The Best Comic You’re Probably Not Reading – Transformers: More than Meets the Eye

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As Transformers continues to celebrate it’s 30th anniversary I’d like to shine some light on my favorite part of the Transformers brand, the More Than Meets the Eye series from IDW. Started in January of 2012, MTMTE is a series about an Autobot ship called the Lost Light led by Rodimus on a quest to find the Knights of Cybertron, an ancient group who Rodimus hopes will help save the reunited Cybertron. While this is the overarching plot for the series, the real fun comes from the interactions of the cast, a generally overlooked bunch of characters that writer James Roberts is free to give an amazing depth of personality to.

Early on we’re introduced to:

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Tailgate, an cybertronian who was stuck in a cave for the past 6 million years. A bomb disposal expert, Tailgate is not quite what he seems. His relationship with Cyclonus (a former warlord looking for a new cause) over the series is definitely one of my favorite parts of the book.

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Swerve, the diminutive wise-cracking bartender of the Lost Light, who produces some of the biggest laughs but also some of the saddest reveals.

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Skids, the amnesiac member of the Diplomatic Corps whose backstory is slowly revealed throughout the series.

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The creative duo of James Roberts and artist Alex Milne manage to instill an amazing amount of character into the group. Milne’s art is especially expressive. Characters like Tailgate have visors and faceplates, but you always know their mood by the shapes used (similar to what was done with Spider-Man by Mike Wieringo). Milne excels at action scenes and small conversations alike. Colorist Josh Burcham give the book a vibrant but lived-in look that matches perfectly settings.

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One of my personal favorite parts is the cooperation between IDW and Hasbro, the toy manufacturer that owns Transformers. Over the past few years Hasbro has produced IDW-style toys of Tailgate, Swerve, Skids, Trailbreaker and Hoist, with more to come in the future (including the great looking Brainstorm).

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image courtesy of tformers.com

And their Deluxe series of figures has included various Transformers comics, which hopefully have gotten more people hooked onto the series.

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If you’re at all interested in reading the series I’ve got some great news for you: The first issue for MTMTE is available for FREE on Comixology! And now until June 30th ALL of MTMTE (and it’s sister series Robots in Disguise) is on sale at Comixology. I’d recommend starting with the first volume of MTMTE, which includes the one shot “The Death of Optimus Prime.” It’s a great jumping on point for the IDW Transformers universe, and leads right into MTMTE #1.

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This post brought to you by Greg Schueller. You can follow him on Twitter here!

  • Chris Piers

    Interesting. I’ve never read any of the Transformers comics aside from the original Marvel series.

  • I’ve read a few single issues here and there, but there’s so many I never knew where one would start.

  • Greg Schueller

    If you want a nice stand-alone story I’d also recommend the Last Stand of the Wreckers collection. It’s an interesting “Dirty Dozen” style prison break mini-series, and events that happen in it come back into play during a few different parts of MTMTE. But you really don’t need any pre-existing TF knowledge going into it, which is how I read it.

  • I’ve been on board with the IDW comics since the beginning, which began with a lot of frustration that they were forced to reboot after the Dreamwave comics ended suddenly without resolution.

    MTMTE is really remarkable for discarding a lot of old Autobot/Decepticon stuff that fueled other comics (and continues to fuel the “RID” series). Decepticon antagonists are no more common than Autobot ones or non-Transformers. We also get a ton of characters that haven’t been written to death. 30 years of Prime/Megatron/Grimlock/Starscream/Bumblebee is kinda tiring, even if you like those characters.

    MTMTE also does a lot of world building, which makes it important not only for new readers but also to help establish the society of Transformers for long time readers like myself.

    Gay Marriage is one topic I never thought I’d read in a transformers comics and when I was suddenly in the middle of reading about it I realized how much I cared about these characters and (not kidding) cried at the conclusion.