(In)Justice for All
The review is fairly spoiler-free for the current issue, but does talk about plot points arising in previous ones.
BETRAYAL! The Lost Light may be occupied by enemy forces, but that’s the least of RODIMUS’ problems! As he awaits execution, the one-time Matrix holder realizes how little he knows about the people he once called friends. Is there anyone left he can trust? And where does the legendary STAR SABER fit into all this?
We left the crew of the Lost Light, or focused on a part of it at least, in a cell with Minimus Ambus - who revealed his true identity as Ultra Magnus. Or the other way round, rather. We now pick up from that point, and get to find out more about the true nature of the Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord, and about Tyrest himself.
The mustache in the machine
Of course, the main dish is the Ultra Magnus backstory, but the entrée, starters and sides are fairly appetising too. More on that later. One problem with the explanation about the Magnus armour? The attention deflectors don't hold, at all. It's an easy plot device, only recently introduced, possibly for it to be used here. And it still doesn't work. That aside, I'm, personally, really glad that Roberts is playing on an established idea in the franchise, taking it a little further than white-optimus-in-armour.
BUILD GIANT ROBOT!
The other courses, from Tyrest to Star Saber to Pharma and Ratchet, are interestingly fitted in, and for some reason we had seemed to forget about Whirl and Cyclonus, who are up to good. Somehow, however, Roberts hasn't kept things up enough throughout this issue, and, like in Overlord's fight, things feel a bit rushed with some shocking moments to distract us. And Tyrest, being so overly lawful to become evil.. or is he?
Tyrest, the big, philosophical softy
I have to say, as much as there are interesting points about various plots, it didn't kick me as usual. There is pain, suffering, gore, torture, sadists, information about Skids and his secret, Tyrest and his intentions, even more about the Circle of Light. But. I wasn't that impressed.Art
The artwork, on the other hand, works really well with the story. Milne lifts up the plot in beautifully crafted pencilwork, giving splatter to the gore and feeling to the emotions. There are some really ..er.. beautiful panels that I will not show for the sake of readers' enjoyment, and the credit (also on the cover) goes to the inker, Brian Shearer, too. It's excellent to see a team work that well with each other, and the result is stunning.
A robot. With bags under its eyes.
Obviously the colours are the usual amazingness that Burcham delivers, shifting from light interiors to dark rooms, adapting to the mood and setting for each scene, and playing really well with Milne and Shearer's artwork. The whole is completed by the spot-on, as usual, lettering by Long. Not as creative as usual, but the tone of the story didn't need it, and what he does mixes perfectly with the stunning non-textual work.
I apologise for gushing out on the artwork again, but I am genuinely impressed at the synergy that Milne, Shearer, Burcham and Long have created among themselves, working on Roberts' scripts. There are some excellent panels in this issue, and it deserves to be read even just for that.ThoughtsSpoilerish ahead
The multiple plots didn't blend as well as usual in this one, and I have an issue with the pacing of the story and depiction of characters. But someone pointed out to me that there are two more parts to this arc, and those may redeem the faults of this issue in some way. We will see. Definitely give it a couple of reads, though.
Overall, though, it's a good issue, especially thanks to the artwork, as I have gushed out above. And, as usual, don't get too attached to characters, or you'll miss them when they're gone. And they will go, oh how they will go. Here's hoping that the ending to this arc does not disappoint like the Overlord one, but there are definitely answers in here that I wasn't expecting to ask any more.
PS: Make sure you read the letters pages: there's a really nice personal response to the events of MTMTE #15 from a reader.