And we’re back.

After last issue’s brief sideshow in galactic politics, Transformers #13 returns to a Cybertron on the breaking point of war. The “Ascenticons” have got themselves a nice new/old logo, Sentinel Prime ramps up security sweeps across the planet, Bumblebee investigates Ascenticon involvement in Barricade’s escape, and Prowl might have identified a suspect for the murder of Brainstorm. You ever heard of someone called {SPOILERS}?

Plus there’s a nice firefight featuring the guerrilla Rise versus Sideswipe and Springer.

But nothing is conclusive: this is an issue of widening mysteries and set-up. While I previously complained Brian Ruckley’s take on the robots in disguise is a well-worn road, his Transformers has been adept at building tension with the dread of knowing where that road leads. And this issue is particularly illustrative of the series’ sensibilities, a jumble of plot-threads that continue along a trajectory but have yet to reach blast-off. As such, the issue has wobbly legs, unable to stand on its own.

That’s not necessarily a weakness. I like a plot with an eye towards the long view rather than short-term, episodic stints. But that writing style can make in-betweeners like issue #13 feel unfulfilling.

There’s still a lot to love here though. Brief glimpses into the world Ruckley has built with so much rich detail, such as a panel of what looks like a Cybertronian opium den full of dead-eyed addicts. But a good portion of the issue is dedicated to the aforementioned firefight, which is obviously a draw for many readers, although in my mind Ruckley is at his best when he’s world-building. Here the fight happens but it lacks the drama or personal stakes to make it compelling.

Art remains solid, the issue partially illustrated by Lost Light alum Alex Milne. Many of the action pieces are left to series regular Angel Hernandez, who does an excellent job portraying the fluidity of combat. The acrobatic transforming mid-action is also aided by the waymarkers of Joana Lafuente and Josh Perez’ colours.

Will I keep reading? Of course (and not only for the sake of reviewing). But an issue like this leaves an itch. While that may come off as a success — wanting more — I’d liken it more to impatience. Which is a shame because I do believe Transformers is heading somewhere great — I just wish this issue gave a little more to tie the reader over until the main course finally arrives.

Review: Transformers #13 a tasty treat but not the main course
  • Building, building tension
  • So much tension
  • So much tension it hurts
3.0Overall Score