My media history with Transformers did not set me up well for enjoying Transformers comic books. The 90’s Transformers animated TV series always had some cool visualizations but suffered from “Not Batman or X-Men” syndrome. Then came a flurry of Michael Bay / Shia Lebeauf action concussions, and although I’ll stand by early Shia in the first movie, it’s never a good sign when you can only tell one robot apart because he’s yellow.
The more I’ve gotten into comic books, though, the more I realized Transformers is an exciting and varied mythology, that has been handled extremely well by IDW publishing.
Below you’ll find a reading order for Transformers comics published by IDW. As always, if you have suggestions for the order, let me hear about them in the comments and I’ll take a look.
Enjoy the comics!
Transformers Comics Reading Order
The IDW Transformers Collections
While I lay out each storyline in order below, I’ll first note that IDW has several larger, hardcover collections that make the Transformers reading experience much smoother. These tend to be more expensive, but they also look great on a bookshelf and easily collect the below storylines.
I’ll list each hardcover collection prior to the trade paperbacks that contain the same storylines. Just be aware you don’t need to buy both as they overlap in collected comics.
Transformers: Infiltration through Devastation (Phase 1)
Collects: Megatron Origin #1–4, Spotlight: Blurr, Spotlight: Cliffjumper, Spotlight: Shockwave, Spotlight: Nightbeat, Spotlight: Hotrod, and Infiltration #0–6
IDW’s Transformers comics launch with a number of core mini series, and no actual long-running ongoing single comic. As a result, Phase 1 of the Transformers comic book experience is broken up across mini events like Infiltration, which runs from issues #0 to #6, before Transformers jumps to a new comic book title for the next most relevant series.
The core sequence of events for this period is Infiltration –> Escalation –> Devastation.
Chronologically, you can make the case for reading Megatron Origin prior to the Infiltration, as it details flashbacks to Megatron’s rise.
Collects: Stormbringer and Escalation, as well as Spotlights: Sixshot, Ultra Magnus, Kup, and Soundwave
The Transformers Spotlight series consists of a collection of one-shots highlighting individual characters in the Transformers universe.
You can skip this, pretty much without question, but I find it endlessly fascinating that Transformers crossed over with the Brian Michael Bendis New Avengers of Marvel Comics fame. This will be more interesting to those of you following along in the Complete Marvel Reading Order.
Collects: Devastation, as well as Spotlights: Galvatron, Ramjet, Wheelie, Blaster, Arcee, Grimlock, and Mirage
IDW Transformers After Devastation – All Hail Megatron!
Collects: Maximun Dinobots and the four-part Drift story, as well as Spotlights: Cyclonus, Hardhead, Doubledealer, Sideswipe, Drift, Metroplex, and Jazz
Transformers: New Ongoing Series Launch (2010)
Collects: Transformers #1 to #6 by Mike Costa and drawn by Don Figueroa, Bumblebee #1 to #4 by Zander Cannon and Chee, Last Stand of the Wreckers by James Roberts and Nick Roche, and Prowl Spotlight
Collects: Drift four-issue series, Infestation Volume 1: Transformers #1–2, and Ongoing issues #7–18
Collects: “Heart of Darkness” and issues #19-31 which starts off with the “Chaos Theory” storyline and leads into the final “Chaos” arc of the ongoing series
Transformers Phase 2 – More Than Meets The Eye and Robots in Disguise
The Transformers; Autocracy Trilogy collects the Autocracy, Monstrosity, and Primacy miniseries. These were all published during Phase 2 of IDW’s Transformers comics, and although chronologically they flashback to earlier times, I prefer them at the beginning of the Phase 2 material.
Collects: Death of Optimus Prime, More Than Meets The Eye issues #1–5, and Robots in Disguise issues #1–6
Note that this first collection from James Roberts and Nick Roche also includes the Death of Optimus Prime one-shot.
Collects: Autocracy mini-series, Spotlights: Trailcutter and Hoist, Robots In Disguise issues #7–9, More Than Meets the Eye issues #6–8, and Spotlight: Orion Pax
Collects: “More Than Meets The Eye” #9–13 and the 2012 Annual, “Robots in Disguise” #9–11 and the 2012 Annual, plus the Thundercracker, Bumblebee, and Megatron Spotlight issues
Collects: Monstrosity mini-series, Robots in Disguise #12–18, and More Than Meets the Eye #14–16
Collects: Transformers: Primacy, Transformers: Robots in Disguise #19–22, and Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #17–22
Dark Cybertron Event Through Revolution
Reading Order: Dark Cybertron #1, More Than Meets the Eye #23, Robots in Disguise #23, More Than Meets the Eye #24, Robots in Disguise #24, More Than Meets the Eye #25, Robots in Disguise #25, More Than Meets the Eye #26, Robots in Disguise #26, More Than Meets the Eye #27, Robots in Disguise #27, Dark Cybertron #2