Spoiler-Free Review: Requiem of the Wreckers
The long-awaited conclusion to Nick Roche’s Wreckers saga is out tomorrow. Does it rule the shelf, or is it just a wreck of a comic? Read on for our spoiler-free review!
Requiem of the Wreckers
Writer: Nick Roche | Line-Artists: Nick Roche, Brendan Cahill, Geoff Senior
Colorists: Josh Burcham, Josh Perez | Letterers: Shawn Lee & Tom B. Long
Nick Roche’s acclaimed, infrequent Wreckers saga has always been defined by the circumstances of its release. The first miniseries, Last Stand of the Wreckers, hinged on the disregard that the previous “All Hail Megatron” series had had for the wider galaxy outside of Earth, both in- and out-of-universe; and the years of delay between it and its sequel series, Sins of the Wreckers, hugely informed the latter’s plot. This third and final entry is itself defined by a plot point that occurred only a few months ago: the death of longtime Wrecker Kup over in Transformers vs Visionaries.
In what is probably a wise move, Requiem avoids discussing the actual circumstances of Kup’s death (explaining that he was killed by an alien wizard with a magic stick would probably just be a distraction), instead focusing on its impact on the characters and what Kup meant to them. This sets them on a journey to meet up with Impactor, which entangles them in a villainous plot – and the villains shouldn’t be hard to guess, considering the issue’s cover.
Unfortunately, this story rockets past at a breakneck pace, plot elements brought up without any room to explore themselves and payoffs coming without sufficient buildup. It seems almost certain that this story was initially intended to be told as a miniseries like the previous two Wreckers titles; it can roughly be divided into two “halves”, and the end of the first act feels like it should have been an end-of-issue cliffhanger. There’s a sense that the story wasn’t so much adapted to fit its shorter format as it was merely compressed.
Because of the plot feeling rushed and insubstantial, several of the emotional beats and character interactions feel unearned, and at least one dangling plot thread barely comes back into play before being abruptly tied off.
The feeling of the story being “undercooked” extends to the character writing. While Springer and Impactor get out alright, other characters feel distinctly off. Verity’s slang seems a lot more forced than it did in earlier Wreckers chapters, something that’s minor, but it’s just enough to be jarring. Overlord gets the worst of it, reading almost as a parody of his earlier appearances – his effeminate, camp behavior and “gay coding” is taken up to 11, and the story dances around the idea of him being in a relationship with Tarantulas without explicitly saying anything. It’s a disappointingly queerbait-y portrayal when Sins made it very clear that Prowl and Mesothulas had been in love before everything went south.
Art-wise, Nick Roche’s work continues to ooze character, and newcomer Brendan Cahill – previously seen intermittently on More than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise – matches his style well to Roche’s (though the breaks between them are very noticeable if you’re looking for them). Of course, one of the most exciting things about the Requiem announcement was that classic Marvel UK artist Geoff Senior would be returning, and he proves that he hasn’t lost his touch in the intervening years – the flashback sequences in his distinctive, angular style are some of the best parts of the book. In particular, Kup’s original, emaciated IDW design (as seen in Roche’s Spotlight: Kup) works beautifully under Senior’s pen.
Josh Burcham and Josh Perez bring their usual coloring quality to the title, with the bright and stylish flashbacks contrasting nicely with the moody, dark present-day sequences. (And though the mark of a good letterer is often that you don’t notice their work, Shawn Lee and Tom B. Long bring Roche’s words to the page with characteristic style.)
While I may sound overly negative, Requiem is by no means a bad comic – but after two fantastic miniseries, “pretty good” can only feel like a disappointment. The art is beautiful, there are cameos sure to delight fans, and the end of the issue wraps up several characters’ arcs satisfyingly; but there’s a certain sense of missed opportunity when one thinks about how this story was surely conceived with more room to breathe. All the same, though you won’t find a standalone read like the previous entries, this one-shot is worth picking up just to see the ends of these fan-favourite characters’ stories.
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