OPENING SALVO! The Autobots and Decepticons’ uneasy peace is threatened by the flames of war! STARSCREAM—ruler of CYBERTRON—makes contact with WINDBLADE’S homeworld—and the only defense against a new CYBERTRONIAN EMPIRE are COMBINERS—multiple CYBERTRONIANS forming together into huge, dangerous forms!
Days of Deception is over, Windblade was over a long time ago, Punishment saw both its digital and print run, and we have been really setting the stage for Combiner Wars for a long long time now. And yet, The Transformers #39 takes another small step, piecing together the various parts leading up to here, preparing the spark, the casus belli, if you will and giving it all just a gentle prod.
Oh hey random Starscream that has nothing to do with this at all
John Barber takes main writing duties for the issues, but both him and Mairghread Scott are palpably present in the plotting of story. The dialogue provides a great framework of power dynamics and hierarchy being subverted at every turn, with some further development for a lot of older faces - and Swindle, of all characters, whose perspective guides the story.
We have Windblade and Optimus and some intriguingly almost 'post-colonial' moments of perspective shifts; we get Wheeljack and Ironhide and Chromia just trying to do their jobs, and being almost entirely confused; we get Starscream being Starscream, and gloriously so; we are introduced to Offroad, and given a *fantastic* explanation for their presence; we get another addition to the chapter in Transformers fiction that is Alpha Bravo, and Powerglide.
The legend continues
As an introduction, the Opening Salvo of Combiner Wars does much more than wht it could've,and is an immensely enjoyable read, with good humour, a good establishing of the playing field and just enough references to older continuity points to keep older fans entertained while bringing in some new ones too. Kapoom.
Livio Ramondelli, as we knew, takes on the whole brunt of the artistic duties for this and the majority. And I have to unfortunately admit this time, we are not seeing the great work he provided in recent publications such as Punishment. The composition is great, and there are really good layouts in the issue, and some of the expressivity is well conveyed.
At other times, however, some of those same faces, especially the newer or less frequently used ones, fall a little short of the full enjoyment of the piece. The tone is captured, and the washed-up, grimy sense of a post everything Cybertron works well - as might Caminus - but sometimes it really does jar a little.
Not as successful
The lettering does work quite well, even so, and Tom B. Long demonstrates once more the craft of a good letterer in some great sound effects and speech modifications. And While we have seen the beautiful Casey Coller/Joana Lafuente regular Menasor cover, and Ramondelli's poster variant for B, the gem of the variants is undoubtedly Sara Pitre-Durocher's Menasor and Swindle - see the thumbnail!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Being able to follow what is going on on Cybertron from Swindle's perspective is, in and of itself, a treat. Seeing the world how he sees it and through those purple eyes, with the cynicism, degrees of naivete and, well, Swindle attitude, is truly refreshing. We get all of that, plus some very good interactions, and a great cameo from the Lost Light, too.
If this what we are to expect from the crossover event, and the merging of Barber and Scott's plotting minds, then we're certainly in for a fun trip down six or so issues. Combiner Wars is playing on multiple angles without, so far, reaching too far out to be forced to justify the number of players, has a healthy dose of Swindle and Starscream, and is suitable for anyone under or over the age of Galvatron.
In Which Duke Drives Optimus Through a Sea of Quintessons (Spoiler free-ish)
IT GETS CRAZIER! The biggest space battle ever grows to universal proportions! Will the G.I. JOE team and the AUTOBOTS make peace—before COBRA and the DECEPTICONS end the war… the bad way?!
One Woman Army
I realise we have fallen behind on reviewing this series, and we will come back to fill in on the missing issues of the first volume of Transformers vs G.I. Joe. However, after a decent hiatus, the cosmic series by Tom Scioli and John Barber is back with its fifth issue, and we're here to remind you how amazing it is!
We're on Earth and Cybertron, as the latter moves closer to the former at the hands of Megatron, and G.I. Joe and Cybertronians alike are attempting to deal with the impending catastrophe - although each in their own way, with suspicion, and not all plans are working together, at all.
Who nose what might happen
One of the main storylines we follow is that of Rodimus, as the attempts to regain control of Metroplex and the Autobot troops, his clash with one of the G1-est Grimlocks in a while, and the consequences of giant robot egos meeting each other's match, Megatron included, for the first time seen as potentially fallible.
Clash of Kings
The writing is fantastically scattered across the pages and cosmic stage that Scioli and Barber have set up, and even then, there is a lot more coherence than in the first couple of issues. The interactions and uncomfortable alliances between humans and Cybertronians lead to both amusing and fairly tense scenes, and definitely worth following around.
Tom Scioli's double act as writer and artist still delivers in a fantastic correspondence between, arguably, intention and execution. He is not trying to do anything, he is not attempting to capture elements of *something* - this is his style, heavily influenced by early comics art, and it is something to amaze at, every time.
Have a Metropolygon
Every corner of every panel, even the round ones, has something going on, from the little tags identifying new characters to the Quintesson vinetacles, to the sheer amount on miniature scenes taking place across a single page, plus all the colour work, you can spend hours on an issue alone.
Three Are One
The addition of Chris Mowry's stellar lettering and design work make sure that all is in its place and with its own voice, too, and that the package matches the contents, with echoes of those comics art influences showing up in the book as book. Plus, to catch eyes from everywhere, we get an impressive array of covers by Scioli, Nick Pitarra/Megan Wilson on Soundwave and Slither and the thumbnailed Derek Charm [plus a slightly more questionable one by Jamie Tyndall/Ula Mos].
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
The marvellous incoherent cohesion of the multiple overlapping scripts and plots is what makes this series so appealing to many readers who are not generally into Transformers or G.I. Joe fictional universes. It's fine to get lost, we're actually invited to do so, and there's more to gain from it, if you want to.
Laughing one's head off
We get references to Transformers lore, battles of wit, humour and ridiculous amounts of action, and it still feels as though we're being pulled through a story that doesn't care whether we're paying attention or not - much like the rest of the universe. This is a series that does exactly what it wants, and what it wants is to have fun with the medium and the casts. We're along for the ride, so buckle up.
You got TRANSFORMERS in my Angry Birds! No, you got Angry Birds in my TRANSFORMERS! ERGH, OOF, MPPHH!!! Hey! Waitaminit! This is actually pretty great! That’s right, comic lovers, two of your favorite IDW comics have morphed into one amazing new comic! When the TRANSFORMERS lose their powerful ALLSPARK, it ends up on Piggie Island and the world of Angry Birds turns robotic! Prepare to meet… the AUTOBIRDS and DECEPTIHOGS!
Philip K. Dick would be hogrified
Before time began, there was the egg. Or maybe it was the bird. The egg, or the bird, what came first..? In any case, there was an egg, and a green pig wanted to eat it. To eat all of them. As they do. Apparently. But the egg was also a cube, and the cube fell, rolled away, and became an egg. With the properties of a cube.
John Barber is having a lot of fun with the script here, letting puns rip every other panel, juggling multiple identities, continuities, storylines and characterisations that fans of the Transformers franchise of the past decade will recognise, and aiming for a fairly contemporary target (with some nods to older fans too).
Some things never change
There is very little one can do to spoil the issue, but I am not going to simply summarise the story of the comic, and I am actually quite glad something as light-hearted and - simply put - silly as this actually exists out there, reminding fans that kids are into our favourite robots too. And the transition page is really quite clever, verbally.
The comic uses Livio Ramondelli to introduce and frame the story as part of a spin-off universe of the Transformers, something based on modern iterations of the Cybertronians, from Bayverse to Rescue Bots and some added G1 highlights to please a bit of everyone. And it works.
The artists who will be gracing the pages of the series from here on, however, are a great addition to my knowledge of visual creators: Marcelo Ferreira has a great sense of visual humour, in facial expressions, character, dynamism and page layout - and the cartoon style art is perfectly apt in tone for the series.
No fowl play here
And of course, all of it catches the eye even more thanks to the wonderful colour work by Nikos Koutsis, making sure all characters jump off the page, vibrantly and energetically, and Chris Mowry's brilliant lettering work, letting himself really go on the fun aspect of the job. Plus, the comic comes with three fantastic covers, that further show off the glorious silliness of the crossover, with Ramondelli, Ferreira and Koutsis being joined by action-packed Jorge Pacheco's variant (thumbnail).
I don't believe anyone was expecting a masterpiece of storytelling or the new rising star of the comics medium, but the issue is a whole lotta fun, pleasingly funny, enjoyably silly and most importantly, never takes itself seriously - something that the IDW Transformers titles can sometimes fall victims of (though less so as series progress).
The art is also extremely refreshing, and the framing of the story by a Transformers regular sets the scene nicely for the very cartoony, series-appropriate Ferreira and Koutis approach to the illustration. The lettering is fun, the writing is fun, the issue is, overall a non-serious
AUTOBOTS VERSUS EARTH! OPTIMUS PRIME and the AUTOBOTS discover the humans’ secret—and they aren’t pleased with what they learn! Will the DECEPTICON’s alliance tear down the peace—and will the world learn the CYBERTRONIANs are back?
A bit hard to miss, really
The past of couple of issues of Robots in Disguise have slowly been building up to the Alpha Trion discovery and recovery, seeding lies and lines about Prowl's true intentions and feelings, Jazz and Arcee's discomfort in their new-and-old roles, Galvatron's connection to it all, the Witwickys, Soundwave, Optimus and the rest of the gang. Slowly.
And then, suddenly, giant spaceships. Stories that were heading one fearfully predictable way go in a direction so different it's almost inwards. Characters more or less established by now are truly revealed for what and who they are. Changes come about so subtly and quickly and yet still make sense with everything teased so far, that reading 28-31 again is almost required to get more out of it all once again.
John Barber does an excellent job at keeping all the threads close, weaving a pattern so intricate that three out of two of us on the comics staff have no idea as to where the story will go from here, but are loving the ride read. This is what RID promised in its initial issues, both seasons, and the heights it can accomplish with its twisted political and social narratives.
And dogs called Buster
And on top of that, the entire issue is a series of well orchestrated, well paced, well placed action sequences, with Prowl and Jazz on one side, the Autobot team on another, and humans and Decepticons between and around the two. With exemplary stand-outs in Thundercracker, Buster and Marissa, as Barber does not forget the series' heart and humour, exactly when needed (the closing sequence is magnificently crafted).
Andrew Griffith is the main artist, taking care of all the gigantic spaceships, stupidly amazing visual references, fights, perspective shifts, interactions and running plot, flashbacks included. The opening scene, the title page, just examples of what Griffith can do with a page, something hinted at in Dark Cybertron. And the amazingness is topped by Josh Perez' colour work on Griffith's pages, giving a grittiness and darker hue to a truly bleak situation - lighting it up by fire, laser and destruction.
Brendan Cahill is confined (I use the term loosely) to four pages in total - but whoah are they some pages! Focusing on the interactions between Prowl and Jazz, and an amazing double page, reader shifting spread that delves deeper into the human connection to the story, both Cahill and Joana Lafuente's colours put the sci-fi back into the Transformers, reminding us of one of the many genres the comics line falls under. And how adorably evil Prowl looks while smirking.
To top everything off, Tom B. Long dazzles in his lettering work, with some wonderfully placed sound effects mirroring the chaos and confusion that must be ensuing during the attack on the human base, and a gorgeous ending sequence caption group. Then add to that the amazing Coller and Bove cover revealed yesterday, and the Coller and Lafuente variant hinting at where the story may be headed (see thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Barber was able to take all my fears as to where this series was heading, and spin them completely around into something unrecognisable and impossible to figure out, nearing its sister series MTMTE for twistedness. Griffith and Cahill's collaboration raises the bar even higher, with some mind-boggling art in terms of perspective and layouts, with the excellent Perez and Lafuente giving a decidedly significant boost, and Long's designer eye operating from the shadows.
You did, RID
Robots in Disguise #32 has action, lots of it. It has mystery, it has scheming, it has humans and Cybertronians. Lots of them. It has a good story, excellent pacing, great dialogue, fantastic art, amazing colouring and letters, gorgeous covers and is reaching a level of comic book writing worthy of any other action series currently published in the industry. I cannot recommend this issue enough. Lots of it.
THE WAR FOR CYBERTRON! Optimus Prime versus Megatron. Autobots versus Decepticons. At the dawn of the conflict, battle lines are drawn and sides are set… now legends will be made. The war that would define a planet begins in earnest—and its revelations will shake the TRANSFORMERS’ world to the core!
Autocracy did some really interesting things by taking politics to a whole other level. Monstrosity brought 'the Quintessons' and Trypticon back into the game. Primacy is supposed to shape the IDW Transformers universe as we know it - so what is the missing link between the fall of Trypticon and the rise of Megatron? It looks like issue 1 starts answering that question.
The focus of Chris Metzen and Flint Dille appears to be shifting between Optimus Prime and Megatron as they both 'recover' from the happenings in the previous two mini-series, with the latter in particular sometimes questioning (?) his actions - and yet, at the same time, we also have some nice interactions between Grimlock and Rodimus, Optimus and Ironhide, Megatron and.. well. You'll see.
There is one major snag in the issue, during Optimus' sections, which I'm hoping will get explained later in the series - but for now it's not too distracting (for me at least), and considering John Barber is editing the work, some kind of patching could always take place at another stage, or there's a better reason for it happening as it does.
All in all, there are some big set-ups for this run, with some nice interactions between the key players, and some past exploration and world-defining, delving into pre-established elements of the franchise and plots hinted at in both Autocracy and Monstrosity, and the wider IDWverse.
Livio Ramondelli resumes his task of showing us the beginning of Cybertron's dark ages, with his trademark darker style and colours, shining on big splash pages and spreads, and I mean BIG. The characters, the scope, the layouts - there's a sense of size and scale that follows from some of the later chapter in Monstrosity sliding into here, and not just in the art itself.
Big city lights
The colours obviously work well with the linework, and there are some nicely contrasting tones in some flashback sequences. The eye differences are a nice touch too, with Grimlock, Optimus and Megatron showing off different optics. And a very nice touch comes from letterer Chris Mowry, helping with giving a voice to the different characters, each in its own slightly unique way, and some great translucent sound effects.
I'll take a little longer on the covers, as the main one by Ramondelli is but a fourth of the series' run, but it is joined by an amazing Optimus Prime revealing the matrix by Windblade's Sarah Stone (a nice echo of one of the moments shown above) and an excellent 30th Anniversary variant by Casey Coller and JP Bove, commemorating the smelting pool and poor Scrounge (see thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Metzen and Dille's writing is slightly different from the rest of IDW's current output, but still holds its appeal with both older audiences and fans of the more modern ongoings. And their style fits the tone and time of the story, without any doubt, focusing on the two main players of the beginning of the war. Ramondelli's art returns to complement them, and I very happy to have Barber on editing, making sure it all fits in together - even with Omega's confusing statements.
And so do we
It's an easing into the story again, definitely. Some big stuff went down in what leads us to this point, and with this issue we're discovering bigger things still slowly emerging from Cybertron's past and leading into its future. And there are much much bigger things to come, if the last pages are anything to go by. Big things indeed.
Once again, fellow Seibertron.com user chuckdawg1999 brings us a video review of Transformers figures, and this time it's the turn of the Target exclusive Age of Extinction Silver Knight Optimus Prime and Grimlock! Check out the chrometastic redecos of Dark of the Moon Deluxe Optimus Prime and Fall of Cybertron Voyager Grimlock, including a G1 Predacon sword, in the embedded video below - and make sure to flag these up in the Sightings section and forums if you come across them!
This is the first set I've gotten from the Target exclusive Age of Extinction line. Both Grimlock and Optimus Prime are decked out in nice shinny chrome, especially Prime who is practically covered in Silver. Grimlock features the same accessories from the FOC figure while Prime comes with a G1 Predacon sword. I highly recommend this set especially if you missed out on getting either of these figures.
EARTHFALL! The AUTOBOTS return to Earth—with OPTIMUS PRIME in command! But what brought them back—and what terrifying secret do the humans hold? A bold new era begins here!
Here we are again, on this blue planet of ours. This round, blue, beautiful, peaceful planet of ours: Eart(h). Which is not that peaceful, or round for that matter, or happy to see any more robots after what happened last time robots were around - yes, All Hail Megatron and the 2009 ongoing. Bit of a mess for everyone, really.
Here's a recap, for our viewers at home
John Barber goes back to wearing his writing hat, and back to the Robots in Disguise cast as they see their ranks shifting a little. We get Optimus Prime leading a new team of Kup, Prowl, Jetfire, Arcee, Skylynx, Jazz, Cosmos and Sideswipe - so maybe not entirely the same cast, but it's one with good tensions and chemistry so far. And Prowl being his usual. As usual.
Hellooo Generations Leader Jetfire
The dialogue seems to have lightened up from pre-Dark Cybertron RID, and there is definitely more action, a lot more action, even in the flashbacks scattered throughout the issue, taking place after the first few pages. Pages that feature some glorious fanfiction screenplays written by none other than the only (?) Cybertronian left on Earth last time round: Thundercracker.
Handsome as an F-22 jet fighter
Good dialogue, nice selection of cast and interactions, really nice set-up with both the Cybertronian past, Alpha Trion showing up as a potential goal for the cast, Thundercracker's presence and Earth's inevitable hostility towards incoming Cybertronians. The mix so far is actually pretty good, and everything has freshened up a lot since the Cybertron days!
The artwork duties, for both pencil and ink, flashbacks and present-day settings, are with Andrew Griffith. And my, do his robots and Earth shine. The -ation styled Thundercracker is impressive, and there are so many full page panels in this issue that I'm left in awe at the likes of Skylynx, spaceships, planets, cities and.. well, you'll see. Though I am left a little wondering about some strangely shaped human faces, especially in a couple of Marissa's shots.
Here, have a Metroplex
Colour duties, on the other hand, are split between past and present, between Joana Lafuente and Josh Perez. But they both equally shine their own glossy, refracting, shaded light on their own respective sections. Lafuente's Cybertron looks gritty and grainy, with lasers pewpewing through everything, while Perez' Earth has the right amount of ominous shadows and glorious natural hues.
And a good old purple-badged Megatron, too
The lettering duties fall with Tom B. Long, and dutifully and sparingly does he deliver sound effects and fonts. There are some really good WRUNCH and RUUUUNCH sounds later in the issue. We get three covers again, too, with Griffith and Lafuente on B, Casey Coller and Lafuente on A, and the RI interlocking variant cover by Livio Ramondelli - most of which featuring the big blue face of Optimus Prime.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Starting again almost afresh after Dark Cybertron? In my opinion, it works. It gives Barber and the Autobots a new playing field, a credible threat, complex negotiations with Earth and the possibility to make the running joke of robots being unable to pronounce trills and fricatives (you try, without lips or teeth or tongue). And it's still connected to what has just happened with Dark Cybertron, and some nice references to earlier stuff (and Megatron's trial, which we'll finally see in MTMTE #28).
Cosmos, going all meta
The art crew do some impressive teamwork, too, with Griffith's art only slipping a couple of times, but showing off some amazing skill everywhere else. Add Lafuente and Perez' colours to all of that, with their slightly different hues and tones, top it off with good lettering - it's a comic worth reading, looking at and definitely buying. I am not concerned about the Earth setting at all, if this is telling of what will happen.
WARNING: While the review does not contain spoilers for the issue at hand, it may reveal previous plot points from previous RiD and MTMTE issues.
IT GETS EVEN BIGGER! Okay we lied when we were talking about last issue… but this issue is as big as they come. It’s all come down to this moment—every scheme, every lie, every moment of heroism, every relationship, every rivalry… if CYBERTRON falls, so falls the universe!
What he said
As March comes to an end, ReGeneration One concluded, Conspiracy is over, it's also time for the IDW ongoing Transformers crossover to do the same: the culmination of Dark Cybertron is here, after months of plotting, scheming, stalling and more scheming on behalf of Shockwave, James Roberts and John Barber. And by months, I mean all the way back in Spotlight: Shockwave, Shadowplay and Shockwaves - so years, really.
Things, so many things
If I were to do a summary of where we are in order to get to this issue, I'd be writing for ages, so make sure to check out the Previously page to make sure you're caught up on all that has gone down. But we are here, on Cybertron again, with all the cast in one place - including the dead - the Ammonites attacking en masse (70 billion is a big masse) and Shockwave collapsing time, space, reality, the universe and everything into his giant, one-eyed purple 42 self.
Take Barber's penchant for continuity issues and their stitching, Roberts' flare for dialogue and their overall plotting skills, and this is what you get. Jhiaxus, Starscream and Metalhawk deal with each other in not entirely surprising ways. Brainstorm and the Dead Universe survivors (sort of) banter and bicker. Punches are thrown, blows are received. Dialogues and monologues abound.
Of course you do, Brainstorm
But the overall, overarching main big bad and true protagonist of the story has been, and is up to this issue the once fabulous senator Shockwave. Seeds were scattered way way back, and the reaping comes now - with a conclusion that is actually really satisfying for a number of plots. Not all of them, but more on that below.
Phil Jimenez returns to work on layouts as he did all the way back on Dark Cybertron #1, with pencil work this time by Brendan Cahill and inks by Brian Shearer. And I like it, I really do! They handle very big shots really well, and the panelwork is astounding in some places. They also manage to imitate, without copying, Milne and Griffith's styles in some particularly impressive splash pages, too (see above).
It does help that the colour work is once again attended to by the technimagicolourist Josh Perez. There is a sense of continuity with prior styles while still retaining the differences where needed (mostly in softer hues and lines in faces). And there is a lot of light(s) in this issue, natural, artificial, explosive, fiery, timey - he covers them all well, as expected.
Tom B. Long does a marvellous job with lettering, too. A lot of explosions, fizzes and particularly noisy moments are well worked by him, and there's some nice nifty font work going on in dialogues too. The covers are fewer, but by now means lees impressive: Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr tackle both cover A and the massive Metroplex wraparaound retail incentive, with a gorgeous Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente Shockwave cover B (in the thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
I said above that, while the issue does conclude the Dark Cybertron arc and storyline really quite nicely, it does not show an actual conclusion. Is this a bad thing? No. These are ongoings. The issue has set up the next three (two plus one) series very very nicely, while rounding off what had to be done. We get Megatron's change of ..everything, Optimus' return as a Optimus, the Decepticons a bit at a loss, and a reluctant Cybertron in the hands of a Starscream again.
If the initial issues of the event were a bit slow in build up, the later section of the run definitely picked up, quite nicely too. There wasn't the usual feeling of rushed endings from MTMTE or the lull from RID, and the pivotal role played by everyone's favourite purple cyclopic robot was, well, pivotal, but also nicely, at times movingly, executed. I feel both satisfied about the run and intrigued about Dawn of the Autobots. Bring on next month!
DEATH OF A HERO! BUMBLEBEE! RODIMUS! ULTRA MAGNUS! PROWL! One will fall in final battle with SHOCKWAVE! This one is for all the marbles, folks—it just doesn’t get any bigger than this!
We're almost there, and quite an almost it is. John Barber and James Roberts keep building and building and building, something is going to have to tear (other than the space-time continuum). And here it is. But does it really not get any bigger than this? Read on to find out more, and yet not spoiling the book. Ish. Where I can.
Ok, those are pretty big
Shockwave really takes the spotlight once more, and understandably so, now that we know his plans for everything becoming one (sound familiar?). But the rest of the cast are not neglected, and there are plenty of good moments for individuals throughout the issue overall. Including both Prowl and Bumblebee, continuing from last week's MTMTE.
He's a funny fella, too
And there's a lot of strategy in the fight, too. We get to see Autobots, NAILs and Decepticons actually working together, in some cases quite literally uniting forces, and there are some really good points being made about the blurred boundaries between 'good' and 'evil' - as the two series, but especially RiD has made clear for a while now.
It felt as though it didn't pack as much of a punch as its predecessor MTMTE #27, at least in terms of action. But is the death unexpected? Yes. Completely by surprise? No. But yes, unexpected in terms of the overall scheme of things. And it kind of works, actually. It may not be Pipes and Rewind, but it works.
We've left the Dead Universe pretty much behind us (or have we?), so one artist has been left to rest too - and Andrew Griffith takes centre stage. And it's a good stage to be on. His Shockwave is magnificent, for one thing. There are not one, but two amazing double page spreads, and an impressive splash page, none of which I can really show. But they're good.
Here's an ensemble instead
Let's take a moment to deal with the stratospheric work that colourist Josh Perez has been doing in this event run, shall we? He manages time, styles, places and lights amazingly throughout the whole issue just as he has done so far. Some of the wider shots would really not makes sense without the colours, and those that do just look even better.
Exploshun ond letturs
Tom B. Long is still on letters, and there's a bit more than last time to go on, and brilliant as usual - some defining moments are really enhanced by the soundcolours. Three covers overall, and other than excellent regulars Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr, Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente, we have the quite stunning Bludgeon by Marcelo Matere and Priscilla Tramontano (see thumbnail!).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Let's see then, penultimate chapter: death death death fighting alliances fight fight fight jokes talk talk fight death. One of which is really meaningful to the story. As I said above, on first reading it did not pack as much of a punch as chapter 10 did, but it may have also been due to *everything* happening at the same time. Including the Jhiaxus toy explanation.
I am really really interested to see what on earth (or Cybertron) the aftermath of this issue will be in the 'conclusion' next issue, because there are a lot of things to be answered for. The issue looks stunning, too, thanks to Griffith, Perez and Long, and it really helps move the story along when the story is mostly action - and keep it in the present when it's needed. It's doing all good things on a different plane than the last issue, so it gets the same mark; but they are not the same book.
. ½ out of
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