09 May 2017

Review: The Transformers: Dark Cybertron, Volume 2 by John Barber, James Roberts, et al.

Comic PDF eBook, n.pag.
Published 2014 (contents: 2014)
Acquired March 2015
Read May 2017
The Transformers: Dark Cybertron, Volume 2

Written by: John Barber and James Roberts
Art by: James Raiz, Atilio Rojo, Livio Ramondelli, Andrew Griffith, Alex Milne, Brendan Cahill, Brian Shearer, and Phil Jimenez
Colors by: Josh Perez and Livio Ramondelli
Letters by: Tom B. Long

This reminds me of nothing so much as DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths (see here and here for my takes on that story): a giant crossover premised on a universal threat that dwarfs investment in or by any particular character, which shifts in such a way that it feels like its vamping to fill up space. After volume 1 spent way too long on the Necrotitan threatening Iacon, the evil zombie city robot is destroyed in this volume, then everyone stands around for a while, then Shockwave reveals his real plan of merging the universe's time and space into a single point. It reminded me a whole lot of the lurching plotting of Crisis, where the Anti-Monitor would be doing one thing, then a different thing, then no thing, then traveling back in time to undo time itself! Only as skilled as they are, John Barber and James Roberts are no Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. And I mean that in the kindest of ways: Wolfman and Pérez could never do the stuff that Barber and Roberts do in the Transformers ongoings, but similarly, Barber and Roberts's skills don't lend themselves to omniversal destruction-style storytelling.

A girl!?!
from The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye #26 (art by James Raiz)

When Dark Cybertron does shine, it's in the character moments, though sometimes these are crushed under the weight of the story, and I'm more interested for what implications these character moments will have in More than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise than for what's done with them here. Despite having twelve issues to play with, too many of Dark Cybertron's story arcs move too quickly; what happens with Bumblebee and Megatron, for example, feels underdeveloped, as does Orion Pax's decision to reclaim the mantle of Optimus Prime. On the other hand, I look forward to seeing what happens to Megatron and Rodimus and Prowl based on events here.

from The Transformers: Dark Cybertron Finale (art by Phil Jimenez, Brendan Cahill, and Brian Shearer)
Next Week: After a whole seven months (I started writing these up last October!), I'm all caught up on my Transformers comics reviews-- I'm still reading volume 6 of More than Meets the Eye-- so it's time to cycle onwards to a new "reading project." In this case, my attempt to read all of the finalists for the 2017 Hugo Awards!

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