The GeeksverseTransformers: Robots In Disguise #3

Transformers: Robots In Disguise #3
Published on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 by

Robots in Distress (the good kind)

 IDW has shown a continued willingness to move beyond all of Hasbro’s intellectual properties original plots and settings. Their GI Joe series has killed off Cobra Commander, taken the Joes in various directions, and even had a series that focused on Chuckles; CHUCKLES! The result was that the Joe series was imbued with a sense of being fresh and new. IDW has done the same now by cancelling their previous Transformers ongoing and starting two new Transformer titles. IDW is plowing ahead in two bold directions for arguably the 80’s most loved cartoon/ toy line. So with that history recap of the boys (and girl) from Cybertron let’s move forward.

Robots in Disguise releases tomorrow with issue # 3 and in this series Bumblebee has become the default leader in charge of repopulating and rebuilding a renewed Cybertron that has reverted to a primordial state. Where once gleaming buildings of metal and cybernetic machines stood, now forests and vast organic deserts exist and Cybertron is not as hospitable to the Cybertronians as it used to be (being revived from a dead state will do that).

It is within this setting that writer James Barber is crafting a gripping political tale; full of intrigue, backstage maneuverings, unsettling deals, and murder (and those are from the Autobots). Bumblebee has his hands full with Autobots upset with the presence of a defeated Decepticon faction being left operational, returning non allied Cybertronians who are as angry at both factions as the planet seems to be with them all.

Issue #3 takes a step away from Bumblebee and focuses on Wheeljack for an issue. The tale is from his perspective and is the first time that any of the IDW comics have actually showcased him in a prominent role. The narration and characterization of Wheeljack are a high mark for this book. Those who may are fans of the engineer of the Autobots; this is the story for you. In the 22 issues we see Wheeljack have to deal with patching up injured transformers, continue to work on helping aid in establishing power back into Iacon, and now have to determine why entire groups of transformers are being wiped off the face of Cybertron in huge explosions. The mystery is a great form for the solver of problems and aids in giving the reader a multi-faceted characterization of Wheeljack.

It’s from Wheeljack’s perspective that we also see the fallout of Prowl’s actions behind the scenes last issue. Prowl has never been favorite character with most of the Transformers fan base. He’s cold, he’s stuffy, and he always seems to have a Golden disc shoved up his tailpipe. However, this is a brand new Prowl we’re dealing with; one who knows how fragile the climate is after a millions long Civil War and he is willing to do anything to preserve it; even go against Bumblebee. It’s this grim determination that he is doing what needs to be done to ensure the continuation of a new post war Cybertronians government that is actually making me like the prig and I think more readers and fans will start to appreciate the character more and more (except on tfwiki, they really don’t like that guy).

The only downside is that Wheeljack’s mystery gets solved way too quickly and before any real juicy situations can arise. The solving of the problem is a Deus Ex situation of the highest order but then again it is supposed to be a one off tale. However, there’s a promising team up that was in the making here that seems to have ended before it truly began. A situation I hope is not the case. I hope fan reaction is positive enough that we will get to see this duo working together in future stories.

The other highlights of this issue are the continuing unfolding of Starscream’s character and schemes as a central character in this tale. The politically minded sci-fi tale being written makes Starscream a natural fit and I think the former Decepticon second in command will become one of the stars of this series. Likewise, Barber is also exploring that other facet of post war peace: the inability to bury the wounds of the past and forge ahead. He chooses an interesting group to showcase this and the ramifications of their actions are more than likely going to reveal themselves in the coming months.

The ending is a little anti-climactic in the solving of the mystery of the explosions however; the last two pages start to hint at a possible subplot that I have been hoping would happen: the beginning of switching allegiances in a post war Transformers universe.

The Cybertronian Civil War is over but the real heat is starting to get turned up. Robots in Disguise I think will wind up being a dark horse hit that will become more and more popular as word of mouth spreads and people start giving it its just do. It’s a compelling story well told.

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