Spoiler-Free Review: Unicron #3

Tomorrow, the Unicron finale mini-series reaches its mid-point with issue #3, and the uncreator looms over Cybertron! Read on to check out our spoiler-free review!

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The Transformers: Unicron #3 – “Our Finest”

Written by John Barber, Line-Art by Alex Milne, Colors by Sebastian Cheng & David Garcia Cruz, Letters by Tom B. Long

When we last left the Unicron mini-series two weeks ago, the eponymous uncreator had arrived at Cybertron, looming over the world in its newly-assumed robot mode. You’d thus be forgiven for expecting issue #3 would be wall-to-wall action, but instead, we’re treated to a very character-driven clash between the core cast, as they debate how to react to the apocalypse on their doorstep.
Gathered at Metroplex’s brain module, Optimus, Starscream, Windblade and their allies are first confronted with the truth of Unicron’s origins, explained in full following the cryptic vision experienced by Bumblebee last issue. It’s a satisfying sequence on many levels – to the long-term reader of John Barber’s stories, it’s the culmination of nearly three years of clues and teasers about a dead world orbiting a black star, and even apart from that context, the tale lends a poetic significance to Unicron’s trail of destruction, and ties into the ongoing character journey of Arcee.
And with the nature of the threat made clear, it then falls to the assembled Transformers to decide how to face it. The core drives and motivations of Barber’s main cast come to the fore as they each argue for and against different strategies, bouncing off each other in an escalating “bottle episode” style sequence. It would have been easy for an event comic such as this to become single-mindedly focused on plot and action, so it’s great to see this kind of character-focused storytelling happening.
This isn’t an issue completely without action, however, as the B-plot sees Elita One and the Torchbearers team up to launch an attack on Unicron, with the hopes of infiltrating its interior and finding the weakness that Optimus failed to in issue #1. There’s plentiful spaceship and combiner combat – complete with some familiar faces making their return – but Unicron is a mighty foe for even the combiner who defeated Devastator…
As always, the drama and action alike are handled fantastically by artist Alex Milne, who imbues every angry face and fiery explosion with his dynamic and detailed style. With twisted monsters everywhere and emotions running high, Milne continues to demonstrate that he’s exactly the right artist for the job, and the color work complements his lines as well as ever. David Garcia Cruz joins regular colorist Sebastian Cheng for this issue, but their works gels together seamlessly, maintaining a consistent aesthetic throughout.
The backup story for this issue, “Reunion”, casts the spotlight on M.A.S.K., written their previous scribe Brandon Easton and drawn by M.A.S.K. #6-7’s Juan Samu, with colors by David Garcia Cruz. Much like last issue’s story, it seems to be set a little way further into the Unicron story, as a ‘sub-orbital disturbance’ disrupts Earth’s weather. Whilst the M.A.S.K. ongoing series was a flawed comic, this backup strip does a good job of putting a satisfying final bow on Easton’s story, reuniting the team for one last upbeat ride following their gloomy series finale.
While its tone is becoming increasingly dark as the Transformers edge ever closer to their doom, Unicron continues to fire on all cylinders, telling an engaging, character-driven story with its roots not just in John Barber’s own mytharc, but in ideas dating back to the very beginning of this thirteen-year continuity. With the halfway point reached, the series shows no signs of letting up with its intense pace, and I’m excited to see where the story goes from here!