Saturday, June 28, 2014

Moving Parts: More Than Meets The Eye # 30!

TALK about a big issue. It’s already been established that “Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye” (“TF:MTMTE”) is the best among IDW Publishing’s current TF comic book series.

Writer James Roberts has packed so much into this series that it feels like so much is happening at the same time.

“TF:MTMTE” # 30 is therefore the best issue of the series so far. Oh, where to begin? One of the series’ great mysteries is how Megatron—being tried on the Cybertronian moon Luna 2 for war crimes as leader of the Decepticons—got off without being executed and then appointed captain of The Lost Light as the quest for the Knights of Cybertron and Cyberutopia continued.

The previous issues had shown what happened before the trial and what happened after.

This issue fills in that huge gap. The solution is smart and ambitious; it just depends if you buy it or not. The turning point of the trial and the Megatron-as-captain development are all crammed into this issue and at times it’s almost like we’re spoiled for choice in terms of story. And, wow, Cybertronian law is weird.

But other stuff is going on aside from that big plot turn. Swerve returns to do the irreverent recap. After the events of last issue, the crew of The Lost Light have finally opened the coffin they found floating in deep space. Which shouldn’t be a problem except that the corpse they find inside is Rodimus, former ship captain and current crew member with the honorary rank of co-captain. Of course, Rodimus takes the news of the discovery badly and assigned a crack if quirky team to get to the bottom of it all. And aside from that, parts of The Lost Light start disintegrating, and by issue’s end, the entire crew is floating in space wondering where the ship has gone off to.

Roberts writes the heck out of this issue. Literally every conversation is important to the plot of “TF:MTMTE” # 30 and rings true to the characters. The trial is a fantastic piece of comic book work, with Ultra Magnus and Optimus Prime having to step out of their trial roles to prevent a breakout attempt for Megatron orchestrated by the Seacons (it fails). Starscream has a robotic migraine when he discovers that old Megs won’t be put to death (wouldn’t you if you were in the Screamers’ place?). Next issue promises an continuation of the crews’ travails without The Lost Light. The flashbacks are now apparently done with, so we can concentrate on the current problems of the kooky crew.

But let it not be said that Roberts is keeping everything serious. We see that the crew has given Rodimus another personal space ship in his image (it looks like a giant version of his head) and name (it’s still called the Rodpod. Seriously). Brainstorm has an early-early warning device that seems to have a sense of humor. But the funniest scene in “TF:MTMTE” # 30 involves Tailgate and Getaway in a nod of something the fandom has been twittering about for a while. “Bomp.” That is all.

The ever-reliable Alex Milne gets a turn on the art chores this month and man, does this issue look good. Everybody can be clearly distinguished from one another and the panels are dynamic. Milne needs to get more regular TF art work. His work here is impressive.

There are a lot of moving parts in this issue and Roberts successfully juggles them. It feels like a big part of the back story has been dealt with in this issue, so the next issues should be focused on the space-borne challenges of Megatron and his Autobot crew. The Dawn of the Autobots story arc continues on with strength and flavor, the best and most creative iteration of the Transformers in any form of media today.

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