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Your Guide To Skybound’s Energon Universe (Transformers and G.I. Joe)
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Your Guide To Skybound’s Energon Universe (Transformers and G.I. Joe)

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Transformers and G.I. Joe have been a staple of comic books for decades. They’ve seen stints at Marvel Comics, IDW Publishing, and a few smaller publishers throughout that time but have found a new home at the Image Comics imprint Skybound. With this new base of operations, the much-loved Hasbro properties will have new comic series set in the same shared universe, known as the Energon Universe.

If you’re a Transformers or G.I. Joe fan, you’re probably interested in learning more about this new comic book universe. Luckily, you’re in the right place, with this guide on the Energon Universe giving you everything you need to know to get started. This includes the comics involved, details on how this line of comics is structured and heaps more.

Updating…

The Energon Universe is slowly rolling out, with new comic series having a staggered release in late 2023 into 2024 and beyond. As a result, many of the details are revealed incrementally. This guide will be updated regularly as more information is available – whether it be new series, plot premises, creative teams, or universe structure.

Who is Skybound?

Skybound is Robert Kirkman’s imprint at Image Comics. It has been the home of Kirkman’s comic book series such as The Walking DeadInvincibleFire Punch, and others. Over the years, it has expanded to become the home for other people’s creator-owned comics and, recently, a few licensed properties like Lego Ninjago.

While comics are front and centre in what Skybound do, they’re a multimedia company that has expanded into different mediums. This includes film and television production, video game distribution, and podcasts.

How was the Energon Universe revealed?

Things don’t get introduced traditionally when Robert Kirkman is involved. For instance, The Walking Dead comic had a surprise ending. So when it came to the Energon Universe, it wasn’t simply a matter of sending out a press release. Instead, it was a stealth reveal in Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo de Felici’s Void Rivals #1, a creator-owned comic that no one expected to feature a Hasbro property, signalling to the world that Transformers and G.I. Joe were coming to Skybound.

In retrospect, the signs were there. Skybound was a name that was batted around when it was announced IDW Publishing was to lose the license to Transformers and G.I. Joe. Further to that, the solicitation for Void Rivals #1 includes the following:

“..debut the biggest new comic book series of 2023 with the launch of AN ALL-NEW SHARED UNIVERSE and a SURPRISE you won’t see coming!”

Additionally, retailers were told in advance of Void Rivals #1 release so they could confidently order the comic. While the news leaked a week before the announcement, it’s a phenomenal feat that it didn’t get out sooner than that.

How will the Energon Universe be different to other versions of Transformers and G.I Joe?

While many story details have not been revealed yet, as the comics are still months away, we do know some of how the Energon Universe compares to other incarnations of Transformers and G.I. Joe. In an interview with AIPT Comics, Robert Kirkman discussed the familiarities that fans will have and how many new elements there will be:

Hasbro reached out to us, and I wanted to try and come up with a new way to do Transformers and G.I. Joe comics because IDW had been doing a lot of great Transformers and G.I. Joe comics for a long time. You didn’t want to just kind of come in and do more of the same. I thought doing a ground zero, like square one, like a retelling of the origins of these characters, the Energon universe is very much like a new beginning for these characters. It’s kind of like new origins. It’s retelling of familiar origins in a lot of ways. It’s akin to kinda like the Ultimate universe from Marvel. So all of these characters will be familiar, but there will be kind of new angles to them.

Additionally, the two Hasbro properties will be more organically incorporated than in the past. In this universe, the presence of Transformers will lead directly to the formation of G.I. Joe.

Which comics are part of the Energon Universe?

Read on to find out more about which comics are part of the Energon Universe.

Void Rivals

Written by Robert Kirkman. Art by Lorenzo de Felici.

Void Rivals tells the story of Darak and Solila, aliens on different sides of warring factions but stranded on a deserted planet together. They’ll have to sort out their differences if they want to survive.

As mentioned earlier, the series introduced the Energon Universe to readers. Speaking in broad strokes, this was done with an obvious Transformers connection halfway through the first issue.

This is an original creator-owned series that has been incorporated into the shared universe with Hasbro’s Transformers and G.I. Joe.

The series will go on a hiatus after Void Rivals #6 and will return with issue #7 on 6th March, 2024.

Void Rivals #1 began on 14th June. (Second printing available on 12th July)

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Collected edition

Void Rivals Volume 1: More Than Meets The Eye
Collects: Void Rivals #1-6
Available on 21st February

Transformers (2023 series) #1 cover by Daniel Warren Johnson.
Transformers (2023 series) #1 cover by Daniel Warren Johnson.

Transformers

Written and art by Daniel Warren Johnson.

This ongoing series will see the war between the Autobots and Decepticons continue on Earth after being waged on Cybertron. While this will be very familiar to fans, readers have been promised that new angles will be explored. There will be new alliances, battle lines will be redrawn, and we should see how this war will affect humanity more than we have in the past.

Skybound has revealed the following characters will be involved:

  • Autobots: Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Cliffjumper, Arcee, and Wheeljack
  • Decepticons: Starscream, Rumble, Skywarp, Laserbeak, and Soundwave

With Daniel Warren Johnson writing and drawing it, this Transformers series will be visually spectacular – especially if previous Transformers sketches are anything to go by.

Transformers #1 was published on 4th October.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

G.I. Joe: Duke #1 cover by Tom Reilly.
G.I. Joe: Duke #1 cover by Tom Reilly.

G.I. Joe: Duke

Written by Joshua Williamson. Art by Tom Reilly.

Duke is the first of four G.I Joe miniseries. This five-part limited series explores the origins of G.I. Joe and Cobra as the world reacts to the emergence of the Autobots and Decepticons on Earth.

G.I. Joe: Duke #1 will be available on 27th December.

G.I. Joe: Cobra Commander #1 cover by Andrea Milana.
G.I. Joe: Cobra Commander #1 cover by Andrea Milana.

G.I. Joe: Cobra Commander

Written by Joshua Williamson. Art by Andrea Milana.

Not a lot is known about this five-part miniseries yet. However, we do know that it will involve a sinister figure attempting to use energon for nefarious purposes.

G.I. Joe: Cobra Commander #1 will be available on 17th January, 2024.

Unannounced G.I. Joe Limited Series #1

Written and art by TBA.

This section will be updated when this G.I. Joe series has been announced. It will be released sometime in 2024.

Unannounced G.I. Joe Limited Series #2

Written and art by TBA.

This section will be updated when this G.I. Joe series has been announced. It will be released sometime in 2024.

Secret ongoing series

Written and art by TBA.

This section will be updated when this series has been announced. It will be released sometime in 2024.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #301 cover by Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson.
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #301 cover by Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson.

What about G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero?

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was the original G.I. Joe comic, published by Marvel Comics from 1982 to 1994. Writer/editor Larry Hama wrote the majority of the 155-issue run. Hama returned to the series when it was revived at IDW Publishing in 2010 and wrote it until it reached issue #300 in 2022.

With G.I. Joe heading to Skybound, the series has been revived again and will continue on with the original numbering. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #301 will be published on 14th November 2023.

It’s worth noting that this will not be set in the Energon Universe. Instead, it will be situated in its own universe as the previous 300 issues were.

Have your say!

Are you looking forward to reading the Energon Universe? Share your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook, X (formally Twitter), or Mastodon. You can also subscribe to the How To Love Comics newsletter too.

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