Writer: Brian Ruckley, Art: Angel Hernandez. Andrew Griffith & Anna Malkova, Colours: Joana Laufuente & Josh Burcham, Letters: Tom B. Long
Before Cybertron was wracked by a war that would last millions of years and devastate their planet, it was a peaceful and progressive world and a successful and inclusive center of galactic commerce.
However, if the recent discovery of a murder on a planet where the inhabitants are so long-lived, that unnatural death is an almost completely alien concept creates cause for concern, then the revelation in Transformers #7 that there has been another, threatens to throw their entire society into chaos!
As a lifelong fan of the Transformers who has been reading their comics since the very beginning, I'm a tough sell. It's always going to be a difficult job for any writer tasked with creating a whole new era for the "Robots in Disguise" to impress me, especially when they have to follow what some would argue was one of the strongest periods in the title's history with James Roberts' "More Than Meets The Eye/ Lost Light" epic. So does writer Brian Ruckley manage it?
The answer is not quite. Or at least not yet — but we're getting there.
The series to this point has been very long on exposition and intrigue, and desperately short on action and excitement, with pretty much the entire first arc being dedicated to setting the scene of what a pre-war Cybertron looks like. It's been a little underwhelming to be honest, even accepting that there's a degree of necessity in laying that foundation, especially as Ruckley is exploring a part of Transformers lore the depths of which — barring a few stories here and there — have never really been plumbed.
Any fan expressing doubts should feel at least a little bit reassured however, because Transformers #7 is in truth probably the best of the series so far, and whilst this story hasn't quite gotten hot yet, things are certainly starting to get warm.
The issue is a Bumblebee-centric one, as the little guy tries to deal with his doubts about his role in the Autobot hierarchy following the latest murder. He can't see a future for himself as part of a regime in which citizens are dying — especially when those citizens are functionally immortal and therefore any death has to be considered a failure of the stability and restraint that the Autobots claim to represent — so he's considering whether his future might lie elsewhere.
Whilst Bumblebee walking around under a dark cloud, not feeling up to the task at hand, and generally questioning his worth, is pretty much a constant element in any era of Transformers publishing, we also get to see him kick some ass — which is almost worth the price of purchase on its own.
I'm pretty sure the last time I saw 'Bee throw a punch was in 1986, and that ended up with him getting his face rubbed in the dirt!
The last few pages of the issue involve Cyclonus, who became a real fan favourite character in IDW's previous work, and here seems to be some sort of isolationist malcontent who has seen so much action that it follows him around in the form of three badly mangled Transformers ghosts, with no clear indication at this point whether they are literal ghosts or just the manifestations of a damaged psyche that's seen the life.
Either way it's cool, I'm definitely eager to see more of him, and Anna Malkova's art in this part of the book is easily my favourite work from the three artists who contributed towards this issue. Her suitably broody Cyclonus, with just enough foreshadowing, sees something he wasn't supposed to see, and now someone has to deal with one seriously angry, pointy, purple psychopath!
And hey, if all of that isn't enough for you, if you buy a physical copy of this issue it comes packaged with a free booster pack of cards for the Transformers trading card game.
Next issue: FIGHT! (hopefully)