Review – Transformers Robots in Disguise #36

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Transformers Robots in Disguise 36
Writers: John Barber
Art: Andrew Griffith & Brendan Cahill
Colours: Josh Perez & Joana Lafuente
Letters: Tom B Long
Publisher: IDW

Time is running out for Spike Witwicky as both Transformer factions, the Autobots and Decepticons start to narrow in on his position, neither one of the really caring if he is brought in dead or alive. Thundercracker has a hard decision to make and Arcee questions her current leaders motives.

The issue prior to this one spent a lot of time setting up what was about to happen here and unlike that issue this is pretty much all action. The bulk of the story is taken up with Spike trying to flee Prowl and his Constructicon allies chase him through the streets of Japan. We are offered short glimpses into some additional scenes that supplement the chase but it feels like the primary focus is on the action. Given how slow the previous issue was it is a welcome change of pace and a nice reward for those who patiently waited for the excitement to begin.

Spike is kind of a hard character to like, his grudge against the Transformers seems flimsy at best and yet he leaps right into danger dragging his friends with him just to damage their reputation. Of course it is obvious that he was written this way in purpose and its props to Barber for making him the kind of unlikeable soul that he is, after all just because we don’t like him does not mean we cant understand his point of view. The final scene really surprised me and I have no idea how Spike will react now that he has spoken to his old enemy face to face.

Andrew Griffith and Brendan Cahill share pencils this time around with Josh Perez and Joana Lafuente on colours. The issue definitely benefits visually from the extra hands and looks much more like a more traditional Transformers book. Most of the story takes place on earth during the day which is slightly unusual for the series but I was surprised just how well the colourists adapted to it. The Transformers are all rendered beautifully and the colour added to each shot really does help them to stand out even in the middle of the day. My only irk is the humans still look a little strange, of course the book is about the Robots anyway but with Spike being such a huge part of the story it would be nice to see him looking less odd.

This issue is very much the opposite of the previous one, if the last one could be criticised for being too narrative heavy with not enough action, I think you could easily complain that this one is too action heavy with not enough narrative. I think perhaps a little more of an even split would have been better for a monthly book but to be fair, reading this in trade format is going to be fine.

I am happy with the way the book is shaping up so far and it does feel like they are still adjusting slightly at the start of the new arc. The issue is an enjoyable read and has some excellent chase scenes featuring some wonderful art to back it up. It will be interesting to see the further developments further down the line and what Prime will make of his second in command going after a human for what appears to be revenge. Anyone should be able to pick up this issue and understand what is happening but if you have the ability to do so I would recommend picking up the previous issue too.