IDW Publishing: "Robots in Disguise" #9 Comic Book Review
Title: "Night and the City"
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: September 12, 2012
Written by: John Barber
Art by: Andrew Griffith
Colors by: Joana LaFuente
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Edits by: Carlos Guzman
It's a peaceful night as Bumblebee sits on top of Turmoil's ship with Wheeljack working below. Suddenly, Sky Lynx comes crashing down into the area! Smashed up but alive, he reports the events of the night - events which Ironhide is still living as he attempts to escape the rampaging Dinobots in the Wilderness!
Back at the city, Bumblebee is looking for solutions with Wheeljack. Whatever caused the Dinobots to go out of control, it's not happening in the city. Wheeljack runs through many possibilities, including involvement of the Kimia satellite base, but nothing quite fits. Soon, Metalhawk and Starscream arrive to offer assistance, but Bumblebee secretly worries if Starscream finds them he may get more people voting for him in the upcoming elections.
Back in the Wilderness, Ironhide is on the run, watching a recording made by Silverbolt. The Aerialbot leader reports that one by one, the Aerialbots turned on him and that whoever is there alone, they will be pursued by everyone!
Meanwhile, Bumblebee has gone to Blurr's bar to ask for his help. Blurr isn't happy with Bumblebee's leadership, but for Ironhide he agrees to help. Outside, Ravage spies on Bumblebee but then joins the Reflector trio. High above, Arcee keeps watch over them - with a long range rifle!
Meanwhile, Ironhide is still being thrashed by the Dinobots. The recording of Silverbolt continues and he explains that the Aerialbots soon united against him, and he wonders why he was singled out. Slowly but surely Ironhide is being worn down.
Elsewhere, Bumblebee is talking to Wheeljack about the time travel machine inside Turmoil's ship. Wheeljack explains that it isn't time travel in the sense that most people think, but rather a "side to side" type travel. Suddenly, as the two are talking - the ship disappears!
In the Wilderness, Ironhide is calling out to Silverbolt for help - when suddenly a giant robot comes out of nowhere to help him: Superion!
Meanwhile, Bumblebee, Starscream, Prowl and many others are gathered at the site of the missing ship, all trying to figure out what's going on.
Curiouser and curiouser! This issue does a great job of providing some fun action but also deepening the mystery of just what is going on with the Dinobots and the missing Aerialbots. Unlike "More than Meets the Eye", which currently seems to be on a rampant run of dialogue and odd story points, "Robots in Disguise" is keeping it tight by following up on the previous issue's storyline. It doesn't answer a lot of questions, but it certainly advances is a few steps forward. We know that whatever "madness" is out in the Wilderness it's making Transformers not only go mad, but then unite against those they perceive as "others". This is fascinating with regards to the Dinobots and Aerialbots, who have traditionally been viewed more as a group than individuals. It's an interesting narrative choice and I'm very curious to see if here Superion represents Silverbolt's way of "wrangling" the Aerialbots into a cohesive group.
Superion in particular raises an interesting question. It seems like this is perhaps the first time Sueprion has been formed. Silverbolt's control is "off" a bit as evidenced by his language skills being diminished. This is also something G1 would hint at, the fact that the merging of minds causes some dysfunction (which varied from giant to giant). I'm looking forward to seeing this new version of Superion as up until now, the various Combiner teams have mostly been treated as individuals and not robots who could merge.
The myster of Turmoil's ship really is a head scratcher, and a fun one. I keep wondering just what role will a time travel device play in this larger story. I am seriously hoping its role isn't key in restarting the war (like someone goes back in time and shoots Bumblebee...again or something). Instead, I'm hoping its disappearance points to something much larger and more sinister!
I will admit that Bumblebee's path has not been a fun one to watch. All too often he's fallen into the trap of doubting himself and in some ways he's becoming much more hard edged than I would have wanted the character to be. That said, the path works. If he had been a perfect, awe inspiring leader I would have been disappointed because he wouldn't be making mistakes and "working" for the title of a good leader. On the other hand, he has just enough presence of mind to do what needs to be done as evidenced by his necessary yet uncomfortable discussion with Blurr. I am hopeful we get to see Bumblebee grow and learn from his mistakes - and man, I really want him to ditch that cane already.
The artwork in this issue is interesting, mostly because of the designs. Some designs are very "Generation One" in style such as Warpath, Bumblebee, Starscream and Sky Lynx. Others however are much more curved and animated looking such as the Dinobots. I'm not exactly crazy about the combination of styles - but given the styles presented I have to say everything looks great and the coloring is spot on. I'm also a big fan of the "busy" scenes such as the bar where we see who I believe to be one of the Pretender Beasts, Axer, Grotusque and other familiar 'bots in the crowd. I was very happy to see that Superion looks very much like his G1 counterpart with design embelishments instead of some monstrosity with dozens of bits and pieces hanging off of him. Great job on the artwork overall even if I'm not a fan of every design.
This issue isn't revolutionary in any way, but it is satisfying in many respects. It keeps the Cybertron story moving forward and gives us a dramatic turn for many characters (and a ship). Best of all, it makes me want the next issue immediately, which is one of the signs of a good issue in my book. A good read and recommended.