at by anti-aircraft guns all the while. The hectic pace of the song and the lyrics match up well enough from my point of view, especially this verse:
Going in! Going in! Going in for survivors
Speed-read, fly-by, load clip, drop ship
Hold on tight, it’s gonna be a bumpy flight!
Issue 3- Ready to Die by Andrew WK
This is your time to pay
this is your judgment day
we made a sacrifice
and now we get to take your life
Certainly one of Andrew WK’s more violent songs, I envision this song playing in response to the death of one of the Wreckers’ own at the hands of Overlord. It’s intense, it’s angry, it tells a story of good striking down bad with justification to do so in righteous fury.
Issue 4- Orchestral Transformers theme by OminousVoice, after Ford Kinder, Ann Bryant and Steve Jablonsky
A fanmade reinterpretation of the classic theme song for the 1980s animated Transformers series, I could hear this as the Wrecker Ironfist recounted the tale of the Wreckers fighting their opposite numbers, Squadron X. It calls to mind valiance, heroism, derring-do. It’s appropriate for the version of the final confrontation between the Wreckers and Squadron X that Ironfist believes to be the truth- Ironfist was a weapons designer and Wreckers fanboy that got a chance to join their ranks, and believed the best about them.
Although I don’t have an appropriate song for the fifth and final issue of Wreckers, I do have a song that I think works for Roberts’ writing followup. A melancholy tale of a weary traveler who’s seen many things and stopped for a while, getting back on the road to see their friends, I can think of nothing better to summarize MTMTE — a series that is on the surface almost entirely about a bunch of misfits going around the galaxy, traveling on a grand quest, looking for the legendary Knights of Cybertron.