Writer: James Roberts
Art: Jack Lawrence
Colours: Joana Lafuente and John-Paul Bove
Letters: Tom B. Long
Depending on how long you have been reading the IDW line of Transformers books this is either issue 1 of the Lost Light or issue 58 of More Than Meets the Eye. Actually, it’s a bit of both, if you are a new reader there is no need to panic or run off to find back issues (though I’d recommend you do if you like what you see here), instead read the story and understand that things have happened and when you get to the end you will find a comprehensive breakdown of every event of note written out for you. It’s a little bit of a data dump but it does ensure this book is ready for new and old readers alike….but I am getting ahead of myself.
James Roberts has been writing about this crew of misfits for a few years now and in that time he and his creative team have brought together something special, going only by the things detailed in this issue I will paint you a picture. The Necrobot, the Transformer equivalent of the Grim Reaper, has gone through time using a time travelling brief case rescuing Autobots and Decepticons thought previously gone missing in action. Rodimus Prime (Hot Rod for G1 fans), Ultra Magnus and Megatron (yes THAT Megatron!) are on a mission with far reaching implications for Cybertron and its formally lost Colonies.
There is a lot more but the first thing I feel is vitally important for you all to know is that Roberts writes this book as a character driven narrative. You will over the course of the series find out the most intimate details of every member of the main cast, who they love, who they wish to avenge, why Rodimus has a new paint job and why we find Megatron having an emotional farewell to an old friend, everything is important. At the conclusion of this issue we see the culmination of several small plot points from MTMTE which as always, appear to be unimportant but have huge ramifications.
I guess what I am trying to get across is that this book has always been character heavy, carries a lighter tone (until it gets way dark) but everything matters. The little detail Roberts drops in that seems like an aside is fairly often a seed planted 3 tales in the past to be harvested at a later date. It is in this forward planning that I am constantly finding myself surprised and amazed even after all this time and it’s a delight I have yet to encounter anywhere else.
Jack Lawrence is on art this issue and being no stranger to the world of Transformers shows off his skill from the very first page. His interpretations of our crew are both familiar and yet stylised enough to leave his own mark on them. He has the unenviable task of bringing in a lot of unfamiliar faces this issue but when it comes to the ones we know, Megatron, Rodimus and Drift, they look absolutely incredible. There is an overexaggerated cartoony look to some of the characters and a rugged handsome look to others, it is a visual treat to have such sumptuous artwork to accompany the story telling.
Joana Lafuente and John-Paul Bove share the responsibility for colouring this issue and it is easy to see why both of them are considered top of their game. From the battle scarred moon of Cybertron at the beginning of the book to the plant of the Necrobot and beyond, every panel carries a shine and spirit that compliments and enhances Lawrence’s pencils. Every Transformer stands out in living breathing colour and every special effect threatens to singe the edge of each page.
The first issue of the Lost Light is already off with a bang and it wastes no time in throwing us all straight into the action. The hard-earned trust earned by the writer and us, the reader may be lost on new readers but I pray that they stick around long enough to allow themselves to see just why this book is held in such high regard. I am overjoyed to find the series I have enjoyed so much has kept the its heart and soul intact even after rebranding and a rebuild of sorts of the universe it inhabits. When Megatron took his moment with the tombstone of his departed friend it still felt raw despite the original event having occurred months ago, bravo to Roberts for making these characters so real that we feel their loss as acutely as they do.
New readers, old readers, folks who have never before picked up a Transformers book or even considered it, pick this up and give it the chance it deserves. It is one of the most forward thinking and progressive series you are likely to ever read and much of what is tackled in these pages can be applied to our lives and current or past events of importance. Despite that it is not preachy nor overbearing, it shows a creative team that truly love bringing these characters to life for us allowing us to maybe learn a thing or two about ourselves and have a laugh along the way. This is by far the easiest recommendation I have made this month.