Spoiler Review: Lost Light #23

Yesterday saw the release of The Transformers: Lost Light #23. As the clock runs out on the Hasbro Universe, how is the book’s seven-part finale coming along? Reporters Jalaguy and Vexwing discussed what they thought – read on to check it out, but beware of spoilers!

The Transformers: Lost Light #23

“Crucible (Part 5): The Unremembering”

Written by James Roberts, Line-Art by Jack Lawrence, Colors by Joana Lafuente, Letters by Tom B. Long

J: The previous issue of Lost Light ended with perhaps the biggest plot reveal yet, in a finale story that has been packed wall-to-wall with them, and issue #24, unsurprisingly, sets out to answer all the questions you’ve been asking since then. Chief among these answers is the true history of the Guiding Hand or, as we now know them, Rung, the Necrobot, Tyrest, the Magnificence, and Adaptus, who stands revealed as the true villain in their ranks. Vexwing, how did the Guiding Hand reveals this issue stack up against your expectations from last issue’s cliffhanger?
V: Honestly, the new reveals this issue fell a bit flat for me, or maybe it’s just that after the last few issues reveal fatigue is starting to set it. The issue devotes much of its first half discussing the the previous revelation that members of the Guiding Hand have been under our noses for quite some time, with a great deal of exposition devoted to explaining the falling out the members had, why they lost their memories, and why they’ve fallen into myth among the populace of Cybertron. It even explains why Rung is pathologically forgettable. However, just as soon as we’ve become familiarized with Adaptus’s history and motivations, he and the newly-identified Solomus are dusted. Literally. Jalaguy, how did you feel about this being the final conclusion for the long-foreshadowed Grand Architect?
J: It felt weirdly abrupt, like quite a lot of story beats have been in this finale. Much like Requiem of the Wreckers before it, there’s a palpable sense as you read this story that it’s an abbreviation of a longer one, rocketing through material that could easily fill a multi-issue arc by itself in order to move on to the next point. For a character whose arrival has been hanging over the comic for so long, it feels sadly anticlimactic that his plan stands revealed as the result of a comedic misunderstanding, and he himself has been taken off the table almost as soon as we saw the mysteries surrounding explained. Reflecting on all this has, I think, made clearer in my head why so many of Lost Light’s recent plot reveals have left me unmoved – they seem to lack impact on the characters and story around them. Cyberutopia’s true nature as a euthanasia clinic, the Grand Architect’s identity and motivations, even the godhood of Rung… these twists have had a strangely negligible effect on the narrative. In the sense of a detached observer, it’s… interesting to learn the facts behind these mysteries, but it ends up feeling like just a list of facts, with the story happening around them almost like just a framing device. It does at least, feel like we may now be finished with Big Reveals, leaving us issue #24 to wrap up the threat of “Primus” before the epilogue issue #25 is promised to be. What are you hoping, or expecting to see from next issue, Vexwing?
V: I’m mostly hoping that all the set pieces are in place with no new reveals, and really, a hope that I’m pretty sure is going to be dashed—a tie-in with the currently unfolding Unicron mytharc. I think my biggest fault with this issue was the “Bigger Bad” trope had one more oniony layer to offer, and like an onion, it will bring a tear to me eye if it turns out to be a redundant concept that could have been tied to the close of the IDW continuity as a whole. I speak of the reveal that the Omega Guardians—speaking and acting through the Magnificience/Epistemus—are trying to orchestrate events to allow their return to the lower realms with the intent to “EAT EVERYTHING!” Now, I’m generally an unabashed Roberts fan, and have typically advocated for his title to be free from the crossover events, but when running concurrently with a title featuring the premiere god-level planet devourer of the Transformers mythos already eating everything, this feels like really poor timing to use this concept. Now I appreciate that he’s getting to end the title on his own terms, I do, and maybe this was always in his plans, but it really feels like it came out of nowhere with the cost of abruptly killing the Grand Architect plotline. If there really was as little foreshadowing to this as I feel like there was, I can’t help but feel the decision to sunset the current IDW continuity should have come with the editorial mandate to replace this universe-devouring threat with Unicron. What are your thoughts on this Jalaguy? Do you feel like there’s still a possibility this title will tie-in to Unicron before the end?
J: Based on things Roberts has said online, I suspect the Lost Light finale itself will probably play out by itself, but I wouldn’t write off the cast poking their heads into Unicron #6 to mark the end of the universe. It certainly is very odd that we’ve ended up in a situation where we’ve got two concurrent finale stories both revolving around planet-sized monsters, time-travelling masterminds and the secret history of Cybertron’s distant past. I suspect it genuinely is a coincidence, but you do have to wonder why editorial didn’t perhaps nudge one story in a slightly different direction for the sake of variety! The plot thread here with the Omega Guardians is odd, and I’m honestly not even sure whether to expect them to return next issue, or if Nickel destroying their conduit is the last we’ll see of them.
For all the questionable choices in the writing this issue, Jack Lawrence continues to bring his A-game to the book, lending “Primus” a great sense of scale, and lots of lovely screencap-able facial expressions from the large main cast. This issue is Lawrence’s penultimate outing, with Brendan Cahill on next issue, and it’s perhaps a shame that the double-shipping schedule has prevented the book’s lead artist drawing its full final arc, but Joana Lafuente’s consistent colours have done a good job of tying the multiple artists’ differing art styles together. Any final thoughts on issue #23, Vexwing?
V: No doubt, Jack Lawrence is on point this issue, particularly in those opening shots of the fleet of worldsweepers fighting Functionist “Primus”. And really, I know I brought up a few negatives, but readers should keep in mind that this series is hurtling towards the end. A lot happens this issue and a lot gets answered; it just could have used more room to breath. With just two issues remaining, I’m sure Roberts is doing his damndest to dot every i and cross every t before the final curtain call, and perhaps if there were more issues to ease the pacing, the the dangling plot points might have been tied up a bit more organically. Still, there’s no question this issue checks off several unexplained mystery boxes, so it’s certainly an issue you’ll want to pick up if you hope to stay current for the finale; I would just expect this pace to continue through next issue when most of the action is slated to reach its ultimate conclusion. Hopefully the extra-long final issue will slow down and afford us the chance to see the characters really reflect upon the events that have transpired and mourn those they’ve lost. Based on solicitations, it sounds like it will, and it sounds exactly like what made me love this series—a bunch of flawed, crazy misfits hanging out, sharing a drink, making jokes to hide the pain, and learning to love each other in spite of themselves. Until next time, readers.

What did you think of this issue? Sound off in the discussion thread on the Allspark Forums!