The guys overs at IDW Publishing have created a great niche for themselves in the digital comics world thanks to their awesome series of apps and titles featuring big names from G.I. Joe to True Blood. However it is with Transformers that they have had their most success, so much so that this week sees the launch of this digital exclusive series, Transformers Autocracy.

With gorgeous art from fan favourite artist Livio Ramondelli and a story by Warcraft writer Chris Metzen alongside seasoned Transformer author Flint Dillie, it focuses on the early days of Optimus Prime (here referred to as Orion Pax) on Cybertron, before the war. Working alongside familiar names like Bumblebee, Ironhide and Hound, as a kind of Cybertron Police Force, the story looks set to reveal how Prime came to be the great leader we all know and love – there is even the promise of appearances from Megatron and other Decepticons, but as allies rather than foes! Essentially, it’s a bit like X-Men First Class but with Autobots instead of mutants!

At a mere 8 pages, there isn’t much to get your teeth into, but it certainly whets your appetite for more, and with only two weeks until the next instalment (and a bargain price of 69p an issue) you won’t have long to wait. Plans are to have the story line run through into June and also to tie in with the continuity of new titles More Than Meets The Eye and Robots in Disguise so there should be enough to keep both hardened Autobot-fans and nostalgic geeks like myself happy well into the summer.

Transformers Autocracy is published by IDW Publishing and can be downloaded from either their own app or via ComiXology’s Comics


Is there a better team in comics today than Sean Philips and Ed Brubaker? Whether it’s the pot-boiled noir of Criminal or the post-modern super-villain antics of Incognito, they are truly masters of their craft. Now it’s time for them to turn their attention to the supernatural horror genre with brand new title Fatale. It features the traditional tight and complex Brubaker storyline blending time-travel, horror, whodunnit and classic noir. Flipping from the 1930s to the present day with seamless, mind-bending brilliance the story would be nothing without Philips stylish visuals. Tweaking his trademark stark, monochromatic style to a more pulpy 30s style it features much more of a dynamic feel than the tight close-ups of Criminal, however it is subtle touches of former Hellboy and BPRD colourist Dave Stewart that really helps give Fatale that gothic feel.

As with all Brubaker/Philips story it is difficult to get your head around this latest world in just 32 pages. Not because it is complex and unwieldy, but because the themes and subjects involved are so expertly weaved into the story. By the time you reach the final page you are only just getting started and are left wanting to read the next instalment as soon as you can. Fatale is the kind of book that will reward repeat reading as you pick up more and more with each reading as the story progresses from issue to issues, so make sure you get on the Fatale band wagon now as this will be on everyone’s ‘Best of 2012’ list by the end of the year and will be selling out in print before you know it.

Fatale #1 is published by Image Comics and is available on Comics or the Image Comics app for $3.50

Power Play comic coverThis week’s must-have is the brilliant Powerplay by Kurt Christenson and Reilly Brown. A lot of comics claim to have embraced the world of digital, but they only go as far as same day print and digital. The boys on Powerplay have taken it one step further and have actually designed the comic to maximise the iPad’s interactivity. Rather than the standard left to right scrolling of panels, Powerplay takes the panel by panel approach of ComiXology and takes it to its logical conclusion by getting rid of individual pages all together and just letting you scroll through one panel at a time. Now this might not seem the best way to read a book, but it’s been designed so that in key places in the story panels begin blend together to give it a simple animated feel which is just awesome. Check out the scene where Mac turns to gold and Kris cuts off his hair between panels 28 and 37 to see what I mean.

As comic fans we’re all famalliar with the idea of a pull list – the carefully selected list of titles which our friendly comic store clerk puts by for use each week and adds to with carefuly curtaed recommendations based on our personal tastes. But what happens in this new digital world? Who is going to put aside that first printing of the new super cool book which no one else has ordered? Well here at Pipedream Comics we hope to be able to offer you that very service with our own Pipedream Pull List. Each week, we’ll point you in the direction of that week’s must-have digital comic and help you find that new gem which otherwise might have passed you by.

Batman #1 2011Our first recommendation is one which I am sure a lot of you will already have in your actual pull list and that is Batman #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. With all the excitment about Justice League, Action Comics and the rest of the 52 relaunch, this book has been somewhat sidelined. OK, so it’s still going to do massive numbers, but with all the attention split between the marquee titles and the forgotten gems, this one might be passed over by your average fan which would be a shame as it is one of the best of the 52 relaunches so far.

The tone of the book is as dark as you would expect from the writer of American Vampire but it is the art which really helps the book stand out. I’ve been a massive fan of Greg Capullo’s work since the early days of Spawn but his style has really evolved since then and removing himself from the McFarlane bubble has helped step his game up to another level. Capullo’s Batman is sinister and learing with a dark and twisted quality. Juxtaposed with the clean simplicity of Bruce Wayne and co when they aren’t out fighting crime, the phenomenal level of detail he gets into every page is just astounding.

From the opening double page splash you can tell this is the work of a man who is loving the opportunity to draw such a wierd and wonderful cast of characters and the macabre story which Snyder is looking tell is really taking advantage of Capullo’s art in a way that we haven’t seen before. In many ways it’s reminiscent of his mentor Todd McFarlane’s work on Year Two or the Batman/Spawn crossover but with so much more going on in every panel.

For non-regular Batman readers it fulfills all the jobs that the Relaunch intended. It both grabs new readers with it’s exciting new creative team while at the same time not moving too far from the the source material for the diehards (although I am sure many will complain about Capullo’s unorthodox treatment of the Joker). The murder mystery storyline meant that as soon as I got to the end of the book I couldn’t wait for the next issue and there are very few books from the 52 relaunch that I could say that about.

Batman #1 is available on Comics or via the DC app for $1.99.