IDW Transformers #5 Review

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #5 Review

Friday, May 17th, 2019 5:29PM CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews
Posted by: ScottyP   Views: 19,713

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A Review of Transformers #5

Free of any explicit spoilers, but some may be unintentionally implied.
Transformers News: IDW Transformers #5 Review
Well, some people do!

We've been a little harsh on IDW's rebooted Transformers series, with concerns about pacing reaching a boiling point for some. With the fifth issue out a couple days ago, have things picked up? Yes indeed, they have. Read on for more (late) thoughts about this latest chapter of Brian Ruckley's Transformers tale.

Plus, don't forget that you can buy Transformers comics directly from Seibertron.com's eBay store, including this latest issue! You can check out all the details in this separate article.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #5 Review
Surprising, right?

Things have been slow over the first four issues but to get straight to the point, stuff finally happens. A steady build of momentum culminates by the end of these 20 pages into a moment that, with some hindsight, feels a bit like it was an inevitability while retaining some of its surprising properties. Pieces of the slow-burn journey to get here play smartly into both the dialogue between characters and the captions of inner monologue, putting a capstone on the well defined but open-ended story that is "The World in Your Eyes". While I could ask for some more character justification for at least one scene involving Soundwave, the fact that the plot is moving would make that feel greedy. Some mysteries can wait if some others are moving along.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #5 Review
Yeah well it took long enough

The cast on this issue is kept pretty tight, focusing mostly on four characters with contributions from some others like Chromia, Prowl, Wheeljack and Megatron grounding the story within its wider version of Cybertron. It may not be a surprise that this is the best issue since the series' first which also featured a pretty small cast of characters. We all love dozens of Transformers but it can be hard (though not impossible) to tell a story with large ensembles. As the first series in a new universe this tight casting is a positive sign, especially given Ruckley's writing style as seen so far which to me places more emphasis on what is happening rather than how the characters feel about it. While not devoid of the latter, given that this issue has satisfying plot moments that provide benefit to the former the final output of this issue is enhanced as a result.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #5 Review
The visuals landed really well here

The art duties on this issue are split between Anna Malkova, Sara Pitre-Durocher and Angel Hernandez, with Joana Lafuente providing colors throughout. The general color temperature of different settings helps provide an identity to the different locations on Cybertron where the story takes place, making things easy to follow even on a new version of the planet. Transformers stalwart Tom B. Long provides letters as usual and makes some smart bubble/caption placement choices that increase the dramatic moments in the final pages. Big, lengthy captions might have taken away some of the immersion, so it's good to see that editors David Mariotte and Tom Waltz channeled them through to the final product.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #5 Review
Something just didn't land visually here

You may have noticed this review skipped mentioning the line art outside of names in the preceding paragraph. While I found most of the composition to range from good to outstanding, the mix of artists on this particular issue didn't feel as cohesive as it has in past issues. While I'm sure the split duty approach is necessary to keep pace with the aggressive bi-weekly publishing schedule, the transitions from one scene or point-of-view to another also accompanied by an artist switch were more obvious in this installment. Hernandez in particular has a good grasp on the environments and seems to have found comfort in Rubble and other frequently drawn characters, but the depiction of Quake was initially missing a sense of presence. Maybe some thicker inks or a different choice for the reader's sight line, or possibly a blockier approach to that character's depiction would have helped his initial appearance in the issue have even more impact than it did just by virtue of the story itself.

On covers, buyers have a choice of regular covers with Andrew Griffith and Thomas Deer providing a fun ensemble on the "A" cover while Cachét Whitman provides the more story-relevant "B" cover used for this review's news story's thumbnail. Guido Guidi lends an awesome "35th Anniversary" cover for the ten copy incentive, while Adam Riches' work can be seen on a Vault Collectibles exclusive a cartoon inspired Optimus Prime and Megatron. Rounding out the covers is John Gallagher, with two featuring Grimlock and Swoop in their robot and alternate modes - and this Dinobot-fanatic reviewer would like to know where and when these will be available, because we currently have no idea! You can also find images of all of the book's covers along with full credits for the issue in our Vector Sigma Database page for Transformers #5, but please note it contains a character appearance list which probably won't spoil you on anything unless you're hyper picky about spoilers and choose to click that link anyway.

Verdict
Transformers News: IDW Transformers #5 Review
Gears cameo, round two!

Momentum can be a tricky thing, but this series now has that on its side for the first time since issue 1. After issue four, even our own forums had examples of readers proclaiming their readiness to drop the series from their pull-list, but after this issue those sentiments may have been as premature as those posting them probably hoped they were. Some further patience and allowance for plot development has been earned with this issue that will hopefully keep up into both issue 6 and the next five-part story that begins with issue 7. A tight cast and dramatic developments make this the best issue of the series in two months, but while a little inconsistency in the line art holds it back from true greatness it must be emphasized that this is a major improvement over the previous three issues.

Final Score
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out of
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Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2021827)
Posted by ScottyP on May 17th, 2019 @ 5:37pm CDT
I also want to point out that I suggested thicker inks and blocky design for a character depicted in a blocky way with thick inks, so maybe that isn't the issue there. My art critique vocabulary could probably use some polish, where's Megatronus to help me do words good? :lol:
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2021834)
Posted by ricemazter on May 17th, 2019 @ 8:46pm CDT
Alrighty, this issue has me back on board. FINALLY, something happened. Now let's hope that things keep happening.
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2021838)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on May 17th, 2019 @ 9:35pm CDT
Wheeljack: Another job well done, Rubble!

Rubble: Thanks. It’s fun.

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Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2021842)
Posted by 00Stargrave00 on May 18th, 2019 @ 12:44am CDT
Dang great review Scotty thanks man!

I think that's just the shot in the arm we needed. Much appreciated good sir!
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2021886)
Posted by Flashwave on May 18th, 2019 @ 2:44pm CDT
I was beginnibgbto think the lateness of the Review was because of reviewers opinions of the book. :lol:

For me, I feel like where Book5 ended, considering this is something like the last page of chapter 1 of a larger story is where we shoukda been in book3. This. Series has a bad habit of spening 17 pages on "story", ramping up thr last 3 pages of "action", and then not continuing the action again. The attack on Megatron comes to mind. Yes, things happened because of the attack, but its words and not actions. Even Megatron feels nonchalant about an attack on his own "flock".

That said, I think in a few years from now this story will be great in the trades, where we can read it and whatever comes next together with no waiting. These Comics are like side dishes, individually they won't fill you up but put together you get a good, if not great, meal.

This story is losing its lustre for me. I like the characters, and I like the world building. I love that the "Golden Age" pre war Cybertron is being shown as a vibrant, thriving part of a larger galaactic community. Something like this is a great way to quietly back-door character families like Rom. But I'm not feeling the "Oh Boy the new Transformers Comic is out" that I was feeling for Issue 1. But 5 left us at an interesting point, so if 6 promises to pickup the ACTION from 5 instead of another Story.
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2021900)
Posted by ZeroWolf on May 18th, 2019 @ 3:41pm CDT
Flashwave wrote:I was beginnibgbto think the lateness of the Review was because of reviewers opinions of the book. :lol:

For me, I feel like where Book5 ended, considering this is something like the last page of chapter 1 of a larger story is where we shoukda been in book3. This. Series has a bad habit of spening 17 pages on "story", ramping up thr last 3 pages of "action", and then not continuing the action again. The attack on Megatron comes to mind. Yes, things happened because of the attack, but its words and not actions. Even Megatron feels nonchalant about an attack on his own "flock".

That said, I think in a few years from now this story will be great in the trades, where we can read it and whatever comes next together with no waiting. These Comics are like side dishes, individually they won't fill you up but put together you get a good, if not great, meal.

This story is losing its lustre for me. I like the characters, and I like the world building. I love that the "Golden Age" pre war Cybertron is being shown as a vibrant, thriving part of a larger galaactic community. Something like this is a great way to quietly back-door character families like Rom. But I'm not feeling the "Oh Boy the new Transformers Comic is out" that I was feeling for Issue 1. But 5 left us at an interesting point, so if 6 promises to pickup the ACTION from 5 instead of another Story.

I think you're right about reading in the trades, as that's what I'm doing with this series. I'm still curious as to how much this will tie in to the toylines with the characters rocking the siege look, guess we'll find out soon enough.
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2021903)
Posted by 00Stargrave00 on May 18th, 2019 @ 3:52pm CDT
I keep checking for any news on the new cartoon- with the dedication to the toy depiction I wonder if it’s a cross media assault with more synergy. That can mean less individual artistic interpretation in each of the mediums but at the end of the day it’s all Transformers it gets me excited. Maybe fans of the show will find the comic. I wonder if it’ll be the exact same stories or not, I think that’s what I’m trying to get at.
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2021904)
Posted by ZeroWolf on May 18th, 2019 @ 3:54pm CDT
I would expect a different story for the Netflix series, that one will probably start in the middle of the war.
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022080)
Posted by David Leese on May 20th, 2019 @ 1:55pm CDT
A little late to the thread, but I'll be up-to-date in future (now that I've found this forum).

I really enjoyed this issue - more than I've enjoyed any of the others, and that includes issue 1, when I had the untainted optimism around following a new TF comic book series (my first since the original in the 80s).

It seems that the fifth issue follows the same general pattern of the whole series so far - each of the four issues has been 80-90% setup, then a sudden change of pace in the last few pages (the discovery of Brainstorm; the explosion at Megatron's rally; Orion's visit to Codexa). We've had four issues of that, and now things are finally - FINALLY - moving. I sincerely hope they don't drag the pace back to the glacial rate that we've had to suffer.

And please, no more walking and talking. The appeal of Transformers is that they... y'know... transform.

Anyway: here's my video review (the reviews for the four previous issues are also on my channel)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WGvi9Gk4a8

Thanks
David
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022091)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on May 20th, 2019 @ 3:34pm CDT
I'm certainly leaning towards the idea someone else should be given the TF license now.
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022092)
Posted by Flashwave on May 20th, 2019 @ 3:39pm CDT
00Stargrave00 wrote:I keep checking for any news on the new cartoon- with the dedication to the toy depiction I wonder if it’s a cross media assault with more synergy. That can mean less individual artistic interpretation in each of the mediums but at the end of the day it’s all Transformers it gets me excited. Maybe fans of the show will find the comic. I wonder if it’ll be the exact same stories or not, I think that’s what I’m trying to get at.

IDW isn’t shying away from new characters, so I think the trade off for strictly toy accurate figures for guys like Prime and Megatron (whom we care most about) is that we get more freeform designs like Geomodus and the aliens, as well as ELita-1 who oddly is not using her PotP toy even though Quake CLEARLY is his TR figure. And I think that’s okay.

ScottyP made a point 2/3 Podcasts back that this toyline accuracy may in fact be less or as much about selling their own toys and more about Hasbro firing back the 3P guys who were making money off the IDW designs of Charactres like Rodimus. Which raises questions again about guys like Geomodus and Froid, who are NOT toy designs. Will we see the 3P guys try to make their money off second stringers? Is there even demand for that?
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022093)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on May 20th, 2019 @ 3:44pm CDT
Although I have always found it strange that HasTak allow the 3P market to exist in the first place. It is, by the same token, seriously hypocritical of them to decry 3P. As they are making the range of figures HasTak themselves are too lazy and complacent to make.
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022107)
Posted by ZeroWolf on May 20th, 2019 @ 5:52pm CDT
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:Although I have always found it strange that HasTak allow the 3P market to exist in the first place. It is, by the same token, seriously hypocritical of them to decry 3P. As they are making the range of figures HasTak themselves are too lazy and complacent to make.

I always took it that they exist because of gray areas, the copyright laws in the countries they operate in, and lastly, how much it would cost hasbro to step on them. That's neither here or there really mind in the context of the thread.

Now regarding the story so far, I'm curious as to how it was planned out, as I read originally this story arc was supposed to be 12 issues? If that was the case then this doesn't even put us at the half way mark, would that account for pacing if we weren't fully in the middle yet?
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022112)
Posted by 00Stargrave00 on May 20th, 2019 @ 6:13pm CDT
3P makes me feel oogy yes it’s good it’s great stuff usually but it also feels like J walking or stealing Brachs from the market yeah ok nobody got hurt but we all know it’s breaking rules.

Hey I’ll be honest I think I’m going to start grabbing issues so I can keep up with you all but I’ve also been waiting thinking I’d get it collected after it’s over like I ended up sadly doing with IDW. In that regard I also don’t want to miss the bandwagon again.

Are any of you Seibertronians waiting for a collected edition before buying?
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022122)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on May 20th, 2019 @ 6:32pm CDT
00Stargrave00 wrote:Are any of you Seibertronians waiting for a collected edition before buying?

I always buy trades, but I'm still not convinced enough to pick up the trade of this yet. But I did enjoy issue 5 more than any of the other issues
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022179)
Posted by ZeroWolf on May 21st, 2019 @ 5:43am CDT
I'm a trade buyer as well, I prefer not having to wait for the next issue :lol: not till I get to the end of the collection anyway
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022250)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on May 21st, 2019 @ 6:39pm CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:I'm a trade buyer as well, I prefer not having to wait for the next issue :lol: not till I get to the end of the collection anyway

I prefer the way I can put them on a shelf that way. It's more organized and a lot easier to find what you want to read too!
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022453)
Posted by 00Stargrave00 on May 23rd, 2019 @ 11:20pm CDT
Fellow Seibertronians we have a few news bites from the new Transformers comic from IDW! First up is a short but very interesting three page preview from iTunes for Transformers #6. Check ‘em out!

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"Optimus takes the spotlight! Even a bot as wise as a leader of the Autobots needs guidance now and again, so Optimus turns to Codexa-A Cybertronian who has grown into the very planet itself. Will she help Optimus settle his problems with Megatron or will she lead them both to ruin?" By Author Brian Ruckly and artist Bethany McGuire-Smith the 32 page issue is expected this month.

Following up with that story is a teaser image from series editor Tom Waltz from his Instagram account giving us a great teaser shot of Cyclonus bearing down like the Cybertronian Count Dracula ready to lay down violet (and probably violent) retribution!

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Let us know your thoughts below!
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022459)
Posted by william-james88 on May 24th, 2019 @ 7:24am CDT
Really disliking the art on Transformers 6.
Re: IDW Transformers #5 Review (2022461)
Posted by sol magnus on May 24th, 2019 @ 8:08am CDT
It's different in terms of art on the first two pages, but I don't hate it.

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