I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
Buddy read with Jessica.
I see so many things I missed, things that I can't believe James Roberts planted this early and didn't get to until so much later. Still, it's a little thrill to see them, to realize that, oh, yeah, that wasn't just a one-liner, that meant something.
It makes me respect Roberts as a writer, more so than I already did, and realize just what a rich world he's built, and not only that, built purposely. The man must be incredibly patient to seed this series and know that it wouldn't come to fruition for years sometimes. It makes me realize that every line he writes could come back in the future, but in the most unexpected ways so that trying to figure out where he's going with one line that you laugh at? Just not possible.
I suppose I should speak about the art - which is gorgeous, the line art, the colors, everything - or the perfect lettering. But the truth is, this could be drawn by a brain dead monkey and I'd still be in it for Roberts' work. So, yes, the art? Lush and amazing, but I'm going to focus on the writing.
First of all, I posted some fan art of Deadpool and Whirl after joking about cosplaying Whirl - in his holomatter avatar - and Jessica wanted to know more about Whirl. I ended up sending her three comics via Comixology - what I considered Whirl's greatest hits - and after one issue, this series brought her to her knees.*
Here's your introduction to Whirl in The Death of Optimus Prime.
I felt this issue was largely overindulgent. It worked as a setup, true, but it was mostly Prime being all morose. It was slow, and on the whole, doesn't work as well as MTMtE. Especially after having read this a couple different times, I was not fond of this issue.
I say 'largely' and not 'completely' for a reason: there was some of this issue that I enjoyed, that moved the plot and characters forward nicely. Like the parts that aren't focused completely on Prime, but rather on the Cybertronians who had fled the war and returned (Non-Aligned Indigenous Life-forms, or NAILs) and how they react to Prime. They're angry at what has become of Cybertron, which has become wild, untamed, and angry itself. They're angry at Prime and Megatron and in their eyes, both the Decepticons and Autobots share equal blame for what has happened to the planet.
They create effigies of Prime, rather than Megatron, though, partly because Prime is there, as a target, reminding them of the war, an partly because the Autobots won: they're seen as the ruling class.
There's a lot of racism, and other isms in Transformers. Forged versus cold constructed, did you fight in the war or not, which side you're on, what shape you can transform into, and what class you're a part of. There's a lot of superficial things that matter, far more than they should, to more people than they should. Who wins the war, who's in the ruling class, does tie into - and play into - this.
I could go over into every time this comes into play, I could screen cap everything, but that wouldn't fall under fair use. And it would be a novel-lenght work to rival Game of Thrones in word count. Let's just say that this is done with intent, it's done well, and it feels very human.
And it happens between those who are very close, who accept people for who they are Even Rewind feels the sting when his conjunx endura*** 'starts in on the alt mode bashing.' This also plays into Tailgate's storyline, and later Rung's, when everyone asks to see - or becomes obsessed - with seeing their alt modes. (Rung's alt mode actually has a lot more to say about classification and alt mode-ism, although I'll get into that when he starts talking about what happened to him.)
I keep saying this, but Tailgate says it best. It shouldn't matter. It does. But I think this shows the intent on Roberts part; he's aware of what he's doing, which is why it seems realistic. When Bee and others say that Autobot or Decepticon don't matter, they mean it, they want it to be true. But it does. Roberts knows that. (There are more things later on that tie into this, that I will talk about later, too.)
Swerve tries to make it not matter, tries to use language to do so, and he gets vetoed. And speaking of language, I would be hard-pressed to ignore what language means, when Roberts uses such brilliant wordplay.
That being said, yes, medical pun. But it's brilliant, and it's playful in a morbid way, and it makes me take Roberts' language very seriously. He knows what he's doing, and he knows how to make something both funny and meaningful at the same time. Or just funny. Or just funny at the time and meaningful in retrospect. Which is what makes this series so dangerously addictive: it's all smart, it's all wrapped in a funny package, and it's all meaningful in the end.
I forgot this was in here earlier. But knowing what this is about makes this scene. I almost cried when I read this.
As if this wasn't enough, Roberts handles a large cast of character with aplomb. Large, yes, but it never really feels claustrophobic, although they are all on a spaceship in a confined area for the most part. Each character has his own weakness and strength, and each is a fully formed characters, who is distinct from all the others. And because they are so rich, so human, I feel for them.
But there's more. This is a lovely introduction for newbies, but it's also got some really rather obscure references for those who know more about Transformers.
Read more about rubsigns at the link.
And one more screen cap.
Drift's face guys. Because, yes, Drift, so many things wrong with that sentence.
*I like imaging that it went down this way. Feel free to disabuse me of this image. Or, y'know, try. I'll probably be like, nope, happened that way, boom.**
**Speaking of boom, we started the year off with one, huh?
***Husband for lack of a better word.