IDW Publishing: "More than Meets the Eye" #2 Comic Book Review
Title: Liars, A to D
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: February 15, 2012
Written by: James Roberts
Art by: Alex Milne
Colors by: Josh Burcham
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Editor: John Barber
Onboard, the Lost Light Perceptor and Brainstorm have figured out why their ship was damaged on lift off. Brainstorm reports to Rodimus that an Autobot named "Ore" had been standing near the Quantum Generator when the ship took off, getting mashed into it as a consequence! Meanwhile, Rodimus and Ultra Magnus are hard at work finding all the fallen Autobots from the ship's crash. So far they've only found half of the forty Autobots that fell out of the Lost Light. Others are hard at work too including Hoist, Rewind and Chromedome who have found the inert body of Cyclonus!
High above the planet, the Autobot Skids comes warping into the atmosphere, however he has no memory of who he is and why he is currently on the ship. As he slowly begins to remember who he is, he smashes a nearby "Mode Lock" and literally jumps ship, setting the vessel to crash on the planet below. When he lands, he looks to the crash site to find three robots, one destroyed with evil looking weapons preparing to attack as they mutter "1984" over and over!
The Lost Light
Inside the repair bay, Ratchet is finishing up repairs on the Autobot psychiatrist Rung as he discusses various topics including his latest patient, Tailgate. Drift sends a communication explaining all but two of the lost Transformers have been found. As Ratchet continues Rung's repairs Swerve comes in making a series of not-so-funny jokes. When Tailgate awakens, Swerve asks to be the one to break the news to him that he's been out of commission for six million years! Needless to say, Tailgate does not take this very well. Also, Whirl awakens and almost kills Rung but he calms down and stalks off on his own.
Elsewhere, Skids faces off against his "1984" spouting foes. He takes the fallen body of Polaris, one of the fallen "Lost Light" crew and tosses it at one of the robots and blasts the fuel tank of the dead Autobot, destroying one of the robots. The other still stands however!
The Lost Light
Rodimus goes to talk to Cyclonus, now awake (though not fully repaired). Rodimus is letting Cyclonus join their crew, but Magnus promises that if he get sout of line he'll be taken out! As a final gesture, Whirl comes forward to make peace. Cyclonus appears to relent, but actually leans in and threatens to kill Whirl! Maybe not today or tomorrow, but at some point in time when he least suspects.
Meanwhile, Swerve and Tailgate are out for a walk. As they get to know each other Tailgate explains he was once part of a Bomb Disposal unit and that he hasn't transformed in so long he hasn't tried to do so just yet. As the two approach Chromedome, he explains that the bodies of Polaris and Hyperion have been located (not knowing they are already dead). Suddenly Skids comes crashing onto the scene along with his attacker. He asks the Autobots to remove his restraint clamp and Chromedome takes it off, allowing Skids to unleash all his weaponry! He quickly dispatches of his attacker before rejoining the others.
Later at the Lost Light the Autobots begin to gather as Rodimus prepares for his speech. Among the chatter we see Tailgate attempt to transform for the first time in ages and several Autobots contemplate what their group "name" should be. Before things really get moving however, Red Alert reports in. As the body of Shock lays next to him he reports that there is a Spark Eater onboard the ship!
It's kind of weird, as I read through this issue I felt as if I had just read several smaller issues of various Transformers comics mashed together. The more I look at it the more I feel this is just one big "set up" issue. There's a lot going on here between the politics of the various Autobots working together (or not), everyone's personal crisis (Ratchet feeling old), the sudden introduction of Skids and of course the possibility of a "Spark Eater" inside the Lost Light all works togethre to make for a compelling set of stories. The thing is, they all feel very disjointed. While issue #1 definitely had the feel of several small stories integrated together, the flow was a lot better.
All that said, I found myself honing in on Skids' story. A bit of history: for a long time the character of Skids kind of got the shaft in G1. Sure there was a toy of him but he never quite got the same amount of attention as other characters such as Ironhide or Prowl. Indeed, he as limited to all of one appearance in the US G1 cartoon series. However, in the G1 Marvel Comics series he did get a couple issues to himself and I remember enjoying the story quite a bit. Seeing the character shine here brought a smile to my face. I am a bit confused by his memory loss or why he was captured by the robots spouting "1984" over and over (though the significance of the year is obvious to any fan). However, seeing him let loose with a ton of weaponry was awesome. In the G1 comic he was not the strongest guy around, so seeing him heavily armed here while still being a Theoretician really did make me laugh. I'm looking forward to his mystery unraveling.
The other story I'm really interested in seeing develop is the friendship between Tailgate and Swerve. I like seeing the two hanging out as they were both from the same line of Mini-Bots and that symmetry with the G1 toy line really appeals to me. I'm also really interested by the story of a Transformer who has been dormant for six million years. All things considered, Tailgate is really taking this well, though I'm sure awakening among his own kind helps.
The artwork duties were handled by Alex Milne this time around. I was amazingly relieved by the way Milne managed to take many of the designs that Nick Roche created for the previous issue and rolled with them. It's often jarring when a different artist takes over an issue and changes how everyone looks. Here, everyone looks pretty much like they did in the last issue, just without the extreme proportions shown in the last issue. The best example of this is Chromedome, who is super top heavy but has really skinny legs. I commented in the last issue how some of the designs were almost distracting, but this time out the 'bots all look really nice even with funky proportions here and there. I confess I'm still getting used to the whole set of designs with tons of extra angled bits hanging off body parts, but overall I'm having an easier time seeing the design lineage between the G1 versions of the characters and these versions.
I confess I didn't enjoy this issue as much as the last, and I can't quite figure out how any of what happened here ties into the ominous message seen in the last issue, however I do have faith these mysteries will start to be cleared up in the next couple of issues. Essentially I'm crossing my fingers for a lot of payoff here from all the set up. Time will tell.