More than meets the eye

I’ve loved Transformers almost as long as I can remember, and I’ve been reading the comics since the days of the classic Marvel UK weekly. In that time they’ve generally ranged in quality from good to average, with the occasional clunker lurking amongst them. The current Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye series has somehow managed to elevate the comics to excellent, something I never thought I’d see.

MTMTE is an epic space opera with a great sense of humour, character development and, most importantly,a great heart. I’ve cared about Transformers in the past – anyone who has seen Optimus Prime’s death scene in the ’86 movie will know what I mean – but James Roberts has made me care about B and C list characters, as well as creating one of the great fictional relationships in Chromedome and Rewind.

There’s a sense of direction with MTMTE that isn’t present in a lot of comics, which helps to drive it forward. The nominal plot is a quest to find the legendary Knights of Cybertron, facilitated by the end of the Autobot/Decepticon war. As with all great fiction, the true enjoyment is in the journey, not the destination. In many ways I’m not bothered by the quest, it’s all about how they’re getting there.

We’ve had betrayals, heartbreaking deaths, completely unexpected revelations and a wonderful set of newly created villains in the Decepticon Justice Division. There are unexpected alliances and some of the finest character work I’ve seen in a mainstream title in a long time, and all of this is without mentioning the long running mysteries and subplots. We even get to see the forgotten history of Cybertron, which has a heavy political element. There are few out and out heroes in MTMTE, which makes for some wonderfully complex characters.

If MTMTE starred original characters rather than a licensed property, I think it would be being held up as the best sci-fi comic currently available. That may sound a bit gushing, but to me it’s simply that good. As it is being a comic based on toys probably holds it back a little, which is odd in an industry dominated by corporate-owned superheroes. It’s a comic that deserves the widest possible audience, and one that I hope continues to run for a long time to come.

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