Review: Transformers – Robots in Disguise #32

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Transformers Robots in Disguise #32 Dawn of the Autobots
Writers: John Barber
Art: Andrew Griffith and Brendan Cahill
Colours: Josh Perez and Joana Lafuente
Letters: Tom B Long
Publisher: IDW

Transformers: Dawn of the Autobots is the series-spanning event that takes place in the aftermath of the Great Cybertronian War from which the Autobots have finally emerged victorious. The humans have turned against their Autobot allies and sided with Galvatron and his Decepticon army and have a powerful new weapon.

As the current flagship title in the Transformers line, this series is all about the events not only set after the animated series, but also several volumes worth of Marvel and IDW comic lore. Anyone with a vested interest in seeing just what happened when the various TV shows ended will want to pick this up. Times have certainly changed, old enemies are now allies, old allies are now enemies and some very key characters from both sides have met their death. The book does a good job of recapturing the feel of the series and its interesting to see what IDW have done with some old familiar faces.

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Griffith and Cahill both do great jobs at capturing the look and feel of both Transformer factions. The Autobots, especially Prime, look majestic and tall whilst Galvatron and his Decepticons look appropriately imposing and menacing. Despite being made of massive chunks of metal and energon, the Cybertronians are incredibly animated and look completely natural whilst running which isn’t easy to draw. With that said, it’s really Perez and Lafuente’s colours that steal the show – each laser blast or explosion casts an impressive hue of green and red and paint work on each of the robots and is a sight to behold. This is the closest I have ever seen any colourist get to the original colour set used in the animated show and the detail to Prime, for instance, is stunning.

The book takes on some heavy tones such as betrayal and the price of leadership, but sadly the themes are only really touched upon briefly and then very quickly resolved, sometimes on the same page. Personally I would have liked to have seen such important story threads hang in the air just a little longer.

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Needless to say, with this being the second to last volume of this event, it’s not a great jumping on point for new readers. The catch up page does a good job of reminding current readers where they left off, but anyone new coming on will be completely confused by the roster of Autobots and more importantly, how Megatron and Galvatron are both present in the same continuity. This issue is also the conclusion of several threads coming together from previous parts of the series, so is heavy on the action. This is a double-edged sword, since the pay off for followers of the book is great, whilst anyone behind in the series is likely to feel like they have missed something important.

This was in some ways a difficult book to review; considering its buildup to the conclusion of a fairly bombastic event, it does tie up some threads rather neatly and leaves one big question to be answered in the series finale. On the other hand, some of the story has inevitably taken a back seat to allow the action to flow, and unfortunately I feel the book suffers for it. There is no denying that the artwork and colouring are gorgeous and in fairness to the story I feel the whole thing will read much better as part of a complete story arc when collected in a trade.