Transformers: Robots in Disguise #20 Review
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 5:40AM CDTCategories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Dr Va'al Views: 34,169
NEW CYBERTRON! It’s a brand new day—and STARSCREAM is in charge! But running a planet isn’t as easy as it looks… if BUMBLEBEE couldn’t do it, why does the former DECEPTICON think he can?
He has a plan!
Remember how last issue was about Orion Pax and Gorlam Prime? And the one before about the factions now residing outside Iacon and Arcee, and before that it was Shockwave and D(r)eadwing? If you haven't read them yet, you're in luck, as issue 20 still does not advance the plot much!
Starscream really does take centre stage with this issue, and with him arguably being the best character to come out of Robots in Disguise, that is definitely not a bad thing. Barber has swapped his monologue by captions technique by coming out and calling the issue 'Three Monologues', allowing him to let Starscream speak, pretty much to himself, the whole time.
And to cameras!
It feels a little better than the usual floating voices, and there are ways of showing a 'silent audience' like Metalhawk's body which almost justify it. But Screamer-fest aside, very little happens in the issue, except for the introduction of upcoming toy Scoop and potential upcoming toy Rattrap.
Who also has a distinct.. er.. voice
The characterisation and hints at future developments aren't bad, and I enjoyed it more than other issues along the same lines. But the story really did not do much, at all. Rattrap is a peculiar choice, in terms of personality, especially when placed next to Starscream, and Scoop felt almost unnecessary.
Visually, though, it works really well. From Metalhawk's body and the other ..incapacitated characters throughout the issue to the newcomers Rattrap and Scoop, and the play between blacked-out Iacon and the city once power is restored - it's all really good looking. And Griffith shows off his skills on page 6, with some excellent panel work.
Boy, does Starscream love that pose
The lighting differences mentioned above really pop out thanks to Priscilla Tramontano's colouring work. The story progresses from complete darkness in the heart of night to the first lights of dawn, via artificial lighting coming back in operation - and yes, you can feel it in the tones and shades.
J.J. Abrams directed this scene
Shawn Lee's lettering work gets a few particularly creative moments too, which is very nice to see. The three artists working on this issue have done a stellar job to make a fairly static story particularly aesthetically pleasing, and if anything, pick the issue up for the look of it.
Abandoning the caption monologue was a good strategy, though I'm not sure how I feel about still having the monologues anyway. On the plus side, they fit the character of Starscream perfectly. The art on the issue, also Starscream-centric, is stunning, and if Starscream Starscream, then Starscream Starscream Starscream. So Starscream. Starscream?
Starscream-fest aside, though, it does little to the plot other than introduce two-three characters and hint at some stuff, and it then tries to make up for it with the final page reveal - which is nice, but the gimmick is getting a bit tiresome. Still, as I said, I enjoyed it more than previous similar issues, and Starscream really does shine in this.
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Posted by 1984forever on August 6th, 2013 @ 10:24am CDT
Posted by sabrigami on August 6th, 2013 @ 10:29am CDT
The blatant toy advertising in this series is kinda on par with the old comics. Not that I mind. More toys is a good thing in my book. Thing is, I would like toys of the established guys in the story, not some random ones. Has Scoop shown up before this? Who the heck is he? At the same time, I wouldn't mind Rattrap, but that's because I loved Beast Wars It baffles me has Hasbro seems to avoid toys of the main guys.
*edit* Forgot to ask. Is there a reason SS is getting a new body? He looks fine to me. I mean, story wise other than to advertise the upcoming armada toy
Posted by Dr Va'al on August 6th, 2013 @ 10:32am CDT
But it's, professionally put, all a bit meh.
Posted by Manterax Prime on August 6th, 2013 @ 2:08pm CDT
Posted by durroth on August 6th, 2013 @ 2:38pm CDT
Posted by Henry921 on August 6th, 2013 @ 9:12pm CDT
Also, good review, Va'al. Think I'll hold off on the trade with this one (as I am wont to do), though I admit you've made me curious about this last page reveal...
Posted by Manterax Prime on August 6th, 2013 @ 10:09pm CDT
Posted by durroth on August 6th, 2013 @ 10:19pm CDT
Posted by 1984forever on August 7th, 2013 @ 1:44pm CDT
I'm sooo tired of seeing Transformers walk around smashed up, dented and cracked up. I'm willing to bet money that when Starscream gets his new body it's going to come with dings!