With Unicron killed and the Matrix spent, the universe as we know it has become unbalanced. Can a trip through time and space by Hot Rod set things right?
The big draw of the one-off ReGeneration One #0 is the assortment of artists assembled to send Hot Rod on his journey: Casey Coller, Geoff Senior, Jeff Anderson, Jose Delbo, Nick Roche, and Stephen Baskerville all contribute to make this issue a journey through the past in not just a narrative sense but a metafictional one as well. But is this one-off issue a must-have?
Spoiler warning: Yes.
I can see why it was decided to make this issue a standalone: Rather than dealing with all the assorted subplots which Furman is known for weaving throughout his stories, this issue focuses on a single plot: Hot Rod and his quest to find Primus and his own connection to the Cybertronian god. Primus, channeling himself through Grimlock as he once channeled himself through Emirate Xaaron, sends Hot Rod through the past for clues to find what’s gone wrong with the balance of good and evil and, ultimately, how to fix things.
Every artist is every bit as you expect them: Geoff Senior’s dynamic lines are on full display, Jeff Anderson gives us the retro sci-fi weirdness of Cybertron, Jose Delbo brings things down to Earth with the fate of Buster and Jessie (and what a fate it is!), and Nick Roche brings us an alternate future where Galvatron is on the verge of defeating the leader Hot Rod didn’t realize he was meant to be. Casey Coller grounds the story with the first and last pages, and while Stephen Baskerville lets each artist he inks shine, he gives it a trace of cohesion as well.
The real star here, though, is colorist John-Paul Bove, who manages to make each artist shine exactly the way they’re meant to: heavy, solid colors for Senior, the watercolor-esque look of the UK comics for Anderson, Yomtov-style pastels for Delbo, and an entirely modern look for Roche. It was enough to make me flip back to the beginning to see if it was actually all the same person’s work.
For those who haven’t been following ReGeneration One but are tempted by the gathering of classic artists (though I can’t imagine finding this appealing but not the series as a whole!) this makes an effective enough standalone story. For those who have been reading it, this seeming one-off issue is an important piece of the puzzle and absolutely worth a read.