I'm warning you right now, if you haven't read IDW's Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #33, don't read this post as there are going to be spoilers of the kind that you will never forgive yourself for reading. Your curiosity simply cannot be allowed to triumph on this occasion. Plus they are just my own uneducated thoughts and feelings on the issue and the title in general of late, so you can find much more insightful analysis and theorising on the TFW or IDW forums. Last chance, leave now or be spoilt/bored.
MTMTE 33 is the first comic issue that I have ever read twice in the same day. I bought it a few hours ago and read it on the train home from Orbital Comics in London, where manager James and also Dan both said it was good. Not just good good, but good with a nod. They weren't wrong, and as far as arc payoff and reveals go, #33 is somewhere up there with #11 and #21.
I have just completed what must be my 6th or 7th re-read of MTMTE from issue 1 up to issue 21, what writer James Roberts calls season 1 basically. I whisper it quietly because I do not wish to offend or sound critical of what has emerged as the best comic title I've ever invested time in reading and following - not just because it's Transformers as I almost always found myself disappointed by TF comics - but I was occasionally having mixed feelings about the direction of season 2, basically issues 28 and onwards (23 to 27 were part of the Dark Cybertron crossover with RID). I found myself enjoying my S1 re-reads far more and unable to shake the feeling that the golden age of the title was behind us, that Roberts was finding it difficult to recapture the magic from issues like 4 and 5 on Delphi, or Shadowplay, or Remain in Light, or the magnificent emotional phenomenon that was #16.
So I completed that read-through yesterday and started, with positive anticipation, on Issue 28 again. Interestingly, 28 feels like a seamless continuation of 22 and therefore up to the exact same standard and memorable quality of season 1. Issue 29 seems much better after a few months away now that I know what comes afterwards and my feelings on the issue are not clouded by what I perceived to be the death of Rodimus, one of my favourite features of the series. Maybe I had imagined the whole thing about season 1 being so much better. Maybe it's inevitable as the weight of previous seasons, established intra-title continuity and expectation weren't there for season 1 and therefore they felt more creative, free and experimental. Season 2 issues have felt slower, more focused and less varied, and possibly introducing brand new cast and crew too quickly leaving me desperate to see more of Chromedome, Drift, Ratchet, Brainstorm, Rung, Cyclonus, Skids, Whirl, Ultra Magnus and specifically Rodimus.
To issue #33 and the conclusion of the mini-arc where the Lost Light members and ship have disappeared. Having (mistakenly) read so many theories on the forums beforehand, I guess the explanation of duplicate Lost Light crews/ship created at the very beginning of the quest did not come as quite the shock, but that really isn't the most intense part of this issue. MTMTE #33 has spectacularly reminded me what I love so much about this series, and that would be the emotion, personality and people at the core of the title. Skids was written marvellously in this issue, he was not comic relief, smart-talking and a bit-part inclusion. He was integral, and his dressing down of Megatron can only be described as beautiful. I almost felt like pointing my finger and waving it at the panels on the page in front of me through that speech.
Rewind's reunion with Chromedome could have been so much more dramatic and gushing, instead it was solemn, silent and handled with class. A spread with no words that takes you through it and forces you to appreciate it based solely on the emotion YOU bring with you to those 2 pages. Gorgeous.
And finally, Brainstorm. Oh my goodness, Brainstorm, what have you done. James Roberts, what have you done. I applaud anyone who saw that coming because I couldn't have been more rocked. There was so much to take in there, the face behind the plate reminding me of Jhiaxus, the Decepticon sigil on the inside of the plate, the implication that he tipped off the DJD and that since issue 1 has been working against the crew. Hell, since the New Institute and all of the ramifications that has had (did he tip Overlord and Starscream off about where Soundwave was being held?). The past life before the New Institute that Prowl alluded to before Chromedome wiped his memory, is he a part of that also? And of course the last page with the briefcase (both of them!), to say that I was stunned would be a dreadful understatement. Having just completed a read-through I now feel compelled to start at issue 1 again IMMEDIATELY and dissect every Brainstorm scene, every issue where something went wrong inexplicably, and analyse where he could have been influencing those outcomes. I should also look into Dark Cybertron again and all his Dead Universe activities. And how many times has he already opened the briefcase and done "whatever the hell" he's wanted? He claimed in the prose story at the end of issue 21 that someone else had tampered with it, goodness that'll take some analysis from someone as slow as me.
Please forgive the incoherent info-dump of thoughts and feelings, just the fact that this issue has led me to write a post like this with precious little imagery to break up my rambling says a lot about the quality, impact and gravity of what happened in that story and how it was presented.
Thank you James Roberts and Alex Milne for issue 33, thank you so much. That's how you do Transformers fiction, drop in something that forces you to re-evaluate how you think of a character with almost 30 years of established personality and allegiance and have it be completely acceptable, believable while at the same time eliciting a "Please don't let it be true!".
Finally, Nautica and Ravage's exchanges in the last couple of issues have been tremendous.
All the best