The shocking conclusion of Dark Cybertron saw something which, until now, most Transformers fans thought to be utterly unthinkable; Megatron, the now former undisputed leader of the Decepticons, himself donning the Autobot insignia! This revelation brings about what must be considered IDW Publishing’s most ambitious and controversial Transformers storyline to date: ‘Autobot Megatron’.
At a glance, one might be forgiven for thinking that IDW have simply run out of ideas and have desperately resorted to bizarre twists in order to garner attention. Such interpretations however, could scarcely be further from the truth. The ‘Autobot Megatron’ storyline has been a very long time coming, the seeds of its conception having been planted way back in 2007 with IDW’s Megatron Origin story which presented the tyrannical Decepticon leader as much more than a two dimensional villain who’s only purpose was to provide an antagonist to the heroic Autobots. Since then, Megatron has been a deeply layered character who has, arguably, seen more character progression than any other Transformer in the entire IDW universe. To seasoned IDW Transformers readers, ‘Autobot Megatron’ was simply the next step in the character’s amazing journey.
Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye Volume 6 picks up some six months after Megatron’s ‘surrender’ and defection to the Autobots. We find that Megatron has assumed captaincy of the good ship Lost Light and its crew on their quest to find the fabled Knights of Cybertron. Understandably, many of said crew are not exactly delighted to have him on board, much less take orders from him (it’s not exactly easy to forgive someone who started a four million year long war). The mistrust of his subordinates aside, the new captain has much to contend with; the discovery of a mysterious corpse proves to be the least of his problems as large sections of his ship start to disappear, leading to widespread panic and confusion. Can Megatron convince his new crew to trust him long enough to prevent disaster?
As one would expect from a More Than Meets The Eye adventure at this point, the writing is the volume’s strongest point. By jumping between present events on The Lost Light and that which took place between the finalé of Dark Cybertron and Megatron assuming command of the ship, MTMTE Volume 6 gradually reveals how this seemingly bizarre turn of events came about. Such an explanation was completely necessary as even those who have read every IDW Transformers comic to date might have found the leap from Megatron denouncing the Decepticon cause to commanding a spaceship full of Autobots somewhat incredible. Fortunately, the twists and turns which lead to this outcome make perfect sense in terms of the IDW Transformers universe and should do more than enough to satisfy even the most cynical of readers.
More Than Meets The Eye‘s trademark offbeat sense of humour is present and accounted for, with James Roberts’ razor sharp wit permeating throughout the volume. It is of great credit to Roberts that, even after more than 30 issues, MTMTE still retains its uncanny ability to sprinkle exposition relating to obscure Cybertronian cultural quirks and complex plot strands with clever jokes which keep things from getting too heavy while never taking away from the story or diminishing emotional impact (of which there is quite a bit toward the end of this volume).
In terms of artwork, Alex Milne is in great form here. His robots are remarkably detailed, full of wonderful expression and match up with the recognised More Than Meets The Eye aesthetic perfectly. The only criticism that could be leveled at his work here is that some panels to appear to be quite ‘busy’, with quite a lot happening in limited space in terms of both characters and their numerous speech bubbles. This however, is pretty much in line with the manic nature of MTMTE stories so should not be considered a flaw on behalf of the artist. It must be noted that Atilio Rojo takes Milne’s place for the duration of one issue. While his work is not quite up to Milne’s very high standards, the story is so engrossing that it doesn’t really distract from the reading experience.
While it is certainly the most hyped Transformers comic book story to come about in many moons, ‘Autobot Megatron’ is probably not in the top three More Than Meets The Eye story arcs. However, that is not to say that it is not an excellent comic in its own right as MTMTE has consistently proven itself to be one of the very best comic book series out there (that extends to all current comics, not just Transformers ones). Overall, MTMTE Volume 6 is a top notch read that really shows off just how far IDW Publishing have come with the Transformers license, bringing it to strange and exciting new places that many would have considered impossible.
[Images: IDW Publishing]