Ricky Church reviews Transformers #37…
As a new arc begins in IDW’s Transformers, Brian Ruckley spends much of the issue filling in some of the series’ biggest gaps while laying further groundwork for what comes next in the Cybertronian civil war. Transformers #37 is a nice balance between the exposition Ruckley gives and the action the bots get into, both in the flashbacks and present timeline. It makes for a very coherent issue and an intriguing opener for Ruckley’s next stage.
Throughout the series, almost since the very first issue, references have been made to Cybertron’s previous civil war, the War of the Threefold Spark, against the mysterious transformer Exarchon who could split his spark into three and take control of any Cybertronian’s body. While this issue doesn’t give concrete answers as to who exactly he is or how he came to be, something even the Autobots aren’t sure of, plausible theories are discussed that highlight the threat he poses to the planet. It is welcome information since Exarchon has returned just as the Autobot/Decepticon war is heating up even more in its infancy.
Excarchon’s past isn’t all that is explored, though, as several of the flashbacks deal with Cyclonus and his now-deceased squad. Cyclonus has been a fairly significant character throughout the series for someone who is neither Autobot or Decepticon. So much of his past and the exact fate of his team have been left somewhat vague, including why he envisions their ghosts speaking with him so much, so it was nice to see their deaths explained along with the relationship between Cyclonus and Provoke and how her supposed death left him traumatized enough to be the catalyst for imagining his dead squad speaking to him on a constant basis. It also nicely establishes Cyclonus suspecting something wrong with both Provoke and Ruckus with Exarchon having taken control of them both so it will be interesting to see how he deals with that development.
Though there was a lot of interesting exposition and answers in the flashbacks, not much happened in the present day with Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus until the end as they were ambushed. With Magnus captured and Shockwave revealing he only wants Optimus as a prisoner because he holds the Matrix, it raises the question of what experiments Shockwave intends on doing with Optimus and the Matrix or, in an even worse scenario, if he wants Optimus so Exarchon can take over a Prime.
The artwork from Winston Chan and Guido Guidi is well done throughout the issue. The visuals on the bots are detailed, the facial work is expressive and the action choreographed pretty well. Magnus shows just how tough a bot he is and why he’s considered on of Cybertron’s ‘Great Generals’ in its history. John-Paul Bove’s colours are vibrant and show a great mix in the multiple flashbacks and present timeline, particularly when the action begins.
Transformers #37 is a good issue that answers a few questions while raising new ones. While Ruckley continues to explore the early battles of the Autobot-Decepticon War, it’s nice to see he’s not relying on the same old tropes of Transformers lore as he’s building up to a new, different and even more powerful threat than Megatron in those early days. It will be ineresting to see where the team take the series from here as the new arc opens.
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