DETONATION BOULEVARD! Who is MARISSA FAIREBORN—and why does she want OPTIMUS PRIME dead?! And more importantly… how did she start working with on of the AUTOBOTS deadliest enemies…? Dangerous allegiances form, thanks to the terrifying shape the CYBERTRONIANS have twisted planet Earth into!
They did sort of screw up last time..Story
Where did we leave off last month? Optimus Prime and some Autobots arrive on Eart(h) in search of Alpha Trion, seek help from Thundercracker (who lives in a hangar and writes fanfiction
screenplays and has a dog called Buster. They find out he's already been contacted and told about Megatron by the Decepticons, now led by Galvatron and Soundwave. And the humans are in it too. Full time.
Josh Boyfriend, in the metal
With this, John Barber goes a little deeper into how the Earth/Decepticon alliance came to be, showing short scenes from the aftermath of All Hail Megatron, and the first re-encounter with a now 'military' Faireborn and the new Decepticon faction - and Soundwave's highly diplomatic and cunning statements, somehow keeping Galvatron at bay long enough.
Other main players in the issue are Jetfire and EV-A
D.O.C. dealing with the ship, as they are still evading Earth's defenses and attempting to repair the damage so far, the fun, green bunch of the Constructicons, also on the ship, and everyone's favourite tableflipper, schemeplotter, mindcontrollee and reluctant greenbot himself - Prowl.
Overall, Barber delivers a significantly slower issue, with a lot of explaining and setting up: Soundwave and Galvatron setting up their 'plan', Marissa Faireborne setting up Earth's current state, Jetfire setting up the Constructicons, and them setting up Prowl's backstory, in a way - but the dialogue and chemistry with the latter two/seven is brilliant, as is Jetfire in fact, and Soundwave really shines. Art
There were complaints during some RID and Dark Cybertron about multiple artists on the same book, but I think that Guido Guidi and Brendan Cahill work really well with Andrew Griffith's core work. Guidi gracefully takes us through Faireborn and the Decepticons' dealings before we reach the present day, and Cahill carefully creates some Cybertronian past scenes with Prowl, among others. Griffith, on the third hand, handles well the 'today' bits, with the final pages packing a magnificent, gigantic punch.
As for the colours, Josh Perez takes egregiously care, as usual, of the present day scenes, while Joana Lafuente looks masterfully after the flashback sequences, be they on Cybertron or Earth, each working really quite well with the three artists. Tom B. Long on lettering, meanwhile, has a field day with the soundwords and section titles in the issue.
CHAGA RUANK glowww
And now, a note on the covers: other than being absolutely amazing, the Constructicon variant is Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente's work, while the ongoing incentive featuring Optimus, Rodimus and Hardhead (thumbnail) is Marcelo Matere's lines and John-Paul Bove's colours (and not Tramontano, as some digital issues might claim)! Aren't they pretty? So pretty.ThoughtsSpoilerish ahead
We get to see Prowl developing into ..something intriguing, at the moment, Soundwave's actual leadership-behind-the-Galvatron, Earth's almost justified hatred of the Cybertronians, Arcee's new alt-mode AND SOUNDWAVE'S TOO and some really nice action scenes and dialogue moments, with highlights pointed out above. Yet it somehow feels a little slower that the opening issue, and its other two companions this month.
It's really not that much, and there are panels and lines that really pick everything up again, but I feel the flicking between timeframes for different characters, though quite clear and signposted, got in the way of much needed conversation between Faireborn, Jazz, Optimus and the rest of the main cast - maybe in the coming issues? The issue looks great, nevertheless!