Written by John Barber
Art by Atilio Rojo
Colours by Priscillia Tramotano
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Both on-going Transformers titles have been hurtling along at a frantic pace for around six months or so now, so it’s with no small amount of thanks that this issue “Second Exodus” provides a nice respite from the seemingly interminable action. The conclusion to the most recent storyline has seen Megatron’s forces defeated in battle, Bumblebee defeated in the political arena and Starscream becoming de facto ruler of the new united Cybertronian people .His first edict: Those who are unwilling to renounce their past allegiance are cast out into the inhospitable wastelands that Cybertron has become. So its de ja vu all over again, new alliances are formed and the world of The Transformers has changed forever, again. Again.
Robots in Disguise’s mix of canny political intrigue and excellent characterization serves to subtly differentiate it from its counterpoint More Than Meets the Eye. That’s not a knock on either title by the way. It’s like comparing the West Wing to The IT Crowd. Both are excellent. No doubt. But RID takes a more serious look at what is essentially a comic about two armies of toys fighting over who is the best toy. IDW, since acquiring the license have done a great job of taking something old and familiar and making it new and exciting. This is perfectly demonstrated in this issue, which focuses chiefly on three characters. With each one you feel a generic resonance from their depictions in previous incarnations, but writer John Barber is able to make these feel new and exciting. Better yet he is somehow able to have them develop personalities outside their generic one word descriptive: Veteran (Ironhide), outsider (Arcee) and prick (Prowl). The art is first rate. Atilio Rojo has a great handle on the look of the characters, but the real champion of this issue is colorist Priscillia Tramotano who is able to move seamlessly from shady future ghetto to barren desert with the greatest of ease.
As a final note: the tone of the first paragraph may seem needlessly mocking. It is however indicative of my only real gripe with this issue (and Robots in Disguise in general). Rather than using what seems to be the in house style in Marvel and DC these days- stories are needlessly padded out so that single story lines can fit the TPB- Robots in Disguise fits so much storyline and character development into each issue that I sometimes amounts to sensory overload. It’s a pleasing day when my main gripe about comic’s creators is that they are giving me too much bang for my buck.
Slow down lads.
4 out of 5 nerds.