After an auspicious start with the new series Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye, and an in-depth interview with Crave Online about it all, writer James Roberts proves with the second issue that he's adept at juggling a huge cast of characters, a lot of different plotlines, and still making it fun and interesting.
Two issues in, we've learned that this series is going to be packed dense with stuff. We open with the apparently sociopathic weaponsmith Brainstorm cracking wise about how some poor bastard was killed by being slammed into their ship's quantum generators, explaining why he and the entire crew of the Lost Light crash-landed on some strange planet that none of them can place on their star maps. While that's getting fixed, the rest of the Autobots are out scouring the planet's surface trying to find all the poor bastards who were sucked out a hole in the hull during the crash to see if they can be saved – and one of them happens to be Cyclonus. Technically, he was never a Decepticon, but he did serve under the maniacal Galvatron, so trust is an issue – especially when he whispers a death threat to the nut-job Whirl, but to be fair, everybody kinda wants to kill Whirl. We've got legendary surgeon Ratchet still having problems with his skills deteriorating, the weird 'Bot out of time named Tailgate learning he's been stuck underground for six million years and the odd relish with which our goofy li'l buddy Swerve informs him of that fact.
Then there's the sudden, inexplicable appearance of Skids, who comes barrelling through a wormhole from who-knows-where in a shuttle with no memory of what's going on, who he is, or what he's apparently running from. Working on pure instinct, he bails from his shuttle and crash-lands it, and finds himself having to do battle with the two robot drones the shuttle apparently transforms into. No idea why, because all they say while trying to fight him is "Nineteen Eighty-Four." Metatextually, we longtime TF nerds know that 1984 is when Transformers were first introduced on the scene, and Roberts is no stranger to poking at the meta. What this will mean in continuity, we have no idea as yet. But Skids' adventure in dealing with the slow return of his memories, being a complete badass in a fight while remembering his job is as a theoretician, and impressing Swerve enough that the little guy tries to pitch himself as Skids' partner right away.
It's fun. It's interesting. It's complex. It's amusing. There's a lot going on, and I really hope that makes it more engaging to new readers rather than impenetrable. For we long-standing fans, though, this is the best Transformers has been in a long, long time, and we have to hope it stays this good. Alex Milne's art is just fantastic. I've gushed over Milne before, but it feels like he was born to draw cool-looking robots. My only quibble is why Tailgate's repaired legs now look like dinky little pegs, but it might actually play into something, as he's old and busted and can't bring himself to try transforming, so I'll reserve judgment there.
Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye, folks. You want good, space-faring fun with a huge cast of kooky characters and interpersonal intrigue? How's about readin' about robots?
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 8.9/10