14 March 2017

Review: The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, Volume 3 by James Roberts, Alex Milne, et al.

Comic PDF eBook, n.pag.
Published 2013 (contents: 2012)
Acquired March 2015
Read February 2017
The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, Volume 3

Written by James Roberts
Art by Jimbo Salgado, Emil Cabaltierra, and Alex Milne
Flashback Art by Guido Guidi
Additional Inks by Juan Castro and John Wycough
Colors by Juan Fernandez and Josh Burcham with Joana Lafuente
Letters by Chris Mowry and Shawn Lee

I knew from, like, page three of this volume that it was gonna be a good one. The book opens with Hot Rod and a number of the other Lost Light Autobots on some kind of vaguely defined mission:
Sometimes I worry this is me.
from The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye Annual 2012 (art by Jimbo Salgado & Emil Cabaltierra)

There's some running around, some banter (I laughed), and then you discover that the characters have been miniaturized and are running around inside the mouth of Ultra Magnus, Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord, fighting off an infestation of nanobots. Ultra Magnus is so grim that the pistons he needs to smile haven't been used in centuries:
I might love Ultra Magnus, but I know I'm not him at least.
from The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye Annual 2012 (art by Jimbo Salgado & Emil Cabaltierra)

I should have seen it coming, but when the nanobots try to escape through those pistons, the solution to the infestation turns out to be Ultra Magnus smiling, which crushes the nanobots but also turns him into a figure of fun-- and there's probably not anything that Ultra Magnus likes less than fun.

This is all set-up for Ultra Magnus coming into contact with the Galactic Council, the only people who love the rules as much as he does, and what he does when offered a position in their ranks-- an even greater honor than you might expect, since the Galactic Council (quite fairly, it seems to me) hates all Transformers for the effect their eons-long war has had on the rest of the galaxy. Humor and a great character point! What else could I want from my comics?

Meanwhile, the Lost Light has reached Theophany, the planet home to the Circle of Light, who should be able to guide Rodimus and company on their search for the Knights of Cybertron. Well, alas, there's no Circle of Light to be found (even though Drift met them there a few years back), only a slumbering Metrotitan, an ancient, giant Transformer that can power a city. There's some interesting side effects from the presence of the Metrotitan, foremost among which is that Ore, who died back at the beginning of the series, comes back to life. This leads to a long conversation between Ore and Swerve, the Lost Light's bartender, only because Ore is blind, he misidentifies Swerve as Pipes, allowing Swerve to pour out all his secret hopes and fears. It's pretty touching, and the way the subplot of the Metrotitan ends (was there a miracle, or simply a scientific phenomenon?) is surprisingly well done for a comic book based on kids' toys about fighting robots. Or even well done without that qualifier.

What's a flashback without a little dramatic irony?
from The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye #10 (art by Alex Milne)

The next plotline is an interesting story where Rewind the archivist tries to revitalize the comatose Rung by getting a group of the Lost Light crew to tell a story of pre-war Cybertron they all participated in, which will hopefully jog Rung's memories and reactivate him. So while Rodimus, Ultra Magnus, and Drift investigate the apparent murder of one of the crew, we get a flashback story about Orion Pax (the future Optimus Prime) in the time prior to Autocracy, when civil unrest on Cybertron was beginning to reach a fever pitch, but before open civil war had broken out. (Megatron doesn't appear in the story, having been sentenced to a penal colony during this time.) It's a layered, complicated story, with some good character moments, and some harsh surprises. (I knew the fate of Optimus's supportive senator friend thanks to the Transformers wiki, but still shuddered when it was revealed.) It's an interesting storytelling conceit, executed well, and it continues to add depth to this motley crew of misfit robots. Between it and the first story, this is definitely my favorite volume of More than Meets the Eye so far. Hopefully it can keep up this level of quality.

Also! So many jokes. I love Drift commenting on how often Rodimus overuses "'til all are one!"
Also great is the series of panels showing how Rodimus inflects it differently every time. "'Til all are one!" "'Til all are one!" "'Til! All! Are! One!"
from The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye Annual 2012 (art by Jimbo Salgado & Emil Cabaltierra)
Next Week: Where did that Metrotitan go, anyway? Why, into the other book! Volume 3 of Robots in Disguise!

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