With our charming and prestigious Comics Editor and News Administrator Va'al otherwise indisposed, it's fallen on me to take up the reigns for this week's review of IDW's More Than Meets The Eye #44. As warned already, this one will be spoiler heavy throughout, because there's no way I can adequately review this thing if I'm trying to not tell you things about it. Since some of the text gets front paged, I'm just typing up things to delay the start of the actual review. This is your Swerve recap. Need a review with no spoilers? Here it is: stop reading my stupid words and go buy this. Now. Stop, really, and go spend $4 right the hell now on this book. I'm serious, if you want to read this issue (you do), and you read this review beforehand, you will regret it. Don't have regrets, the internet can wait.
So with all that out of the way, let me tell you what author James Roberts has done here. This is an issue about the value of life, dogma, love, hope, expectation, and consequences. Oh, and Transformers, I suppose. Strap in your feelings, we're going for a ride.
We'll start with Rodimus, like you do when writing about MTMTE. We're joined on the first page with Rewind attempting to tell Rodimus a story, this time about the mysterious, legendary Necrobot. Rodimus, naturally, seems to not care. There are more important things that can be done, like get attention for being The Best Guy because he's carved a map to Cyberutopia on a table. Forget this side-quest, The Best Captain has done a thing, so naturally, we have to follow up on this.
Only this doesn't go to plan for him, as Megatron, The Other Captain, thinks one more little side quest isn't such a big deal. Under the guise of continuing to be very, almost unusually, caring about Rewind, off they go to look for the Necrobot. Why do they do this?
Well that's something, isn't it? So off they go, eventually landing on the Necrobot's planet. Without going into too much plot summary (much of the above was in the previews anyhow), and without spoiling too much of the absolutely stunning art by Hayato Sakamoto, colored by Joana Lafuente in images, there are some other themes and points worth serious note.
First, the buddy cop duo that never was/is likely never to be: Nightbeat and the Necrobot.
At the start of this issue, we know positively very extremely little about the Necrobot. Within the confines of this one single comic, we learn a gigantic ton about him. The Necrobot, through his interaction with Nightbeat, is wholly fleshed out as a character. The storytelling here is simply marvelous, touching on Nightbeat's expectations that maybe, just maybe there's something more to the ideas of religious dogma, or supernatural powers existing in the universe. It turns out that the Necrobot doesn't live up to this, he's really just a guy (I told you there would be spoilers) named Censere. Censere tells him, in my favorite panel of the book, that he should still hope anyhow if he wants to. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Oh, and his cape. I want one. Just go read it, you'll see what I mean.
Next, but not last, it's time to reflect on the latest goings on in my favorite romance in fiction these days: Chromedome and Rewind.
Salt in the wound
As a guideline, I'm never much into fictional romance. Love is a fickle thing and it's extremely hard to make a compelling story about it without falling into, literally, a gillion tropes, cliches, and stretches of cringe-worthy dialogue. Roberts continues to utterly avoid all of this and provide a story about two souls on a journey that deeply care about one another to their core. I should also point out that this is yet more consistent, meaningful, and impacting character development that's handled in just the fewest of pages. It doesn't take a lot of time to be satisfying, and this is where I point out that the lettering of Tom B. Long really helps in setting the dialogue's tone appropriately. The voices in your head won't emphasize the wrong words, which can't always be said in comics.
Finally, the least obvious (until the end, that is) featured story in the issue. Who is this issue about, really?
To think, I once thought that smirk would never conceal anything except "evil"
The renaissance of Megatron is continued here, and he's always there in this one, just off to the side, sometimes being snarky, but then... well, I'm not going to post the last two page spread because it's incredible. With the last sentence of this book, any emotions I had to spend were spent. Sometimes consequences aren't as material as you want them to be. Instead, they end up being something more, something worse - true guilt.
This one's an embodiment of Samwise Gamgee's very famous lines from Tolkien's The Two Towers, but everyone knows those, I think. Is this the best comic I've ever read? Probably. As I said at the start, go buy this. Maybe buy one for a friend too.
. out of
Bonus! James Roberts' soundtrack suggestions for this issue:
The Smiths - Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
Fellow Seibertronian chuckdawg1999 has a new review for us, the most sought after 2 pack this summer: Robots in Disguise Clash of the Transformers Optimus Prime vs Megatronus.
With these finally reaching the US, this should be a helpful review if you were thinking of picking them up.
chuckdawg1999 wrote:Double your pleasure double your fun it's a two pack of Transformers goodness, sorta. While it's always nice to get a new mold, Megatronus has some janky arms that just don't work as well as one would like. Prime is, Prime. If you have the original legion mold you know what to expect, the new colors are just ok. Overall this is probably the best two pack of the line, but might be pricey for a few.
ROAD RAGE! While a DECEPTICON called TRANSIT wreaks havoc on afternoon commutes, Team Bee gets an unexpected visit… but will these new rivals combine forces without trusting each other?
Can they even deal?
With only a couple of weeks left until the end of season one of the animated series, the second issue of Robots in Disguise still falls a little behind plot-wise, but Georgia Ball delivers an entertaining, intriguing and suspenseful enough script to keep interest even in older readers.
After my own heart, the humour - a Cybertronian perspective on Earthling behaviour, media and general popular culture - allows for a number of puns, plays on concepts, wordplay via Fixit's pixlexia (yes yes yes I know that's not it but bear with me). All within a frame that does not jar with the silliness, at all.
Additionally, it keeps the light side in the running mystery we had been made aware of since the FCBD issue #0. While team Prime does make its appearance, and that is not spoiling anything, something else is definitely afoot with the various cast members, and Ultra Magnus in particular. Plus another special cameo, too...
Priscilla Tramontano delivers an excellent arrangement of panels - though I might have some comments at a later stage on the fluidity of the layouts - with some fan-tastic cameos from across the multiple incarnations of the Transformers fictions, not only Prime. Plus, we get some magnificent expressivity across the entire board, from background to main cast.
Oh hey Spike and Carly
You wanted a colourist? Well, you get three, as Tramontano is joined by the Joshes, Perez and Burcham, in colouring in her own linework. And as much as they usually have their own identifiable styles, the transitions and collaboration here are strikingly fluid. Which is never a bad thing, and leads to some excellently vibrant pages, in tone with the series.
Also, a title such as this one allow, nay, calls for some fun on the fonts and letters side of things, and Tom B. Long does not disappoint. Enjoying the multiple opportunities to play with soundwords and squiggles, Long adds the finishing touches of lightness even where scenes may get more serious. Cover-wise, Burcham returns from interior colours to overall cover work in the Subscription variant (thumbnailed), while Tramontano still has the great main cover we've seen for a while now.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Again, as for last month and the first issue, the target audience of the book is obvious, and may deter some of the older readers (who do have three other series at least, to be fair) - but what Ball brings to the table is the same good blend of lighthearted humour with enough of a twist to keep the mind intrigued and willing to go along for the (bus)ride.
But no DINOPILE?
And of course, the visual result of Tramontano, Perez, Burcham and Long are a feast for the optic sensors, too. The vibrancy, cameos, hints, slapstick and more subtle humour are excellently enjoyable, and work well as a parallel reflection of the animated series - obviously with its own take, and all the better for it.
Our resident Japanese Seibertronian Shumi Nagaremono is giving us some more great UW 02 Menasor info, this time in the form of a review, made in 3-D no less. This is a silent review though, showing the toys at different angles. Enjoy!
Shumi Nagaremono wrote:Here's a look at TakaraTomy's version of Menasor, featuring 360 degree turnarounds of the vehicle, robot, and combined modes.
The 3D version can be viewed with the New Nintendo 3DS browser (and many other other 3D capable viewers)
BEAST WAR! On EUKARIS, the colonists are more than just robots in disguise—they're whole new breeds of Transformers! But while WINDBLADE and STARSCREAM struggle to gain allies on this brave new world, an ancient power seeks to force them off the planet!
As the Velocitron arc ends, probably much too quickly even for its thematic elements, we venture to yet another colony, another part of the storyline, and yet another Titan in the ever-growing Transformers IDWverse, as Mairghread Scott delves into a Beast Wars tribute via planet Eukaris.
But also Starscream, of course
And indeed a Beast Wars tribute it is. Scott made no secret of her admiration and attachment to that particular era of Transformers fiction, even when we interviewed her (here), and those elements seep in quite naturally into the Onyx Prime-devout Eukaris inhabitants, outcasts, tribes and in-betweeners included.
Rattrap is in too!
The main plot, however, is Windblade's dealings with the beastformers, and how Cybertronians are perceived and received by them after the incidents of Galvatron's times back in the pre-Expansion period. And I'll admit, I particularly enjoyed the small moments between the single characters, and each of their voices, though everything felt a little too fast for a single issue.
Slowly does it
There are plenty of subplots, too, with Starscream's machinations playing alongside Velocitron and Eukaris, and Rattrap not really revealing everything he knows to Windblade - perhaps too many subplots at time, even. The issue's main thread needed something entirely different to really set in, perhaps, even with the reactions of the various characters being reinforced and re-established. Plus, one or two of the conclusions are very satisfying.
Corin Howell continues her art duties, on both line/pencilwork and inks, and brings a lot more Animated into it. If you've followed so far you've seen it already, but there are some explicit moments and references - along with some unfortunate minor inconsistencies in designs - that bring out the other most popular animation models of the TFverse.
o hai Jetstorm
Thomas Teyowisonte Deer brings to the show what some might find jarring in Howell's style (though not myself), by making sure that what is glorious about the art comes across as definitely so. The wider shots and panels, the contrasts between darker and lighter tones and scenes, the more active panels versus the diplomatic ones - it all comes together beautifully with the linework.
The lettering by Tom B. Long is wonderful, and there are some excellent noises that go along with Howell's style that I believe are both entirely suited and adding small tidbits of relief and contour, and some good Blackarachnia personalising. We have also seen most of the covers up to this point, with the stunning main Priscilla Tramontano one (thumbnailed), a savage variant by Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente, and yet another adorably apt RI variant by Agnes Garbowska.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Is this a bad issue? No. Not by any means. It does, however and unfortunately, suffer from a condition that several Transformers books seem to have caught of recent - a feeling of the story being rushed. Not sure why, not sure due to what, and definitely not sure of whether this is a result of Scott's multiple work commitments or the ending of the ongoing as it turns into Till All Are One in the new year.
Hey, no one ever said that
That said, there are some wonderful references to the entire run of Beast Wars in here, as well as some moving moments for the new status of characters we are still coming to understand. As a writer who grew up with that era, and as a reader who did the same, the issue is full of smile (both of mirth and sadness), smirk and chuckle moments if you know where to look.
We have seen a review for the Voyager of Wave 4 and now thanks to fellow Seibertronian Madeus Prime we have a video review of the 4 Deluxes/limbs too! Check it out embedded below, as ShuekenShinobi has an all-in one review for Wave 4 with Prowl and his table flippy goodness along with Ironhide, Mirge and Sunstreaker.
While those who ordered him have probably recieved TFSS' SerpentO.R. by now, the rest of us don't really know how this toy turned out. So helping us out is this review from Chuckdawg1999.
chuckdawg1999 wrote:Once again worlds collide as the Transformers Collectors Club brings us Serpent O.R. a character that is linked to both Transformers and GI Joe. Using the body of Senator Ratbat, a Japanese exclusive figure, the club is able to closely recreate Serpent O.R. as it looked in the GI Joe vs. Transformers comics from earlier in the 00s. If you're a fan of the story, or crossovers, this figure is highly recommended.
Chuckdawg is on fire, giving us all the reviews for the elusive Generations Cyber line of simplified G1 style Transformer toys. His latest is of Cyber Series Commander Optimus Prime and while someone else did a review already, this one features dialog explaining the figure and pointing steps out, instead of a music track.
chuckdawg1999 wrote:It's not a new Transformers sub-line without an Optimus Prime figure. It's big, beefy, and with the right amount of chunk. In an interesting twist the aesthetic borrows equally from G1 and the new RID cartoon. If you're looking for a cool looking, Prime for your shelf, pick this figure up.
As fellow Seibertron staffer william-james88 said in the Megatron news piece, "So far, all that is left available to be ordered for anyone living outside Brazil is Bumblebee." Which seems to be the case, but he's also one of the ones who hasn't received much in the way of fanfare or reviews (outside of a few written ones) and that's all about to change because Baltmatrix just posted a video review of the Cyber Commander Class Bumblebee!
This is the larger Bumblebee figure from the line and comes in at nearly 10 inches tall! Is this Bumblebee a worthy addition to your collection? Check out Baltmatrix's review to find out, which you can do in the embed below:
Keep your optics tuned to Seibertron.com for the latest in news and updates, plus the best galleriesaround!
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