CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers #27: Police Action, Part 2: Only Forward
Reviewed by Blackjack
That's what's "cool" in a movie. But Spike's life is not a movie. And he doesn't understand that actually behaving like that for real is reckless and, frankly, illegal.
First things first, the art is gorgeous. It's not epic painted dark stuff like Ramondelli's work on the space-bound Chaos arc. While I do adore Ramondelli's work, Brendan Cahill's art is very clean, and shows action scenes so perfectly. He's certainly up there with the likes of Roche and Figueroa and Guidi. Things flow smoothly here, from the fast and interesting battle with Brawl in the beginning (a very far cry from the similarly human-centric International Incident). Prowl is a very interesting protagonist when he's not in the 'I LUV HUMANZ' camp, and while he's not at the Roche or Furman 'manipulative bastard prick' that's so popular with fans, and while I admittedly would love to have an entire maxi-series revolving around bastard prick Prowl, this tamer detective version is likewise enjoyable. Like Rodimus and Optimus before him, Costa happily ignores the more unpopular interpretation of Prowl in the earlier ongoing issues. While it seems like he's licking his vomit and trying to appease the fans, I'd very much prefer this than the alternative. Streetwise is a very entertaining sidekick and while he doesn't do much, all of the dialogue between the two is pretty fun. Speaking of dialogue, well, Costa has finally, after more than two years of writing, managed to come up with a human conversation that I don't immediately skip. Obviously the Prowl stuff are much better (that line about Huffer not being around to drag Brawl back is hilarious). Ultra Magnus has a nice few lines about being a straight-up goody goody soldier, and Wheeljack being pretty interested in the technology, and Brawl being a stupid (but not durrrr stupid), are all handled well.
Also, to note is that Costa is finally (after two years, though) trying to harmonize things with the Furman-penned groundwork. It's not so in-your-face like what McCarthy did, shoving a dead Headmaster Hunter in our face, but pretty subtle. Things like holo-avatars making a reappearance, people like Bludgeon being mentioned instead of happily ignored... things like that, even though they're pretty small, is a nice touch. Pennington is pretty fun as well, shaping up as the only human character I'd remember for actually being, well, human instead of being a kewl Mary Sue. That rant about Sandra being a traitor is well-written, and Costa doesn't need four pages of headshots to tell it. Bringing Sandra back... well, I don't remember who the heck she was and it did serve to get me to re-read my synopses of International Incident. Gad, it's terrible. But it also serves to show how much Costa has improved.
A Decepticon plot, Prowl investigating a case, interrogating former Skywatch agents... things are told pretty well and it's actually interesting enough that you almost forget that the whole point of this is to pin the death of a Decepticon on Spike Witwicky, a ridiculous plot at best. It's like the space cast counterpart... amazing characterisation there as well, but they're going to deal with crapshit D-Void sooner or later. However, this is going to be much easier to wrap up than shitty D-Void, so I hope Costa doesn't drop the ball on the conclusion again. It's also a bit of somewhat of a thrown bone to the fans, acknowledging that Spike is a dickhead. I don't know if Costa planned it all out, making Spike an unlikable bitch from the start, or this is the result of fan backlash (the latter is more likely, I reckon, what with issue eight establishing Spike as a crappy badass hero). Still, Spike continues to be the problem, even in the background. It's very unbelievable that he can outsmart Prowl and shit like that, and the story revolving around him makes me want to strangle the feller. Still, a pretty nice read with a likeable protagonist.
This issue borrows its title from Michael Marshall Smith's novel 'Only Forward'.
Sandra was the female Skywatch agent first introduced in issue 7 of the ongoing and played a somewhat big role in 'International Incident'. Brawl's role in that dire arc, playing as mercenary soldiers for Korea, is also brought up by Prowl.
According to Sandra, Skywatch has its funding cut off by indirect means, and that it is hanging by a thread. Also according to her, local enforcement and the like has refused to work with Skywatch now, probably a result of Jazz frying that sunglasses cop during the 'Revenge of the Decepticons' arc.
Prowl cites one of the Constructicons and Bludgeon as two possible candidates for the guy directing Brawl.
Taking something that first appeared in 'Chaos Theory' and have been reused in 'Chaos', we see Prowl and Streetwise conferring with Wheeljack (who is on Omega Supreme, of course) who appears via real-time hologram conversation.
After a long time of not being seen ever since the Furman days, Streetwise and Groove both employ human holo-avatars again.
Again, this story is solicited as 'the Last Story on Earth Part 2'.
How on Earth does Spike manage to smuggle in cameras around the base without the Autobots knowing? I mean, Prowl has all sorts of funky radar things, and even if this is a Skywatch base instead of Omega Supreme's base, it's still rather far-fetched that someone like Prowl or Magnus would not check for wiretaps before interrogating Sandra. Of course, it could be part of Prowl's grand plan to flush out Spike...