CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers More than Meets the Eye #1
Reviewed by Red Dave Prime
Continuing on from The Death of Optimus Prime
, More than Meets the Eye
is one of two on-going series following different groups of the Transformers (the other being Robots in Disguise
The dead NAIL protester Ratchet tries to save appears in The Death of Optimus Prime
with the same sign shown here.
It is implied that Bumblebee is keeping his limp and cane for visual effect.
Cyclonus mistakes the Sweeps fading life signs for Scourge, indicating that they are (or were) heavily linked to their original creator (see All Hail Megatron Coda #2 ).
Brainstorms ID card has a rub sign, a-la the G1 toys. He is also very protective and secretive about his briefcase.
Rung's box of Model Spaceships has a few Collectors editions – the Lithone's Escape ship from the Animated Movie, The original Ark-1 from the G1 cartoon, The Axalon from Beast Wars and if I’m not mistaken, what looks like a Klingon Battle Cruiser…
Whirl has been dropped from the Wreckers for as-yet unknown reasons.
Cyclonus loses his left horn in the tussle with Whirl. This will annoy most readers for the foreseeable future.
Ultra Magnus visor does a threat-assessment on any robot in his view. Drift's risk of future criminal activity is apparently “off the scale”.
“You’ve done your duty. The war is over. The day you never thought would come? That’s Today.” – Rodimus, summing up the current situation on Cybertron.
“It’s all scripted you know, Drift writes it for him” – Bumblebee puts a dampener on Rodimus’s orator skills.
“You think that just because the War is over we can afford to stop fighting.” Prowl, showing the fundamental flaw in a race of warrior robots
“Preliminary Damage Report: You’re an Idiot.” – Tailgate's self-diagnostic program isn’t very respectful.
“So can I come on board?”
“Of course – If you promise to never ever speak.” – Red Alert lays the ground rules for Swerve coming aboard.
“It’s Rung. You know me, Red Alert.” – Rung has to remind someone of his proper name. Part 1.
“Don’t Open the Coffin. Don’t let them take Skids. Don’t go to Delphi. And Do Not – I repeat Do Not – look in the basement. And for the sake of the Cybertronian Race itself please don’t *KZZZZZZZ*” – The ominous message from the future.
I might as well put this disclaimer out here right now; as I write this, I’ve read 18 issues of More than Meets the Eye
, along with the annual. It would be fair to say I’m a big fan. That said, with these reviews I will try and achieve the following: First, I will try and be critical. Second, I will try and right from my initial reading perspective. A lot of what has made MTMTE great for me is Roberts foreshadowing of future plotlines. By the time we got to issue 10, everyone was re-reading issues, looking for possible future hints. That said, I feel these reviews should not be too spoiler heavy of future issues and plots so, bar the odd nod or two, I will try and keep knowledge of the future out of these reviews.
Now, back to the review.
Coming off the double high that was Last Stand of the Wreckers
and Chaos Theory
, it’s fair to say that James Roberts had a lot of goodwill going his way from the IDW community. Showing a knack for good dialogue and taking interesting angles on Cybertronian culture, Roberts was a breath of fresh air over pretty much all of the previous writers. Only Furman (imo) came close to Roberts for creating a universe that felt so connected and well thought out.
More than Meets the Eye
#1 is a very good start to the series. Setting out the tone and setting up many future plotlines, both big and small it’s a nicely dense read with much going on but not so much that it doesn’t leave an impression. Dialogue based moments are well paced and have a point and the action scene of the issue (the Whirl / Cyclonus) smackdown runs through the issue in a nice, organic way. It’s all tied nicely together as all the individual plots of the issue converge with the departure of the Lost Light. We get introductions to new characters like Swerve & Brainstorm, and refreshers for those who have already been featured such as Rodimus and Ratchet.
What’s interesting about Roberts's work, and much more so here than either LSOTW or Chaos Theory
, is that there is nearly always a veneer of humour. Most characters have a sense of wit – some more than others – and while some have applauded it’s “humanising” of the Transformers, it can equally be argued that it can feel out of place. Thankfully, all the smirks are in the right place here. Tailgate's toaster-like damage report (see Red Dwarf), Whirl's perverse but humorous speech to his audience of deceased Sweeps, Swerve's banter with Red Alert – all well done and deserving of their place in the issue. Humour works well within the MTMTE world and doesn’t often feel forced. Where one might call foul is with Ultra Magnus. Yes, the visor gag is clever and funny but is Magnus the character you want to do this with? Maybe it would have been better with Red Alert. Or maybe it’s leading to something else…
Overkill on humour or not, Roberts's writing style feels fresh compared to the previous writers. But a nod must go to the art time for giving MTMTE a real distinct style. Nick Roche’s stylistic approach won't be to everyone’s taste, but it does mean that every robot has a distinct character. And it’s complimented wonderfully by Josh Burcham’s lovely washed out colours. Combined with the writing, the art creates an atmosphere and vibe that goes beyond the norm for a Transformer comic.
Sadly, things could suffer with the news that Alex Milne will be taking over from issue 2 onwards. Is the artist behind the works of art Megatron: Origins
up to the task? The cover preview (a very Alex Rodimus, complete with Alex Milne Face™) would indicate no, but let us see what issue 2 brings us.
A wonderful, dense first issue then, setting up numerous plot points and establishing a good cast of characters, More than Meets the Eye
is confident and intriguing. Great Stuff.
Rating: 4 out of 5