Writer: James Roberts
Pencils: Alex Milne
Inks: Brian Shearer
Colors: Josh Bucham
Publisher: IDW Publishing.
WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS!!!!!!
I don’t know why I was so surprised to find out that IDW’s run of the Transformers had finally surpassed the Marvel version in terms of length. It had surpassed it in terms of quality after about the third issue. Anyhow, with 8 years of continuity under its belt, the current version of The Transformers has a big problem on its hands, and this issue of More Than Meets The Eye serves as a perfect example. The “problem” (if it be really described as a problem) is that there is far too much going on. IDW’s Transformers is in something of a bizarre doldrums, where instead of nothing happening, EVERYTHING is happening all the time. AT ONCE. Consider what happens in this issue alone:
The crew of the Lost Light, while searching for the fabled Knights of Cybernation, has found themselves prisoners of chief justice Tyrest, a demented lawmaker. Whilst awaiting sentence in his dungeon the captives find out that Ultra Magnus, himself an agent of Tyrest, is literally not the man they thought he was. Meanwhile back on the ship, the remaining bots must fight off mysterious attackers who have it in for Skids (who it turns out is a mysterious criminal). Elsewhere, Ratchet (now a disembodied head) must compete in a demented surgery competition against Pharma, with the winner getting ownership of his hands. ALSO MEANWHILE, Whirl and Cyclonus find loads of swords. MEANWHILE ALSO ELSEWHERE, Ultra Magnus (now revealed to be Ambus, latest in a long line of Ultra Magnai) confronts Tyrest and comes to a sticky end.
See what I mean? Revelation after shocking revelation followed by gruesome death followed by shocking début means that no one single event has the emotional resonance it would have if presented on its own. Somehow the whole becomes less than the sum of its parts, which isn’t good. Certainly if you hadn’t been following the series and came in to this issue unprepared you wouldn’t have one single clue what the hell was going on. Its not that it’s bad, it’s excellent! It’s just too much.
Roberts ahas been moving towards, slowly but surely, introducing some of the more obscure entries in the Transformers cannon, so it’s not really a surprise to see a Japanese only character in Star Sabre showing up. What is a surprise is the heelish portrayal of the formerly squeaky clean swordsman. Additionally the idea of Ultra Magnus being a lineage of people wearing a suit of armour is typical of Roberts’ maniac ability to take a seemingly innocuous feature of a toy and turning it into a plot point. I suspect also that given MTMTE’s Red Dwarfishness the similarity between the Magnus’ back-story and the infinite Ace Rimmers idea is no mere coincidence. Come to think of it Magnus has always had a bit of the Rimmer about him. Hmm.
Alex Milne’s art is, as always, excellent. His ability to portray what seems like a million billion charters with the greatest of ease is positively uncanny. Of particular note art wise is the superb variant cover by Nick Roche. There’s a part of me that wishes Roche was the full time artist, but that would mean no more Milne
More Than Meets The Eye remains fun and well put together. It just needs to space out the earth shattering revelations ever so slightly before either Roberts, Milne or, most likely me, has a heart attack.
3.5 out of 5 Nerds