“The Frail Gaze”
…In which the title is sadly not the worst pun in the issue.
Written by: James Roberts
Art by: Alex Milne
Colors by: Joana LaFuente
Letters by: Tom B. Long
Editor: John Barber
I like the outcome of this issue. I’m just… not sure I like how we got here. Just for starters, two pages of recap (after a title page that also has a recap!) seems a bit excessive and I really would rather have had another page of story. I was initially happy to see Swerve in his narrator role again, but I wondered why he was taking so long to get to the point… then I turned the page and the whole thing felt like nothing more than filler.
So our heroes ended up facing down… wince …personality ticks. It’s painful just to type that. A legendary threat which we have never heard a single legend about until after its introduction is basically the go-to story outline for MTMTE at this point, and this is by far one of the silliest ones. Roberts even lampshades the silliness several times. Since the ticks seem to be a take-off on the Silence from Doctor Who, I’m not sure if he’s making a meta-joke that the Silence are a silly concept. Of course the Silence were more of a threat and used far more effectively than the ticks, so even on that level it feels uninspired.
I was happy to see the exposition on Caminus/the Camiens. In particular, the “amica endura” concept seems to be Roberts setting up a way for Scott to easily explain the extremely tortured Windblade-Chromia relationship. Unfortunately the explanation itself feels rather tortured and extremely drawn-out, even prompting Roberts to comment via Skids that this too is silly.
Ultimately I think that’s my problem with this issue. Sure it has a lot of the wonderful character moments that Roberts does so well, but it also lacks a lot of the charm and excitement that he also does well. It feels like he’s trying desperately to find enough to fill the pages with and to make it clever enough that no one will notice, which he strangely chose to do by pointing it out. Even the deaths in this arc are “hi-then-die” characters, if we see them at all, largely relying on any feelings we already have for popular Micromasters than building them up to create genuine pathos. Truth be told though, I don’t think this is particularly problematic; I think every comic is allowed an “off-issue” from time to time, and this issue does advance the MTMTE plot quite a bit. I just wish the advancement felt more organic to the story rather than relying so much on the epilogue.
Speaking of epilogues though, I’m very intrigued at what Thunderclash will bring to the table and I think both Rodimus and Megatron will have issues with him. That should lead to some wonderful growth in all three. While the dance party seems a little extraneous, Cyclonus did give me the biggest laugh of the entire issue. And Swerve… oh my god after all of the time travel hijinx we finally get an honest-to-god Quantum Leap reference. Has Roberts been reading my dream journal?
Edited by Lukeblast, 23 June 2015 - 11:30 PM.