PDA

View Full Version : Comic Review: More Than Meets the Eye #1 [uploaded]


Red Dave Prime
2013-08-04, 09:07 PM
Title: More Than Meets the Eye #1
Liars, A to D Part 1: How To Say Goodbye and Mean It

Published Date: January 2012
Written by: James Roberts
Art by: Nick Roche
Colours by: Josh Burcham
Edited by: John Barber
Cover price: $3.99

Synopsis:

With Optimus Prime reverting to the name Orion Pax and once again leaving his fellow Autobots to their own devices, a split has appeared in the ranks. On one side are those that wish to rebuild Cybertron and create Peace with the non-combatants (Nails). On the other side are those that feel they can never escape the stigma of the war and want to seek out a new adventure away from Cybertron. Leading the latter exodus is Rodimus, flanked by Ultra Magnus and Drift.

Rodimus announces his plans to leave Cybertron and a grand mission to seek out the Knights of Cybertron using the map contained within his half of the Matrix in the hope of gaining answers and enlightenment. Under the watch of both opponents and proponents, he makes a proposal to anyone who wishes to join to be on board his ship, The Lost Light, when it leaves the planet the next day. The issue follows various ‘bots journey to that launch.

Ratchet is the first to announce his exit, indicating to Bumblebee that he feels he is too old to start again. Another supposedly vital Autobot, Chromedome, is also joining the crew of the Lost Light, much to the annoyance of Prowl. There doesn’t seem to be too much love lost between Prowl and Chromedome's friend Rewind who is also signing up.

Also on his way to the launch, Cyclonus reminisces about how Cybertron was before the war. A faint life-sign is mistaken for his former partner, Scourge. However this is revealed to be a tomb of Scourge Facsimiles, the Sweeps – in a one-sided post-mortem conversation with former Wrecker, Whirl. Fearing that Cyclonus may tell others about this strange scene, Whirl immediately attacks and despite Cyclonus's protests, the two battle across the Cybertron landscape.

Over at the launch site, Head of Security Red Alert is questioning several new recruits. First up is Brainstorm who is very attached to his briefcase and also exempt from Red's security checks. Following Brainstorm is motor-mouth Swerve, who is only let aboard provided he doesn’t speak. Finally we get Rung, the Autobot psychologist who Red Alert doesn’t seem to remember despite being his patient for over half a millennium. Their conversation is interrupted by the battling Cyclonus and Whirl, with Rung losing his arm in the process.

The battling duos' next interruption is the group of Ratchet, Rewind and Chromedome, who are having to walk to the launch due to Rewinds alt-mode (it would appear he is a USB key of some sort). Just as Whirl claims victory over the former Dead Universe robot, he is knocked offline by a massive explosion from underneath the ground. Upon inspection, Ratchet and co. find the Autobot Tailgate, who has been trapped there for 6 million years (unknown to himself). Before he passes out, Tailgate mentions that he is late for the launch so the other Autobots bring him along, but not before Rewind picks up some gold discs from Swindle in a clandestine meeting.

Finally, with a crew of over 200 Autobots on board, Rodimus prepares to begin the quest and sets off. Just as they begin to quantum jump, the Lost Light suffers a massive explosion and is sent hurtling into unknown space. As they finally gain control they realise that there is a hull breach and over 40 Autobots have been jettisoned over their nearest planet. Landing on the planet, Magnus and Rodimus begin to plan a rescue mission.

Back on Cybertron, Bumblebee and Prowl are shown to be in mourning for their colleagues, as they believe that the Lost Light was destroyed in the explosion. Meanwhile an unheard transmission from the future is received, containing several severe warnings.



Characters featured [in rough order of appearance]:
Ultra Magnus, Rodimus, Drift, Xaaron, Dipstick, Wheeljack, Prowl, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Cyclonus, Rewind, Chromedome, Tailgate, Whirl, Sweeps (sort of…), Red Alert, Brainstorm, Swerve, Rung, Swindle, Mirage, Sky-Lynx, Blaster, Hound, Mainframe, Perceptor, Fizzle, Sureshot, Rollout, Polaris, Rad, Waverider

Notes:
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”


Quote / Unquote:

“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.

Review:

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 and Drift 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

zigzagger
2013-08-04, 09:26 PM
Awesome! Glad to see someone stepping up to do these.

Oh, and I did some quick polishing for you (might still need a more thorough proofing, though). Just some capitalization, italicizing and an apostrophe here and there. Otherwise, everything looks good.

Red Dave Prime
2013-08-04, 10:13 PM
Appreciate that - it's not my strong suit. I do put it through the old spell checker but that doesnt pick up all the grammer issues.

Blackjack
2013-08-06, 02:18 PM
Full of praise, I approve! :)

Will get to start working on creating the pages for the series. Will hopefully upload these soon.

inflatable dalek
2013-08-06, 02:32 PM
It's terrible to see all the old reviews being so nice, we should be breaking the new guy like a puppy!





:p

Blackjack
2013-08-06, 02:53 PM
@ Red Dave: if you don't mind, I'll take up the proofing shoes as I upload these. :)

EDIT: Added some of the more obscure background Autobots in the appearances list. :p. You made me reread this issue, so...

This will annoy most readers for the foreseeable future but mostly Ziggy.

Did we ever have a review of the Death of Optimus issue that preceded the split from the Costaverse to MTMTE and RID?

inflatable dalek
2013-08-06, 02:59 PM
@ Red Dave: if you don't mind, I'll take up the proofing shoes as I upload these. :)

Did we ever have a review of the Death of Optimus issue that preceded the split from the Costaverse to MTMTE and RID?


Was that not the last one you wrote?

Blackjack
2013-08-06, 03:27 PM
Was that not the last one you wrote?

Yeah, apparently so. My memory is just kind of shot, since I didn't remember writing that.

Red Dave Prime
2013-08-06, 04:38 PM
Yep, you reviewed DOOP so I am trying to catch up from there. I'll get round to the spotlights but I must admit I'm hoping someone else picks up RiD.

I am hoping to get 2 reviews up a week. But yeah, someone else please PLEASE pick up the Barber stuff. The thought of reviewing it has made me realise how much I dont enjoy it.

Blackjack
2013-08-06, 04:57 PM
I am hoping to get 2 reviews up a week. But yeah, someone else please PLEASE pick up the Barber stuff. The thought of reviewing it has made me realise how much I dont enjoy it.

Mike Costa's run has well and truly broken my soul, so I don't think I can cope with the Barberverse. I can maybe review one or two issues, but I don't think I can do all of them...

Might, might do Regeneration One, since there's far less to it than RID, so...

Red Dave Prime
2013-08-06, 05:26 PM
I'm staying away from regen one, not because of quality (it doesnt look too bad from what I've seen in Forbidden Planet) but I dont know the Marvel universe so I dont think I could do a fair review.

Might give Rid #1 a try this week. Sigh.

Blackjack
2013-08-06, 05:52 PM
Might give Rid #1 a try this week. Sigh.

After thinking about it, I might be able to do RID and Regeneration One, although I'd prefer if you and I alternate doing RID reviews... share the pain burden or some sort. Though I think I'll focus more on completing RID, which is marginally better and more in demand than Regeneration One.

Auntie Slag
2013-08-06, 08:44 PM
I absolutely ADORED Whirl's depiction in this issue. So spindly and weird, so unlike the way I'm used to Transforers looking, but so utterly full of movement and just oozing danger.

Practically every panel he's in he looks great, but perhaps my favourite one is where he's standing over Cyclonus having just got up from their impact into the ground. Like he's about to rip Cyclonus' body apart with his bare hands.

The only thing that bugs me is that no other Transformer in this series has had such a radical redesign as Whirl. Why is that?

I'm not complaining, I like that its unique to Whirl, but it's a question I'd like Roche or Roberts to answer.

And Blackjack, your new avatar of Pharma gets freakier the more times I see it!

inflatable dalek
2013-08-06, 09:34 PM
The only thing that bugs me is that no other Transformer in this series has had such a radical redesign as Whirl. Why is that?




*COUGH*Shockwave*COUGH*

inflatable dalek
2013-08-06, 09:40 PM
Also... One of the people I put feelers out to wasn't averse to doing RID reviews, they just wouldn't be able to commit to such till much later in the year. In someone else feels really keen to do them before that, they're more than welcome to join in... But at least there's the chance of some Barber (and to be fair, as editor he's as much responsible for MTMTE being good as Andy Schmidt is for having caused Mike Costa) once that person comes back from having saved all the seals.

Auntie Slag
2013-08-06, 09:47 PM
Not really, apart from the empurata Shockwave's body looks much the same as his Marvel G1 depiction. Whirl's body by comparison is massively different.

Red Alert is the next obvious one. He looks like an American footballer. I'm sure Rung makes a reference to the amount Red has changed over the years and there's a reason why... but Whirl is like a cranefly. No other Transformer in the MTMTE-verse is like him.

Blackjack
2013-08-06, 09:48 PM
Also... One of the people I put feelers out to wasn't averse to doing RID reviews, they just wouldn't be able to commit to such till much later in the year. In someone else feels really keen to do them before that, they're more than welcome to join in... But at least there's the chance of some Barber (and to be fair, as editor he's as much responsible for MTMTE being good as Andy Schmidt is for having caused Mike Costa) once that person comes back from having saved all the seals.

Red Dave and I plan to kind of alternate doing RID reviews.

Which means he's going to do most of the work and I'm going to hop along in the Orion Pax ones to help lift off his burden. :)

I absolutely ADORED Whirl's depiction in this issue. So spindly and weird, so unlike the way I'm used to Transforers looking, but so utterly full of movement and just oozing danger.

Indeed. MTMTE Whirl is an awesome, awesome redesign. It's still very much similar to his G1 counterpart, unlike Chromedome's rather strange giant wheel shoulders which I had to get used to, but it exudes awesomeness and it's just very... Whirl.

Which is probably why I used him as an avatar for quite some time.

The only thing that bugs me is that no other Transformer in this series has had such a radical redesign as Whirl. Why is that?

Whirl is just awesome.

Although considering things, I'd say Chromedome, Red Alert and Tailgate in particular look quite different from how they're traditionally portrayed, most jarring when the Shadowplay issues show their much blockier, edgier designs all but side-to-side with their modern counterparts.

No one beats Whirl in awesomeness because Whirl is awesome, though.

And Blackjack, your new avatar of Pharma gets freakier the more times I see it!

PHARMA WILL EAT YOUR SOUL

It's such a crazy freaky insane expression that I feel obliged to honour his insanity and swap Whirl out for him.

inflatable dalek
2013-08-06, 10:14 PM
Not really, apart from the empurata Shockwave's body looks much the same as his Marvel G1 depiction. Whirl's body by comparison is massively different.

Ah... But both Shockwave and Whirl as they look now in the present day set comics do basically look the same as their Marvel G1 selves (Whirl arguably even more so as WFC Shockwave has a different gun arm which has just sort of turned up in the last year of IDW without much explanation. Unless Mike Costa explained it. In which case it turned up without much explanation).

Within just the IDW Universe... we know Shockwave looked completely different before he was put through the process, with two hands; an expressive face and a balanced level of emotions (though this is where I really love Roberts, it would be so easy to make Shockwave a nice guy who suffered a tragic end which made him a villain. But both long before and after meeting Orion he had his own plots which we're still not entirely sure about and are even slightly biased towards liking just because the first we heard of them was after finding out Orion Pax's friend had put them in motion. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop about Pax being Matrix compatible because Shockwave rebuilt him to be Matrix compatible...).

I don't think we've (knowingly, I wouldn't put it past Roberts to make it a face we've seen before) seen Whirl properly before he was changed, but we do know he had two (Pharma level) hands, and a face that could express. And he's gone so long without both he wouldn't want either back as he couldn't cope without that anger in his life. But however different he looked in his past life, it can't be more different from how he looks now than Senator Shockwave in Chaos Theory looks compared to normal Shockwave.

No other Transformer in the MTMTE-verse is like him.

But I do think, like a mad fan but with actual talent, a lot of what we've had from Roberts this past year basically boils down to "G1 Whirl and G1 Shockwave had basically the same head.... lets explain it!".


Red Dave and I plan to kind of alternate doing RID reviews.

You can't start doing reviews again after I get someone to replace you! Cats will be lying with dogs next. [More seriously... If you're up for it, great news].

Blackjack
2013-08-06, 10:55 PM
Whirl changed bodies from Stormbringer to MTMTE, which is kind of jarring. From Beast Machines-esque fluid robot thing into that insectoid Bayformer thing. But yeah, what Dalek said about Empurata and all that kind of made sense...

But I do think, like a mad fan but with actual talent, a lot of what we've had from Roberts this past year basically boils down to "G1 Whirl and G1 Shockwave had basically the same head.... lets explain it!".

It's more of a 'let's make a good story out of it' than 'let's explain it', truth be told. :)

You can't start doing reviews again after I get someone to replace you! Cats will be lying with dogs next. [More seriously... If you're up for it, great news].

HA! JUST WATCH ME!

Also more seriously, with Red Dave taking the brunt of the massive backlog, I'm happy to help out with some of the smaller titles. :D

inflatable dalek
2013-08-06, 11:07 PM
Whirl changed bodies from Stormbringer to MTMTE, which is kind of jarring. From Beast Machines-esque fluid robot thing into that insectoid Bayformer thing. But yeah, what Dalek said about Empurata and all that kind of made sense...

But I think the thing with his Stormbringer body is, it's close enough to the Roche/Roberts version to just put the difference down to artistic style.

Admittedly, thanks to IDW going through a long period of not giving a **** about that sort of thing (and sadly the current toy promotion seems to be forcing things back that way) gives you a lot of leway there, but I think it's easier to view every version of IDW Whirl as being the same design than it is, say Red Alert.



It's more of a 'let's make a good story out of it' than 'let's explain it', truth be told. :)

Though that would also be Barber's excuse for most of what he's done.



HA! JUST WATCH ME!


I DEFY YOU! DO YOU HEAR ME!!!! I DEFY YOU!!!!!!