05 June 2018

Review: Transformers: Sins of the Wreckers by Nick Roche

Comic PDF eBook, n.pag.
Published 2016 (contents: 2015-16)
Acquired November 2016
Read November 2017
Transformers: Sins of the Wreckers

Written and Drawn by Nick Roche
Colors by Josh Burcham
Additional Colors by Joana Lafuente
Letters by Tom B. Long

I suspect of Sins of the Wreckers what I also suspect of the story to which it is a sequel, Last Stand of the Wreckers: it will improve on a reread. There's a lot going on, and though I've gotten a lot better at reading Transformers comics than I was a couple years ago, I still struggle when a book throws a ton of new characters at me. Sins of the Wreckers picks up from the events of The Transformers, Volume 8, where Prowl went missing: Arcee has found him, and he's on Earth for some reason. Plus, Verity Carlo is back!

A beautiful, distressing, cold, off-putting opening.
from Transformers: Sins of the Wreckers #1

The Wreckers are reassembled to track down Prowl. Like Last Stand, this is a messy story in a good way: a lot of secrets, a lot of screwed-up people in a screwed-up world. I've been getting pretty sick of Prowl over in the series formerly known as Robots in Disguise, but put him in the murky world of the Wreckers, and he works much better. (Nick Roche's more sophisticated writing probably doesn't hurt either.) Prowl is as messed up as Kup and the Wrekcers. Arcee is messed up too-- she's a good fit for the Wreckers, and I'm surprised it took IDW this long to put her in combination with them. And Verity's messed up too. Not that she was ever terribly well-adjusted, but this war has screwed her up as much as it has all the Cybetronians in this story, and she can't escape it any more than they can... even though it's over!

Well, that's one way to use mass-shifting, I guess.
from Transformers: Sins of the Wreckers #4

If there's a complaint that I have, it's that it's mistitled. Though everyone in this story has sinned, the focus is not on the sins of the Wreckers, but Prowl and Verity and a couple others whose appearances are spoilers. The Wreckers themselves are kind of background players in this drama. If Roche does another Wreckers story in another five years, I hope Impactor et al. can step into the foreground more.

On the other hand, I can forgive Prowl a lot when he has moments as awesome as this.
from Transformers: Sins of the Wreckers #4

Everyone in this story has some kind of desperate plan to try to free themselves from the sins of the past... none of them work. Every character from the key players to the bit-part antagonists has a goal and a meaning within the larger picture, that lines up thematically to create a greater whole. More than Meets the Eye might be the best-written Transformers ongoing story, but Sins of the Wreckers is probably the best self-contained Transformers comic. Last Stand tugs at your heartstrings more, but Sins is better crafted, showing the effects of five years' artistic development for Roche.

Josh Burcham kills it on colors throughout, but particularly in the Noisemaze.
from Transformers: Sins of the Wreckers #3

Roche is a good writer, but he's a great artist, and Sins of the Wreckers has got to be the peak of his work, especially when you combine it with Josh Burcham's colors. Horrific, dynamic, touching, he creates Arctic vistas and nightmarish hellscapes with equal ease. I wish it was getting the same deluxe hardcover treatment as its predecessor, because it deserves it.

Next Week: Meanwhile, in space... the long-lost Decepticon Scavengers return and find that, as always, there's More than Meets the Eye!

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