It’s a double review this week as we check in with two of IDW’s newest Transformers books: see below for a review of Lost Light #3 and Optimus Prime #4!
(Minor spoilers below.)
Lost Light #3
I’m still really liking Jack Lawrence’s take on the Lost Light crew, he uses a lot of strong, clean lines, (slightly less cartoony I thought this week, but I liked them in the first couple issue too) and he handles the familiar problem (how to make a big group of robots look like something other than a mass of cubes and squares) extremely well (there’s a great shot of Rodimus’ crew standing together and it looks fantastic.) Joana Lafuente’s colors are gorgeous, as always. She chooses a great color pallet, a lot of strong primary colors and just enough gradients to add depth but not so many to get too busy. (And there’s an awesome shot of “Nine of Twelve” wearing a cape, and I want more Transformers in capes. Yes, Starscream got messily killed when he was wearing one once, but you have to admit he looked badass.)
As for the story, James Roberts is dropping even more history into the Transformers’ world, but once again it’s an alternate history, which is always a nice trick: we get to see pieces of this new universe, while someone explains how it’s different from the old one, doing a neat little dance with exposition that doesn’t look like exposition. I approve.
Brainstorm thinks the geobomb we saw earlier actually misfired and instead of shunting everyone over to another galaxy, they went to another universe instead. As always, the dialog is snappy and fun, especially when Rodimus gets the news from Brainstorm.
“And that’s your best explanation?”
“It’s either that or ‘Primus waved a magic wand.'”
“Malfunctioning geobomb it is.”
I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but there’s a LOT going on. In one storyline we’re learning something else about how sparks work and how they’re formed and what happens when it goes wrong and can anyone do anything about it (I’m going to have to check with Kathryn on all that, a lot of it was over my head but I’m betting it has a lot to do with the shenanigans surrounding cold construction) and in the alternate universe we’ve got a Functionist so certain he speaks for Primus that he wears the Matrix as his FACE. Intensely creepy.
We’re also learning more about Anode, both her past, her present, and her alternate-reality present, and I’m looking forward to seeing how all that turns out. Plus Swerve and Whirl are in trouble, not sure who let those two hang out together but logically that seems like a bad idea no matter what the situation.
I did want to mention that at one point we were told the Functionists were systematically eliminating people they thought were unhelpful, including “anyone who privileges facts over fear,” and another time someone said “The Council wants everyone to fear the rest of the universe. Because a fearful population will sacrifice anything to feel safe.” I’m not saying James is commenting on the current political environment. But I’m not NOT saying that either. No matter what the intent, I approve.
Optimus Prime #4
I hadn’t been keeping up with Optimus Prime, but when I heard Alex Milne was on this one I dropped all the things to go grab a copy. I love what Lawrence is doing on Lost Light but I still miss the hell out of Milne, and it was excellent to see old and new faces drawn in the style I love so much.
I’m still loving the color pallet too, it’s really interesting, Josh Burcham’s definitely going for a slightly aged look, like this is a comic you pulled out of a long box from the highest shelf in the store where they let the sun get at it too much. There’s a subtle half-tone pattern too, even more like a 1980s newsprint copy. I’m still surprised at how much I like it.
As for the story, it still reflects a lot of the G.I. Joe influence we saw in the Transformers book, but Barber’s writing it, so no surprise there. The difference is it’s bringing in a lot more of the 1980s elements, particularly elements from the ’86 movie, and doing a really good job at it. The Junkions seemed tenacious but slightly useless in the movie, now they’ve got some depth and they’re much more sinister. Especially when they’re paired with certain “pets.”
The bounce back and forth between past and present is fun, and is giving us a lot of insight as to why Optimus makes the choices he’s been making lately. I’ve said before, Optimus sometimes seems a little whiny to me (and I love the guy, I do, but he overthinks things to death) but a little insight goes a long way to making him a more rounded-out bot.
Also I am 100 percent fine with humans in my Transformers books, as long as Milne is drawing them. That’s my line in the sand, right there.
(Oh, and I wasn’t given full-size copies of the Subscription Variant Cover B by Andrew Griffith and Josh Perez to post here, but you should go find a copy. It’s Jazz, and he looks amazing.)