|Cover "A" by Alex Milne|
Transformers: More Then Meets The Eye #1
Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Nick Roche
(covers by Alex Milne, Nick Roche, Josh Burcham)
Summary: The ultimate Transformers saga begins here! This second all-new ongoing Transformers title reunites the fan-favorite creative team behind Last Stand of the Wreckers and sends the Transformers on an epic quest to the farthest reaches of the Transformers Universe and beyond! The adventure starts here!
Comments: Despite a promise to skip the two new series, I decided to give MTMTE #1 a try anyway. The results were typical Roberts writing... the story, in short, is about Rodimus and his crew scrambling to make final preparations to launch the Lost Light, the ship that will help take them across the Galaxy in search of the legendary lost Knights of Cybertron. It's a tale of small story threads mostly--a sub-plot about Tailgate, one about Prowl (and the suggestion he might have tried to sabotage the ship), Cyclonus finding Whirl and subsequently being chased by him, etc.
The story isn't badly composed. Unlike with Mike Costa's work, one gets the sense that Roberts actually has some idea of where the story's going. That can only be a good thing ultimately since Costa's stories often felt like he was flailing about (he even admitted as much in a recent interview). We get several story threads, most of which are wrapped up by issue's end with a few hints about the future as well as some humorous moments by some of the characters. There is a time travel thing thrown in at the end of the story which didn't really need to be there. We are given hints that this will be a vitally important mission and things will go horribly wrong beyond what already has. In my opinion, they should've just showed that as they went instead of trying to build anticipation with some cheesy time travel message gimmick (it's been done before so much it's become cliche).
Roberts also continues his love of introducing obscure official characters and having them die (or in this case, presumably die). Rad, Fizzle and Waverider are casualties by story's end. Why not use some generic made-up characters instead? (Especially considering that we didn't get to really know any of them as characters nor did the incident in question require named characters to die for dramatic effect--i.e. sacrificing themselves heroically to save Rodimus or something). Once Rad is dead, he's dead and can't be used again (well, unless they forget he's dead or do some stupid resurrection thing--but that merely helps make death become irrelevant like it already has in Marvel and DC's comics).
The art is competent but I have to reiterate that I hate the neo-G1 designs IDW is currently employing. Rodimus as drawn by Nick Roche just looks wrong to me. He's too sleek and human looking while lacking the design elements that made Hot Rod so cool to begin with. The same goes for Cyclonus bizarre face and other various other characters. I wish they would drop this design scheme and go back to the classic designs that everyone loves.
While we're on the subject of art--was it really necessary to have six covers for this issue? There's one big image, split into four covers (and all together in a special super duper Retailer Incentive Gatefold version); another one spoofing "Justice League" #1 (from 1987) and another sketch cover (which looks blank on the preview page. I assume the art doesn't translate well?) I know IDW is a business and trying to make a buck, but talk about overkill! I miss the days when a comic had one--and only one--cover.
I also don't care for the current status quo. Ever since IDW started, they seem to have the attitude they have to shake things up and make them modern (even though they're trusting that people's nostalgia will get them to follow the comics. Does that make any sense?) We started off with Furman's secret war (which I actually liked) which turned into a cosmic threat scenario then had a "Decepticons: up-close and personal" mini (with little real fighting) then Costa's "we can't learn to grow and evolve" story which devolved into some dumb cartoony plots before going simultaneously cosmic and street level in Chaos/Police Action. Now we have "the war's over. Let's go seek out a mystery" and also "bringing Cybertron together in peace" stories. Why isn't straight out Autobots vs. Decepticons good enough for IDW? Yes, it seems simple enough but it's a pretty broad framework. A lot of good tales can be told within it if editorial is willing to do it (and the writing is there to support it). As a fan of classic Transformers, that is what I want! No experimental-whatever stuff. Roberts at last seems to be fairly competent writer but he's still not telling the story I ultimately want to see. That's why I won't be following either of these two new series. I'm just not interested enough (and if I'm not interested, why waste money supporting it?)