Two of the world’s most popular franchises – Transformers and G.I. Joe – have a new comic book home as part of the historic partnership between toy and game company Hasbro and Skybound.
Comic book fans who picked up their copies of Void Rivals #1 in comic shops this week were the first to learn the news, as the blockbuster Oblivion Song team of writers Robert Kirkman (Invincible, The Walking Dead) and artist Lorenzo De Felici (Kroma), along with colorist Matheus Lopes (Step By Bloody Step) and letterer Rus Wooton, revealed that the highly anticipated series was actually a stealth launch of this new shared “Energon Universe” with the surprise first appearance of iconic Transformers character Jetfire.
Three upcoming releases, alongside Void Rivals, mark the beginning of the interconnected “Energon Universe” featuring both the characters and franchises you know and love, along with entirely new concepts developed in partnership by Hasbro and Skybound.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to reintroduce this world to a new audience under the Skybound banner,” said Robert Kirkman. “I’ve loved these characters for most of my life and to have the opportunity to add to the already rich tapestry Hasbro has built with the all-new Void Rivals is an unbelievable opportunity. If you look at everything done with Transformers and G.I. Joe, you can see the inkling of a vast universe with tremendous potential for crossovers and interaction that will enhance the fan experience while staying true to the individual identities of both concepts. I look forward to exploring that potential for years to come.”
“When we first discussed plan for the surprise reveal in Void Rivals #1, I never expected it would be a secret we could keep for over a year,” said Michael Kelly, Hasbro’s VP of Global Publishing. “Now that it is finally here, we are all excited to finally be able to talk about all the amazing stories to come from our great new partners at Skybound.”
Launching in October, Transformers #1 begins an all-new era for the iconic robots in disguise from superstar creator Daniel Warren Johnson (Extremity, Do a Powerbomb,DC’s Wonder Woman: Dead Earth) and colorist Mike Spicer (Stillwater). Optimus Prime was supposed to have led the Autobots to victory. Instead, the fate of Cybertron is unknown, and his allies have crash-landed far from home, alongside their enemies—the Decepticons. As these titanic forces renew their war on Earth, one thing is immediately clear: the planet will never be the same. New alliances are struck. Battle lines are redrawn. And humanity’s only hope of survival is Optimus Prime.
“To my readers, retailers, and fellow transformer fans: GET READY! I’ve only been drawing Optimus Prime and the rest of this amazing cast since I was in FIRST GRADE,” said Daniel Warren Johnson. “This is a dream project for me, and I’m so glad to be adding a new chapter to the decades long celebration of robots turning into cars. Also, cab-over trucks are so fun to draw!”
The new Energon Universe expands in December with Duke #1, a limited series from Joshua Williamson (DC’s Superman, Dark Ride), Tom Reilly (The Thing) and Jordie Bellaire (W0rldtr33), that tells the story you’ve never read before – the origins of G.I. Joe and Cobra in a world grappling with the arrival of the Autobots and Decepticons. When Conrad S. Hauser (codename DUKE) investigates the mysteries behind The Transformers, the answers will lead to the birth of forces for good and evil that the world never imagined.
Duke will be the first of four G.I. Joe limited series coming from Skybound, setting the stage for a fresh new take on G.I. Joe, Cobra and the iconic characters that you only think you know!
“Childhood dreams come true! Get hyped! Tom and I are bringing you a new take on Duke and the formation of G.I. Joe that honors all that we love about the characters but takes it into a new and exciting direction,” said Joshua Williamson. “It’s been awesome working with Skybound and Hasbro to bring this new take on the G.I. Joe franchise. For the last few years, I’ve been picking up all of the new G.I. Classified figures, so I am pumped to contribute to this new world of G.I. Joe and Transformers!”
“I’m super excited to be working with Josh and the team at Skybound to usher in a new beginning for these iconic characters,” said Tom Reilly. “The Joes have a rich history in comics, one that we look forward to adding something new and exciting to. It’s going to be a fun ride!”
This will be followed by the launch of Cobra Commander #1 in January 2024, from Joshua Williamson, Andrea Milana (Impact Winter: Rook) and Annalisa Leoni (Oblivion Song). In a world where Cobra doesn’t exist, one man’s sinister plans to utilize the mysterious alien substance known as Energon will send shockwaves across the globe.
“My first comic was G.I. JOE, and I couldn’t be more excited to unite the Transformers and G.I. Joe into one universe,” said Sean Mackiewicz, SVP, Publisher. “This line is being guided by the best comic creators in the world and features the same action-packed, surprise-filled, emotional storytelling you expect from all Skybound comics.”
Void Rivals #1 is available now at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.