Started trying to run this on Twitter but damn, that character limit.
I've been holding out for awhile on posting my opinion of the Rewind/Chromedome matter, because it's difficult for me to put something down that doesn't come across as a silly fanboyish gush towards what James Roberts has done and what I think he is doing. I don't intend that and I can absolutely find fault in a little bit of his stuff, so I've been hesitant to say anything. That said, here goes nothing.
I've been waiting for years for Transformers fiction to grow up with me. It's time to explore some grey areas, time to complicate stuff, time to recognize that the Bay movies were the adolescence and now is when some material should come around that's actually somewhat humanized to the point where I have to think about it. The catch - MTMTE has humanized these characters to the point where I've had to think more critically about the different threads and characters than when humans were actually involved in the plot.
So let's go over the original concept of Transformers, at least how I viewed them as a child and foreversince - Sentient beings from the Planet Cybertron. There's a word here - sentient. To me, sentience immediately takes these characters and intrinsically inputs additional, assumed properties, things such as emotion, self-awareness, self-preservation, morality, companionship, and brotherhood.
These are pretty advanced concepts, why on earth would I think robots would intrinsically have these due to sentience? Well, they've been around for millions of years. Right? Right. Humans have been around for maybe a million-ish? Been awhile since Biology. Semi-point - humans have evolved these concepts in less time. Granted, with a whole different set of 'rules', but less time. Anyway, back to the point.
Transformers fiction has explored a lot of these concepts. In fact, most of them. Even the original series, as pointed out by many, introduced the concept of gender, or at least gender identity, into a series about robots. While this was obviously originally a test to see if little girls might actually get into this (they didn't, back then, now is different), it gosh-darned confused me at a young age - but not at -that- young of an age. It only confused me once I realized what sex was. Oh wait - sex doesn't equal gender, now does it?
Assumption now is that gender is something in TF fiction. Let us remember that gender is a social construct. Go to the seedier parts of the internet and you will be quickly reminded of this (note: if you do this, I'm not responsible for what happens to your brain
). So, gender identity is absolutely a thing in Transformers, has been since '86. Then along comes Simon Furman.
Simon Furman - c'mon man. You took a given quantity, and decided that it needed a completely perverse justification. It was never unreasonable to assume that a sentient race would develop gender as an identification mechanism. But then you made it unreasonable by making the only in fiction "Female" the equivalent of the aforementioned thing you find in the seedier parts of the internet. Then you did a disservice to women everywhere by making her absolutely batshit insane. (Edit: I think I might have been a little mean here originally, thanks beer. It's just that remembering Arcee's arc from years ago, coupled with my complete disappointment with Regeneration One, has led to mean spirited comments. I respect most of Mr. Furman's contributions to the Transformers lore.
For those of you whom I have previously said - "I find transformers "Genderless" "- what I meant was non-sexual. I just didn't say the right word. But there it is.
Gender and sexuality are different things. Transformers have almost always (outside of two years) had gender. They've never had sexuality, except in the seedier and Pony-er places of the internet
They are sentient beings that I've always assumed can have complex emotions and social constructs. So, along comes James Roberts, who introduces the concept that two beings in a non-sexual society/race can love each other.
What's the big deal?
It had been hinted at for issue upon issue that these two characters shared a bond beyond that of bro-ness, beyond that of friendship. Since Issue 1 of MTMTE, to be precise, and if you think I'm wrong well... I'm going off memory, so I might be. Point being, given all the other things that Transformers have always had us take for granted, why in the world has this been such a stretch for so many people? I thought the plot thread involving Rewind and Chromedome was appropriate, impactful, humanizing, and goddamn beautiful. Finally, a bond between sentient beings so strong that only a very western word (thanks, Counterpunch) can describe to my very western self exactly how strong it is.
Poignancy at it's very finest and a triumph of a story arc.
Some of you just want to make it about "the gays". Just stop. Progress left your idea behind years ago.
Finally, I feel it appropriate to address: "Does this fit within the existing framework?" "Is it expanding the story framework?" "Will it have lasting relevence?"
Does this fit within the existing framework: In my mind, yes. See above.
Is it expanding the story framework: I hope so. I'm ready for there to be more bond between the characters besides "Hey bro, nice faction symbol. Let's kick tailgate."
Will it have lasting relevance: You're damn right it will. Even as a microcosm, the discussion and thought brought about by it will stick with me as a defining moment.
I hope that this moment is the one where Transformers fiction grew up, at least in one medium, and took me along with it.