We're receiving reports from fans and users that Needlenose, the first figure of the Transformers Collectors' Club Subscription Service 4.0, is finally arriving to people who joined the scheme - and we even have a video review from regular Seibertronian chuckdawg1999.
Here we are with another FSS, this time with a combiner theme. Needlenose is a double Targetmaster and a great update to the late G1 figure. The paint details pop, I especially like the metallic blue used for the nosecone. There is some tolerance issues with the grips on the Targetmasters, but nothing too bad. I'm excited to see how the other figures turn out.
For those dying to get a look at the actual figures that comprise the Transformers Combiner Wars Victorion box set, Seibertron.com is proud to bring you an unboxing video with a close up look at Victorion and her Rust Renegades component bots Pyra Magna, Dust Up, Jumpstream, Rust Dust, and the twins Skyburst and Stormclash. Stay tuned for a proper gallery coming soon, however to tide you over we've also included some teaser images after the video. Enjoy the unboxing and review video embedded below.
WEB OF DECEIT! The search for PROWL leads the WRECKERS deep into enemy territory—and that’s where they’re at their best! Unfortunately, with the lives they’ve lived—the pasts they battle to escape—even their best isn’t enough to save everybody.
How the tables (heh) have turned
After the break in the mini-series, we return to the happy escapades of a bunch of loveable misfits, who just happen to wander through the woods and get caught in the web of a spider. Imagine if Nick Roche approached Sins of the Wreckers in that fashion, and then move several steps opposite - darkness falls. Again.
We move through Tarantulas' web as guilt weaves its tale through the minds and past of Roadbuster, Hubcap, Prowl, Arcee and Springer, with the biggest and the smallest of the lot revealing the beginning of the shared sinful paths, and how they have encountered and become who they are now.
It's... not pretty
On the other side, the team of Wreckers and the Chimeracons, are still working their way through to Tarantulas and his prey, finding a way through the Noisemaze, finding their way through the mess that Prowl has landed everyone into. And they're fairly straightforward about it. Wrecker style.
Prowl, always the charmer
There is also - as is to be expected by now - some seriously dark humour in the book, almost a breather in between the even darker actions and dialogue taking place. But be ready for another big, dense, heavy read (in a good way, ultimately, but heavy nonetheless), as issue #4 is where Roche falls into the rabbit hole. More thoughts on this below.
As expected, the darkness in the story crawls and creeps not only into the linework, where the organic and the mechanical blend in a really intriguing fashion - if not grotesquely so - but also into the panel composition, with a lot of blank and black spaces, filled yes with dialogue, but also with ominous pauses...
All together now!
Josh Burcham and Joana Lafuente's colours are wonderfully attuned to the linework provided, and we get some seriously murky, shadowy, closed and/or trippy, depending on the scene, backgrounds to accompany the story being told - or the plans being set in motion. From the past to the present, via the Noisemaze, we see the colourists' skills at full power.
As for the lettering, this issue allows for some of the most varied and appreciated work from Tom B. Long, given free rein over a number of techniques, from fading, to fonts, to sizing - the result is an integral part of both story and visuals, without which it might not work the same. On he cover front, the main Roadbuster narrative is taken on by Roche and Burcham, with the latter also playing with Prowl playing with lives (Kup in particular), and Jack Lawrence brings us the new, complete team of Wreckers in the thumbnailed variant.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Other readers have pointed out how, much like Roberts in recent MTMTE issues, there are some parallels here in SOTW with the previous Wrecker-centric volume. While that is undoubtedly true, it is also the case that Roche has taken the issues of guilt and violence very much to their limit, here. The issue may not be an easy read for some, as it is as graphic as it is dense, physically and mentally for the characters, and the latter for the readers too.
The way in which Roche, Burcham, Lafuente, and Long collaborate on the same story shows a level of passion and understanding of the different dynamics, between characters, between creators, between book and readers, that can only end up bringing about a book like this. The one concern, perhaps, is about the pacing - the build-up is so strong, the development so good, that it feels like this could've been the end of the story. How will next month rack up?
That's Not What Your Eyes Are Saying..... Spoiler-free
Megatron vs. Tarn
Sounds simple right? The teacher and the student. The master and the apprentice. Having those Star Wars flashbacks yet? Well, Darth Vader has nothing on Issue 52 of More Than Meets The Eye, and that is a fact. But, we may be getting ahead of ourselves here. Let's take a few quick steps back and talk a bit first. Then we can put Lord Vader in his place.
All they’re missing are the Lightsabers
Well, if you are a More Than Meets The Eye fan, and even if you really aren't, this is the issue that should be on the top of your desires list. Things are nowhere near straight forward. Everything has a point, and then when you think you have the point, suddenly another one comes out of nowhere and stabs you in the back. This was a story heavy on the plot, yet heavier on the action, as if that was possible. This issue took things up several levels, from the players involved to the very foundations of the opposing sides. There were things that were expected. There were things that were wished for that finally came true. And yet, there were things that no one could possibly see coming, yet they did. The story has the twists and turns that Roberts is oh so known for pulling off, but this issue does it in far more dramatic fashion than pretty much any other issue.
This issue is what issue 50 should have felt like. Scratch that: this issue is what 50 was meant to bring about, and in that regard this is extraordinarily organized and executed. If you felt that the last year of More Than Meets The Eye was lackluster and felt off, believe me: This thing accelerates that faster than the Millennium Falcon can jump into hyperspace. Megatron, Tarn, Kaon, Ratchet, Drift and Rodimus make for the big 6 of the story and get their good moments.This is more than just physical war; this is also psychological war, and we see how that has affected our characters, and how they will affect our characters.
I follow James Roberts on Twitter and I know so many things about what is to come and what he thinks of both his artists and his fans. For issue 51, he made a point of saying that the art in that issue was supposed to be the creative teams best artwork ever, and it did live up to the hype. But for all that they did in 51, take that and multiply it by several degrees and you get the art in issue 52. The art in here is astounding! If you ever had even the slightest thought that Alex Milne was going off his game, here's a clue: Hell no he's not. The lines are bold, the background setting massively detailed, the very characters themselves beautifully defined in all their states of wear, tear, and care.
And you thought the best eyebrow raises were in Prime didn’t you?
Of course though, this creative team is far from being just Milne. His lines and attention to detail may be the baseline, but Joana Lafuente brings the colors to the front, and she is far and away on the A-team. Probably the biggest moment when she shines? Right as the sun starts setting. Page 7. Page 7 is where she shines her brightest. The light may be dying, but she is in no way dying down, and if anything the fading light only brings her colors farther forward.
I only wish I could I could show you the REST of that panel
And no issue is complete without its lettering. Tom B. Long gets mentioned so much in our many reviews, and he is always worthy of the praise that is sung for his work. Kaon comes to the front as one of the primary 5 characters I can say this story focuses on, and Long does a great bit in bringing that forward. Kaon's passion and fury are always present, and if Milne and Lafuente didn't already make that clear, Long's lettering far and away makes sure his voice is in your face.
Pretty much his natural state when his Pet is in trouble
Thoughts You are now entering potentially spoiler territory. Enter at own Risk
Actually, we really did. You didn’t see the tears in the wake of issue 40
Alright, now that I can be a little freer in my opinions, I will say this: This is be the best issue of More Than Meets The Eye that we have gotten. People wanted the action, and we got it. Ohhhhhh we got it alright. We didn't have much of that standing around talking and setting up what’s to happen next shenanigans. Nope, we got the action sequences that were meant to be. 13 of the 20 pages involved physical violence, all of which was beautifully executed, and in some ways literally. I can say with confidence and truth that there were 2 main parts to the story involving 2 different characters that I could never have anticipated. Just when you think you are rid of someone, they come back with an explanation that furthers your own storyline yet makes complete sense, and makes things only that much worse.
This issue had 3 main characters so to speak: We has the obvious Tarn and Megatron, but we must also not forget Kaon made for a main character and definitely got his personality that he will forever be known for. Ratchet and Drift, while not making total "main character" status, were definitely very well executed secondary characters, as was Rodimus. We also begin to see the cracks in the armor for some members. Sometimes they are extraordinarily subtle, but take a look and you will see.
As a parting thought, it has been said now that issues 54 and 55 will wrap up Dying of the Light, and that 56 is the epilogue so to speak, with a Titans Return crossover coming soon after. Roberts himself even said that 56 would make for a great series finale, though I'm sure we are far from done here. But no matter. It does not matter if this ends in the 50's, or even if we end up much higher though. This issue is Roberts at his peak, Milne at his peak, Lafuente at her peak, Long at his peak. This is the issue that defines what More Than Meets The Eye is, and I look forward to where this can possibly can go from here. In conclusion: Vader, I think Tarn wears the mask better.
He’ll fight for freedom wherever there’s trouble Auto Joe is there— G…I…. BOOOOOoooT, the real Cybertronian hero…. G. I. Bot is there!
When the going gets tough he’ll stay ’til the fights won, GI BOT is there.
….G …… I ….. BooOOOOOooT!
(whatever, I know it looks like boot)
Kind of how I feel about this series. I’m seeing it through to the end. Through all the nonsense, the craziness, and the far too few cool moments. I’ve tried to change to be one of the enlightened ones of those who get it— to present the unpopular side from what I experience around here anyway—- but I take my childhood heroes too seriously for that anymore.
Rather than bag on a series that is ‘critically-acclaimed’ by smart people who read lots of fiction literature for a living, I’m going to simply say a few words and then present the moments in this particular issue that made me smile. The images might be spoilers, they might not, but most of you don’t care, and if you do, well the issue has been out since last Wednesday.
After this as you know, there is mercifully one more issue left, one more issue for the rest of the scrap to hit the fan…
If you have enjoyed it, I’m glad. If you’ve hated it, I’m disappointed that a product related to heroes from your childhood has left you wanting. Only one more guys and gals…
PLOT- Megatron, the Deceptions and Cobra are going to destroy the sun and harvest the energy to create more Cybertronians. Last call for the Autobots and Joes . Time to use the kitchen sink…
I’ve always been a HUGE DEFENSOR fan…always! The only combiner I had in full as a child. This take was an interesting way to ‘re-imagine’ the concept that used Prowl, one of my all-time favorite bots. The rest of the folks are not the normal Protectobots, but an amalgamation of emergency service alt mode vehicles like Red Alert, and Inferno, Blades (although it’s RESCUE BOTS BLADES clearly—nothing escapes—nothing). Rounding out the group are a random Arcee, Jetfire, and Targetmaster Peacemaker*. *chuckle for the VOLTRON reference* ‘And I’ll form the gun!’
This whole configuration made me think of the Micromaster combiner re-released as a Kaybee exclusive Defensor using several of these bots’ names. Where’s my yellow Lamborghini Scioli (Hot Shot—or Hot Spot, I’ll have to look)?
Prime and Grimlock in matrix limbo. Totally reminded me of the video game Marvel Transformers issue (#24, I think--Prime dies--surprise!), crossed with the old ‘Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends’ Video Man plot .
Kudos to for pulling off the very believable Video Man from said SMahAF Ep.
Throw in a bit out of place Bludgeon as guardian of the AUTOBOT matrix heaven place… odd choice… Cause he's a Decepticon...
Page Speaking of ODD-
Okay, honestly look away from this if you are easily frightened. It will be burned into your memory forever, and for me, it’s not an enjoyable picture. I wish I could un-see it.
It’s not really that bad, but an out-of-mouth stairs/tongue connection kiss thing… I don’t care if it is Snake Eyes and Scarlett bonded to the big bots now--it could have been anyone--. Touching fingers or even holding hands may have been a little easier on the ol' ticker.
SDCC GI JOE VS. TRANSFORMERS Boxset Exclusive coming in 2017! Just wait...
This did make me have a little laugh out loud moment…
Free two-day shipping is a failure Megatron? Some free video streaming thrown in as well? What planet are you from?
I did like Grimlock’s attempt at revenge here. "Me Grimlock like two-day shipping Megatron!"
The Splash Pages-
These pages were fun, you can spot some good stuff, like every color of the rainbow seekers, Shrapnel package art picture, Hot Rod riding Sky Lynx into battle with a Bazooka mounted on his shoulder. And combiners, but most don’t look messed up like Defensor.
Page ‘In Your Eyes’
The John Cusack ‘Say Anything’ reference here really resonated with with me. Wheeljack just needed to be wearing a trench coat and it would have been perfect, but probably over the top. In your eyes indeed, Decepticons...Peter Gabriel says so.
And Wild Bill versus Six-shot… which gunslinger wins the showdown? (seems like a ridiculous question, right? Wild Bill already died once though and was reincarnated, so he’s all tough and stuff)
Page of REDEMPTION!!!
Okay, DEFENSOR down and hurt. Trypticon bearing down on him for the kill… and one of my lamest and yet most fun GI JOE toys ever comes in for the save…the BRIDGE LAYER... THAT… WAS…AWESOME!!!!! Seems like it needs a new name now, like 'Trypticon killer'. Best page of the whole series, end it here so I can feel somewhat good about the memories that I will take away from…
Page of BACK TO RIDICULOUS
Baroness and King Hisss himself, Cobra Commander, consummated a reunion with apparently more than a kiss, as Crystal Ball sees ‘the future’???
So much for leaving this issue with a good taste in my mouth…
ALL HAIL OPTIMUS part 3! OPTIMUS PRIME has declared the Earth to be his territory… but even he can’t go it alone. Now he reaches out across the galaxy to form a coalition—of old friends and older enemies.
We continue the ride of All Hail Optimus, in the third chapter of this fairly long arc, as positions and setting start shifting around, after the immediate fall out - in last month's issue - of the annexation of unwilling Earth to the Council of Worlds. And that means Starscream gets to do some things too, and he does them with words.
And others listen
What is particularly pleasing in the issue, is how John Barber uses the actions of Starscream - from whom we've come to expect manipulative behaviour - to comment upon those of Optimus himself, as he just sort of casually wanders over to other potential allies and audiences. Being all complex-y and stuff.
*tiny violins playing*
There is another fairly intense narrative strand running alongside Optimus' manipulations - one that we might expect from the main cover, and that sees once precarious collaborators Arcee and Galvatron ..er, airing some concerns with each other. Think of it as a very heated (heh) conversation, with some more excellent writing for the former.
Well done, Barber
The scene above is also the main source of action for the book, so enjoy it if that is your dish. For the more politics and sleight of hand and tongue inclined readers, this is a full course meal, with weaving, waving, twining and a bit of a kick to the side - and some intriguing seeding happening in between.
Art duties are brought back to Livio Ramondelli, after a long break, and I have to admit I had some difficulties this time round. The linework is what we have come to expect, and I am aware some readers are not fans. We do get some interesting cinematic layouts though, and clarity in more dynamic sequences - never a bad thing.
Where I had some issues was in the colouring, which, while lightening the usually fairly heavy look of Ramondelli's pages, has somewhat reduced my enjoyment of the art overall. This is not the case across the board, though, as there are some scenes that still work really quite well even in the lighter hues - but something struck me as different from the usual.
While there is little of prominent display for the lettering of Tom B. Long, sometimes that is just the mark of skill you need as a reminder of the craft. The covers, on the other hand, do something flashier, with Andrew Griffith and Josh Burcham covering Galvatron vs Arcee, Burcham all alone playing around with Age of Extinction and Skylynx, Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente homaging 'The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living' for Art History month, and the thumbnailed Phase6 exclusive sees a collaboration between Griffith and Naoto Tsushima, with Josh Perez on colours, as a tribute to Drift.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
If the visual side of things had me distancing myself, on first read, from appreciating the story as such, but going back to it there are some really good advancements from both a contextual and world-building perspective, and for the narrative at hand itself, too. The political intrigue of early RID is back once again, though a lot more is clearly at stake at this point in the game.
That's just... Primes
In fact, think less Game of Thrones and more House of Cards, in how the various parts move around on the table, with some of the best Starscream and Arcee around (you know what I mean) and, I reluctantly say this, given his character, even some of the best Optimus writing for a while. To me, he never held any appeal as a leader - now, this new layer of whatever is going on with him? Yes, I want to see how far he'll go.
Seibertronians! Lend us your listening devices - as fellow Energon Pub dwellers carytheone and DecepticonFinishline bring us a review of the Hasbro/Sony Transformers 'Roll Out' album, released just last week. Have you been listening yet? Read our reviews - two for the price of one - and head here for iTunes or here to stream on Spotify!
DecepticonFinishline wrote:The new “Transformers: Roll Out” album exemplifies what the last year of Transformers has been all about. With the inclusion of up-and-coming artists Born Cages and Crash Kings; well-established rock acts like Mew and Bush; and fresh musicians like Elle Rae this compilation album parallels one grand theme: Giving the veteran fans what they’ve been asking for (i.e. Combiners) while making it accessible to new fans of the franchise.
Allow me to explain. Devoting an entire year to Combiners seems to be Hasbro/Takara’s way of giving the veteran fans what we’ve desperately wanted. However, to the dismay of many veteran fans, this year has seen many repaints and remolds. I see this as a way to cut costs, making it easier for younger fans to join the franchise with the characters the older fans know and love.
In a similar fashion, “Transformers: Roll Out” is a compilation of music meant to appeal to older fans while at the same time not taking too many risks; making it accessible to as many fans as possible. By sandwiching the most unique tracks like “Count to Ten,” “Modern Man” and “Into the Fire” in between the likes of the more general rock songs “Roll Out” and “Our Revolution” you allow for a listening experience that draws you in and allows you to leave satisfied while also being exposed to uncommon sub-genres of music in the middle that you may not have pursued otherwise.
You’ll notice that the lyrics of these songs can be clearly linked to the Transformers franchise, but are also general enough to be played in other situations without sounding out of place. The one exception, or course, is “Exiles” which drops the name Cybertron. Some may be disappointed in the absence of specific Transformers lyrics but I would point to the famous songs already a part of the Transformers franchise such as “The Touch” and “Dare to be Stupid” which follow the more universal lyrical composition.
So what’s the point? The missing part of the aforementioned parallel is that no one really asked for “Transformers inspired music.” Maybe it’s to provide a voice for artists like Darby! whose song “Modern Man” uses a unique mix of the vocal singing style of glam-rock stars like the late David Bowie infused with a Sgt. Pepper-composition style. Cynics will say it’s a typical cash-grab. Maybe there was just an ambitious Transformers fan at Sony. Who’s to say?
I personally recommend using “Transformers: Roll Out” as hunting music. We all know that this is a full-time hobby, and so it’s appropriate that it has an official soundtrack. Starting with Mount Holly’s (formerly Nick Perri) “Roll Out,” the song says it all. Roll Out for a successful hunt. Then, depending where you live, Mew’s “Count to Ten” times out well with leaving your first stop empty-handed; “Close your eyes. Count to ten,” cool down and then get revved up for your next stop! The compilation is largely a high-energy experience with two mild cooldowns.
Coming from someone who listens to and judges music for a living, it’s easy to say “Transformers: Roll Out” played it a little too safe resulting in some tracks that sound a little too homogenous. Metal and E.D.M. fans will probably be disappointed. But, with compilation albums like this it is important to try your best to appeal to as many people as possible, and this album does that very well. Alternative rock fans, like me, are provided with music by Born Cages and alternative Danish superstars Mew. There are songs that I don’t much care for, but I’ve already seen praise for those songs, here, on Seibertron. That is the point. This album is for all of us to enjoy the songs we will like and still appreciate the musicians that contributed their art to the Transformers franchise we all love.
Most importantly, it’s not “21 Guns” four times in 2 hours…
carytheone wrote:Roll Out is a fun, cheesy and seemingly random album. The overall feel is that of a movie soundtrack and is a little awkward without one.
The album opens with the titular song Roll Out; an appropriately cheesy, driving rock track. A hard hitting, get your blood pumping, kick some Decepticon butt rock song. The song that seems the most out of place, This House Is On Fire by Bush is a serviceable song, but feels like it was pulled off the B side of another album (and in fact, it is, and just repurposed -- Va'al). Gigantik is our first deviation from the more contemporary rock vibe the album started on. This track is more in line with my tastes in the indie rock genre. A fun bouncy track that would feel right at home on a road trip playlist. Count to Ten is a perfectly placed cool-down track. A light airy uplifting track that makes a lovely ascent to one of the albums best bangers.
Into The Fire by Elle Rae is definitely the strongest track on the album and worth a stand-alone purchase. If the last track brought us to the apex of the roller coaster; this track takes us on a fast ride to the loop-the-loop. After the excitement of Into the Fire and a couple repeats we coast into our next cool-down, Exiled. My first listen gave me a Nickleback vibe, but then I came to appreciate the lead singer's later career Chris Cornell voice. This song is clearly written with Transformers in mind and makes a few fiction name drops. This is probably one of the cheesier tracks, but has easily become one of my favorites.
Just a Spark seems like a weak follow up to Exiled, almost feels pandering and is just screaming to be used during a montage. Stronger starts slow but really vamps up very quickly. Another driving modern rock track, Muse fans will be pleased. All this leads to the album's weirdest track, Modern Man. A trippy indie-rock Bowie-esque track that wouldn't be out of place on "Space Oddity". Totally up my alley and a great palate cleanser that ends with a little synth-funk. And that leads us to our closer, Our Revolution. A celebratory driving rock track. Again, I feel like all these emotionally charged tracks are missing the scenes to motivate me to feel attached. I can honestly see the credits of a movie scrolling by while I listen to this track.
Roll Out is a perfectly serviceable album and depending on your tastes is worth the asking price of $10. I can't help but feel that I should be picking this album up on my way out of the theater after watching Transformers 5. I feel that this is one of the biggest challenges for this album; it just doesn't have a real good reason to exist. It's a good collection of music and is a fun ride.
I fired up Transformers: War for Cybertron after my first listen. The album fit the on-screen action perfectly and all the cheesy rock tracks paired great with my WfC wine. I'd recommend giving the album a listen to and cherry picking the tracks that speak to you, especially Into The Fire!
Live from a hotel room in Louisville, Kentucky, this slightly jetlagged reviewer brings you a fresh update frome the 2016 BotCon event, in addition to the stellar work the news crew are doing in updating on the ground situation: a review of the event exclusive 'Dawn of the Predacus' comic - read on below!
YYYYEEEeeeeeeEEESSSSSssss... (Spoiler free-ish)
In the last 48 hours of the Great War between Decepticons and Autobots, new measures are taken, paths chosen, fates decided, and acts of sacrifice kickstart a whole new saga...
A comic which is clearly, undoubtedly, obviously, a pack-in story with a set of toys. A big toy advert. A narrative tying together toys that share a theme. Easy to get wrong. And yet, John-Paul Bove in his first official IDW Transformers writing gig, delivers a story that works on a number of levels.
Much as anticipated in the interview we conducted with him, the comic contains a very good balance of fictional universes, setting up threads between G1 and Beast Wars which we both know the developments of, and others that could still yield something very very different - time will tell if we'll get an exploration of the latter, I suppose.
I laughed for a good minute, here
What works particularly well is the blend of lighter-hearted humour to what is, effectively, a fairly dark chapter in the history of the two narratives, and the end of a war in general - once again as a testimony to the two universes, with the G1 gravitas (resulting silly at times) and the BW intentional silliness.
Corin Howell fits this melange excellently, too, with artwork focusing on the fraught, tired, elated - and wonderfully skeptical and sarcastic - emotions that are running amok across the different factions, not just two as we might think. The simpler, cartoony style fits the tone set by the script, and still delivers some great pages with a grim undercurrent.
(Wanted: rubber ducky!)
Both of which are undoubtedly helped by Bove returning in his role as colourist on the book, injecting his own authorial perspective of tonalities and emotive hues to the visual side of things, helped out by letterer Chris Mowry from the IDW stables. The lighting definitely heightens that contrast pointed out above, with contrasting, but not jarring, results.
What maniacal laughter?
Visual and verbal together, you might ask? Read some thoughts below, and make sure to look closer at the two covers available for the comic at the event, variant by Sara Pitre Durocher and string pulling, and 'regular' cover with all the souvenir characters by Robby Musso (both in thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Having read this in-hand, on-site, as soon as I possibly could, I feel odd giving a review and a mark to the book but you know what? It's good, and not just as a 'let's featured all the new toys and some old ones and sorta mash them together' way. Compared to previous releases from the BotCon team, we are several notches higher here, even with the full reveal of the souvenir figures in its pages - and even the main cover.
The Knights of Ren Prime
That may very well be Bove's writing, and the control he has over the art with colouring Howell's work, but the synergy between the two is palpable, as the overall tone of the book is set well by mixing light and heavy, positives and negatives, humour and gravitas, past and future. If you get a chance to read the issue, please do. It's truly enjoyable.. in fact, it's just Prime.
"If you want to break someone—mentally, physically, emotionally—wait until they're happy. Let them live and love and thrive. Once they recognize the value of a life well lived... THAT'S when you move in for the kill. Because you can't take anything from someone who has nothing to lose." --Tarn
There is one big story being told here, and it's quite clear who the main character is - despite what Rodimus may think, what the various pairings have brought, this is now Megatron's tale, and his relationship with the Decepticon credo, its precepts, its inception, its ultimate corruption and downfall, and how all that reflects back onto him through his greatest admirer and follower: Tarn.
If the main story concerns Megatron, his decisions and his past and present colliding, there are so many other spotlights allowed across the entire cast, especially on the Lost Light/Team Rodimus side. Swerve and Ten, in particular (but not just them), get some excellent advancement in their own personal arcs, especially the latter.
Ten, ten ten, Teeen
And then we have the other side, the freakily, scarily, horrifyingly charismatic leader of the DJD, and the expression of what Megatron has been in the eyes, minds and lives of innumerable lives across the galaxy: Tarn. We begin - begin - to see what will be coming soon in the arc, and the tension is really just kept to build and strain.
The moments are heartfelt, there are tough choices and decisions, and even tougher talks to be had. The tension is still building up, and there is no resolution as yet of course, but this issue takes the story into some heavy territories, while drawing on some narrative beats we have encountered before in James Roberts' writing, and this series in particular.
Alex Milne brings some excellent composition to the table, for the issue. We have several shots of ensembles, but the solo poses are probably some of the best in a while in this run, and not just for the major players in the game. We get magnificent layouts, linework, plus strained cheerfulness for Swerve, some actual affection shown among the crew, and some of the saddest/most mortified Megatrons around.
All together now!
The emotional turmoil running through Megatron and the Lost Lighters, even with Swerve and Whirl, is particularly highlighted by the impressive colouring and lighting contrasts, deftly deployed by Joana Lafuente. Once again, and yes, I'm falling into repetition, Tarn and Megatron get some nice specular and parallel treatments, in terms of how shadows fall (and who casts them), and the whole book carries the weight of it.
While a lot of the action is contained to the initial pages, even just the title page is a wonderful example of what Tom B. Long's good lettering can do to a book. I mean, look at the first image of this review. There are a number of instances where the font and letters make or break a panel, again, still, always. As for covers, I am still wondering where the colourist credit for the Andrew Griffith (gorgeous) Tarn variant, but we also get Livio Ramondelli's first venture in DJD territory (thumbnailed) and the regular, terrifying slot with Alex Milne and Josh Perez.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
You will have noticed, I have used mostly images from the public preview in this review - there are some many excellent pages and panels that I'd rather readers took time and space to enjoy themselves, I didn't want to ruin the experience. One passage in particular is almost moving, and the writing and visuals are a masterful blend to convey the number of emotions (particularly on one side of the spectrum) in the book.
Still not showing - have an explosion
As fellow critical comics reader ScottyP said to me, as I was preparing the review: The Hype Was Real. This is a truly well done, well thought out, well crafted book, touching on all the major themes that the series has explored so far, and venturing into a new one altogether, with some returning elements that were almost left to one side, and some that have been a long way coming.
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