Writer: James Roberts
Art: Alex Milne
Colours: Joana Lafuente
Letters: Tom B Long
The only Transformers book not currently tied in with the Combiner Wars, More than Meets the Eye always does its own thing and luckily for us its usually done well. This particular issue feels very much like the start of a brand new chapter and if you have been following the series you will know that is rarely a good thing for the characters involved.
As you can see from last month’s preview, one of the all time greatest Autobots Thunderclash is on his death bead and an event has been thrown to celebrate his life and achievements before he permanently goes into stasis lock. Roberts starts us off with his usual light hearted crew gathering as Rodimus (ever the cheerleader) attempts to shine a positive light on the event whilst attempting to avoid going himself. In the interest of not spoiling the final few pages I will just say that events take a turn for the worse and we witness the crux of what is likely to be our new plot. Roberts as always skilfully transforms the tone of the book from light to dark in a single panel and gives us just enough of a tease to keep us coming back next month.
Milne is back on art this month and with it we see a return to form with deliciously detailed characters and truly expressive Transformers. Megatron and Rodimus look as impressive as ever but it is Firestar who really steals the show. As we get more and more female Transformers it is nice to see one who is outwardly confident in herself and her looks without looking like a warrior. I would also like to mention the backgrounds used as they are truly striking and the difference between the Lost Light and the Vis Vitalis goes far beyond just outward appearances. I don’t want to sound like I’m being reductive but Milne has a definite Manga like twist to his pencils in as much as his obsessive attention to every detail is far more noticeable than his peers. His work is perfect for this book and is one of the big reasons I continue to look forward to this book every month.
Of course attention to detail is worth nothing now a days without an exceptional colourist by your side and Joanna Lafeuente fills that role and more. Her colours continue to breathe life into Milne’s ultra detailed pencils and add the kind of depth you see in so few books. Her work on lighting in particular, any external scenes is breathtaking as she continues to colour and truly invest in making the world of the Transformers a beautifully deadly universe. She takes pain staking care in ensuring that regardless of how similar some of the Transformers appear (this can be seen in virtually any of the numerous books, animated shows and games) you can always tell exactly who everyone is at a glance. Colour is also extremely important when you have such a detailed artist to allow the eye to focus on the whole image and not get lost in a sea of detail.
This is a perfect jumping on point for anyone, new reader or veteran alike, everything you need to know is explained within the books narrative and unless you really don’t know why Megatron is hanging out with the crew of the Lost Light, you can leap right in.
My one very minor gripe with this issue is the use of an item that was pretty much designed just at the right time and feels perhaps a little too convenient. Not having invented this device just hours before would have proved fatal to our favourite crew and yet magically it just happens to be in the right place on the right person at the right time. It does feel like surprisingly lazy writing on Robert’s part and not something I generally expect from him, especially considering his excellent work on the previous chapter. That said, it is really a tiny part of the tale and something that is likely to fall into insignificance as the story progresses, he has built up more than enough good will at this point for this reviewer to ignore it moving forward.
I feel like I say this every month but More than Meets the Eye has been to me the première book in the Transformers series. It rarely requires to tie itself in with anything else and tells the kind of unique and fun tales you rarely see in today’s books. This particular issue promises to be as excellent as the one it follows already displaying a dark and edgy, yet colourful and fun tone when required. For those readers really itching for something new from the Transformers books, or those unable or unwilling to pay for multiple intertwined event books, this is a perfect purchase from a creative team that will keep you entertained whilst the story unfolds. Do not miss this issue or indeed this series even if you normally trade wait, this story is likely to be one you will want to read every month.