MINDBOMB! The humans have access to a CYBERTRONIAN mind—but whose is it—and why do they want it? OPTIMUS PRIME and GALVATRON race for answers, as JAZZ faces the consequences of his last trip to Earth.
We're on Earth again, still, once more, with humans and Decepticons seemingly on one side, and an Optimus Prime-led team on the other, taking a moment of respite and recalibration since last issue's kerfuffle and almost cover-blowing blow-up. And we get to look at some of the cast's members' past experiences, both further back and closer to the now.
Uh.. yes.. sorry
The narrative did not do too much for me, this time round. It felt too much like the moment to regroup, something that has been complained about previous iterations of the comics - and that work well as a trade, less so as a monthly. The character building, on the other hand, was very mcuh appreciated, and goes some way to explain the distended storyline in the issue, and I am particularly fond of John Barber's Soundwave vision.
I just.. I..
The dialogue is also quite good, with some excellent chemistry between the Autobot team, some mixing, some clashing (and a great moment with Kup and Optimus); even Jazz' internal narration, though some parts feel a little overly drawn, works overall with the 'new' character he's being given in the story - and sets his voice up nicely for the rest of the issue, too.
Prowl, Optimus, the EDA, Jazz, Devastator, Galvatron -- everything keeps coming back to the Witwickys, one way or the other, and not usually in a good way for our favourite team(s) of Cybertronians. But as much as Barber's revisiting of previous plots to comb the knots is a good strategy, I'm not sure my interested is too piqued with the conclusion of this issue. Though having said that, I realise that pointing it out means it piqued something
.. More below.Art
I still really like seeing different artists working together on the same issue, and in this particular case, personal perspectives, with Andrew Griffith lining the present-day twists and turns, Guido Guidi dealing with troubled Jazz and his broken track and Brendan Cahill donning the purple for some Soundwave/Con flashback time (and some cheeky reference material).
Looking.. Unique, there, Galvatron
Colourists Josh Perez and Joana Lafuente do an exquisite job a making the transitions work and stand apart as needed, building on the three different styles present in the issue. Perez has a nice palette of grittiness to contrast Lafuente's multitoned sections, especially the Decepticon flashback with its focus on what everyone (most) really covets.
Tom B. Long has quite a good amount of fun on this issue, with Galvatron's idiosyncratic and melodramatic style: soundwords and effects abound, and there are many individual voices to play around with. The covers also show this, with Jetfire and D.O.C. on the main Griffith/Perez one, a stunning melancholy Jazz by Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente, and Generations Arcee (!) art by Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr (thumbnail).ThoughtsSpoilerish ahead
I am still very pleased with Barber's approach to Soundwave, making him into one of my favourite characters in the RID ongoing, fleshing out background and current environments - and on some aspects, Prowl too, after my concerns with the Bombshell incident pre-Dark Cybertron. Jazz, unfortunately, felt more of an interlude with chance to smoothen out some crinkles from the story as we knew it.
To next month!
As I mentioned above, there are some elements plot-wise that are looking similar to a number of other stories told in the franchise, and I do hope that is not the case for the series - as I know what the creative team are more than capable of. The read is not bad, by any means, though, and is still definitely worth picking up for a (beautiful) look at some Jazz, Soundwave and general bots.