REVIEW: ‘Transformers,’ Issue #16

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Transformers #16

Transformers is back with another great issue. It is published by IDW Publishing, written by Brian Ruckley, with art by Bethany McGuire-Smith and Anna Malkova, colors by Josh Burcham and Joana Lafuente, and letters by Jake M. Wood. Transformers #16 continues addressing the problem of the Ascenticon revolution and the destruction of peace on Cybertron. Megatron gets a whiff of Sentinel Prime’s plans for the denunciation of the Ascenticons and to arrest Soundwave. The Voin show up unannounced. Why does Nautica feel there’s trouble on the horizon because of it? What is Starscream’s place in all of this and whose side is he playing for? What moves will Megatron make now that his plans have run awry?

The plot is moving along swiftly now that we’ve come to Transformers #16. There were a few snags in past issues where the storyline seemed to drag along but that is not the case in this issue. After the excitement in the last few issues, with the evolution of what transformers fans only know as the Decepticons, it’s hard to continue that momentum. Although not as rousing, there’s plenty of plot advancement in this issue along with some great action and humor.

Since the beginning of the series, I have appreciated the dedication to the characters. The character designs, although different in some cases to what some fans expected, are true to the characters and allow them to be easily identifiable. On the same level, the dialogue fits the characters well and expands on their personalities even when they only show up in a few panels. From Flamewar’s silliness to Starscream’s snarkiness, the dialogue adds a great amount of depth to these characters. It can, understandably, be hard to stay true to characters when there are so many to keep up with. But Ruckley does a brilliant job.

Transformers #16

I’m also one who believes that every Transformers comic needs some good humor. Transformers #16 doesn’t let me down. There’s humor sprinkled here and there and, despite some being superfluous, it doesn’t detract from the plot at all. Much of the plot is serious so it adds a bit of relief here and there and makes these characters just a bit more human so the audience can relate to them more.

Transformers #16, and especially the series as a whole, is convoluted. There are a plethora of characters to keep track of and events that occur that aren’t provided a conclusion or motive until issues later. In this way, the plot is expansive and certainly convoluted by all the players involved. We have the motives of the Autobots, the Rise, the Ascenticons, and the Voin to consider, along with individuals within these groups that seem to have their own motives like Soundwave and Starscream. Keeping who all has what motives and connections can be a bit tedious. Given this, this is not the issue to just jump into the series. You won’t know what’s going on or be able to pick apart the nuances without having read prior issues. Even with the convoluted nature of the series, I think that Ruckley’s writing helps keep the story as simple as possible while at the same time weaving a plot of political intrigue.

Transformers #16

The art by McGuire-Smith and Malkova is just as great as it’s been in previous issues. The characters are very expressive, adding more emotiveness to the dialogue and events in each panel. Although there is a shift between art styles, it is subtle. The character designs also remain consistent between artists. The fight scenes flow seamlessly from panel to panel and are easy to understand. For most of the panels in this issue, the colors are dark with deep shadows. Although not particularly striking, the colors suit the poignant panels and only enhance the tone of this issue as things become more dire. It all correlates to emotive panels that support the plot spectacularly.

We have a new letterer on this issue and, although it’s sad to see Tom B. Long step away from this project, Wood doesn’t let us down. The panels are clean and uncluttered by the speech bubbles, and they allow for easy transitions between speakers. The well-placed sound effects don’t add clutter but adequately express the actions in each panel. Overall, it’s great to see Wood added to the creative team.

This series is moving fast and Transformers #16 adds a lot of plot to this series. Between the excitement of the events and the excellent technical aspects of this comic, I can’t wait to see what the next issue has to offer.

Transformers #16 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Transformers #16
4.5

TL;DR

This series is moving fast and Transformers #16 adds a lot of plot to this series. Between the excitement of the events and the excellent technical aspects of this comic, I can’t wait to see what the next issue has to offer.