Writer: John Barber
Art: Andrew Griffith
Colours: Josh Perez
Letters: Tom B Long
Arcee makes her way back to Cybertron unhappy with how things are being handled by Prime, two brothers who ended up on opposite sides during the war are reunited and Starscream looses his grip on reality just a little more.
This issue almost feels like a side story and deals with a number of things but mostly the brothers Tracks and Needlenose. As Starscream attempts to build himself a full on Cybertronian empire utilising the lost colonies, the Autobots and Decepticons continue to clash and there is a real feeling of resentment from the Decepitcon population who are starting to feel repressed and disenfranchised. Barber does a great job at showing the almost desperate plight of the remaining Decepticon forces who just want to be treated as equals and feel that they have become a lower class.
Starscream of course is refusing to acknowledge any of the problems developing in the streets below and has began to have conversations with himself so we know thats going to come back later on. The whole issue feels like Barber is laying the foundations for an event further on so it does make the book equal parts exciting and disappointing to read but as has been evidenced previously, the pay off will be worth the wait.
Griffith has a lot of dramatic moments to pencil this issue along with some flashbacks which he does exceedingly well. All of the Transformers are well represented and Arcee in particular looks dangerous and brooding as she stalks around the homeworld. Her action scene is brutal in a way we haven’t really seen from her in the past and her representation in this issue alone solidifies her no nonsense attitude.
Perez does a great job as always in adding the life and soul to the book and is able to clearly draw a line between the flashbacks and current times with intelligent use of colour and tones. When Arcee’s action scene occurs the blinding light from her energy sword is intense and the knock on electrical discharge looks fantastic!
The creative team on this book do another fantastic job at taking a narrative driven plot line and peppering it with just enough action to prevent readers from getting board. The issue itself does feel like it is building to something and we do see some hints to this in the final page however it does seem to contradict the conversation that happens almost immediately before it. It is not hard to see parallels between the struggling world of the Transformers and that of virtually any post war country in our world and Barber does a really good job of highlighting this without coming over as overly preachy. That said the story does suffer slightly from being a slow burn and the only real excitement I felt was when getting to the final page.
To be clear this is not a bad issue by any means nor is it the best the team has created, like many joiner issues I do feel that as part of a trade or read as an arc this would be an incredible issue but just standing on its own it fails just short of a five star review. To be fair to the team they build worlds, they create social and political groups that carry weight and meaning and that does mean they have to build up the story somewhere but often that can be less interesting to read than the conclusion. Any new readers would be advised to go back at least one issue for the bigger picture, anyone else who has been reading since Starscream has been in charge should be fine with just the catch up page.