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Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye # 20 Feels Liminal and Unsatisfying

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye # 20 Feels Liminal and Unsatisfying

MTMTE20 CoverTransformers: More than Meets the Eye # 20
Written by James Roberts
Art by Alex Milne with Inks by Brian Shearer
Published by IDW comics

After the insane, massive info-dump that was the last issue of “Transformers: More than Meets the Eye”, it’s a welcome change to have the latest installment NOT hitting the reader with a barrage of information, back-story and worldbuilding. Of course, it would have been nice for the issue to not feel especially rushed and undercooked, but you can’t always get what you want apparently.

The issue opens moments after the ending of the last, with Ratchet desperately trying to fix a cleft-in-twain Ambulon, Rodimus, Skids and Co still trapped in a cell with new arrival Getaway, and Cyclonus and Whirl going all 300 Spartans on a swarm of Legislators, with the help of the Circle of Light. The issue spends most of its time flitting back and forth between these three locales, and balances multiple narratives more or less well enough

We spend the most time with Rodimus and Skids, finally learning Skids’ origins and back-story, and without spoiling it, most readers will probably find the revelation underwhelming. Granted, the payoff is rarely as interesting as what the audience can build up in their minds, but basically having Skids turn out to be Jason Bourne probably isn’t the most original thing James Roberts could have cooked up.

TF_MTMTE_20-pr-7And besides the revelation that there’s a secret Autobot black ops organization (three guesses who’s in charge, and here’s a hint: it’s really obvious) the issue mostly focuses on making up for all the lost time the last issue spent on exposition. This mostly means the characters spend a lot more time running around doing things than last time, but given that it’s all just the lead up to next issue’s climactic…climax, this also means things feel a bit middle-chapter-y. Besides the revelation about Skids, not a whole lot really -happens- per-se, things just get set up to happen later.

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Things also feel weirdly fragmented at times, as though the issue was meant to be longer and several panels or even scenes were cut for time. At one point, Rodimus is suddenly standing in front of the Magnus Armor, despite it not being there before. Rodomus and company’s escapy from Tyrest’s cell also seems like it should have been properly fleshed out, but instead they escape “off-screen” and tell the exciting story afterward. Other times, what probably should have been Roberts’ trademark organic exposition feels awkwardly shoe-horned in, the worst example being a bit of monologue-ing on the part of Tyrest, but then the last issue had that problem as well.

It’s a really hard issue to write about, partially because it almost doesn’t feel like an issue, more like a series of set-ups for stuff that happens next. Perhaps if Roberts had moved some of the barrage of exposition from the last issue to this one, things would have felt more balanced and less liminal. That’s really the buzz-word for this issue: Liminal. It feels in-between, transitional.

None of which is to say this is a bad comic, but in the Olympic Pantheon of comics James Roberts has gifted us with, this is definitely one of the lesser deities, a Hebe or an Eris, one of the less interesting ones that never make it into a “God of War” game to be brutally murdered or fornicated with.