I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
Wow. Just... wow. There are some issues in this which are all about Gorlam Prime, and what Orion Pax and Wheelie and Garnak are doing there, and it just isn't as interesting to me. It needed to be set up, but what could have been done in one issue feels like it was dragged out to three or four.
Of course, these were also the ones illustrated by one of my favorite artists, so...
Then again, when one issue takes place on Gorlam Prime, one sets up how Shockwave met up with Megatron way back when, and one goes over the past between Megatron, Shockwave and Soundwave, there's not much happening in the present time. And yes, I understand that it's all set up for what's going to happen in Dark Cybertron, but I also think this didn't do what it needed to to the best effect.
It all felt drawn out, and scattered, and I kinda almost forgot what was happening with Bee and the Aubotos and Decepticons on Cybertron. Still, for something this divided, it was also had incredibly powerful moments. Some of them were small, like Arcee trying to fit in, both by speaking with Prowl, being honest with him, branding herself - literally - as an Autobot, or watching over Bee. (In true Arcee fashion, she had to knock out his guard, Sideswipe, whom she is relatively fond of just in case you're wondering. She argued that she was a better guard, and that Sideswipe needed to recover anyway.)
Or the whole last issue, where Soundwave's character is fleshed out in a way that makes me love him so much more than I already did. If you've ever wondered why Soundwave was so loyal to Megatron? This gives a very solid background that also makes it completely believable. His 'cassettes'? They're also explained: his protection of them, his care for them, is all explained here. Why they stay close to Soundwave? Is also explained. Shockwave and Soundwave are seen as enemies, but their relationship in this gets so much more complex. (Because, yeah, I needed yet another reason to ship Shockwave/Soundwave. But, no, please, encourage me to imagine the angry sex they'll have after all this...)
Or what about giving more details on how Shockwave went from Senator to scientist? Yeah, no, just mention of the empurata and shadowplay? They make me wanna weep for him. Just for reference: "Shadowplay is a horrible thing from the IDW portion of the Generation 1 continuity family."
From the Transformer wiki: http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Main_Page
Yes, yes they are. Horrible, horrible things. Shadowplay is probably just as creepy as you're thinking - it's where they cut off emotions, and play around with a Transformers personality. It's horrific is what it is. And it was done worse to Shockwave than anyone before, and since I would believe, since no one else is as cold and emotionless as Shockwave is.
There's a really moving issue devoted to Starscream in which he has three monologues - to Metalhawk, the friend he sacrificed to gain power, to Megatron, the leader he can never live up to, and to Wheeljack a friend he needs desperately and whom may believe he was betrayed when he comes back online.
Then again, holy shit, Wheeljack! JACKIE'S BACK! Because killing off characters, then bringing them back isn't keeping up the emotional roller coaster.
What the fuck? Also, I love you, Barber!