Although this is Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #23, it’s really Dark Cybertron #2, so it’s a little more difficult to review. I love the former, but the recent big-arc flashy spectacular crossover did not have the best opening. So how does this issue hold up?
The official description from IDW:
THE DEAD UNIVERSE! ORION PAX—the ‘bot who was once OPTIMUS PRIME—joins RODIMUS and the crew of the Lost Light in a desperate bid to outmaneuver SHOCKWAVE—by returning to the legendary Dead Universe! Meanwhile, BUMBLEBEE faces down the biggest—literally biggest—threat he’s ever seen on CYBERTRON!
This issue does read much better, if only because of the sheer bluntness in moving everything around last issue. That said, it’s dancing a very long dance and, even now, it’s not quite clear what’s going on. There are probably many readers who aren’t familiar with the dead universe or the long, long history this story relies on. Still, it’s an improvement.
Writing wise, it’s difficult to fault this issue. The plot is plain confusing and uninspiring, but the dialogue is written well enough. James Roberts and John Barber show an understanding for character but, with an expanded cast in a regular-length title, focus jumps around a little too much. It’s another issue of dinobots being stubborn dinobots because this is a Transformers title so might as well stick the dinobots in somewhere right?
Visually, this issue needlessly discards consistency. The dual-art style of the last issue worked when dealing with two distinct time zones/settings but moving into three just adds distortion. The vibrant art style familiar to More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise is here and so too is the more neon-gritty flare from Monstrosity. In between this we have the deep-shaded style seen in only a handful of issues for scenes on the Lost Light – honestly, why can’t this just have the original art style? It’s too dark and depressing and its not even the part of the story set in “the dead universe”.
I’m giving it this score because it is still a little more bearable than Dark Cybertron #1. Yet it really needs to up its game and stop relying on switching art styles and fitting in every cast member it can.