I’ve been waiting for this one for months, and at the same time I hoped it’d never get here: the final issue of Till All Are One. In many ways the story ended the way I thought it might, but it got there by a really unexpected route. See below for a (spoiler-free!) (mostly!) review of Till All Are One Annual 2017.
(I’m going to avoid all the major plot points but I’m going to talk around the edges of them, so if you’d rather read the issue first and then come back here, I promise I won’t mind.)
First of all, yes, this issue wraps up the main storyline. But there’s still so much story to tell! By the end of the book several characters are clearly just beginning their story, and there’s going to be consequences, good and bad, for a lot of people.
(The image of one character sitting off by himself just broke my heart. Read the issue and you’ll know what I mean.)
Watching Starscream and Windblade’s journey through this whole series has been amazing, though certainly Starscream’s changed the most. I hope whoever writes him next treats him as respectfully as Mairghread Scott did. They’ve got their work cut out for them, she’s left him in an…interesting place.
(Not to mention Bumblebee. I need more information!!)
We got some surprises this issue, which featured a debate and an election (no, I don’t think anything we saw was a veiled reference to the current political situation) and people you wouldn’t expect giving information to other people you wouldn’t expect, and other folks making choices that would’ve been completely out of character a year ago. (Vague enough for ya? No spoilers! Read the issue!)
Some people acted exactly the way you expect, and I’ll miss the quippy dialog in these issues the most, like when the Combaticons are wondering why Windblade is talking with Starscream behind closed doors.
“Think they’re planning a murder?”
“Conjunx Endura proposal then. She’s doin’ it right now.”
“How does your brain even work?”
(How does it work? It works the same way the shippers’ brains work, Vortex is team Starblade!)
At the beginning of this series I looked up to the Mistress of Light, and I thought Elita was a psychopath. At the end of the series….well I still think Elita’s a psychopath, but she’s up front about it. And in the end she’s all about saving as many people as possible. Sure, “as possible” could also be “as is convenient” but that’s pretty true to her character.
Begin drawing up plans for Liege Maximo’s attack. Give me both destruction and containment options. Anything up at a 33% casualty rate is acceptable.
The Mistress of Flame though, wow. She stepped up to a whole new level this issue. There was a moment where I and every character on the page made the exact same gasp. It wasn’t pretty. Well, no, actually it was very pretty, the situation was just ugly.
Which brings me to my last point: the art. The art you guys, holy cow. One last hurrah from the Pitre-Durocher/Lafuente team, over 40 pages of delicious art. The expressions, the colors, the poses, the action, everything is just perfect. And Starscream, you beautiful sociopath. I really hope your next artist knows what to do with you, the bar’s been set pretty high.
Currently the only other IDW book I’m reading regularly is the Lost Light series. (Which is an excellent book.) I check out Optimus Prime sometimes and I’ve glanced at the other 80s nostalgia titles (Rom, Micronauts, G.I. Joe, etc) but nothing really speaks to me, story and art, the way Windblade and Till All Are One has. Mairghread has said this was the story she wanted to tell and she got to tell it, which is awesome, but I also know if the sales numbers had been there we could’ve gotten more of it. So the fact that a lot of us loved it doesn’t change the fact that not enough folks did, so I hope that doesn’t mean IDW won’t take a chance on a book like this in the future, because I’d love to see more. Mairghread summed up the series perfectly in her goodbye note:
a religious-minded diplomat reforms an autocratic abuse-victim with the help of a ghost, her bodyguard, a geriatric living city, and a cast of drunks
The fact that it’s all giant robots was just icing on the cake.