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Red Dave Prime
2014-07-18, 11:36 AM
FMore Than Meets the Eye #3
Liars A to D part 3: The Chaos of Warm Things

Published Date: March 14 2012
Written by: James Roberts
Art by: Alex Milne
Colours by: Josh Burcham
Edited by: John Barber
Cover price: $3.99

Synopsis:
The issue begins with Shock conversing with Ore – or at least, what’s left of him, Ore being fused to the quantum drive of the lost light last issue. Shock laments his partners passing and cleans up his personal effects. This involves deleting all the calls on his communicator, one of which was to Prowl, and locating the tracer that Ore was meant to attach to the engines of the lost light. Unfortunately for Shock, just as he finds the tracer he is attacked by a mysterious assailant and killed in a gruesome manner -- his brain module is pulled out through his mouth and his spark explodes from his chest. Nice.

Returning to where last issue ended, Red Alert informs Rodimus that there’s a Spark Eater on board. Rodimus response is to only inform a select few of the crew and orders the remaining crew members to pair off and head to the habitation suites. Unknown to the rest of the crew, he orders Magnus to seal them in as a precaution. Rodimus gathers together Magnus, Drift, Chromedome, Trailbreaker and Ratchet and head off to Shock's body, picking up the uninvited Rewind along the way. Tailgate asks Cyclonus to help him to the hab suites as he is still stuck halfway between modes (see last issue).

At the scene of the crime, the various Autobots argue over whether it is indeed a Sparkeater that has killed Shock. After a bit of squabbling, Chromedome uses his mnemosurgery skills on shock to try and find out exactly what attacked him. The resulting image is disturbing, to say the least.

Meanwhile, Cyclonus and the partially transformed Tailgate arrive at their Hab Suite, getting a few suspicious looks from Hoist along the way. Despite trying to make polite conversation, Tailgate is unceremoniously dropped on the floor of the hab suite. The two converse and Cyclonus fills Tailgate in on the war between the Autobots and Decepticons.

Nowhere near a Hab Suite, Swerve and Skids discover a Bar. Swerve brings up his dream of owning his own bar with Cybertronian racing star Blur, but it falls on deaf ears as Skids is more concerned with escaping through the ceiling. Which he does.

Back at the corpse, Ratchet concludes that it was a Sparkeater that had taken Shock's life and notes that the creature will be looking for the 'brightest spark'. Using this knowledge, Rodimus comes up with a clever plan which has only a slight flaw; he intends to draw the Sparkeater to himself as, naturally, he is the strongest spark onboard. Only he isn’t. Rung is. And after a brief snack of the spark of Animus and a small skirmish with Magnus and the others, that’s who the Sparkeater heads straight for. Luckily for Rung, Skids pulls him out of harms way and into a nearby elevator shaft just in time.

Realising he has made a mistake, Rodimus instructs Rung and Skids to head to the engine room. As they make their way there, the two encounter Brainstorm, who the Sparkeater oddly chooses to ignore in its hunt for more food. Reaching the engine room, Rung is used as bait for the charging Sparkeater, allowing Rodimus to pin it against the side of the ships quantum generators just as Perceptor engages the quantum jump. The end result for the Sparkeater, and Rodimus’s hands, is the same as what happened to poor Ore in issue 2 –- it becomes entombed within the quantum engine.

Later in the Medbay, as he is getting repaired after his transformation glitch from the previous issue, Tailgate decides he wants to pledge allegiance… to the Decepticons.


Characters featured [in rough order of appearance]:
Shock, Ore, Prowl, Red Alert, Swerve, Brawn, Tailgate, Grapple, Cosmos, Smokescreen, Powerglide, Hoist, Whirl, Pointblank, Animus, Xaaron, Drift, Rodimus, Ultra Magnus, Huffer, Inferno, Rung, Skids, Chromedome, Rewind, Cyclonus, Trailbreaker, Ratchet, Boss, Nominus Prime, Megatron, Sentinel Prime, Sideswipe, Black Shadow, Sideswipe, Impactor, Sunstreaker, Grimlock, Starscream, Brainstorm, Perceptor, Proteus

Notes:
In the montage scene, I’m pretty sure that it’s meant to depict Megatron taking a sniper shot at Zeta Prime – Autocracy has since shown us this wasn’t quite what happened (a pity – it’s an awesome visual). Other moments shown include Sentinel overseeing the opening of Nominus Primes chest cavity in search of the Matrix, Grimlock choosing between both sides, Sherma hanging from the bridge which would receive his name, and Starscream about to shot the corrupt Senator Proteus in the head. All these events, with the exception of Grimlock, play out or have played out in various James Roberts stories.

Brainstorm is very protective of his briefcase. In the story “Bullets”, Brainstorm (possibly jokingly) describes it as containing the Malevolent Counterintuitive Pathogen. Anyone who opens this case will find the one thing they least expect to, and then it will kill them. The briefcase will appear at various points and at the time of this review its exact contents are still unknown.

The reason the Sparkeater ignores him however, is because of his weak spark, as revealed in RID #27 (Dark Cybertron #11)

We learn in issue 31 that the Sparkeater was placed onboard the Lost Light by a group of Worshippers of Mortilus.


Quote Unquote:

“After everything we’ve been through – escaping Hell’s Point, braving the Crucible, surviving Babu Yar, welding Prowl’s hands together for a joke.” – Here’s hoping we get to see Shock and Ore again even if it is a story set in the past.

“Nickel, Iron, Cobalt, Chrome,
He’ll eat your soul, turn your spark to stone,
Nickle, Iron, Cobalt, Chrome,
Run, little robot, run away home”
- The Sparkeater rhyme. Creepy.

“I once arrested a Decepticon who thought he was a Sparkeater. He called himself the Dark Assassin, Devourer of Souls and Propagator of Infinite Sin. His real name was Blip.” – Ultra Magnus speaks about one of his great nemeses.

“A brain module sitting outside a body without a head wound. Now I’m no doctor, but that strikes me as intensely wrong.– No Trailbreaker, you are no doctor. You, son, are a forcefield specialist

“What are you looking at?” – Cyclonus, making friends as usual.

“My nickname at the academy was “Shut the Hell Up”. – Swerve in a nutshell.

“Remember who you are talking to. While you’re on this ship you answer to me. Not the other way round. Are we clear about that?” – Rodimus puts Ultra Magnus in his place.

Review:

After 2 issues of mostly set-up, More Than Meets The Eye gets the ball rolling proper with a nice, mostly self-contained, action story. The obvious Alien movie reference is apparent, from the way the Sparkeater explodes the spark out of its victims chest to the chase through the elevator shaft. This is a neat little tale with a few nice set pieces and generally a good pace.

Artwise, I felt this was the first time that Alex Milne shows that not only can he ape Nick Roche's style from the first issue, but arguably do panels that Roche (much as I like his stuff) would have struggled with. The mosaic showing various incidents leading up to the war is really excellent storytelling in a comic, being visually interesting and also giving out lots of information and back story if you know what to look for. I also really liked the panel with Skids and Rung in the elevator, Chromedome's look into the last few moments of Ore, and Animus getting his spark taken. There’s also a consistency to Milne's work that I don’t think Roche could have provided in a monthly run. And it's nice to see that when Milne has to design new characters or creatures he can keep it within the established style of MTMTE. The Sparkeater fits really well. It’s something I did wonder about given his previous work on the Drift mini-series.

Going back to the idea of there being lots of background information in the art, it turns out it’s a sentiment that runs throughout this issue from a writing point of view as well. On a first read, it’s a fun if slightly throwaway issue. But looking back there is already a lot of MTMTE universe lore being presented here. The conversation between Shock and what remains of Ore gives insight into various key points that will come up again and again in conversations during MTMTE's first season – Hell's Point, The Crucible, etc. What's nice is we never get a full explanation or story based on these events. Just enough snippets to get across that they were key battles during the war. It’s a nice way to create a universal back story that can be dipped into for character moments without feeling forced.

The plot itself is fine and while there’s a few niggles (the reason behind all the crew hiding in their hab suites feels very forced and I still find the introduction of Skids with the other crew members as being more than a little odd), it all runs along at a great clip, meaning you don’t have time to question things too much. Which, in a comic about giant, transforming robots, is how things should be. There’s some nice character moments too. We establish Chromedome and his brain-invading skills, Ratchet and Drifts opposing views on spirituality (or lack thereof), Whirl's overall recklessness and slight disdain for the rest of his crew mates, Rung being the brightest spark on the ship and Tailgate's desire to belong.

Oh, and Skids finds a bar. Nice.

Best of all, Rodimus has a moment to shine that also shows his flaws. As time goes on with these reviews, I might become a little critical of how Roberts handles Rodimus, but I think in this case its bang on –- brave, cavalier and a little reckless of himself and, most notably, others.

Not an essential issue, but one that has much to enjoy.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

inflatable dalek
2014-07-18, 03:22 PM
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeee's back!

Red Dave Prime
2014-07-18, 09:43 PM
Shit... Didn't realise that review was that large. Need to work on that.

Blackjack
2014-07-18, 09:52 PM
No worries, large reviews are funner to read! :D

I've been rereading my MTMTE TPB's and am just starting to notice a fair bit of things for the first time, one of which is the Sparkeater and Brainstorm thing. Totally thought it was the briefcase and not a sparkless/weak-sparked Brainstorm...

inflatable dalek
2014-07-18, 10:14 PM
I've just finished off Mike Costa.

zigzagger
2014-07-18, 10:33 PM
Just gave it a once-over. Some minor corrections, punctuation and such :)


EDIT:

One thing, though: "Brainstorm's look into the last few moments of Ore". You mean Chromedome, right?

I've just finished off Mike Costa.

....

Why?

Or am I supposed to take it as you literally finished off Mike Costa, as part of some elaborate plot to assassinate him? ;)

Okay, okay, to be fair, I did re-read Police Action a month or two back, myself. Wasn't as bad as I recall it being... though it has its problems.

Red Dave Prime
2014-07-18, 11:02 PM
Yes, that was meant to be chromey, not brainy.

inflatable dalek
2014-07-19, 03:28 PM
Or am I supposed to take it as you literally finished off Mike Costa, as part of some elaborate plot to assassinate him? ;)

What, you expect me to spell it out without any hint of subtlety? Who do you think I am? Mike Costa?

Rereading all the IDW stuff in order does have its downside, and that includes wading through the ongoing.

Blackjack
2014-07-19, 04:19 PM
Rereading all the IDW stuff in order does have its downside, and that includes wading through the ongoing.

Man, I pity you.

Costa's ongoing is just so painful to read due to the sheer amount of padding and rambling talky scenes, and the extremely variable quality of art certainly doesn't help. I do remember that there are a couple of decent issues -- Chaos Theory, issue #4 with Thundercracker, issue #7 or #8 with Megatron on Cybertron just reminiscing, the Ironhide mini isn't wholly terrible other than the annoying retcons and the one with Hot Rod taking on the Decepticons at Chaar was fun -- but the rest are just so much bullshit and Spike Witwicky being a massive author's pet and characters randomly change motivation as the plot requires...

But I've always thought Costa's run was one of the worst. Even with All Hail Megatron or John Barber's RID it's still generally, well, a quick read even if they're not particularly good.

EDIT: I have uploaded this.

EDIT2: All the MTMTE/RID/Autocracy/Windblade pages should have all the cover images up.