Review: “Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye” #31 by James Roberts & Atilio Rojo

Mystery is the name of the game with issue 31 of MTMTE – even moreso than usual! The Lost Light is missing, and our heroes are spread over a handful of smaller vessels, wondering just what the heck is going on! However, that’s not the only mystery… Hit the Read More and see the preview, but be wary of spoilers!

Last time, things were getting hairy with a time-displaced corpse of Rodimus showing up before the Lost Light, and being brought aboard to be inspected. However, before anything outside of “it’s from the future” could be determined, a more pressing matter came to pass – the Lost Light disappeared, and left our lovably dysfunctional crew stranded in group of shuttles and miscellaneous small ships.
More than mystery, this issue’s deal is a lot of exposition – we get to find out how Rodimus came into ownership of the Lost Light, which amounts to “Drift follows his gut with questionable results”, dropping a boatload of shanix on a ship he didn’t even inspect before buying. A new method of communication is established between Cybertronians: talking via hand-touching, stimulating nerve circuits in the hands. We also learn a lot of information about a good chunk of the crew – who was forged, who was constructed cold, and another new subclass of Cybertronians – Made-to-Order soldiers, a variant of the cold-constructed Cybertronians, and the programs they did and didn’t have to complete before being put out on the battlefield. There’s also a bit on how the Lost Light’s engines work – and some discussion about how they shouldn’t.
All of this comes to pass thanks to Nightbeat desiring more information on everyone in the Rodpod – because after a headcount, people begin to disappear when the power flickers, and Nightbeat is dead-set on figuring out the disappearance pattern, which is the big mystery of the issue. There’s a lot of bickering about how personal the information he wants is, especially when he starts asking who was forged and who was constructed cold – which earlier on in the issue, Drift tells Pipes is one of the things you should never ask someone. And if he manages to do so, well… You’ll have to read the issue yourself to find that out!

I feel like I say it with every low-action issue that comes out, but once again, Roberts manages to make an issue that’s primarily a lot of talking work. One might think this type of issue would get old after a while, but thanks to Roberts getting us invested in these characters, it continues to work. Of course, throwing in the big mystery of how and why everyone is disappearing helps as well! And as usual, Roberts leaves me (affectionately) cursing his name after hitting the last page, eager for next month to be here already. (Albeit with some trepidation based on the preview blurb…)
We’ve got new art talent on this issue as well. Sort-of new, anyway – Atilio Rojo did inkwork on MTMTE once prior, on the “Before” sections of issue 12, Before & After, but this is the first time we’ve seen him do pencil work with Transformers. It’s a touch simpler than Milne’s usual work, but I quite like it, and certainly wouldn’t mind seeing him get to do more work in the future.
There’s a neat method they use for keeping track of who disappears, and what information becomes available on the story-focus crewmembers – I won’t spoil how, but I’ll definitely say I liked it and felt that it helped build the tension.
All in all, a good issue!