REVIEW: ‘Transformers: Escape,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Transformers Escape #5

In the final issue of this miniseries, our protagonists fend off a swarm of clones. Transformers: Escape #5 is published by IDW Publishing, written by Brian Ruckley, with art by Beth McGuire-Smith, colors by Priscilla Tramontano, and letters by Jake M. Wood.

The Arks are prepped for launch. With the sudden attack of the Insecticon swarm, Straxxus launches sooner than expected, leaving behind many a Cybertronian and non-Cybertronian to fend off the cannibalistic robo-bugs. Even with Dai Atlas taking up his sword in the last issue, it still seems hopeless for our protagonists.

For the final issue, Transformers: Escape #5 feels lackluster. While there is plenty on the line, watching our heroes fight for their lives never feels life-or-death. The weight just isn’t there. There’s a great handful of panels that shows our protagonists slowly getting enveloped by bugs, but it’s so early on in the issue that you know this isn’t the end for them.

But while the possibility of death never really hangs over readers’ heads, the ending nevertheless hits a bittersweet cord that both helps expand the characters themselves and has some interesting ramifications for the main storyline of this newest reboot. While I would love to explain why the ending is well-done, it would reveal too much. So, for now, all I can say is that I’m interested to see what the future has in store for these characters.

While we see some greater insight into the thoughts of our Cybertronian characters at the very end, we also see some impact on the storyline from our non-Cybertronians. This entire mini-series has been composed of Cybertronians trying to save organic aliens who have been living on Cybertron because their homeworld was destroyed by the Thrall. The inclusion of these aliens has been particularly interesting in this miniseries and the main series because they act as some real-life comparisons, like the impacts of racism and eugenics, and create some particularly poignant and impactful moments.

However, my main qualm is that the aliens themselves feel a bit more like accessories than characters. Given that this is a Transformers title, the focus is understandably on the Cybertronians. However, it would be nice to see more character in them. There is a fleeting moment in this issue where an alien does help the plot substantially. And even goes on to say that other aliens have created weapons specifically effective against Transformers. Thus, making organics feel much less hopeless than what they’ve seemed so far in this miniseries.

While this entire issue is shadowed with tension, the dialogue does offer some nuggets of humor and cheese that will keep the reader going. Wood supports the dialogue with lettering that is easy to read and speech bubbles that never clutter the panels.

McGuire-Smith is no stranger to Transformers, and it’s telling. The characters are wonderfully emotive, easily bolstering the tense atmosphere and making sure the small nuggets of humor shine through. While the backgrounds feel a bit flat, most of the panels are cluttered with Cybertronians and Insecticons, so this small detail goes unnoticed for the most part. Tramontano does a great job on coloring, the colorful protagonists standing out distinctly from the darkly colored Insecticons.

Overall, Transformers: Escape #5 is a bit lackluster, but it ends this miniseries with a moving look at our main characters and has some important ramifications for the future of the main series.

Transformers: Escape #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Transformers: Escape #5
3.5

TL;DR

Transformers: Escape #5 is a bit lackluster, but it ends this miniseries with a moving look at our main characters and has some important ramifications for the future of the main series.