The Transforrners, despite their action background, are also quite verbose. But this is never as true as in graphic novel form with “Transformers: Optimus Prime Vol. 4” [John Barber/IDW/160pgs]. Both the amount of characters and the politics that continue to interweave in their idea of progress muddles the situation. Cybertron, as a place, seems mired for millions of years of jockeying for power in the past. In this iteration, Optimus has given up or been stripped of his role as the true Prime, likely through the essence of arrogance within himself. He still has his backers but the essence of the Decepticons and their subjugation enters into play. However, their name itself implies deception. There seems to be a higher order of justice though in Caminus specifically through the Mistress Of Flame but even she seems mired in simple words. The one with any sort of active personification of work seems to be Soundwave who meddles in time for no more reason than his own narcissism. However, he actually goes and does something about his ideals to prove his point. But when it comes back to actual bolts, it makes a very small amount of difference except to paint a backstory. That said, partially because of Soundwave as well as Starscream, Optimus is vaulted into Aftraspace or is murdered…it is not really clear. There he finds Bumblebee who is stuck in this limbo sort of work. The Matrix Optimus still possesses seems to be their key out. All said and done, the denseness of the story does not add to the progression of mythology and, for the most part, the panels are crammed filled but not necessarily with pertinent information except for the most die-hard of fans.
By Tim Wassberg
The ideals within these set of new issues contemplates the end of stories, the beginnings of others and the continuing journeys of others. It traverses the concepts of the existential in terms of what characters are meant for but also where their paths will lead.
Star Wars Adventures – Destroyer Down #1 This story traces back when Rey was still on Jakku and trying to make her way but speaks to what was called the Ghost Ship: The Imperial Destroyer Radius. The aspect of salvage is interplayed with the scavengers at the outpost but Rey is the first there. The Radius was one of the battles about Jakku where the Rebellion engaged what was left of the Imperial Navy. This issue simply sets up the story with more of what is to be revealed in the next issue so beyond simple plot structure it doesn’t allow for anything new.
Transformers – Lost Light #25 This comic assumes the ending of this story (which this reader did not witness in terms of the plot lead in) but does suffer from the continual element that plagues the Transformers comics which is the overarching verbose nature of the technology and mythology versus the true focus of the story at hand. The Lost Light (a starship) has come to the end of its usefulness in this universe but possibility not in the next one so much of this issue involves pontificating on the existential nature of what will happen “after”. The issue sets up the teams of Transformers to continue their quests in an arena where death is not a question and immortality is a given save for given circumstances. As a result it ,is this question and story structure that has always plagued the idea of Transformers since stakes tend to take on a different meaning.
Road Of The Dead: Highway To Hell #1 Moving in a similar trajectory of “The Walking Dead” but with the tone of “From Dusk Till Dawn”, this story takes Hanson, an unsuspecting hero and puts him in tandem with Shawn, a Jules type mercenary and Jayne, a bookworm biochemist. Putting in certain trajectories one would only need to add The Mystery Machine and a couple Scooby Snacks to round out the shenanigans. The progression is normal enough…a lot of bloodletting, some infighting and ultimately the set up for the next battle. It is all entertaining enough but, in all honesty, very similar to other iterations that have been seen before.
By Tim Wassberg