Secrets and techniques and Lies Revisits Cybertron’s Struggle With Type

Transformers ’84: Secrets and Lies channels the comics of the era with an epic war story and a growing rift between Shockwave and the Decepticons.

Few series are more nostalgic and glorious than the 80s Transformer, which returns to its year of creation in Transformers ’84: Secrets and Lies and focuses on the ever-raging civil war between the heroic Autobots led by Optimus Prime and the unscrupulous Decepticons led by Megatron on the metal planet Cybertron. There’s more to this war than anyone can imagine, however: the Decepticons are divided, and the ambitious scientist Shockwave, disappointed with Megatron’s questionable leadership, takes matters into his own hands to advance the Cybertron weapon.

At first glance, Transformers ’84: Secrets and Lies looks like bright, retro, light-hearted fun. But the colorful art style hides a jumble of loss, intrigue and betrayal Game of Thrones. The familiar story of the Cybertron Civil War is told and portrayed more seriously as the narrative of the elusive Decepticon double agent Counterpunch or Punch. As Optimus Prime urges his Autobots in an urgent race against time, the Decepticons are split between their original plan to turn Cybertron into a weapon and Megatron’s obsession with defeating Optimus Prime in person, which costs them the war. In Starscream’s words: “Megatron is the problem.”

Connected: Transformers: How Dreamwaves Comics Subverted Expectations

Transformers ’84: Secrets and Lies is a departure from the franchise’s usual lighthearted tone and delivers a darker and more mature storyline. Optimus Prime is portrayed as stern and grumpy and suffers from the high cost of war. He’s also more ruthless, sacrificing his best – and best-known – fighters as farmers, a move that could shake long-time fans. That said, neither he nor Megatron is a common occurrence after Issue # 0. Much of the story focuses instead on Shockwave, the resident sane man of the Decepticons. Shockwave drives the plot forward, and the audience identifies with his fight and admires his devious but brilliant combat tactics and skills.

But that doesn’t mean that the heroes have nothing to offer. With many of the Autobots absent or out of order, the audience spends a lot of time with the Dinobots, who frequently clash with Shockwave and the Decepticons, and is undergoing a great new upgrade (spoiler alert: they’re dinosaurs). They also have the most naturalistic and adorable relationship of any characters, and bring much-needed ease into an otherwise obscure narrative.

Connected: Back to the Future / Transformers has the most despicable biff ever

Visually, Transformer ’84: Secrets and Lies is an authentic and impressive step backwards. The artist Guido Guidi and the colourist John-Paul Bove are perfectly reminiscent of the style of the comics of the time, with a bold, saturated color palette, classic halftone textures and scratchy black spots. Even the dialogue, courtesy of writer Simon Furman, feels true to the times, with its overt depictions and great proclamations that made the Transformers franchise so popular in the first place. With the language patterns of the individual characters and those of the Dynobots – better known as “Dinobots”– Particularly pronounced.

There are times when the heavy and tortuous plot collides with the brightness of art and writing. Issue No. 0, in particular, contains obvious and clunky depictions and unsubtle character introductions. This may be endearing and exciting for the older fans returning to the franchise, but disgusting and awkward for new readers. This is a trend that continues into the remaining questions, the more out of place the more intense and serious the plot becomes.

The long, complicated story of Transformer ’84: Secrets and Lies may not be the best place for new fans. For those who know and love the franchise, however, it’s a worthy addition to the Transformers canon, a grown-up story for the kids who grew up with it, with plenty of ’80s nostalgia.

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About the author

Hannah Rose
(1 article published)

Youngest SCAD graduate with MA in sequential art, BA in writing and a lot of enthusiasm for comics, animation and pop culture.

More from Hannah Rose

Keep Tuned column: Secrets and techniques and lies in suspenseful thriller ‘The Sister’ – Leisure – Morning Solar

This week’s debuts include an Israeli psychodrama, a painter meditating on life, and a thriller full of fear about how far a man will go to keep a secret.

Broadcasts: Weekly TV news
The multi-million dollar Super Bowl advertising war between Coca-Cola and Pepsi will not take place during this year’s big game broadcast. Coke announced that it would not advertise during Super Bowl LV. That decision follows a similar decision by Pepsi, which has stated that it will focus on its annual halftime show instead. (PepsiCo will be running a commercial for Mountain Dew Soda, however).

Disney + announced its leadership for the upcoming Doogie Howser restart. Former “Andi Mack” star Peyton Elizabeth Lee will appear as Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha in the remake. Set in Hawaii, Doogie Kamealoha, MD follows Lahela, a 16-year-old mixed race girl who balances a medical career and a teenage life. The series is scheduled to be released this year.

Hasbro / eOne wants to create a television series based on the fantasy role-playing game “Dungeons & Dragons” and has hired Derek Kolstad, creator and writer of the “John Wick” franchise, to write and develop a pitch for a live Action show.

Contender: shows to stay on your radar
The Israeli series “Losing Alice” (January 22, Apple TV +) focuses on Alice (Ayelet Zurer), a 48-year-old filmmaker who feels irrelevant until she meets Sophie (Lihi Kornowski), a young screenwriter with one provocative writing. Obsession and a dangerous desire for power and success soon lead Alice down a dark path.

Past and present secrets threaten to destroy a married man in the US debut of the British thriller “The Sister” (January 22nd, Hulu). When an old acquaintance shows up on Nathan’s (Russell Tovey) front door, he’s forced to face the worst night of his life – a party long ago that led to the death of a young woman and decide how far he’ll go to to keep a secret.

In Painting With John (Jan. 22, HBO, 11pm ET), John Lurie, co-founder of the music group The Lounge Lizards, practices his watercolor skills as he shares his thoughts on life. Think of it as an unwritten meditative painting class.

The NFL conference championship games will be split between two networks on January 24, with Fox broadcasting the NFC game at 2:00 p.m. CET and CBS broadcasting the AFC game at 5:40 p.m. CET.

Edward Burns’ new half-hour dramedy series, Bridge and Tunnel (Jan. 24, Epix, 8:00 PM ET) is set in Long Island in the early 1980s and follows a group of longtime friends on the verge of adulthood.

The train that never stops is back for a second season. Snowpiercer (Jan. 25, TNT, 9:00 PM ET) takes off with a post-revolution Layton (Daveed Diggs) who is the new leader of the train seeking a shaky peace. Meanwhile, Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) has to do with Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean), who is not only not dead, but is heading straight for her on a rival train. The shocking news that their daughter (also suddenly not dead) has become loyal to Wilfred’s protegee and a surprising discovery that could change the fate of humanity.

Testimony: winners and losers of ratings
Winner: Disney Channel ordered a third season of the animated series “Big City Greens”.

Loser: “Star Trek: Discovery” attracted its second smallest television audience.
Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin goes to Washington: Shaping the president in the “west wing” of television. She has a PhD. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at or follow her on Twitter @mcstaytuned.