As the Combiner Wars event swings into the second half, Transformers #41 starts to bring more action and quicker, faster developments. While this feels off with the slower pacing, it does feel all the more substancial as a result.
The official description from IDW:
DESPERATE ACTIONS! As the SPACEBRIDGE reaches across the stars, will anyone stand against STARSCREAM? The answer is yes—but the cure might prove worse than the disease.
All in all, this isn’t a bad issue – it’s quite enjoyable in fact – but it’s not new reader friendly. At its core, this is for people who’ve been sticking with the series. Still, it builds upon the last few issues and adds a stronger sense of direction, with plotlines definately converging or reaching their natural conclusions. Throw in a few twists and turns, as wel as a decent cliffhanger, and it’s really not that bad, actually. Similarly, some characters such as Windblade and Starscream do take a noticable turn on the backseat this time around.
John Barber is very good at writing characters and this is where much of the script’s duality comes into play. On one hand, the various dialogue scenes are more focused, especially Prowl’s comments and observations on Combiners as a whole. Compare this to the big splashy action sequences, and the difference is quite clear. Still, Barber’s plot is hard to fault and any developments feel natural, rather than forced, even if the main focus is ‘big robot punches big robot’.
Speaking of big robots punching each other, the visuals are pretty good here. While I’ve commented about the overuse of Livid Ramondelli’s artwork, Trasnformers #41 is a prime example of where this makes sense. That said, the angular, blocky approach isn’t always great. If the larger Combiners weren’t different colors, for instance, some of the action panels wouldn’t be that easy to make out.
All in all, this is a solid offering. It’s not perfect, but it’s good, well thought out and it certainly isn’t boring.