In this review of Void Rivals #3, Darak and Solila find themselves captured by Skuxxoid. As they look for a way to escape, they encounter a new entrant into the Energon Universe.
Void Rivals #3
Written by: Robert Kirkman
Art and Main Cover by: Lorenzo De Felici
Variant Covers: James Harren, Minemiko Mali, Karen S. Darboe, Taurin Clarke
Page Count: 32 Pages
Release Date: August 16, 2023
For those who regularly read comic books, we typically all have a similar process. When going through our stacks, whether weekly or monthly, the best books usually go to the top. We usually read the most anticipated titles before anything else. Void Rivals finds itself at the top of my stack every month. The new Energon Universe introduced in this title by Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici remains a slow build. However, considering the components (Void Rivals, Transformers, and GI Joe) in this new universe, one should expect it.
Void Rivals #3 – The Story
Void Rivals #3 kicks off immediately after the end of issue #2. Darak, the Agorrian, and Solila the Zertonian find themselves with a gun pointed at their heads by Skuxxoid. The two pilots don’t intend to be claimed as property by anyone. they put up a fight before Darak takes a blast to the chest. Solila retaliates by hitting the beast with a blast from a staff she summons to her in pure Thor fashion. She grabs the fallen Darak, and they take off with Skuxxoid in pursuit. He doesn’t chase them for long, however. Something more dangerous awaits them on the ship.
As they travel through the massive ship. Solila begins to question her worth, feeling she’s failed her people in not meeting her objective of retrieving water from the comet she and Darak both chased. Now she finds herself partnered with a mortal enemy as the attempted to escape death. One thing quickly noticed by Darak – and ironically myself as the reader – Solila is no mere pilot. The staff she wields several times in the issue marks one sign of this. At one point, she declares that she’s no mere pilot.
As the two make their trek through the massive vessel, it’s clear the spotlight of this issue focuses on Solila. She takes the lead throughout the issue. After the skirmish with Skuxxoid, it continues with their brief battle with the beast that looked much like Scorponok. She dominates the battle, much to the detriment of Darak, who does little.
This is an interesting way for Kirkland to introduce us of sorts to Solila. Darak’s introduction last week was not this intense, which plays precisely to who the character is. He clearly identifies himself as a pilot, unlike his counterpart. He appears more timid this issue. This is fine, of course, since Solila is the obvious focus. However, I do hope as the series moves along that things equalize between the two. between the last two issues, they both appear to have useful strengths. But there’s definitely more to the Zertonian we need to explore.
The Rest of the Story
After dispatching of Scorponok (I’m claiming that’s who it was), much of the rest of the story follows Darak and Solila as they trek through Skuxxoid’s ship. At this point, they release Slizardo (another alien from the Transformers universe) from containment after he promises them a free ride if they help him to his ship. There’s a hilarious exchange between the three of them and the returning Skuxxoid. Skuxxoid gives Darak and Solila an offer they can’t refuse: a ship to leave in exchange for Slizardo and the ship he captured them in. Slizardo’s reaction is glorious.
For all the fun throughout the issue, the last few pages truly provide the “what the hell?” moment that truly wins this issue for me. I mentioned before about the differences between Darak and Solila. The Agorrian is truly a more happy-go-lucky character throughout. He is comfortable around the person who he was trained to identify as his enemy. For her part, Solila is more cautious. She’s not necessarily lacking trust in her counterpart, but she remains timid. She’s holding back something. As we get to the end of the issue, we see just that. As the two sit at the entrance to the Sacred Ring, Solila zaps Darak and knocks him unconscious before apologizing.
I really enjoy everything with this comic thus far, particularly the writing. At only three issues in, Kirkman is doing a masterful job with the pace of introducing Darak and Solila into this new universe coming our way. Each character for better or worse has had an issue devoted to them in some fashion. Each one leaves a lot more to be explored. That keeps interest growing. My interest level remains high. Considering how the issue ended, I’m ready for issue #4 now.
I hope that the return to the Sacred Ring ends the Transformers cameos. Having them appear the way Kirkman introduced them was needed to quickly establish the shared universe. Kirkman accomplished this mission. I hope he’s moving on moving until the first big crossover – OR a really important reveal. There’s a lot to dive into with Darak and Solila – both individually and together. Readers are ready to see this.
Lorenzo De Felici’s art continues to grow on me. While I don’t love it for what I see as a simplistic style, I thoroughly enjoy it now. He takes a different approach to the characters from the Transformers universe (though I haven’t followed that show/comic/etc. since I was a kid. But dangit, I absolutely love his cover for this issue. Having Solila front and center tells you everything you can expect to see in this issue, much like the cover for issue #2 centered on Darak. The colors from Matheus Lopes complements the pencils perfectly.
I mentioned before that if you did not have this title on your pull list that you should. I make that statement again. In fact, it should be at the top of your stack each week that it releases. This is world-building at its finest.
If you missed the review for issue #2, you can find it here. You can find this comic and help support the site in the process by purchasing this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.