Optimus Prime and Megatron may be More than Meets the Eye, but how will they contend against gods whose very images inspire madness? A group of Robots in Disguise stranded in America’s Industrial Revolution strive against the incomprehensible evil of H.P. Lovecraft’s Elder Gods during the first month of IDW Publishing’s “Infestation 2” crossover event. Like the previous “Infestation” event, IDW’s first-ever crossover which pitted their various licensed properties against vampires from their “CVO” series, “Infestation 2” takes the form of a two-issue series which bookends several tie-ins.
“Infestation 2: Transformers”, a two-issue miniseries by Chuck Dixon and Guido Guidi, returns to the “Evolutions: Hearts of Steel” universe, which debuted in 2006 as the first (and, to date, only) entry in a planned series of alternate universe Transformers titles. In the original miniseries, also by Dixon and Guidi, events awaken long-slumbering Autobots and Decepticons in the late 19th century, with the evil Transformers attempting to exploit the rail lines currently expanding across the United States to their own dark purposes. This time around, though, the heroes face a menace unlike anything they’ve ever encountered.
For more details on the series, CBR News spoke with Dixon about “Infestation 2: Transformers,” which ships bi-weekly in February.
CBR News: Chuck, this new “Infestation 2: Transformers” miniseries is a chance to return to the “Transformers: Evolutions: Hearts of Steel” universe. Looking back to the original “Hearts of Steel” mini, what can you tell us about developing this alternate history?
Chuck Dixon: It inserts the Transformers into the Industrial Age in the United States of the second half of the 1880s. The Autobots and Decepticons are awakened from their millennia-long sleep in response to a global threat. In the original “Hearts of Steel,” the threat was just the Decepticons. This time it’s the rise of the Elder Gods; a race of monstrous beings that invaded Earth during the dawn of the planet’s creation.
Now that you’re returning to this series, is there any character or event you’re looking to highlight a bit more?
Tobias Muldoon returns for the first miniseries. It’s a few years later and the world is moving from steam to electricity, so it only seemed natural to bring Nikola Tesla into it. Tesla, at the time of our story, was working for Thomas Edison, and we posit that it was a chance to go on an adventure with the Autobots that actually caused him to leave Edison Manufacturing.
What is Tobias up to these days, before the Infestation hits?
He married Kitty, they have some kids and he’s trying to make a go of it as an inventor out in old, pre-quake, San Francisco.
Yours is one of the early “Infestation 2” books. What role does the “Transformers” series play within the larger event?
They’re the first to face one of the Elders. In this case, it’s a massive monster that’s been slumbering on the ocean floor somewhere out near the Flemish Cap. The big critter has possessed some Decepticons and is in the process of converting the population of a whole Nova Scotian village into amphibious slaves. Evil stuff. The Autobots get wind of it and contact their old human buddy Tobias as they need a few million volts to awaken Optimus Prime.
How does the Lovecraftian invasion fit with turn-of-the-20th-century Transformers? The humans of this era had enough trouble with giant, sentient machines…
It gets pretty creepy and pretty epic. It’s Optimus Prime versus a huge creature. Who wouldn’t pay to see that? We also have a combined allied fleet of steam warships versus an army of creepy fish people. And we have Nikola Tesla who’s like one of the coolest guys who ever lived.
What else can you tell us about the story we’ll be seeing here?
It has a huge scale to it. And Guido [Guidi] kicks all kinds of ass on the art. The concept is so cool that we both jumped on it to wring every ounce of “wow” out of it that we could.
Guido Guidi was the artist for the original “Hearts of Steel” mini, as well. What does his style bring to a “Transformers” book, especially one of this nature?
The guy is amazing! He draws the Transformers with a true command. They’re not easy to get right consistently but he does it every time. He also, somehow, imbues them with character. I don’t know how he does it but it’s marvelous. And he’s willing to do the homework on the period stuff as well. It’s always a joy to write for an artist that’s going to bring this much to the party. I hope we get to do a lot more down the road.
It’s taken more than five years to get a sequel to your steampunk “Transformers” book. Now that we have a second “Hearts of Steel” mini, is there any chance we’ll be seeing a third?
Your lips to God’s ears. I’m up for it. The Autobots meet Henry Ford? The Decepticons meet Otto von Bismarcke? Sign me up, Jack!
“Infestation 2: Transformers” begins in February by Dixon and Guidi.