by John Barber, James Roberts (Writers), Phil Jimenez, Andrew Griffith, Brendan Cahill (Artists), Josh Perez, J.P. Bove (Colorists)

The Story: Something huge is looming on Cybertron as many of the players wonders just what it is. Meanwhile, Orion Pax meet with the crew of the lost light.

The Review: After close to two years of pretty great storytelling, it’s finally time for the promised crossover to happen. Combining the cast of Robots in Disguise along with More Than Meets The Eye, this story itself had been built up in both titles (though RiD did most of the job) as characters like Orion Pax and Shockwave kept on teasing about something rather ominous coming. However, does this opening issue live up to the potential and the greatness of both titles?

It does, but not on the very same level of excellence that the other IDW Transformers comic reach. There are interesting elements and the comic does provide plenty of reasons to be rather excited for this gigantic tale that will be there for five months, yet it does take its time to get there.

Since it’s a first issue of a line-wide crossover, both writers try to show every players that will partake in this tale, which they succeed.
Starscream, Rattrap, Bumblebee and the other from Robots in Disguise are rightly introduced, as are the cast from More Than Meets The Eye, with Ultra Magnus, Rodimus, Swerve and the gang. While their introduction do put their personality to the forefront in a prompt manner, it does lead to somewhat uneventful moments, like when Orion Pax encounters the crew of the Lost Light, or when Starscream and Rattrap discuss on what to do with the strange sunlight and how the situation is on Cybertron. It’s commendable for both writers to try to bring everyone up to speed, yet it ends up being mostly set up, which isn’t the most exciting way to start something that is supposedly huge.

There are, of course, a few elements that do manage to bring out some anticipation for further chapters. While the plot jumps around from each focus on specific characters, the readers gets hint toward something huge, which is fully revealed as it takes part in the two big reveals of this issue. Those following both titles will take more from this, without a doubt, yet there are enough seeds planted in the issue to allow new readers to appreciate what will surely become the point of focus of this whole crossover.

Something else they do right is the pacing, with both writers making it easy to process everything, as the focus jumps around without being overly too long or short on a specific group or character. The exposition and information is peppered just enough with jokes and touches of characterization, then when the scene is done, it moves to another fairly quickly.

Not all scenes are of course as interesting, with those featuring the Lost Light, Orion Pax and Starscream being rather entertaining, yet none of them are downright distracting or boring. It’s a bit uneven in quality to be sure, yet it does its job fairly well in getting the readers invested with enough information to let everything have some sort of meaning. It’s decent storytelling and rhythm, provided by Barber and Roberts.

What also decent in place and much stronger in others is the art, with a rather large team being featured. The first of them is Brendan Cahill, who does the first three pages which is a flashback. His pages are perhaps on the lower scale of quality in this issue, yet it is still competent. Despite his rougher lines and his generally stilted expressions on the faces of his characters, the poses and the point gets across without much getting in the way visually. It’s apt, but then we get the Phil Jimenez and Andrew Griffith pages.

Their pages are a bit more ambitious in terms of storytelling as well as the attention to details, with the characters and the panel layouts being a bit more expansive and lively there. While both artists haven’t the talent in bringing humans emotions to robots like Alex Milne, they do a decent job here in portraying confusion, anger and basic emotions on those robots. Where they are perhaps a bit more successful is in how they draw some of these characters, with a good quantity of them having rather intricate designs. The backgrounds and sceneries are also rather well done, with an emphasis on scope put in some pages, whereas the science-fiction and technological aspects are prevalent in others. Overall, the art by Jimenez and Griffith is rather good-looking, albeit not in ways that is breathtaking.

The colorization is also done by two people, with J.P. Bove providing the colors for the prologue and Josh Perez doing the rest of the issue. J.P Bove doesn’t do much himself, yet he doesn’t have much to play with in terms of colorization. His technology is suitable and his deep space has some good effects, especially with the bizarre elements, yet it’s a bit by the book as he doesn’t really provide anything truly awe-inspiring or memorable in his three pages. Joes Perez, on the other hand, seems to add a particularly diverse palette during the whole issue, with alien technology and landscapes filling the pages. While there is a particularly high number of colors on display, Perez never delves too far in disorder as every elements are distinct from each other. The explosions, colors designs and much of everything else never clashes negatively, creating contrasts over contrasts to let everything pop up on the page. In terms of colorization, this is highly effective work.

The Conclusion
: It may be a lot of setup, with not all elements being equal in terms of interests, yet it is nonetheless apt thanks to the humor, characterization as well as some nice twists introduced. In terms of art, there are a few misses, but it is mainly good-looking, which goes the same way for the colorization. It’s not the bombastic introduction issue that it could have been, but it is still quality comic nonetheless.

Grade: B-

-Hugo Robberts Larivière

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