Friday the 113thSynopsis
SLAUGHTERHOUSE! The crew of the Lost Light are used to past decisions coming back to bite them, but nothing—not even an ULTRA MAGNUS-certified crash course in the law of unintended consequences—could have prepared them for the horrors of Sector 113. Be warned: this issue is not for the easily distressed—or the easily heartbroken.
In space, no one can hear you...Story
We've seen parts of the Lost Light slowly disappear. We've seen members of the crew do the same. We've seen Ravage, openly, finally revealing himself to the crew. We've seen Megatron's position questioned by several of the older cast, and the new additions being more lenient. We've seen the horrors of Overlord, the DJD, the fighting pits, the mines and Empurata. Now, welcome to Slaughterhouse.
Carrie on, if you will
Premise: More Than Meets the Eye is already dealing with time paradoxes and multiple planes of existence, and has done so in its first season and during Dark Cybertron (that was the whole point, actually). So why not take it further? James Roberts, indeed, does, and gives us a glimpse of what might be, could be or potentially will be/has been depending on the observation point - and it ain't pretty.
Eyes Without a Face
In fact, it's horrific. As the title might suggest, it's slaughter. And even if we know something's not really happening, or not as we know it, it does not detract that much at all from the impact of the scenes. The scenes with Overlord so far are nothing compared to what we see in this issue. And actually, we don't really see it happen, wading as we do in the aftermath of the perpetrator(s)' rampage.
The Chills Have Eyes 2
The stand-out moment of the entire book for me, however, is a long scene between Megatron and Ravage, in which we learn more about both of them, about the Decepticon ideal and loyalty, about Megatron's true nature, and Ravage's presence on the ship. And we see some old friends. Quite a few of them. So to speak. And some very nice interactions between Nightbeat and Nautica, as they discover a briefcase's contents. So to speak.Art
As the issue was being drafted and inked, Alex Milne took to Twitter to add a running commentary of the horrors he was made to draw for the issue - and he was right. There is nothing pretty here, it's a splatter film in panels, on printed/digital pages. It's a Helex Chainsaw(hand) Massacre with excellent photography and art direction. It even has some formal experimentation to match the temporal paradoxes.
Dial D for.. Death
To make the art work so much more, Joana Lafuente adds some amazing effects in her colours. Most of the ship is adumbrated, shadows shifting in the background, with the only sources of light coming from optics, quantum foam, emergency lighting - until the very end, when power is restored. And the difference in tones is gigantic, and stunningly executed.
The abyss looks into you..
Similarly, the lettering touches that Tom B. Long brings to the issue, used sparingly once again, but to their full effectiveness when in their more creative moments, add to an already eerily tense, situation. And the lower case, almost rounded title font is brilliant in its contrast with the content. As for the covers, we've seen all three now
, and how fitting it is to have the Coller/Bove variant, and the realisation of what cover A is actually showing.ThoughtsSpoilerish ahead
Roberts does not hold back on the horrors and emotions running through at high voltage throughout the book, even though some may complain about the warped time nature somewhat detracting from the full impact - but it's powerful enough visually to overcome those (fairly apt) critiques. Milne and Lafuente have created a carnival of sparks, a morbid feast for desensitised optics, and one that is bound to stick with readers for a while.
This issue of MTMTE, much like its RID counterpart this month, reminds us of the many genres that the Transformers comics can span in their fiction, and lands squarely in full-blown cosmic horror, from splatter to gore to psychological thriller - via a couple of Doctor Who references, time warping and well-placed interactions between characters. On an unrelated note, ever noticed how the 1-2-3 Transformers emoticon looks a bit like the puppet from Saw..?