Crossing the Streams: Avengers and Transformers

This post originally appeared on Panels, which is now Book Riot Comics

Here at Crossing the Streams, we check out those moments when characters who don’t normally interact suddenly do.

Through all the various generations and reboots of the Transformers, the central plot has always remained the same: two different factions of transforming robots fighting over energy and power. That remained true the one time that the Autobots and Decepticons ran into a group of Avengers in The New Avengers / Transformers.

New Avengers / Transformers #1 Cover by Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, and Justin Ponsor

New Avengers / Transformers #1 Cover by Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, and Justin Ponsor

The story told in the four-issue miniseries is pretty simple. In a bid to end life on Earth so they can claim its energy, the Decepticons attempted to start a war between Doctor Doom’s nation of Latveria and its neighbor Symkaria. Towards that end, a device that stoked rage in humans was set up on the border between the countries, which brought the New Avengers in to see what was up. This group was comprised of Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, and Falcon. Then, everyone fought each other for four issues.

That’s about the entire gist of the thing. Robots disguised as cars and superheroes battle for page after page in between moments of exposition as the Avengers find out about the true nature of the Autobots and Decepticons. It’s mostly just costumed heroes fighting cars, which is a fun idea except when it’s executed in uninteresting ways, which is the case here. Drawing moving vehicles in comics can be tough. Making their movements kinetic and dynamic is tricky and many times, vehicles look like they’re standing still when they’re meant to be moving. Such was the case in this series as, most of the time, the Avengers appeared to be fighting cars that are just sitting on the ground. Not exactly thrilling to see.

The series was redeemed in small moments, such as when Ms. Marvel was taken out of the fight for a few moments by getting hit with an air bag and when Wolverine was run over by Jazz.

From New Avengers / Transformers #2 (2007) by Stuart Moore, Tyler Kirkham, and Sal Regla

From New Avengers / Transformers #2 (2007) by Stuart Moore, Tyler Kirkham, and Sal Regla

Eventually, things picked up when Iron Man showed up in his giant armor. Instead of Captain America and Luke Cage attempting to smash sedans, Iron Man got to finally punch Megatron right in the face.

New Avengers / Transformers #4 (2007) by Stuart Moore, Tyler Kirkham, and Sal Regla

From New Avengers / Transformers #4 (2007) by Stuart Moore, Tyler Kirkham, and Sal Regla

The story ended with the Decepticons’ plans destroyed and the heroes triumphant. Before things wrapped up completely, Spider-Man got one last lick in. He’d been kidnapped for most of the story in a weird subplot about how the Decepticons wanted to steal the essence of the heroes and somehow infuse themselves with it. Spider-Man took that a little personally and wanted some vengeance himself.

New Avengers / Transformers #4 (2007) by Stuart Moore, Tyler Kirkham, and Sal Regla

From New Avengers / Transformers #4 (2007) by Stuart Moore, Tyler Kirkham, and Sal Regla

All told, it was a disappointing story. It was also surprisingly claustrophobic as everything took place within a single setting. With the limitless budget of a comic, the fight could have extended to outer space, a volcano, under water, or literally anywhere else besides a boring pile of rubble. Megatron’s machinations could have been a little grander and the Avengers may have wanted to use their own giant robots to fight back against the Decepticons.

All of those complaints with this story were actually fixed two years earlier in a miniseries titled Mega Morphs.

Mega Morphs #1 (2005) Cover by Lou Kang

Mega Morphs #1 (2005) Cover by Lou Kang (text removed)

That series, which was based on a toy line, featured Transformers-esque robots that looked like and were driven by Marvel heroes. Among their number was a Hulk robot and a Ghost Rider robot. It was weird and silly and, most importantly, fun. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the official crossover between these two franchises. If you’re in the mood for superheroes and giant robots battling, seek out Mega Morphs. You’ll be much better off.

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