Lost Light #20 Spoiler-Free Review

Today sees the final confrontation between the Lost Light’s two captains, Rodimus and Getaway, in The Transformers: Lost Light #20. Read on for our spoiler-free review!

Lost Light #20

Writer: James Roberts | Line-Artist: Casey W. Coller

Colorist: Joana Lafuente | Letterer: Tom B. Long

Full disclosure: I am not, on the whole, a fan of Lost Light. While the first forty or so issues of More than Meets the Eye rank among my favourite comics of all time, and there are some gems in the latter third of it as well, the relaunched version of James Roberts’ space opera sitcom comic – to my mind – embodies all of the worst aspects of his writing; stunted character arcs, obnoxiously self-indulgent humor, tell-don’t-show storytelling, characters suffering for the sake of “misery porn”, questionable social commentary, and a constant espousing of the virtues of Megatron – a character to whom Roberts has drawn deliberate parallels with real-life monsters like Hitler and Stalin. My love for the characters is now almost entirely divorced from what happens to them in the comic, and my curiosity about the mysteries of the comic’s mytharc has been stripped down to “I’ve stuck with it this long”.
But this issue? It wasn’t bad.

For sure, it wasn’t perfect – the Misfire/Swerve meta-jokes didn’t land, and the ultimate confrontation between Star Saber and Cyclonus was comically brief, to the extent that I felt almost certain that one of Star Saber’s original toy gimmicks was going to come into play for a “round two”. But the core of this issue was the long-awaited confrontation between Rodimus and Getaway – and for a villain who I have really disliked the writing on, reduced as he has been from “jerk with an actual point” to “selfish one-dimensional complete monster”, Roberts actually manages to make his confrontation with his opposite number surprisingly poignant and affecting.

Despite being nominally the main character of the “More than Loses the Light” saga, Rodimus’s character development has been… limited, to say the least. Though the not-quite-Prime seemed to be maturing at the end of season 1, in the aftermath of Dark Cybertron he’s done nothing but regress into the comically shallow caricature he’s been all along, and even his moment of maturation in the last issue was a literal moment of “what would Megatron do?”. Here, with a desperate, pathetic Getaway cutting to the heart of his character, Rodimus makes the decision to “grow up” and be the better ‘bot; and Getaway himself, despite his previous moustache-twirling villainy, makes for a surprisingly tragic figure in the midst of his villainous breakdown.

The art on this issue is serviceable; Casey Coller has long been one of the “good Transformers artists”, but his work has always felt somewhat stiff to me, lacking the expression or personality of the works of Alex Milne, Nick Roche or Sara Pitre-Durocher. Still, it’s in no way bad, and Rodimus and Getaway’s final confrontation amongst the flames of the energon furnace is rendered with an appropriately climactic feel, aided by Joana Lafuente’s colors.
Overall, I still find it hard to figure out how I feel about this issue. Had it come out three years ago, when I still loved James Roberts’ writing and characters, I doubtless would have loved it unconditionally – but as I’m so burned out on the quirks of his writing, I really don’t know where I stand. But if you’ve been eagerly anticipating the showdown between the two “captains” of the Lost Light, this issue will likely satisfy you.