Monday, September 30, 2013

Custom idea. Coming soon: MTMTE review.

Thinking about doing a custom. The little medical drone from More Than Meets The Eye. Speaking of which, make the jump here and read my blatherings about the comic book.

I just got done reading Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #21. It's pretty much where the seeds planted in issue 1 have fully bloomed. There were more seeds dropped along the way, and considering that the "ongoing" was a mere 30 issues before the editors at IDW decided to "start over" again, it would be amazing if these seeds or suggestions were in fact properly foreshadowed and play out after, or even during, the next six issues of MTMTE taken up by the Dark Cybertron crossover (or if they have any effect in the other title, Robots In Disguise).

This is one hell of a comic book, even for one based on a toy property more famous for its cartoons and movies. I've mentioned my enjoyment of the book before, here and in the Robots In Cahoots podcast. And I've noticed so many hidden, or not so hidden, things within panels, not just jokes but minor hints that became major plot points or resolutions, and they're early on. Granted, issues 7 and 8 focused on some wayward Decepticons (and had to include a Dinobot because it was "Dinobot Month"); issues 9, 10, and 11 were focused on a flashback involving Optimus Prime (because this is a Transformers comic, and you HAVE to have Optimus Prime). But even then these hints and arcs were spread out without having to be paced in a rush to finish up a story and get to the crossover or spread thin too long over issues to pad out a trade or just because the creative team and editors hadn't really thought up where this would go.

When you read the first few issues, you can tell they know damn well what they're plotting and how it will come into play. Like I said, this is the less mainstream of the TWO ongoing titles, when it seemed like the comics market would barely support ONE during Mike Costa's ongoing run (one which I really enjoyed). Big "event" miniseries had to be scrapped and actually incorporated into the regular series. So announcing two? That's quite a risk.

I'm not sure of the MTMTE sales but based on my fellow fan reactions, this is the better title of the two. Or at least it's more fun than just the usual Autobot Vs. Decepticon story. Robots In Disguise is a good enough title, and I do enjoy it, but it seems like a TYPICAL good vs. evil comic book with the usual plot twists. (Think about that: the USUAL plot twists.) Prowl is really a bad guy...oh, he was being mind controlled, thanks pages of talking heads from bad guys explaining the plot and good guys filling in the gaps, "so THAT'S why..." sorta stuff. Again, I like the comic, but this is how major superhero arcs usually end. This is how usual TF comics are advanced.

More Than Meets The Eye is nothing like that. It's not like any of the TF comics as it's free of the conventional good vs. evil battle. There's fights, there's battles, there's casualties, but there's less focus on the field generals and the dramas they face with their trusted confidants, and more focus on the cast. It is total freedom for the characters to HAVE PERSONALITY and DEVELOP CHARACTER. Trailbreaker is no longer a guy who maybe jokes after being ordered by Prime to throw a forcefield and then the day is saved. Trailbreaker is bummed the f*** out. Swerve doesn't just crack a joke in the heat of the moment, you actually feel for him when he realizes he's a joke to everyone...because the comic gives space to these moments. These developments aren't just verbalized by characters who show up for an issue and then disappear after the spotlight has moved across the stage; they're still there, they're still dealing with the effects of the last story they were in, and they'll have more to say and do beyond the plot while advancing the plot.

So kudos to James Roberts & Alex Milne. Twenty-one issues is nothing to sneeze at for a comic published by an indie, with tight controls from its corporate rights owner concerned over its image of its intellectual property. So much has gone on from start to finish in those 21 issues, and so much more has been alluded to happen. The "Ongoing" (the Mike Costa run) went 30 issues, preceded by the initial reboot of 3 six issue miniseries (and a dozen or so one shots that make up smaller stories) and then the 16 issue All Hail Megatron action packed story (and aftermath issues of denouements, set ups, and expository explanations). These stories vary in quality (I enjoyed AHM and Costa's run, but both had minor problems) but they adhere to Good Vs. Evil, and RID carries on that theme even though it's Bumblebee confiding to Prowl as he battles Starscream for political control. Being advertised as Arrested Development In Space might not help MTMTE's longevity because on the surface it's just a bunch of characters stuck on a ship together, on a quest to find a MacGuffin (that seems to be the quest itself), facing their protagonist nearly 20 issues into the series. But that's because MTMTE is about characters who have nothing left to lose but each other. And thus these characters develop. And it's a riot.

So, a review will be coming soon. But WAIT! Because I laughed my ass off in issue 21 over a seed planted in issue 6, a mere throwaway line that you'd think was just a joke that wouldn't matter, I had to go back and reread it. And I've read this series several times. I'm going by and looking at some of the detail, some of the names mentioned in conversations, some of the wishes and vagueness around certain subjects...and I'm compiling a list. Some foreshadowing of events that played out either as a story or by complete surprise, or seeds (also foreshadowing) that are just as minor that, now that we know better, could also mean something, because I'm certainly not letting my guard down with this book. I keep mentioning how long the preceding series went because SO MUCH has happened and I feel that SO MUCH MORE is going to happen. How long will this series go on?

So, NEXT POST, I will have every issue up to #21 listed with specific pages and spoilers, along with themes that carry through and events that haven't played out yet...(if at all, and I'm just making a mountain out of a molehill). It'll be superlong. I'll probably be wrong on a lot of it. Hopefully it'll be worth reading. Hooray.

Okay, that's pretty much it.

RANDOM THOUGHT - BBTS (that's Big Bad Toy Store) is listing the next wave of Generations Deluxes (SKIDS!) and Wave 4 of Kreons for preorder, due out in November. Hey, that's a full month where I don't have to buy anything.


  1. i love the MTMTE series. As of this moment, I consider it the BEST TF comic series, ever. I dare someone to top Roberts' work. I have now re-read every single issue at least 5 times, and there are *still* things I am picking up from each read.

    To be honest, AHM and Costa's run was mediocre at best and really sh*t at worst. I hated both runs. Lots and lots of padding, no plot direction, really boring dialogue, a lot of things didn't make sense and overall, just *shallow* and lacking depth.

    I look forward to your next post... really looking forward to it.

    PS: what was the line in issue #6 that you mentioned?

    1. I sent you an email with the line; I don't wanna spoil it here for anyone.

      That's the best thing about the book; the plot twists aren't just something to explain between action beats. They're IN THE PANEL and you HAVE to go back. The hallmark of a GREAT comic book, regardless if it's based on a toy or not. :P

      Thanks for posting!