TRANSFORMERS: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE #1
Story by: James Roberts
Art by: Nick Roche
Colours by: Josh Burcham
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Cover by: Alex Milne
Publisher: IDW Publishing
I must admit to not being the biggest fan of Transformers down the years. It was simply one property that I just couldn’t get into. But for once I was ensnared by a comic company’s PR machine. IDW spent the last year rolling out the Chaos saga and it ended with the one shot comic The Death of Optimus Prime which was more a metaphorical death than an actual one and this issue quickly followed suit as part of a double barreled two number one issues exploring the aftermath. For some reason what was happening in this world was something that I wanted to know more about so I’ve gone about trying to track down all the chapters and having read some, I have found that Transformers books are actually extremely entertaining.
I found myself wondering before reading the book about what a writer of a Transformers story must go through in order to write an issue featuring robots and how he could possibly make those mechanical beings in any way relatable to the reader, something former TF writer Mike Costa has made mention of before having trouble with. But I found that very quickly that Roberts in the space of just a few pages made me nearly forget that there were robots on the page as the book read like a structured humanistic drama with all the fillings.
Roberts does a good job of relaying a good amount of characterization and when I track down all chapter of the Chaos saga then I will understand the continuity references more. That isn’t a fault of Roberts but more my own for reading ahead. His dialogue is engaging with good amounts of empathy, comedy and more gracing the book in a tight script. The bulk of the issue until the final few pages is more laying the groundwork for what is to come and feels like that the first chapter will read better when read with all parts of the first arc al a graphic novel.
I imagine that drawing a book with very angular characters like Transformers would be very difficult for an artist. I know Nick Roche is an accomplished and practiced artist in this field and he was the perfect choice to open up a new chapter in the long running Transformers saga as someone as familiar as him on art duties is a nice cushion for new readers like myself to fall in on when we open a TF book for the first time. His style is easy to follow which could be a downfall in other artists with characters who cosmetically look somewhat similar. Mention must be made too of Josh Burcham who makes Roche’s pencils come alive with some great colouring.
This book surprised the hell out of me. It was one of the most entertaining things I have read in a long time and my reading these days is more discerning as I find myself moving steadily away from a diet of superheroes to trying to find something more fulfilling. There was enough plot points dropped and left dangling that I fully expect the journey to their conclusion to be worth the price of admission as the final few pages of the book picked up pace as the new direction of the Transformers took off.
David O Leary
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