Road Trip with the Transformers is what happens when you take a guy who grew up with Transformers (well, Robots in Disguise and the Unicron Trilogy, anyway), who was mildly interested in IDW’s Transformers comics — but too scared to dip too far in — and give him a rebooted Transformers comics line. With this, I’ll be quickly reviewing and then commenting on IDW’s new Transformers comic universe that began in March of 2019! The review will be spoiler-free, while commentary will not. With this, I’ll be chronicling my experience as someone who is a lapsed fan of the franchise from childhood, who has only read a few of the previous IDW Transformers comics. Expect me to forget characters’ names, find it hard to tell them apart and have little to no understanding of references to previous continuities! Does that sound like fun? No? Well, you’re coming along anyway! It’s a road trip! Roll out!
Last issue, we found out more about the world and very little about the plot, which is par for the course with this series. Last time, on Transformers: Lore Overload, Brainstorm was killed and a Voin was seen in the area. Rubble thinks he could identify the Voin but Prowl and Bumblebee tell him he can’t because they all look the same. Chromia and Windblade looked into Cyclonus and found nothing. The political situation is going downhill. Basically lots and ltos fo setup with lore peppered in, very little proper character work or narrative progression. Anyway, on with the review!
Transformers (2019) #5
Written by Brian Ruckley
Art by Anna Malkova, Angel Hernandez and Sara Pitre-Durocher
Colours by Joana Lafuente
Letters by Tom B. Long
Published by IDW Publishing
Cover price: $3.99 USD
Brian Ruckley’s first Transformers arc, “The World in Your Eyes”, comes to a close. Despite an extremely slow pace, the story is finally moving along, albeit not at anything above a leisurely pace. The art does its job, but only just.
Ruckley’s inaugural arc of Transformers ends without really answering any questions, but leaves the door open for future stories. The world it has established is ripe for stories, but the route the writer took to get to this point leaves much to be desired. This issue itself is fine, with characters finally taking proper action in response to Brainstorm’s murder, with Bumblebee and Rubble moving the plot along well. It does its job, but there isn’t any strong theme, tone or dialogue to carry it much further. It all feels a little lifeless.
The art is fine. By this point, the strengths and weaknesses of Angel Hernandez and Sara Pitre-Durocher are established, with expressive faces and vibrant colours — although they noticeably do a better job with action this time around, although it is just a chase scene and nothing too demanding. But it is am improvement and works well for what it is, although the blocking can make it hard to determine what has happened. New artist Anna Malkova has a more cleaner, cartoonier look that humanises the Transformers more and allows for more comedic moments and expressions. It is fine for the scenes it is used in and the panel-to-panel flow works.
While this series has been an incredibly slow burn, the conclusion of this arc leaves the possibilities for further work with these characters wide open — that’s what makes this issue notable. Everything else is passable, with the art improving a bit in terms of action. Let’s hope the series keeps improving and can finally do something with the interesting premise it took five issues to establish.
3/5 – Above average
“The World in Your Eyes, Part 5”
Here comes the commentary, where I basically give you a much more detailed look at what I think about the issue while somewhat summarising it. Obviously, spoiler warning. And don’t take anything I say here too seriously, most of it is for my own benefit, though I do like to put focus on some moments here and there.
No commentary this time around, because I am far behind on these. But Rubble dies because he can’t call Bumblebee, as Soundwave is jamming Bee’s comms as he asks to join the Ascenticon guard. He’s killed by someone I maybe should be able to recognise but can’t.
Also, Chromia transforms into robot form in the middle of the road and that is inconsiderate.
Also also, getting textless covers is way harder when they don’t exist or the Comixology uses the wrong cover pre-release.
This was an easy one to get out, since I didn’t have to do the recap — honestly, that’s where most of the time goes. It helps that only two things of note really happen this issue. I’m not sure if I’ll recap the next issue, but I want to. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up to the series soon; I definitely want to review Jonathan Hickman’s House of X and Powers of X when they release so I’ll have to increase the rate a bit. I also am literally minutes away from completing some video game reviews, but those have never been that timely anyway, so I’m more willing to have those wait.