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'Transformers' #43 review
IDW Publishing

Comic Books

‘Transformers’ #43 review

Good character moments and world building are held back by the sheer number of different artists handling the visuals.

Welcome back to another installment in IDW’s ongoing (but soon to be concluding) Transformers series comic series. As always, it’s being written by Brian Ruckley, and with a hefty set of artists this time, including Anna Malkova, Jaun Samu, Ed Pirrie and Blacky Sheppard. Quite a lineup, but considering this issue seems to be trying to speed things along to the book’s early conclusion, it makes sense that art duties have been split up a bit. Let’s jump right into the adventures of the robots in disguise for this month, and see how that buildup to the end is doing.

SPOILERS AHEAD for Transformers #43!

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The plot has quite a lot happening this time, covering a bunch of ground – mostly following up on previous issues’ established truce of the Autobots and Decepticons against some common enemies ravaging Cybertron in the middle of the war, namely the Insecticons and Rustworms this time. Most of the issue is spent dealing with this, but we also get another flashback to Optimus Prime’s past, establishing how he came to pursue the path of politics we saw him in way back at the start of the run. It’s good world building that is appreciated even this late into things, and you know I’ll never turn my nose up at some heartfelt Optimus moments. There’s also some hinting towards the end of the series, as least I presume, with Prime namedropping the Ark, aka the ship the Autobots use to escape Cybertron to get to Earth in most continuities. I wouldn’t be surprised if that pivotal event bookends this run.

Character writing is quite good as usual, with Ruckley’s strong grasp of character voices shining just as brightly as usual. His Optimus is given plenty of great quote-worthy dialogue that helps show his gentle, compassionate nature – always a plus from me. The side cast is plenty quippy and fun too, every minor character getting a decent one liner or bit of dialogue to show their personalities, no matter how much they matter to the plot. Ruckley’s always had a good grasp at making each character feel very unique; a difficult challenge in a franchise with a cast as gargantuan as Transformers.

Transformers #43

IDW Publishing

The art team on this issue is quite the erratic one, which has its ups and downs. The obvious downside is that what you’re looking at is pretty inconsistent scene to scene, with very different pencilling and coloring styles clashing a bit as we move perspectives. The artists on their own are all good mind you (a few pages really impressed me with their layout and color choices), but thrown all together like this, it makes the book feel a bit disjointed and unfocused visually. It’s hard to establish a consistent visual tone with this many cooks in the kitchen is all, even if they’re all good cooks. That being said, there’s some excellent action and visual flair where it counts; it’s just a shame it didn’t have that singular vision keeping it together.

Transformers #43

IDW Publishing

Overall, not a bad issue. I really enjoyed it from a character standpoint, and it features probably my favorite Optimus Prime scene in the whole run thus far. It does suffer a bit in the art department, however, due to the sheer number of artists passing the book back and forth making things feel a bit all over the place. The closer we get to the end though, the sadder doing these reviews make me. Knowing that we’re building towards a definitive end casts a somber shadow over the book, even though I’m sure it’ll be an ending worth sticking around for. In spite of that, it’s a good issue, with good character moments and some really good action set pieces and I plan to stick with this series to the bitter end.

'Transformers' #43 review
‘Transformers’ #43 review
Transformers #43
Good character moments and world building are held back by the sheer number of different artists handling the visuals, making things feel a bit disjointed.
Reader Rating1 Vote
9
Characterization remains a high point
Good worldbuilding even near the end of the series
Artists chosen are all good and have unique styles
The number of artists also makes the book look and feel a bit inconsistent
8
Good
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