The last few issues of Transformers: Robots In Disguise have been hard to beat. Both this and its sister title, More Than Meets The Eye, have been finishing some impressive arcs and story developments. Robots In Disguise #16, however, seems to offer more than any of these so far.
The official description from IDW:
FINAL BATTLE! The leadership of Cybertron will be decided once and for all! It’s all-out war against the forces of MEGATRON! Will the Autobots wrest control from their attackers—or will the DECEPTICON flag fly over Cybertron forever? Heroes will fall, and nothing will stay the same.
This issue opens up to a lot of chaos, confusion and fighting, but dances its way through it. Despite the large scale, character heavy plot going on, this issue keeps its head above the waters. Yet its the ending, for me, that makes this issue stand out. Yes, I’ve written before how Starscream has become a more interesting character, but the ending to this issue exemplifies everything that been built on.
A lot of this has to be down to John Barber’s writing and story. Here is a writer that understands hubris, falling from grace, antithesis, catharsis… Barber’s script demonstrates an understanding of many of these concepts. Yet its all pulled off well. Its not about being cheesy or typical; the plot happens here because its the best time to do it. Because of that, it succeeds amazingly. The ending is not something many would expect, yet its something that feels deeply satisfying.
This also wouldn’t of been as possible without Andrew Griffith’s pencils and Brian Shearer’s inks. The larger panels give more room for detail, which helps break the characters apart. The large blocks of color and detail work well here. However, some of the smaller panels are a little harder to define. Yet the colors work wonders where they can, the title flows between bright oranges, cool blues and various shades of neon purple. Its all classic Transformers. Likewise, the ending is a prime example of a good collaboration between writer and artist. The narration is good, but its only because of the large space given to the art that its real effect can be felt.
All in all, if it isn’t obvious, I am really impressed with this issue. I would say its the best issue of Transformers: Robots In Disguise I’ve read; I would even rate it above More Than Meets The Eye #15, but that might be helped by a difference in scale. The writing is solid and surprisingly emotional, even if the characters are giant robots.