By: James Roberts (Writer), Alex Milne, Brian Shearer (Artists), Josh Burcham (Colorist)
The Story: The crew of the Lost Light fight an invasion of seemingly single-minded robots that are out to take Skids while Rodimus and those that went with him in his exploration are waiting for justice.
The Review: I have to admit, I know close to nothing of the Transformers lore. It is kind of foolish of me to review a series such as this, one that relies on the knowledge of its readers to make sure they get most of everything out of each issue, yet my impulsive streak always gets the best of me.
Despite my confusion over some of its terminology and some of the events, James Roberts fills this book with so much energy, so much humor and with a colossal amount of innovation that I find it hard not to enjoy. Under his pen, we have seen love, religion, medicine, a caste system and politics adapted to this universe in ways that not only made sense, but were also incredibly fun to read, making this title one that the readers could easily invest their time into.
In this issue, James Roberts gives us something else that has been talked about and even hinted at during the whole series, yet he explains it in full here: the Tyrest accord. In short, this is some sort of convention that made it illegal to export Cybertronian technology to other worlds, which made it possible to avoid a lot of conflicts. The presentation of chief justice Tyrest here gives us a lot of background to this series as they even tie in some of the events from Last Stand of the Wreckers, an excellent mini-series that Roberts wrote a few years ago. While the concept of Cybertronian justice is not discussed particularly in detail or in depth, there are nonetheless some interesting tidbits that promise further investigation from the writers, which is something to look forward to considering the amount of depth Roberts has given to that universe.
Of course, while the introduction of concepts is generally very fun, it is by no means the only thing that makes this issue work in the first place, as we are also given a boatload of action. When you give giant robots multiple armaments, it would seem rather silly for them not to use it, which fortunately Roberts does as he give many of his characters a chance to bash some robotic skulls (the ‘’My first blaster’’ scene with Swerve is especially hilarious). While not all action scenes are on the same level quality wise, there are some gems here, like Skids fighting the immense number of generic robots spouting numbers to him. While he is prone to throw a lot of exposition to his assailants, the way he explains just how he is able to do some of his moves is rather impressive, as it gives insight to his character all the while. One action scene that was rather tepid, however, was the chase scene featuring Rodimus and Tailgate, as whilewe can see he is going fast and trying to evade those that pursue him, we never truly get a sense if he is succeeding or failing until we see in another panel that he has been captured. It is rather weak, yet not so much that it’s not entirely enjoyable.
What are much more enjoyable, in a lot of ways, are the dialogue and the plot. Here, Roberts take some plot points from earlier issues and use them in ways that are unpredictable. Not to spoil things, there are two characters here that return that I was genuinely not anticipating them coming back. Their reveal and just what they do here is something that fuels a lot of very interesting scenes, each of them with twists that can very well be exploited further down in this arc in ways that might please us readers even more. What makes these scenes, among others, work is the way that James Roberts mixes boasting, humor and exposition in a way that creates incredibly quotable lines that can stick with the readers. It adds up to the general thing that makes this title worth reading: it’s fun.
While I am sending praise to James Roberts, what can I say about Alex Milne, the regular artist of that series? Well, for one, he places a great importance on details, as each robots as their own designs that stand out a bit from each others, which doesn’t sound like much, yet when you have a scene featuring over ten different Transformers, it’s handy to know how to differentiate each one. Despite the huge number of characters and the chaotic action that is everywhere in this book, Milne is able to channel all that energy from the script in each pages and panel, enhancing the humor and violence when he needs to. Another thing that I do remember always saying, yet is vital in explaining his talent, is the way he can make those machines emote despite their lack of eyes, mouth and other important facial features. His posing, the shadow work, the angle they are drawn in, it makes those characters able to emote like the most humanoid of creatures, which is downright impressive when analyzed.
Another aspect that makes this visually pleasing would be Josh Burcham and his work on the colors. Considering the huge number of designs on those robots, there are also a vast number of color designs for these characters, which could make this title a colorful and chaotic mess. Fortunately, Burcham respects the colors and grounds the visuals for the readers with some focused work. Sure, it can be a tad chaotic at times when there are way too many characters in the same page, yet he does his job admirably considering the challenge set by this book from day one.
The Conclusion: As usual, this title continues to impress with its clever additions to the Transformers mythos, its dialogue, the characters and the general direction the story has. With the genuine capability of James Roberts to surprise readers and the good work of Alex Milne, Brian Shearer and Josh Burcham, this title continues its strong run.
Hugo Robberts Larivière