REVIEW: ‘Transformers,’ Issue #14

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Transformers #14

Transformers #14 is published by IDW Publishing, written by Brian Ruckley, art by Anna Malkova and Bethany McGuire-Smith, with colors by Joana Lafuente, and letters by Tom B. Long.

Transformers #14 has us picking up right where issue #13 left off: with a group of Risers held up in a dead titan, willing to fight tooth and nail if it means not being taken alive by Security Operations. While Chromia and Springer are trying to formulate a plan to get the terrorists out of their hidey-hole alive so they can be interrogated, Soundwave shows up with the Ascenticon Guard in tow. With this new arrival, we have three major forces—the Ascenticon Guard, Security Operations, and The Rise—in a three-way face-off that could potentially spell disaster. With Cybertron teetering on the brink of chaos, can Soundwave, Megatron, and Starscream, the most unlikely of bots, restore the peace?

At the same time our stand-off is occurring,  Prowl is off attempting to interrogate a member of the Voin, an octopus-like alien species, in order to find out why a Voin was killed in a previous issue. Chromia and Prowl are sure that the dead Voin has something to do with Brainstorm’s murderer, but Prowl isn’t having any luck negotiating for that information. In comes Nautica, a xenobiologist, who proceeds to help Prowl out.

It was good to see Nautica introduced in issue #12, but now it’s apparent she has a much larger role to play in this series. But it’s also great to see Nautica in this issue because wherever Nautica goes, you can expect some entertaining sass and banter to follow. On top of this, put Nautica and Prowl in the same room and it makes for some good chuckles.

Transformers #14

Overall, this issue had some great dialogue. I’m always one to appreciate some good banter in my Transformers comics and this issue certainly holds its own. The fight scenes were great but were a bit different from the more serious scenes in past issues. There was quite a bit of tongue-in-cheek going on and it makes for some good reading. But, even with good humor abound in this issue, the ending drags it all back together into a more serious note; after all, Cybertron is on the brink of revolution, or so Megatron would choose to see it.

Something I find interesting in this series, and which I was reminded of again in this issue, is the apparent need for Transformers to define themselves based on wartime. In particular, if you were forged before or after the previous war. This is an interesting parallel to IDW Transformers comics set during the civil war or just after it.

Even then, bots were categorizing themselves along the lines of if one had been created before the war or during it. It’s interesting, this need to split the population along the line of whether or not someone has memories of peace or of war (or sometimes both). This need to label oneself in relation to war perhaps points at the idea that Cybertronians are a violent species at heart and that the constant strive for peace but inevitable descent into violence is a continuous cycle, making Transformers very human-like in that manner.

Transformers #14

With Transformers #14 we’re further unraveling the political interconnectedness that has been hinted at in past issues. We know that many of the big leaders, the political honchos, have been shown publicly to be in opposition. But, behind the scenes, many seem to be in cahoots. This issue further explains this interconnectedness, and we get to see where Starscream begins to fit into all of this.

I really am astounded by how many characters are present in this series. I mean, it makes sense, but it doesn’t stop me from getting excited whenever new, but well known, characters are introduced. Even if they’re often secluded to the background of many panels, it’s exciting to see the cast of characters in this series continuously grow. New characters aren’t always introduced by name so the fact that most people can identify these characters just by art alone is a testament to how well they’ve kept tue to past character designs. The cast of characters continuously grows and I couldn’t be happier.

As always, the art by Anna Malkova and Bethany McGuire-Smith is great. I particularly appreciated the fact that their art really lent to more dramatic expressions. Transformers are certainly not the easiest to draw, nor the easiest to portray facial expressions, especially Soundwave. For a bot with a mask and a visor concealing his features, the right art can make Soundwave very expressive.

The lettering in this issue by Tom B. Long is just as well done as past issues. The dialogue bubbles are well-placed to allow for easy reading but also don’t clutter the panels. I appreciate the use of different colored and shaped dialogue bubbles to differentiate modes of speaking and different tones. Especially Soundwave’s blue, electric looking dialogue bubbles to express his more robotic way of speaking. It adds character but also makes his dialogue stand out from the rest of the dialogue spoken.

This issue was wonderfully entertaining and politically revealing but also leaves off on a more serious note. What’s next? Will Cybertron survive what Megatron has in store for it?

Transformers #14 is available now in comic bookstores everywhere.

Transformers #14
5

TL;DR

This issue was wonderfully entertaining and politically revealing but also leaves off on a more serious note. What’s next? Will Cybertron survive what Megatron has in store for it?