REVIEW: ‘Transformers,’ Issue #18

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Transformers #18

Transformers #18, published by IDW Publishing, written by Brian Ruckley, with art by Umi Miyao and Bethany McGuire-Smith, colors by Josh Burcham, and letters by Jake M. Wood, shows the aftermath of the events of the previous issue. This issue focuses mainly on three Cybertronians: Greenlight, Gauge, and, whom many fans are probably very familiar with, Arcee.

This issue opens with Greenlight trying to get Arcee to leave Cybertron so that Gauge, Arcee’s mentee, will be safe and less likely to end up dead like Rubble. Cybertron is being turned upside down; people are dying, security is using weapons that haven’t been used since the war, and the only sane option seems to be to leave the planet behind. When the Tether, a space elevator that both connects the Winged Moon to Cybertron, crashes down to Cybertron, Arcee and Greenlight must rush to get Gauge on the last ship leaving the planet.

Transformers #18 is an interesting issue because it highlights the reactions of the average citizen (well, at least in reference to Greenlight and Gauge; Arcee isn’t so average) in response to the escalating political tensions and subsequent violence on Cybertron. We get to see on-the-ground reactions; the reactions of bots that have nothing to do with the seedy dealings going on in the political war that is escalating on Cybertron. They are scared and rightfully so. They’re seeing murders and the beginnings of a war. Even Gauge, a newly forged Transformer, can’t escape the harshness of the world; Gauge has been told that the only reason why she was born was because Brainstorm died.

Because of this, Transformers #18 feels like a tangent from past issues. Although it directly shows the results of the epic events of the previous issue, it focuses on the relationship between three ‘bots and their escape from the planet. In other words, it doesn’t really feel important. It feels like a random insert in the series and doesn’t feel like its events will have any weight on the projected course of the series. I may be proven wrong in future issues, but I’m still left with the question of why this issue was included.

Despite this negative criticism, Transformers #18 was entertaining and well-written. The dialogue really distinguishes the personalities of the characters and lends to a few good chuckles. Plot pacing was consistent throughout the issue. The pacing is quite quick, reflecting the urgency of their escape. As the trio work their way to the ship that will help them escape Cybertron, they meet and interact with various Cybertronians along the way that some fans will get excited to see. Just to name a couple, you’ll likely get a few laughs out of the panels Inferno and Red Alert show up in.

Transformers #18

This issue’s art style is an interesting change to previous issues. Although McGuire-Smith is, at this point, a veteran artist on the series, Miyao is new on the scene and brings in a new art style. In comparison to previous issues, this one has more of a comic book feel to it. There is heavy use of motion lines which really escalate the fight scenes and lend to the feeling of motion and brutality of the actions in these panels. At the same time, although sweat drops are commonly used in comics, they seem to be an odd addition here. This mostly stems from the fact that the characters are robots and don’t technically sweat, so using sweat drops even to add more animation to the characters strikes me as odd. Ignoring the oddness of sweat drops on metallic, non-organic beings, the expressions are drawn well and lend to very emotive panels.

There is heavy use of a muted, almost pastel palette in this issue. This is easy on the eyes but it also tends to cause the characters to blend into the backgrounds at times. Despite this, there are some great uses of wide shots in the panels so the reader gets a feeling for the expansiveness of the destruction occurring on Cybertron. The use of dark shadows in some panels enhances not only the tone but also really represent the gravity of the situation these ‘bots are in.

I was a bit hesitant when I saw Arcee was going to have a large role in this issue. I have nothing against the character but I also have never really enjoyed the character from other Transformers series. However, after this issue, I think Arcee has grown on me. She’s very protective and single-minded and can kick aft all day long.

Despite there being some technical issues, Transformers #18 was an entertaining tangent to the rest of the series. It’s hard to tell if, at all, this issue will have a greater impact on the plot of the series as a whole, but, after the gravity of the events in the previous issue, the end of the issue is a bit of a reprieve.

Transformers #18 is available wherever comic books are sold.

Transformers #18
3.5

TL;DR

Despite there being some technical issues, Transformers #18 was an entertaining tangent to the rest of the series. It’s hard to tell if, at all, this issue will have a greater impact on the plot of the series as a whole, but, after the gravity of the events in the previous issue, the end of the issue is a bit of a reprieve.