IDW Publishing: "More than Meets the Eye" Issue #28 Comic Book Review
Title: "World, Shut Your Mouth" Part 1: Towards Peace
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: April 30, 2014
Written by: James Roberts
Art by: Alex Milne
Colors by: Josh Burcham
Letters by: Tom B. Long
Editorial Assistanceme: Rebecca Huard
Editor: John Barber
It's an exciting day onboard The Lost Light. As Nautica catches up with Brainstorm, they find a small group including Mirage, Hosehead and Groove trying to listen in on the first therapy session of their ship's Captain: Megatron!
Six Months Ago
The Lost Light has been fully repaired and refueled, much to Rodimus' excitement. However, as he begins to say his goodbyes to Optimus, Ultra Magnus, Prowl and others, Optimus tells him that no one is leaving Cybertron until they decide what to do with Megatron. Starscream tells the group that the Cybertronians under his leadership want a trial. Prowl thinks Megatron's guilt is already proven and now they just need to determine a punishment. Optimus fears deciding Megatron's fate in secret would cause problems with Cybertron's population. Without a Chief Justice, Optimus announces he will take that role. Prowl is appointed the prosecutor while Magnus is named as the defense.
After everyone leaves, Rodimus stays to talk to Optimus. Prime knows Rodimus is eager to resume his quest, but without his half of the Matrix, only Thunderclash may hold the key to finding Cyberutopia - and he has gone silent. Optimus suggests there may be a way to speed things along.
After two hours of therapy, Megatron is done for the day. He hasn't opened up a lot, but Rung tries to push further, even using Megatron's autobiography as reference. Megatron appears ashamed by it. As the two talk, neither seems to realize Ravage is hidden away, listening to every word! Rung then notes the book was originally dedicated to someone named Terminus, and then the dedication was removed and he asks just who that was. Megatron only says that he put in and removed the name for the same reason: Terminus told him not to get attached. A sudden power outage shocks them both, but the lights quickly come back on and Megatron takes the opportunity to leave.
Six Months Ago
Swerve, Crosscut and Riptide have formed a panel to review applicants wanting to join The Lost Light crew. As they go through applicants (including Bluestreak and Groove) we also learn a bit about Nautica and the fact that she's an engineer and loves to read. Suddenly, Nightbeat bursts in and calls the whole interview a sham, noting that they've rejected every single applicant so far and that Ultra Magnus would have never let the interviews be called "Crewditions".
Meanwhile, Optimus is visiting Megatron in jail. He notes that if Megatron contests any testimony, the trial could drag on for centuries. However, using Chromedome's ability to tap into his memories, the entire process could be spe dup. Megatron refuses, preferring to die rather than have anyone invade his mind. Chromedome leaves with Optimus. Rodimus tells Megatron that he deserves to die, and that while his departure is delayed, he is happy to see Megatron's execution. Oddly, Megatron's response is to ask Rodimus to do him a favor!
On The Lost Light, Skids and Nightbeat try to check on Chromedome. The last time Skids saw him, he had punched Prowl during Megatron's trial. Since coming back onboard, he has been in his quarters listening to Rewind's last message repeatedly. The pair decide to leave him alone, but Nightbeat notices that the "8" in Chromedome's room number is missing. As the two walk away, some letters are suspiciously missing from a nearby sign as well.
Elsewhere, as Megatron returns to his quarters he finds hateful graffiti all over his door. Suddenly, Whirl attacks him and the two fall deep into the ship as they struggle. Megatron tells Whirl that the only reason he lived through the war is that he ordered the Decepticons to let him live. He did it out of gratitude for Whirl showing him "the way" to change Cybertron: violence. Whirl tries to gut Megatron, but his arm disappears! Megatron explains that Shockwave's alterations on his body led to him having all sorts of black holes and portals inside his body. He tells Whirl he will forget about the attack if he cleans the graffiti.
Later, Whirl is communicating with someone unseen, explaining Megatron didn't take the bait. Meanwhile, Megatron contemplates how being on The Lost Light has allowed him to start a new chapter in his life.
Six Months Ago
Megatron is brought to his trial with several guards. Prowl reads off the list of accusations including founding a terrorist army and causing the death of billions. When it comes time to plead, Megatron pleads Guilty!
Megatron arrives on the bridge and Ultra Magnus reports no word from Thunderclash. However, they have discovered a UFO that appears to be a coffin.
I think if you were to really try to shake up the status quo and shock fans into paying attention, putting Megatron on the cover of your comic with a big ol' Autobot symbol on his chest does the trick. This issue does a good job of taking readers back and forth between Megatron being the Captain of The Lost Light and the events leading up to it. I have often found Megatron to be a frustrating character in the IDW Universe. He was (and perhaps still is) uber powerful, so nothing ever seemed to be a genuine threat to him and characters like that can be very difficult to write and make interesting. If your entire schtick is "I can scrap anyone who gets in my way.", it's tough to be a lead character.
That is why I found this issue very satisfying. Here, Megatron is portrayed as a multi-faceted character. This isn't the first time of course, other issues leading up to "Dark Cybertron" did this as well, but seldom have issues focused so heavily on him as a nuanced character. My favorite scene is the one where he is in jail and Optimus offers to have Chromedome inject him to go through his memories. In one scene, Megatron goes from defiance to fear to cunning. It's a very raw scene and lets us see much of the core of Megatron. Alex Milne's artwork helps translate this scene beautifully through Megatron's body language and facial expressions.
There are two key events form the past that will make future issues page turners for sure. First, just how did Megatron become Captain of The Lost Light when he's been put on trial for the murder of billions?! Part of me speculates it is due in part to the Cybertronians wanting him off the planet (but not willing to execute him). Second, what happened to Rodimus? He's alive and well six months ago, but he has yet to be seen on The Lost Light. On top of that, what's going on with the missing letters and numbers on the ship? Time will tell.
Alex Milne's artwork has always been among my favorite. He has a way of making characters look substantial even if they're thin and sleek like Whirl. He executes a level of detail on his backgrounds and characters that manages to look complex, but not too busy. On top of all this, he does facial expressions, both subtle and exaggerated very well, lending additional weight to each panel.
"Dawn of the Autobots" is off to a good start. There are several compelling threads to this story and I really look forward to seeing what's in store! Also, this is a good "pick up" point to start reading this title again if you stopped for a wile.