I’m back once again with another issue in IDW’s ongoing Transformers series, written by Brian Ruckley with art being handled this time by Winston Chan and Guido Guidi. I’ve got a few mixed feelings this time, overall positive, but let’s just get right into it.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Transformers #37!
The plot of this issue jumps slightly ahead of the last, with Optimus and Ultra Magnus already aware of the threat of a returned Exarchon, who was revealed to be alive once more last time. The Autobots go to Prime’s old mentor Codexa for some answers, and we as readers are treated to a flashback that teaches us more about how the War of the Threefold Spark, and Exarchon himself, operated. It’s nice to finally get some backstory there, since aspects of it have been seeded or hinted in the book for quite some time now.
We also get a bit more from Cyclonus, who gets a flashback of his own showing just when his hallucinations of fallen friends began. We also see him talking to some of his resurrected friends, not yet knowing they’ve been taken over, which adds some nice tension to his sub-plot. The issue ends with Magnus being captured in a Decepticon ambush and Prime escaping, leaving us off to pick things up next time.
The issue managed to get through a lot, but I do think it suffers a tad from being an exposition dump. While it’s nice getting all this information, it did feel like a bit of a foot-tapper at times, so I think the pacing could be a little snappier. This is something I find Ruckley is usually good at avoiding, so this book is mostly an anomaly in this aspect.
The character stuff here is mostly for Cyclonus, unveiling a few more details about his past. While that’s fine, It’s mostly stuff we’ve seen already, so it doesn’t feel like a lot of progress was made in actually moving our understanding of him forward. The issue was mostly dedicated to telling us more about Exarchon and the war he started, so outside of the Cyclonus flashbacks and some sagely dialogue between Prime and Codexa, character development just wasn’t the focus here. A bit of a disappoint for me, since character stuff is some of my favorite material from the run, but I understand the necessity to take an issue to get some explaining out of the way. My hope is that we get a furthering of Cyclonus soon, since I like the potential this issue set up for his inevitable discovery that his friends are not truly returned.
The art is pretty good. Though I do miss Anna Malkova’s pencils, the two artists here are talented in their own right. We have Winston Chan, who normally does some covers, and Guido Guidi, who does work in the current Shattered Glass mini-series as well. They blend their styles a bit in parts, and it’s hard to tell sometimes where one starts and the other begins. This is a good thing though, showing they both have an understanding of the work and doesn’t make the book’s art feel jarring at any point.
Overall, I liked the issue, but it could have been a bit better. Ruckley’s usually a very good writer in terms of being clear and dealing out information as needed, but this issue felt like it struggled a bit in being both concise and evenly paced. I wish we used the flashbacks with Cyclonus to a bit of a better effect, and the conversation with Codexa didn’t reveal very much that another flashback explaining Exarchon’s abilities didn’t. I appreciate the information given out for world building and lore purposes, but I’m glad it’s over and done with so we can get a clearer focus next time. Thankfully we still get some very beautiful artwork (and cover for that matter) to complement the story, which always helps.
Not a bad issue by any means, just a bit rough in patches. Still, it managed to make me eager for more stuff to come, which means it’s doing its job right. Can’t wait to see where this goes.
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