by James Roberts, John Barber (Writers), James Raiz, Atilio Rojo, Livio Ramondelli (Artists), Josh Perez (Colorist)

The Story: The many mysteries of the titans are marching on as Nova Prime comes to gloat to the captive Orion Pax and other Cybertronians with him.

The Review: With the Dark Cybertron crossover having now reached its middle-point, it seems that fans might have a deal of reasons to be rather wary. Incorporating many previous subplots and other threads from both the two ongoing and previous titles into its narrative, there seemed to be a lot of ground in need of exploration here. This unfortunately did result in some chapters that aren’t exactly full of events, which did not make the huge story that much exciting altogether.

With the sixth chapter now being released, there seems to be some progress in terms of quality, with a certain evolution toward how the story is told and what some players might actually do to in the conflict at the heart of this whole thing. Sure, there are still some problems plaguing the book, but any general positive enhancement in some key aspect is always rather enjoyable.

The first thing that seems to be a lot more fun is what happens with the robots from the Lost Light as they explore the Titan underwater. Permeating their scene with the general lack of cohesion of the crew, the humor that is at the heart of their respective book and a good deal of pseudo-science that is always enjoyable, there are many things that are fun here. The way Ultra Magnus follows the law despite what happened to him, the attitude of Whirl, the intelligence and promptness of Brainstorm and other such traits are welcome in an issue where not everything is actually satisfying.

The scenes with the cast of RiD aren’t all winners, unfortunately. While the problems of Starscream and the complication of matters for him are amusing and do add to the drama of the situation, the scene with the Autobots at the opening of the issue isn’t that good. It gives us required information and does partake in some exploration of a few characters, but it doesn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things and in the pure amusement factor. It exists, it does its job and then it goes away, simple as that.

The scenes with Orion Pax, Rodimus and the rest don’t unfortunately manage so well, unfortunately. While there is a good lot of character exploration and some rather key information being spotlighted here, there just isn’t that much going on to keep the readers interest. The characters stay stuck in the cage, get a certain amount of exposition and react to said exposition, leaving some room for a twist near the end and that is about it. Not all characters unfortunately do a lot here, as well, with Rodimus and Cyclonus not exactly shining in terms of being proactive or even reactive. They answer to one or two lines, yet don’t add much to the present plight they are in.

The art, however, remains the same as always, with some rather strong artists that don’t exactly mesh very well together in a cohesive structure and design. James Raiz is still a bit stoic in his depiction of emotions and facial expressions, yet his backgrounds, robotic designs and panel layout is strong in general, which makes his parts rather good despite some of its weaknesses.

Atilio Rojo is very expressive, on the other hand, with a clear sense of pacing and a knack for visual design that is very well done, which gives most of the pages and panels he does enough gravitas to use for the proper buildup and impact he is the architect of. Something he seems to use a bit too much, yet excels in doing so is his sense of scope, with his pages using the titan very well to add a lot of tension and danger to the ongoing conflict.

Livio Ramondelli is perhaps the one that cannot be really integrated well with the others, his style being very distinct. His pages, over all, are rather beautiful to look at, with an inherent simplicity in what happens and how characters react. Still, the dead universe looks very well represented through his shadows and his use of colorization, which he does himself. The eerie feeling and the horror of a dying universe is simply astounding through his palette and his heavy shading technique, pushing for an impossibly clear contrast through brightness and darkness.

The rest of the colorization is done by Josh Perez, who does a rather competent job in most places. While he may struggle a bit with the heavy lines of James Raiz, the general high diversity and colorful characters are well put on the page, without any visual chaos that can result in confusion for the readers. Usually using the backgrounds and scenery to provide for a stable fix in term of colors, Perez use the sky, the interior of the titan and many other such places with very simple and repeating colors in order for the rest to be clearer.

The Conclusion: It may not reach the heights the regular team is used to give, yet there is a certain amelioration in terms of humor and entertainment that is rather nice to see. Still a bit chaotic visually in terms of styles, but quite decent nonetheless.

Grade: B-

-Hugo Robberts Larivière