Transformers: Robots In Disguise #22 follows on from last weeks issue, which I wasn’t very positive about. However, somewhere along the lines this issue offers a very satisfying product that offers, much much more than expected.
The official description from IDW:
SOUNDWAVES! The origin of SOUNDWAVE concludes as the master of sound confronts SHOCKWAVE in the ruins of Cybertron! Will they be friend—or foe? Will the DECEPTICONS stand with SHOCKWAVE—or will they join the AUTOBOTS? It’s the moment of ultimate choice
Where as last month didn’t neccessarily go anywhere, this issue is all about point and purpose. honestly, you could reduce the last issue to a few pages and just stick it in here as a prologue and be done with it. Robots in Disguise #22 focuses almost entirely on Soundwave and Shockwave, coming of all the better for it. This issue does something very, very few Transformers titles have done before – show a decent decepticon. The personal focus on Soundwave is excellent in this issue as it shows inner values that run deeper than “I am decepticon and I am evil”. It’s one of the reasons we all love Starscream, so I only hope that character transformation is used in the future.
John Barber’s writing is much better in this issue, with the non-linear narrative playing off much better – I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about the flow and ebb of this issue that just works. Of course, Barber fills it with personal moments between various characters that oozes flavor, such as a scene featuring Megatron which, from Soundwaves view point, makes him appear almost as a mentor.
Following on from last month’s part one, this conclusion keeps the dual art style. The art by Andrew Griffith and Priscilla Tramontano for the present contrasts well with the darker style for the past by Livid Ramondelli. More than simply clearing up the narrative, it adds plenty of atmosphere without smothering the whole issue in dark shading.
In other words, I really like this issue – surprisingly so, in fact, as it is such a step up from before. While its focus on Soundwave is obviously a lead-in to the big plot, it’s something that is welcoming if this is a sample of the quality to come.