Review – Transformers More Than Meets the Eye #39

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Transformers More than Meets the Eye

Writer: James Roberts
Art: Hayato Sakamoto
Colours: Joana Lafuente
Letters: Tom B Long
Publisher: IDW

With Megatron now an Autobot just how will his ruthless punishment squad, the Decepticon Justice Division react? The same Transformers that wreaked havoc aboard a temporal duplicate of the Lost Light have just discovered that not only did their intended victims emerge unscathed, Megatron, the very person they have fashioned a religion around has betrayed them all.

This very much feels like a break from the book spanning event “Combiner Wars” which is currently playing out within the pages of the main self titled Transformers book and the Windblade mini series. Rather than take us back to our favourite crew of misfits and oddballs however, we spend the entire issue with Megatron’s Justice Division lead by the charismatic yet fairly unhinged Tarn.

The first thing we see when we open the book might prove unsettling to younger readers and definitely set me up for the horrors that a team hand picked by Megatron to hand out death Sentences would act. A single Decepticon sits with a large section of his head smashed open, his brain has been placed in his mouth and worse still, he Is still alive and in the process of being tortured. Tarn comes across as fairly schizophrenic, on one hand he outwardly appears to be enjoying himself as he carries out the slow and agonizing torture of his fellow Transformer, yet on the other hand his inner monologue is full of revulsion and sickness for the acts he is carrying out in his leader’s name. His devotion to his work is such that he wears the very symbol of the Decepticons on his face as a mask hiding his real face from view.

Of course his team made up of Kaon, Tesarus, Helex, and Vos are all more than happy to carry out their leader’s commands, Tesarus was actually created with torture as his primary function and houses a large grinder in his chest cavity that he uses to finish his quarries….slowly.

Even with all that said it comes off odd to see the team hanging around afterwards being told off by their mechanic for not looking after themselves and having to do their monthly performance review with Tarn. Roberts is ever one to inject a little humour into the proceedings and normally this comes over fine with anyone else but with a crew of blood thirsty acolytes it just seems off somehow.

Alex Milne is replaced by Hayato Sakamoto this issue who is best known for his web comic Transformers Legends. If you had any concerns about his ability to keep up the high quality work Milne is known for then you can rest easy. Sakamoto brings with him a flare that shows off some gorgeous Manga style art that fits well with the tone of the book. More Than Meets the Eye is distinctive not just due to the story or characters but by the extremely high quality of art and I am very happy to report that Sakamoto’s renditions of the Decepticon Justice Division is beyond repute. I would even go as far to say that I hope we see Sakamoto fill in for Milne on a more regular basis.

Joanna Lafeuente returns as one of the most talented colourists in the business and gives us a book that is as dark as we can expect from the subject matter. Colours overall are much darker in tone and the opening scene is both beautiful and grotesque simultaneously due to her use of colour. I have yet to see Lafeuente hand in a bad piece of work and it looks like It wont happen anytime soon.

I would worry slightly about new readers picking this up, not due to the gory nature of the story at hand, but more because it is the continuation of a tale that has been running for some time. A reader with some familiarity with the Transformers in comic book form would likely be okay but any brand new readers would do well to catch up with the trades first or at the very least go back to the previous arc.

Another success for the creative team working on Transformers More than Meets the Eye which is only dulled slightly due to the confusing duality of the Deceptions in question. It is not enough to lose the book any marks, afterall it is likely we are intended to find the split in the Transformers psyche to be a slightly broken or distorted version of the one we have with the crew of the Lost Light. Indeed if the Lost Light is home to the hope of a better future for the Transformers and the last true salvation to Megatron as he attempts to atone for his past transgressions, then the Justice Division is the one true evil left fighting to keep the ideals and hatred alive. I look forward to seeing just how this develops and truly hope we do not find the DJD stripped of character as they eventually confront their autobot brothers.

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