Okay… so Transformers: Robots In Disguise #23 is actually Dark Cybertron #3. Wanted straight-up Robots In Disguise? Well, there isn’t any choice, so is the current mega-super-crossover-arc any decent compensation?
The official description from IDW:
STARSCREAM UNDER FIRE! The all-new, all-redesigned, all-leader-of-the-planet STARSCREAM makes his move! Will he stand up for CYBERTRON, or fall under SHOCKWAVE’s onslaught? Meanwhile—the Lost Light receives a desperate call from help from an old friend!
Honestly… yes and no. The issue still suffers from its all-over-the place plot that has a little bit too much of everything, but it nonetheless delivers here. Well, I might be biased as this issue focuses a lot on Starscream, which Robots In Disguise made into a much more refined character, with this issue building on a lot of the development and obvious plot threading. Still, this issue is much more coherent than other Dark Cybertron issues – a strong factor in its favor.
The main selling point of this issue is arguably the writing as a result. James Roberts and John Barber offer a more precise title, but it does open to generic fighting and gun shots. That said, if you get over the massive hurdles in previous issues, Robots In Disguise #23 offers something interesting, not least the areas resolving Starscream – I don’t want to spoil it, but the latter half really kicks into gear, although I have to question whether this needed to be done as part of a massive cross-over that delays all other running plotlines?
Visually, however, I still have doubts. This issue only has two art styles, but I still don’t feel the need for them. I like the vibrant visual art style, the overtly gritty alternative just doesn’t suit the title. It’s full of morbid facial closeups and extensive overshadowing. Quite frankly, it’s depressing and you don’t need to have dark art to be moody.
Over all, I’m in two halves for this issue. I want to like Dark Cybertron and gain an interest in it but, save a few key characters, Robots In Disguise still needs to offer more.