REVIEW: ‘Transformers,’ Issue #17

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Transformers #17

In Transformers #17, we finally get to see the results of the tampering Team Stream caused in the last issue. Published by IDW Publishing, written by Brian Ruckley, art by Anna Malkova and Bethany McGuire-Smith, colors by Joana Lafuente and John-Paul Bove, and letters by Jake M. Wood and Neil Uyetake, this issue jumps right back in where the last ended.

Transformers #17 reveals that Team Stream’s mysterious, violent efforts resulted in the awakening of a long-dormant titan by the name of Vigilem. Although Vigilem is now awake, and as ‘bots are scrambling to understand why, his Speaker is also missing. Without any other option, Lodestar, another titan, and Lightbright, their Speaker, try to knock some sense into Vigilem as he runs a crash course for the moon.

We also get to see a bit of Cyclonus again in this issue. It’s been quite a few issues since we saw the ‘bot and his presence seemed almost like an add-on to the previous issues. It didn’t seem like he was much of a plot device at the time, but, with this issue, I think we can expect much greater involvement. Cyclonus is a predominant Transformer in past series, so it’ll be interesting to see how this old, arguably insane, ‘bot alters the main plot of this one.

Transformers #17 doesn’t feel very long despite it being the same length as previous issues. This perhaps has to do with the smaller number of events that take place. I feel we’ve gotten spoiled by the action from previous issues so, although there is some action in this issue, we’re mostly given a lot of back and forth dialogue. For the most part, the dialogue is serious, but we do get a bit of humor interspersed throughout. There were some characters I was not familiar with in this issue, but for the most part, the dialogue seemed to fit well with the Transformers characters that I did know, which is not easy considering there are so many to contend with in this series.

Despite there being a great deal of dialogue, the speech bubble placement is on point. Wood and Uyetake keep the panels from being too cluttered and make it easy to move from panel to panel. I also appreciate the use of different speech bubbles and colors to reveal who is speaking in each panel.

Transformers #17

There is some hopping back and forth between art styles but it isn’t noticeable enough to be jolting or detract from the overall plot. The art by both Malkova and McGuire-Smith is wonderful as usual. Facial expressions are emotive along with the body language to help emote those ‘bots with few facial features.

The colors bring out the characters in each panel but also make for some excellent backgrounds. From the dark colors used to represent the doom and gloom that is Cyclonus to the ephemeral glow of the moon that Wheeljack and his crew are working on, the coloring sets the tones and the scenes for each page.

Overall, this issue wasn’t as exciting as previous ones. The technical presentation of this issue, between the artwork, coloring, dialogue, and lettering, was excellent. But the events just weren’t as interesting as previous issues. I’m not as familiar with ‘bots like Lodestar and Lightbright and just didn’t become attached to them in so few panels. Their personalities didn’t jump out at me through the dialogue and made it difficult to be entirely sympathetic to their plight.

It will, however, be interesting to see what happens next issue. Will we see Cyclonus again? What will happen to the moon and Vigilem? What does all this have to do with Megatron’s plans?

Transformers #17 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Transformers #17
4

TL;DR

Overall, this issue wasn’t as exciting as previous ones. The technical presentation of this issue, between the artwork, coloring, dialogue, and lettering, was excellent. But the events just weren’t as interesting as previous issues.