James Roberts (Writer), Alex Milne, Brian Shearer (Artists), Josh Burcham (Colorist)
The Story: Ratchet prepares for a confrontation with Pharma, Whirl and Cyclonus gets ready to get their companions out of jail and we get the whole story behind Ultra Magnus.
The Review: James Roberts is a master.
There, that’s the review. Go buy the issue now.
Of course, that would make for a rather boring review, yet this first statement, made in a humorous manner, still stands as the truth when talking about the quality of this comic. With so many comics nowadays being decompressed, being unable to truly flesh out their ideas or with too many characters that aren’t allowed to be brought in interesting directions, there are comics like MTMTE here that proves that comics that defies expectation on a monthly basis does still exists.
How Roberts seem to manage such a feat seems rather simple, yet it’s how effectively he does such a thing that is remarkable: by juggling with a whole variety of plots attached to a whole plethora of characters that keeps on going. In this issue, we see more about Ultra Magnus and his history with the Tyrest accord, the tension between Cyclonus and Whirl, the mystery behind Skids, the antagonism behind Ratchet and Pharma as well as some more of the great development and explanation of the Transformers lore that James Roberts is able to provide. While it seems like a lot of plot to juggle with, the writer is able to give enough panel time and development to each of them in order to provide setups, surprise, action and all that we may need in order to enjoy them in a seamless manner. None of these plots or subplots feel forced or rushed in any way, which gives us a lot to read and enjoy.
What is clearly enjoyable, also, would be the characterization and the dialogue, bringing a lot of pep and diversity in terms of characters. Still, as different each characters are, they each bring their own flavour and their own likability to the story in motion. Be it the stern demeanour of Cyclonus against the rather sarcastic, yet eager Whirl or the psychotic Pharma against the idealistic and out-of-element Ratchet. Roberts never diverts from who these characters are, always pushing them in new directions that allows the readers to discover new things about them while making the characters evolve. Both in terms of characters and story, the book is never stale.
One of the main reason for that, I believe, would be the fact that James Roberts translate a lot of real world issues in this book, twisting them in order to match the robotic background of the Transformers franchise. In this issue, we get justice, the way we look at the law, religion, mental problems, legacy and the problems that some may have with their personal identity. The way that Roberts show the disparity between the law and religion is quite fascinating, as we see just how Tyrest, an important character that has been referenced since the first issue of the title, has been driven so far with the way he made those laws and how his new religious vision makes his action seemingly insane, yet also logical to his being. The way Roberts mixes the discovery of the history and mythology behind those changing robots and how it might affect what will happen not only make for some relatable and serious plot points, it also makes for some very interesting conflict in terms of ideology. Speaking through those characters, we can see the psychology and how these issues can be seen from different issues, which makes for a great read.
While I do praise James Roberts for his ideas and the way he depicts them throughout the story, it would be quite foolish of me not to mention Alex Milne and Brian Shearer, who are both excellent here as well. The way they are able to mix machine parts to build their characters in different ways and to combine those with very human poses and reactions makes for some very good-looking characters. In terms of scope, movements and visual diversity, Milne really does a great job, providing the smallest of details or some simple motions to bring these robots to life in the most humane of ways, rendering their emotions very convincingly.
In terms of colorization, Josh Burcham is killing it. The diversity of colors here is simply phenomenal, yet is truly amazing is the fact that this wide range does not hurt the comic at all. Instead, it enhances it as the various scenes adds up to the general tone of the script. With the mainly red scene between Cyclonus and Whirl, or the focus on white with some warm colors in the scenes with Pharma and Ratchet, everything is different, yet beautifully so.
The Conclusion: With the great pacing an juggling between several plotlines and characters, James Roberts, Alex Milne, Josh Burcham and Brian Shearer provide yet another wholly satisfying issue that provide a deep and analytical view on the Transformers franchise through the interesting characters and the conflict they are in.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière