IDW Transformers Lost Light #5 Review
Who, or what, is Rung? The latest issue of Lost Light finally reveals the answer like only James Roberts can. A mystery solved, more set up, and biting social satire. It’s all on the menu.
Thoughts and Synopsis
I’ll be upfront with everyone. I loved Roberts’ More than Meets the Eye series. It arrived on comic book store shelves during a very volatile time in my life. It provided me with more peace of mind than a comic book about transforming space robots who punch each other probably should. I’ll always hold it, and the Lost Light series, in high regard for that. And likewise with James Roberts.
That being said? I’ve wanted to hate this comic for a while. More than Meets the Eye season 2 was generally enjoyable, but IDW’s overall botch of the Sentinel Prime/Last Autobot arch left me disappointed. As did Roberts’ over-reliance on appeasing certain segments of the readership and engaging in too much self-indulgence. If there’s one thing I hate? It’s arrogance. Even if it’s completely earned. And any arrogance Roberts might have about his IDW Transformers work is completely earned. Make no mistake there.
Lug has finally been revealed to be a figment of Anode’s imagination. I couldn’t help but groan. As I did with the setup and revelation that Cylonus was the victim of domestic abuse from Tailgate. The above-mentioned gratitude I feel towards Roberts and his work ties in with Chromedome and Rewind. So “gay robots” isn’t the problem here. Domestic abuse though? Really? Hack “in her head the whole time” plot points? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t rolling my eyes.
Then you factor in Megatron as Roberts’ self-insert. Roberts is a loud and proud socialist. Not something I would ever hold against anyone, personally. He has described IDW Megs as “a socialist who fell into the trap of totalitarianism.” Megatron, since becoming an Autobot and joining the Lost Light crew, has been on the path to redemption. And it’s not hard to see Terminus’ sentiment since he joined Megatron in the Functionist Universe; you’re awesome, I wasn’t around for your fall from grace, be the awesome revolutionary we know you can be. He practically looks at the reader in a past issue and says “treat Megatron like the hero we all know he is.”
In a meta sense? I can’t help but see this as Roberts finally getting to redeem a socialist Megatron now that he’s got the character in his book. Now that he speaks with Roberts’ voice? He can be a “proper” socialist. Like I said. I hate arrogance and self-satisfaction. Even when they’re deserved.
Here’s the catch though. Take all of that. It doesn’t mean much because this issue reminded me why I love this series and this author.
This issue effectively uses the two universes to tell one story. Who and what is wrong? Nightbeat talks to Rung in the main universe, sensing his friend isn’t well. He asks him if he always wanted to be a psychiatrist. He reveals he didn’t. In fact he used to make something. That’s juxtaposed with Functionist Universe Rung admitting to Rodimus and company what he was built for. What purpose he served, and why the Functionist Council hated him.
I shall not spoil the reveal, but I will say Roberts’ world building strengths are on full display. He not only reveals what Rung does in two separate narratives, he also uses the backdrop of the Functionist Universe to do what he does best. Use speculative fiction as a means for social commentary. What happens when religious dogma that’s weaponized against a marginalized group is turned back on the oppressors? How do those who represent the faithful react?
Despite all the flaws you can throw at this book? It remains the gold standard of Transformers comics.
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