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Review: Transformers #5

Transformers #5

Transformers #5 is an improvement on the previous four issues but still falls short of being enjoyable. Written by Brian Ruckley, the issue bounces around the various characters involved with the murder mystery as well as peals back some of what Bumblebee has been up to.

This is an issue I want to like and a series I’m attempting to enjoy. Transformers #5 though bounces around a bit too much never quite focusing enough on one plotline or character.

Ruckley delivers an issue that’s an improvement on the previous. It still falls short in entertainment. The issue is a piece of the larger narrative and in that way it is one of the strongest released so far. The structure of the issue is interesting as well delivering some scenes that feel out of place and not needed and others that feel out of order or could have benefited from not being broken up into various segments.

This is most evident in Rubble’s story. Instead of the breaks in his narrative, the issue would have been stronger focusing just on his story and building up the tension and fear better. As is, the ending feels a tad out of place and not the impact it was going for. Instead of terror and dread leading to sadness the overall delivery is that of melancholy.

The art doesn’t help matters either. A trio of artists work on the issue as they have in the past and their differing styles are standing out more. Anna Malkova, Angel Hernandez, and Sara Pitre-Durocher all would be great on their own. Together though, the styles don’t quite work anymore. At times it also doesn’t quite match the tone either. Opening pages have a more cartoon like quality which doesn’t work for Megatron’s serious nature and moment. That transition to the next segment and art style becomes more abrupt due to the mismatched nature of the start. With a bi-monthly comic, picking two artists and switching off would make for a stronger comic visually or banking issues with one artist and switching on the next arc would have been the best overall.

Transformers #5 is absolutely an improvement on the series moving the murder mystery forward and adding more political intrigue. Still, the issue’s pacing and narrative structure works against it creating an experience that again falls short of what was and what could be.

Story: Brian Ruckley Art: Anna Malkova, Angel Hernandez, Sara Pitre-Durocher
Color: Joana Lafuente Letterer: Tom B. Long
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Transformers #5

Transformers #5

Brian Ruckley (w) • Angel Hernandez & Cachet Whitman (a) • Andrew Griffith (c)

The investigation into the mystery of Cybertron’s first murder continues! Windblade closes in on answers, Rubble finds a job that suits him, and Bumblebee… well, Bumblebee has a secret that could lead to chaos.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Transformers #5

Preview: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita

Scott Tipton, David Tipton (w) • Tony Shasteen, Angel Hernandez, Carlos Nieto (a) • J.K. Woodward (c)

Following their clash with their villainous doubles from the Mirror Universe, the Enterprise crew returns to business as usual, little realizing the serpent in their midst–one of their own has been replaced! Six stories focusing on fan-favorite crew members of the Enterprise-D–including Deanna Troi, Wesley Crusher, and Selar–each connected by the machinations of this sinister doppelgänger. What does Mirror Barclay want, and what’s to become of his Prime-universe counterpart?

TPB • FC • $19.99 • 152 pages • ISBN: 978-1-68405-429-9

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita

Review: Transformers #4

Transformers #4

Prowl and Chromia are investigating the disappearance of a missing scientist in the wilds of Cybertron when a mysterious figure crosses their path. Who is he and what does he know about the disappeared scientist? And where is Bumblebee disappearing to at all odd hours?

Brainstorm is dead and the search for his killer continues. There’s also political unrest brewing. All of that is set upon the background of a forging and Brainstorm’s funeral.

Transformers #4 can be summed up with one word… dull. It slows the story down even more so taking its police procedural genre and turning it more into drama. This wouldn’t be bad if there was some emotion and excitement about it at all. Writer Brian Ruckley has taken all that has made the previous volume so interesting and sucked it out in four issues. The glimpses of a solid story before the Transformers Civil War are teased and then put to aside focusing on mentorship and a murder mystery. Its result is just a slow plodding story that you want to get to the point.

The art by Sara Pitre-Durocher, Angel Hernandez, and Andrew Griffith is as solid as always and though there’s differences in their styles none of it stands out enough to create a bump in the reading experience. Still, having one artist consistently on an issue would help the series overall.

From what was an amazing run to this, this new volume is a drag of a story facing pacing issues. The series plays out more as a drama and police procedural than anything else delivering a drab experience that’s a struggle to enjoy beyond playing spot the bot. A “Bold New Era” is exactly what it’s not.

Story: Brian Ruckley
Art: Sara Pitre-Durocher, Angel Hernandez, Andrew Griffith
Color: Joana Lafuente, Josh Burcham
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Transformers #4

Transformers #4

Brian Ruckley (w) • Angel Hernandez & Ron Joseph (a) • Sara Pitre-Durocher (c)

Prowl and Chromia are investigating the disappearance of a missing scientist in the wilds of Cybertron when a mysterious figure crosses their path. Who is he and what does he know about the murdered scientist? And where is Bumblebee disappearing to at all odd hours?

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Transformers #4

Transformers #1 Sells Out and Gets a Second Printing

IDW Publishing announced today that Transformers #1, the start of a bold new era of Transformers comic book continuity, has sold out at the distributor level. Due to its broad appeal, the swift sales of Transformers #1 has prompted a new printing of the issue, slated for release on June 5th.

Written by Brian Ruckley, author of the Godless World fantasy trilogy, and illustrated by Angel Hernandez and Cachét Whitman, the new Transformers series explores a critical time in Cybertron’s history: a world at peace, shaken by the first act of violence in generations. As a murder mystery unfolds, young Rubble and his mentor Bumblebee must come to grips with swirling conspiracies shattering the harmony of the society they hold so dear.

Review: Transformers #3

Transformers #3

High above Cybertron, the planet’s inner moon unfolds to become a gigantic energon harvester, a magnificent show for Bumblebee and his new friend. Meanwhile, Megatron is assembling a new security force, but rumors abound about the new team.

I haven’t been too keen on the first two issues of this new direction for IDW Publishing‘s Transformers series but this third issue things seem to be moving into a more positive direction.

Writer Brian Ruckley has taken the series into more of a crime procedural direction with a bit of politics thrown in the background. The death of a Transformer has lead to questions like who and why with the main thrust o the series focused on that criminal investigation. That ties into Bumblebee who is mentoring a newly forged Transformer Rumble and through that we get to learn about this version of Cybertron.

I called the series “Law & Order: Cybertron” mostly because it focuses too much on that crime approach with a slow plodding investigation. It fails to really find the interesting aspect in the rise of Megatron and is Ascenticons. The fire and intelligence of this aspect of the Transformers history we saw in the previous volume is diluted so far. Instead of Megatron’s focus on philosophy, we get assassination attempts and the formation of a brute squad. It’s all choppy in the execution. A case is never made for Megatron leaving him as the empty revolutionary, the clear bad guy to Orion Pax and the Autobots. We seen the case for Megatron made before and that added layers to what was originally a simple story of good vs. bad. Hopefully Ruckley can pivot a bit in that focus and add some of the political depth.

Angel Hernandez and Cachét Whitman provide the art trading off on pages. The two differing styles are clear and though doesn’t create a huge issue with the story and series it’s more a question as to why? The two styles are very traditional in what we’ve seen and the designs are solid. The issue is one creator has more of an modern animated look and the other a more traditional comic look. The two styles are similar but the difference is there.

The issue, and series, isn’t bad there’s just a bit of depth and maturity that’s missing. The story and series is pretty basic keeping it to a whodunnit story. There’s also a bit of a feeling that some choices are done more for fanservice from the previous volume as opposed to really driving the story (ex. Elita-1’s inclusion in this issue). This issue is an improvement but this is definitely a different direction and vision than what we’ve previously seen.

Story: Brian Ruckley Art: Angel Hernandez, Cachét Whitman
Color: Joana Lafuente Letterer: Tom B. Long
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Transformers #3

Transformers #3

Brian Ruckley (w) • Angel Hernandez & Ron Joseph (a) • Nick Roche (c)

High above Cybertron, the planet’s inner moon unfolds to become a gigantic energon harvester, a magnificent show for Bumblebee and his new friend. Meanwhile, Megatron is assembling a new security force, but rumors abound about the new team.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Review: Transformers #2

Transformers #2

“Your life is yours to shape.” These words form the backbone of the Transformers’ society. But Cybertronian police officers Chromia and Prowl learn there’s a dark underside as they investigate the murder that’s caught Bumblebee in a web of lies and secrets.

The previous long running Transformers run from IDW Publishing was a brilliant mix of robots that can transform and political and social commentary. Some of the best issues focused on the philosophical differences between Optimus/Orion and Megatron.

Two issues in to this new volume and the brilliance that was has mostly been replaced with a standard police procedural and travel guide.

Written by Brian Ruckley, Transformers #2 continues the murder mystery set up in the first issue as well as our tour to this “new” version of Cybertron.

Set in the past, before the civil war, the series also focuses on the ascension of Megatron with what seems like some twists to some of the character development from the previous run. Here he’s more of a politician instead of a manual laborer rising up.

Add in some of the newer additions to Transformer lore like Chromia and Windblade and you have a mishmash of a series so far that seems to pick and choose popular aspects while skipping the depth that makes it all stand out. What’s presented is Law & Order: Cybertron so far and even then, that’s pretty thin.

The art by Angel Hernandez and Cachét Whitman is good with an almost animation cell like quality at times. There’s still a level of detail and lack of real dynamic scenes that makes it all feel like a poor facsimile to the excellence we had for so long. The colors from Joana Lafuente and Josh Brucham though are great making what is on the page really pop in style.

Two issues in and there’s nothing particularly bad about the new series but it absolutely lacks the quality we came to expect from the previous epic run. There’s a political/social awareness that seems to be missing and things are watered down. When first announced, we were told we’d see a Cybertron we have seen before the civil war but in reality we have seen bits and pieces of this and it was done better before. As a fan of what came before due to its intelligence, it’s hard to not be disappointed so far with this run.

Story: Brian Ruckley Art: Angel Hernandez, Cachét Whitman
Color: Joana Lafuente, Josh Burcham Letterer: Tom B. Long
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.35 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Transformers #2

Transformers #2

Brian Ruckley (w) • Angel Hernandez & Ron Joseph (a) • Nelson Daniel (c)

“Your life is yours to shape.” These words form the backbone of the Transformers’ society. But Cybertronian police officers Chromia and Prowl learn there’s a dark underside as they investigate the murder that’s caught Bumblebee in a web of lies and secrets.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

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