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The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye,…
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The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, Volume 1

by James Roberts, Alex Milne (Illustrator), Nick Roche (Illustrator)

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Access a version of the below that includes illustrations on my blog.

This is one of those books that you keep laughing aloud at, and your wife is like, 'what's so funny,' and you're like, 'um... it's a Transformers comic?' The new status quo for IDW's Transformers is that the Autobot/Decepticon war is over, and both sides have returned to Cybertron, along with the "NAILs," the nonaligned Cybertronians who fled the chaos of the war. So there's a lot of conflict between these three sides. The Autobots don't know how to exist in a world without war, the Decepticons are all in prison right now but that can't possibly be sustainable, and the NAILs don't see the Autobots as having any more legitimacy than the Decepticons. The first issue here sets up the basic conflict, which seems very ripe with storytelling potential, and it ends with Optimus Prime abandoning Cybertron, his argument being that he's a living symbol of the war, and peace can never truly come to Cybertron as long as he hangs around.

This leaves the remaining Autobots conflicted about what to do. Rodimus wants to hunt down the mythical Knights of Cybertron and implore them for guidance; Bumblebee wants to make a go of it on Cybertron, mending the conflict between the three sides. So once Rodimus's Lost Light takes off, the book essentially splits, with More than Meets the Eye following the Lost Light and Robots in Disguise staying on Cybertron.

More than Meets the Eye is the whole reason I started this project to read IDW's Transformers comics in the first place, and one year in, I've finally got to it. It's quite possibly everything I could want out of a Transformers comic book: a group of scrappy underdogs united on an improbable quest. There's Rodimus, the eternally optimistic leader who always plunges into lost causes; Drift, the ex-Decepticon who has the passion of the convert; the rulebound and distrustful Ultra Magnus; the moody and morose Cyclonus (who comes on board by accident); Ratchet, the doctor who's lost his optimism and his confidence; Rung, the genius psychiatrist who seems put-upon; Tailgate, who accidentally slept through all six million years of the war; and Swerve, who talks a lot and never stops making jokes.

I recently read that G. K. Chesteron once observed that the opposite of "funny" wasn't "serious," it was "not funny." (Who knows if he actually did; I can only find paraphrases and attributions, not an original, in a cursory search.) More than Meets the Eye is a book that lives by Chesterton's dictum: it is both serious and funny. I could past dozens of different panels into this review that made me laugh, but there's very much a serious idea beneath all of this. Even though they're robots, these are a group of people who have been affected by war in a myriad different ways. These are real people, and I am finally really clicking with all the different personalities of IDW's Generation One Transformers. It turns that when you write them differently, I actually can tell a bunch of robots apart!

The Transformers by IDW: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
1 vote Stevil2001 | Feb 18, 2017 |
So, Humble Bundle's newest offer the other day was pretty much the entire current run of IDW's Transformers run of comics ($155 worth of comics according the website - I got it for $15, so not a bad deal). I've been curious about the current run that IDW has been publishing, so this seemed like a ridiculously good deal to me. I read the first volume of each series and actually thought they were pretty good.

The whole idea between both volumes is that the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons has finally ended with the Autobots in charge of Cybertron (a Cybertron that has changed as a result of something that happened just prior to the beginning of these two stories, and something that I'm not at all familiar with). Since the war, more and more Transformers who had fled Cybertron in the wake of the war are now returning, and see no need to have either faction on the planet anymore, as both Autobots and Decepticons are equally seen as responsible for the destruction of the planet. However, the Autobots don't see it this way and want to set up a new government to try to keep another from happening. Optimus Prime sees himself as the most visible sign of the war, so relinquishes his title as Prime, returns to calling himself Orion Pax, and exiles himself from Cybertron, leaving Bumblebee in charge. Meanwhile, Rodimus sees no point in giving up their heritage and starting over so decides to travel from Cybertron in search of the Knights of Cybertron. This is where the series splits into two.

More Than Meets The Eye follows Rodimus and his crew in search of the Knight of Cybertron, while Robots in Disguise deals with Bumblebee trying to reestablish something of a government on Cybertron and dealing with the disillusionment felt by just about everyone over this, especially the newly returned, unaligned Transformers. I've read about the More Than Meets the Eye title from several sources around the internets, and it turns out that they weren't wrong about the title. It combines a pretty decent story with some great character development and just enough wit to make something that's actually fun to read. Robots in Disguise is intriguing as well, given the way the series is dealing with the repercussions and aftereffects of the war. Overall, both series are surprisingly good (I think it would be easy for most people to write off Transformers as a whole, but these are legitimately good comics), but I did find that I enjoyed More Than Meets The Eye more. I'm really glad I bought into this most recent Humble Bundle and will be gladly reading the rest of the volumes. ( )
  tapestry100 | Mar 11, 2015 |
Picked this up after IO9 raved about it for story and the writing. I do agree the story is well written, I just wish it wasn't about transformers. I haven't wanted to have anything to do with anything transformers in over 20 years. But my kid enjoys the book to so... ( )
  capiam1234 | Jan 16, 2015 |
The story was pretty good and the dialogue was better than most graphic novels I've read, but I found myself confused kind of often. I didn't know all of the back story for these characters and I also found them hard to tell apart at times. I'm sorry, but one orange and white robot looks like every orange and white robot! Overall though, not bad! ( )
  4sarad | Apr 10, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Robertsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Milne, AlexIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Roche, NickIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Barber, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Collects issues 1-3 of the 2012 IDW series, plus the "Death of Optimus Prime" one-shot.
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The ultimate Transformers saga begins here! The Transformers embark on an epic quest to the farthest reaches of the Transformers Universe - and beyond!

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