I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
Scott is definitely a favorite author. If I had to choose between her and Roberts, it would be Roberts - but not by much. And I'm specifically talking Transformers here. The characters are brilliantly complex, continually surprising me - without being out of character, and the world is real, and different, while still exploring and reflecting our real world issues.
And it's got my sex appeal, so, yay!
Starscream has three different problems - the trial of a badgeless, what to do with Chromia who has confessed to setting off a bomb on live television in a previous storyline, and what to do with Elita-1 who's being praised as a hero and seems to be gaining a following. The three issues are more complex than they'd seem. The badgeless has clearly been setup, but everyone wants justice, and this bot is the easiest scapegoat. The Mistress of the Flame needs something from Starscream: either Chromia or Swindle and Menasor will be delivered to her, because Chromia is one of their own. Swindle and Menasor are needed for combiners, and they have had a part in the destruction on Caminus during the Combiner Wars. In addition, The Mistress can use one of her own people, who died to protect Cybertron, as leverage. Starscream owes her and her people, and he's unscrupulous enough to worry that she'd use that to her own advantage because it's exactly what he'd do. He'd stoke his loyal followers' anger and use it against someone who had something he wanted. And finally, Elita-1 lied by omission, and put them all in danger in the end. But if he reveals the information that she was hiding Liege Maximo, then she will reveal how Windblade and her small party released Liege Maximo, on Starscream's orders. Since Liege Maximo is not only one of the Thirteen Primes but evil, and wants vengeance on everyone, Starscream doesn't want her telling them anything.
Starscream is physically exhausted as he's been working nonstop and unable to recharge at all. He's on edge because everyone keeps pressuring him, or blackmailing him, when he has other, equally important issues to deal with at the same time. He's being stretched to his limits, and Bumblebee keeps insisting he be better and deal with things as is morally right, even though it would make things ten times harder. And since Bee was ruling Cybertron before Starscream, he's not speaking from inexperience. He knows what he's talking about, and still wants Starscream to be better than he's being.
For something that focuses on Starscream so much, we sure get a lot of other characters. A lot of this either deals with Starscream directly, as well, or indirectly is about how this will make things harder for him, but there's still a lot about them in there, and that's fine. It makes things a little more rounded out, and it's not so much that it gets too busy.
The storylines with Liege Maximo and Chromia are moved forward and the trial of the badgeless is dealt with in this issue. It could very well come back, and knowing Scott and this world, it will, but I'm also fairly sure it'll be tabled at least for a while. (I'm hoping for two more Transformers series now. One that follows Chromia, and one that deals with The Weak Anthropic Principle. And, yes, I'd buy all four in paper and buy them on sale in digital format.)
Lovely, lovely issue!