Sunday, April 24, 2016

Recap: Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #50

Since it started, the people behind Transformers: More than Meets the Eye series has built up a beautiful, happy, sad, fun, exciting, thrilling story. It has been one of my favorite comics to pick up every month and even more favorite to read (it always makes it to the top of my comic stack when I can get around to it). And now, it made it to it's 50th issue with special thanks to James Roberts who's brought the story this far.

So let's dig in. This is your one and only fair warning... Spoilers (and feels) ahead.

Okay, so I am a little late in the game and behind one(ish) issue (thank you to my wonderful comic shop for storing comics for me for days in my box while I'm away on business travel). I have also never written about any Transformers comics yet, so let's start there and get my quick thoughts out of the way.

I love MTMTE. I'm not going to go on about the entire background of the story (though, holy shit, if you love a diverse series with a colorful cast you should be reading this) but... I love it so much. I love the crew, I love Rodimus' prideful attitude, I love grumpy Cyclonus, and I love little Tailgate. And (caution, favorite character mini-rant oncoming) as much as I will parade around in my Decepticon hat and swear by 'peace through tyranny', I love Autobot Megatron. We see a much different and deep character than we have ever seen of Megatron before. We see a vulnerable side of him where he's offended about being asked if he's was forged or cold-constructed. We get to see him be a 'co-captain' with Rodimus (much to my entertainment), interact with the stern Ultra Magnus, and be bullied behind the scenes by the less than enthused crew members. And we get to see Ravage sneak on-board the Lost Light and try to convince Megatron (much to Soundwave's dismay, I have a feeling) to come back to the purple side of things (to which he declines). I think in this series alone, readers get to discover who Megatron is now and was as he reflects on his terrible deeds from before (much to my own excitement as I have always ranted and raved about how epic Megatron is). It's awesome and I can't applaud Roberts enough on building out my favorite character. 

Now on to issue 50, "The Dying of the Light"...

The issue starts tense right off the bat with various members of the Lost Light transmitting their final request to various characters throughout the universe (Optimus, Starscream, Fortress Maximus, Windblade, etc). There's an obvious sense of defeat from all the characters, even psychotic Whirl who has nothing more to say than "no funeral". However, it is hard to miss that Megatron and Ravage are not in this line up of 'final words' as we come to find out that the message just received had been sent over 3 weeks ago (dun dun dun, right?). 

Flashback to 3 weeks prior and we find the now-pacifist Megatron directing a squad of Lost Light crew from the captain's chair of the ship while they combat a horde of rust giants to save a local organic species who even goes as far to say "Autobot's, Roll Out!" once the mission was completed (to much of his own glee, it seemed). We then follow the team to what seems to be a classroom with Megatron, once again, directing and teaching a class on "establishing a cultural context" to help their efforts in finding the Knights of Cybertron. I really like the emphasis put on Megatron as a leader who helps the crew and their directive. I think it sheds light on who he as prior to being a warlord tyrant the war as someone leading efforts to induce change. 

That is, until, we see a sudden outlash from Megatron who, seemingly out of his own control and to his own surprise, punches Minimus Ambus' lights out to near termination. We come to find out Meg's has skipped a dose of the strength-limiting energon that is supposed to keep his strength in check to which the side-effects are still unknown. This seems like it'll be important in a future issue and may lead to Megatron returning to his own ways or some kind of struggle, but wasn't necessarily emphasised much further in this issue. At the end of this whole scene where Velocity is performing a check-up on him, she inquires about some damage on Megatron's head and all he really answers with is "it was me" but that it's not a problem because he's "never been happier" with a soft but almost pained smile (which queued a whole mess of feels for the old-man tyrant on my end). I'd like to believe that he truly means it.

Skip forward a bit and we follow another squad of Lost Light crew (a.k.a. most of the main characters) out to investigate a strange signal that only a select few could hear. Megatron, Rodimus, Nautica, Whirl, Cyclonus, etc. etc. teleport jump off in the Rod Pod to where the signal came from, which appeared to be inside a nowhere, large, spherical object, then once again to the Necrobot's planet from a few issues back. Upon arrival, the group is almost instantly ambushed by a squad of Decepticon Attack Crafts and forced to crash land retreat into the Necrobots fortress where we find the Necrobot dead and covered in sparkflowers (side note, completely curious as to why there's multiple and not just one for his own spark). If you've been following the series, it's pretty apparent who's there and where this whole thing is leading to (starts with a 'D' and the leader's name rhymes with barn). 

Rewind manages to use the devices in the fortress to make contact with the mothership only to be greeted by the no-longer-imprisoned Getaway (a.k.a., Jerk-face McJerky, imo) who reveals that this whole sha-bang was an elaborate scheme to get Megatron and his sympathizers off the ship. Because for Megatron there is no forgiveness, rehabilitation, or reintegration. "Not Him. Not Now. Not ever." he claims. Megatron (who looks looks crushed) pleads to Getaway, for the sake of the crew, and "not me" (once again, right in the feels for me) but to no avail.

The discussion ends with Getaway shutting off communication, the now-serious Rodimus punching through the communications panel in anger, and Ravage returning from his quick recon mission with a grave warning. Megatron seems to know already who has been hunting the squad and that sense of defeat from the beginning of the issue is conveyed.

The story finishes as we get a glimpse of the DJD-Deathsaurus team up and Megatron declaring "I think this is how it ends".

This issue also included another short story but I'm not going to go into that as it seems like filler (but totally worth a read). But the issue as a whole was very well done and I found myself nose deep into the pages as I went. It built up a sense of happiness with everything going smoothly only to tear it down into chaos with the feeling of despair. Of course, the heavy theme here (which recurs throughout the series) seems to be around Megatron and questioning if he could ever be able to return from his crimes and vicious deeds during the war to a normal, contributing-to-the-greater-good Cybertronian. While he's got others rooting for him (or at least not going against him), not everyone is convinced or does not want to be convinced. It shows the darker side of the Autobots, I think, who are near-always are played as these 'valiant heroes' who believe in all that is right.

Overall, this was a great issue and left me hanging on what's going to happen next. And, once again, I can't give enough praise to Roberts, Milne, and the rest of the creative geniuses behind MTMTE. This series has brought the kind of mythology and background the Transformers franchise has needed and added so much to the comic-line as a whole (it got a little weird there for a while). I'd recommend this series, Transformers-fan or not,  to anyone as it is definitely worth a try. 

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