REVIEW: ‘Transformers,’ Issue #34

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Transformers #34

“Sea of Rust,” Part One is here! And with it comes metal-eating worms, a swarm of Insecticon clones, an unhinged Skywarp, and Termagax’s mobile House. There’s a lot to unpack in this issue. Transformers #34 is published by IDW Publishing and written by Brian Ruckley, with art by Anna Malkova, colors by David Garcia Cruz and Evan Gauntt, and letters by Jake M. Wood.

In Transformers #34, Termagax is on the run. Megatron has learned that his former mentor holds the Enigma of Combination, an artifact of the Thirteen and the sole key to unlock one of the most powerful abilities known to Cybertronians—combination. While the Autobots are already on the run, Megatron hopes that the Enigma will be what finally eliminates the Autobots once and for all. But this isn’t a perfect world, and there are other forces at work here, mainly Shockwave, a swarm of Insecticons, and a chaotic Skywarp (but what’s new?).

First and foremost, I have to say I love Termagax. Intelligent, calm, self-confident, and witty, she’s the main focus of this issue, and I really can’t complain. On top of that, her walking House gives me Howl’s Moving Castle vibes, and it just adds a bit of magic to the story. But outside of just Termagax, the rest of the main ensemble is entertaining; Landmine is a great character for Termagax to bounce her wit off of, and Geomotus is as cute as ever.

We get some small peeks at other characters, primarily to wrap up some side plots or just let the readers know that other stories are still unfolding in the background. A lot is happening simultaneously in this series, but Ruckley manages to keep everything organized and clear despite the complexity unfolding.

Malkova is back on artist duty for this issue, and they bring some great expressiveness to these characters and the stress of Cybertron at war. From Termagax’s small smiles and Skywarps’ crazed expressions to Jumpstream’s fear and Landmine’s exasperation, each panel is saturated with emotion, and it makes for a great read.

The art is only bolstered by Cruz and Gauntt’s colors. The inside of Termagax’s House is bathed in pinks, making for a placid setting. The sky is bathed in oranges and reds, making the purple of the Insecticon swarm pop off the page. And the explosions are a bright array of reds and yellows. While the color palette heightens the expressions of each panel, the panel sizes and placement also get in on the action. As House is attacked, the panels are askew as Termagax, Landmine, and Geomotus are thrown about.

There’s plenty of dialogue in Transformers #34, but Wood keeps it easy to read and never lets the speech bubbles overpower the panels. But beyond placement, there’s plenty of inner monologue or commentary occurring over panels showing past events. Again, Wood keeps these all easily distinguishable through different speech bubble designs. I particularly like how the speech bubbles for House are brown. While the bubbles are boxy with electronic font, the brown creates an earthy, homey feeling against a palette of generally bright, flashy colors.

With the main focus on Termagax and her wonderful House, Transformers #34 is entertaining with plenty of witty dialogue and tension. The artistic team brings some great visuals to this issue, and Ruckley is keeping this story putting along nicely.

Transformers #34 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Transformers #34
4.5

TL;DR

With the main focus on Termagax and her wonderful House, Transformers #34 is entertaining with plenty of witty dialogue and tension. The artistic team brings some great visuals to this issue, and Ruckley is keeping this story putting along nicely.