By: James Roberts (writer), Alex Milne, Brendan Cahill (artists), Josh Burcham (colorist)
The Story: The crew of the Lost Light fights against a bunch of Decepticons and deals with the aftermath.
The Review: I have a strange history with the Transformers franchise. I never actually watched the show and never had any nostalgia toward any of the concepts or any of the characters. I watched Beast Wars on the television sometimes, but that was pretty much it. I’d even say that ever since I’ve seen the first two Michael Bay movies, I have every reason to hate Transformers with a passion. Yet, there seemed to be a buzz about a particular title that was almost made for skeptics like me, a book called Transformers: More Than Meets The Eyes (or MTMTE for short).
Reading the trades and several issues, I was rewarded with actual depths to a whole universe and concept that I thought was actually quite stupid–which can also be found in this issue as well. It seems that James Roberts knew very well that a lot of people dismissed the whole franchise as something dumb and without any complexity. Now there is an history full of societal structures, ancient prejudices and political struggles, which makes the whole wars between the Autobots and Decepticons factions so much more fascinating to me.
The complexity that was given to the concepts has been added to its characters as well, as you can see how everyone can react to past knowledge, like how the Rewind character was basically a slave before since he could only transform into a memory stick, being used to collect data and nothing more. The scene in this issue that shows how much Chromedome and Rewind cares about each other add even more to the mythos, talking about Energon transfer, adding to the medicinal aspect of the Transformers culture, succeeding in deepening two characters and whole new level of the franchise at the same time.
It is specifically that kind of things that make MTMTE so good, as it takes something that was close to being black and white and add so much contrast and history that it elevate the whole thing in one fell swoop with each and every concept that James Roberts throw at us. Never would I have thought that I’d like to hear more and more from those any of those transforming robots from the 80’s.
Each scene or issue dedicated to a specific character makes him more likable with each panel, as is the case with Rewind and Chromedome in this issue. Others are not thrown aside, though, as there are development and critical scenes for close to anyone, from Cyclonus to Swerve. Nothing remains static in this title, which makes it all the more worthwhile, as seeing the evolution of close to every character makes the title so much more interesting.
What is also interesting is the art department, which is nothing short of spectacular. The amount of details and care in each panel or character is nothing short of astounding, making every action and every scene ripe with plenty of impressive displays of force or emotions. Making robots emotional could be tough, but Milne and Cahill manage to do just that, even with the characters that have no mouth or eyes. The scene where Chromedome, a character without any eye socket and a plate covering his mouth is despairing at the thought of losing his friend Rewind is powerful, thanks to the angle and the way the lines are drawn. It is incredible to see and makes this title even more of a gem.
Another thing in the art department from this issue that is well done would be the panels and the concepts in which the pacing is done. The issue is divided in two time periods: one in which the crew battle the Decepticons and tries to disarm a bomb and the direct aftermath of this particular confrontation. The issue divides those two time period with a simple method, yet one that works wonderfully: the battle scenes have a white background and the aftermath ones have a black background. It sounds simple, but the temporality of this issue and the way the story is told makes for a fantastic reading experience.
The Conclusion:What James Roberts, Alex Milne, Brendan Cahill and Josh Burcham have achieved is spectacular: they have made me care about Transformers as a franchise, with their amazing concepts and great character work. This issue is a shining example of what made me like this series so much. Heavily recommended.
Hugo Robberts Larivière
Some Musings: – Are there any other franchise from the 80’s that have been rejuvenated in such a way as MTMTE? I am actually curious to know if there are more like this splendid series.