I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
I think most people who follow me know that I consider James Roberts to be not only my favorite Transformers author, but also a perfect author. I'm not sure there's any other way to put it, although I went over a list of things in my head that he not only does well, but does consistently. On top of that, he balances all these elements, and again, does so consistently.
Pacing, characters, plot? All perfect for me, every single time. He's plotted out years in advance. How do I know this? Well, I don't, but it'd would be hard for you to convince me that he does, given how well even the smallest moment, that innocuous joke, a line thrown out, a silent panel, fits into plans that fall into place years later, real time. On top of that, I'd be hard pressed to find a comic that crams more in here; I keep thinking about a review I read of 30 Rock, where they said the jokes come so hard and fast that if you leave the room for thirty seconds, you miss five jokes, and are lost on one subplot. And while there are an amazing amount of one liners and humor in Roberts' books, there's more in there: serious ideas about government, towing the line, friendship, love, and what the world is and can be. War, and the effects of war, are obviously a large part of this, and I say obviously because More Than Meets the Eye (MTMtE) is sort of about what you do after there's an uneasy peace after millions of years of war, with some bots who've been fighting since the beginning of the war.
Lost Light (LL) is the sequel to More Than Meets the Eye, although I've seen them referred to as seasons and/or years, with LL being... third? I honestly don't keep track of the comics that way; I honestly jumped in midway, and started collecting month by month, because I couldn't imagine waiting that long for the collections to come out. I needed my fix, stat. And while there are story arcs, and themes, I just take what I can get month by month, try to piece it together with what's come before, and try not to guess what's coming next, because I never, ever really guess what's really going on. (By the way, Lost Light six wraps up the first, alternate universe story arc, it's brilliant, it's brutal, and it's hopeful. It's a mix that I've become used to; Roberts mixes his tragedy and his optimism in an equal mix, and I've yet to find anything that hits home in quite this way. It's what life is like, and he doesn't hold back the tragedies, the triumphs, or how they can overlap.)
I'm finding I don't really like reviews that synopsize, at least not when reviewing MTMtE or LL; I can find them everywhere, and it's more about how this comic makes me feel, as well as analysis of what's done correctly. Going back to my first point, while I know that amongst the things that Roberts does perfectly is weave in different plots into one coherent story, this was a masterstroke in that department. There was something about the cuts from one story to another, and how they weaved into the ending, that really made me take a literal second look. After finishing, I went back to a couple pages, and saw how Roberts took me out of one scene and into another in a way that kept me on my toes: I wanted more information about every single storyline. (Another thing he does consistently, and perfectly in my mind, is that when he juggles plots and subplots, he never has one that is less interesting to me: I want to know about them all.)
I keep thinking Roberts can't get more perfect, can he? And then he shows me that, hey, look, he's been working on this thing, or maybe he's just been doing his thing, and look, it's even more perfect. And somehow, in all this, he doesn't drop the ball on any other aspect.
You know what? The next time someone asks me for the great novel, I'm just going to tell them it's More Than Meets the Eye followed up by Lost Light. Because I've been giving this a lot of thought. Is there an actual perfect writer? Who would I consider better than Roberts?
Yes, yes there is. James Roberts. And no one.
And sort of off topic, but just to let you know, to make a truly reading perfect experience, have a copy of MTMtE, Lost Light, and/or Black Bolt, and have this view while you dig your feet into the sand: