Transformers: Lost Light #7 Provides A Moment To Breathe That Will Knock The Wind Out Of You

by Noah Sharma

 

Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye ended with an explosive, six-part finale that paid off at least three years of storytelling before a pair of tie-ins to the “Titans Return” event. When it returned as Transformers: Lost Light we found our misfits heroes thrust into another universe, ruled by the same fanatical system that set Megatron on his path to tyranny millions of years ago. That means that for the last year and a half, James Roberts’ beloved Transformers epic has either been on hiatus or in the middle of some world-ending calamity. And now it’s over. It’s time to breathe.

With Megatron gone and falsely believed a traitor, Team Rodimus must reconcile their memories of him with his disappearance. What’s most interesting is that, while Rodimus and Minimus Ambus get a particular spotlight in this regard, it remains ambiguous but not unmentioned that there are other bots among those mutinied who may not have shared Rodimus or the reader’s faith in the former warlord.

But while this issue is called “After Megatron”, he’s only a small portion of what the crew is dealing with. One thing that More Than Meets the Eye has always done exceedingly well is convey subtext. Characters smile and joke and reveal their demons. What they say is rarely what they mean and both are clear. So it quickly becomes obvious that Megatron’s departure couldn’t have come at a worse time. A loving shot at Skids and a quippy dismissal of a war crime are thrown together casually as Rodimus sets aim on the two things he truly cares about: The Lost Light and Getaway.

The plan means that only about twenty of the survivors can leave the planet at first and some are having second thoughts about leaving at all. As ever, James Roberts makes reading this issue an excruciating pleasure. Fans of the series should be sure to have somewhere to sit down, something to throw, and someone to talk to by the time they reach the last page.

Like all of Roberts’ writing, Lost Light #7 is packed with content. The dialogue is dense and personal and keeps the pace slow, even as the content of the story drives you from panel to panel. There will be moments that you miss on a first, second, third read and there will be moments where bots pause or recoil and the reader will be doing the same. Cyclonus, Whirl, and Tailgate are each at their best this month and Rodimus and Minimus each get a speech that reminds just how pleasant Roberts’ writing can sound, especially when the content is hardly what you’d call pleasant.

And, of course, despite the barrage of personal quirks and foibles, you know that nearly everything serves a purpose–leftover glasses and the positions of insignias are plot crucial in this comic! So why are we taking time to focus on Nautica’s eye? Is there a reason she values Kaput’s insight so much? Are we not talking about how Anode regrew her girlfriend who had been dead for five-hundred years, cause I feel like there are implications there that have not been addressed!

…See what this series does to you?

Regardless, the result is that, even though this is a twenty-page comic, it feels like there are pages left after you’re certain you must be reaching the end. That’s especially beneficial in this issue as there’s something of an epilogue feel about the last five pages.

Honestly the biggest problem with this issue is that, because it’s paying off such long-running threads, much of it is taken up by things that are, in some sense, inevitabilities. Still, reading it, every one is felt in the gut and plenty will surprise you even if you foresaw them, just for the willingness of the narrative to go through with them.

It’s also worth mentioning that this is not a series that’s friendly to new readers. The cover may say #7, but this is absolutely Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #64 and even longtime Transformers fans will be tested by the sheer number of new concepts and radical departures from other interpretations of the brand. The dedicated can always familiarize themselves on the Transformers Wiki, but without reading the stories themselves, I expect that some impact would be lost.

Jack Lawrence’s art still feels like a bit of a shift from previous artists and John Wycough’s forceful inks emphasize the particular blend of mechanical and plastic in his work. Some faces seem a little squat at times and the cartoonish quality that works rather well for Rodimus’ outbursts can feel ill-matched to some of the heavier dramatic beats. Even so, these problems are largely balanced by a keen storytelling sense. I may find Cyclonus’ harsh design poorly suited to Lawrence’s style, but you know exactly what he’s feeling and when he realized it all throughout.

There’s also a special attention to motion that pays dividends. Much of this story’s action is introspective, conveyed through its dialogue, and as such this is a fairly still comic. That’s why it’s so important that Lawrence plays with that stillness and accentuates the cast’s sudden motions with unobtrusive motion blur and clear compositions.

When a James Roberts Transformers comic decides to do something big, to explore new universes, to rewrite history, to punch a moon, those are moments that you look forward to as a comic reader. But the trick of this series is that when the crisis has passed and there’s time for these mechanical oddballs to laugh and love and hate again, you realize how much you missed this. They both feel like the real Lost Light and that’s because they’re both written equally brilliantly.

Transformers: Lost Light #7 wastes no time putting the spotlight back on the characters or making its audience gasp with joy or horror. The dramatic effects of the last arc have time to settle here, while new mysteries and some shocking good-byes are tossed onto the pile of reasons readers deeply, truly care about these strange, transforming automatons. Simply put, there’s not a series out now that runs as deep or stings as keenly as Transformers: Lost Light and this issue is a prime example of that.