In the early days of Cybertron, a movement is growing, with Megatron at its head. Your Major Spoilers review of Transformers #3 awaits!
Writer: Brian Ruckley
Artist: Angel Hernandez/Cachet Whitman
Colorist: Joana LaFuente
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte/Tom Waltz
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 17, 2019
Previously in Transformers: High above Cybertron, the planet’s inner moon unfolds to become a gigantic energon harvester, a magnificent show for Bumblebee and his new friend. Meanwhile, Megatron is assembling a new security force, but rumors abound about the new team.
“BUMBLEBEE CAN BE WRONG.”
After Brainstorm’s untimely death, Megatron has leveraged fear and public opinion into a little bit of power for himself, assembling an Ascenticon security force of his own, separate from the Autobots who nominally protect Cybertron. Worse still, his first group of volunteers includes Quake, historically a Targetmaster known for brutality and stupidity, in that order. Orion Pax is concerned, but gets immediately waylaid by Froid, a psychoanalyst who has grave concerns about Megatron’s militia. At the same time, Bumblebee continues acting as a mentor to new ‘bot Rubble, who has to choose his alt-mode, but is distracted by one of Cybertron’s moons. Windblade explains that he’s just psyched about being a mentor, but Rubble is more concerned with disappointing everyone. Something very strange is up with Rubble, as well, as Megatron’s enforcer Chromia has placed a tracking device in his communicator, while Orion “Not Yet Optimus Prime” Pax sets out alone to commune with a seemingly inert robot called Codexa.
VERY, *VERY* TALKY
A new continuity can be daunting, especially for a franchise of this depth, with this many characters. and the danger of falling into a spiral of various oncversations is very real. It’s also a trap into which this issue trips face-first, with every page loaded with exposition and discussion, even of things that are already clear within the story. The mystery behind Rubble is an interesting one, but it’s hard to get invested in it with the sheer amount of dialogue throughout this issue, from Ironhide and Orion discussing Sentinel Prime’s leadership style to Bumblebee’s discussion with Rubble, then a discussion ABOUT Bumblebee’s interactions with Rubble followed by a discussion about Rubble… It’s just too much. Even the appearances of fan-favorite Transformers (including Matthew-favorite Soundwave) can’t quite get past the hurdle of the word balloons. I enjoy the art, though there is the distracting detail of alt-modes to get around, such as Bumblebee (whose alt-mode is shown here, a triangular holofoil vehicle first seen back in the first episodes of the 1984 cartoons) having body parts that are clearly bits of a Volkswagen. Hernandez and Whitman do manage to get a great deal of expression out of the strange ‘bot faces and faceplates, though, and characters like Orion and Megatron look quite good under their respective pens.
BOTTOM LINE: NOT QUITE THERE YET
There are a lot of fascinating details that have popped up in the first three issues of the new era, but it feels like the writer’s enthusiasm to get them all on the page have led to extended infodumps that bring the issue to a screeching halt more than once. Transformers #3 isn’t a terrible issue, but it is an awkward and wordy one where even the best parts of the art feel like they’re buried in an avalanche of descriptions, making for a choppy and hard-to-get-into read, earning 1.5 out of 5 stars overall. I’m still convinced that the seeds of something impressive are here and I’m hoping that the creators can get the bugs worked out sooner rather than later, as whatever is going on with Rubble and the murder mystery seems to have potential.
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This issue features a LOT of characters and even more dialogue, with little in the way of plot progression or incident, making the read a bit of a slog.