This issue comes out on the 30th of April, which is close enough to my birthday (one day, but who’s counting) that I consider it an early birthday present…And it is quite the present!
When I first held an issue of this comic in my hands it was the characters that made me fall in love with it, their relationships and their trials and tribulations with the main plot, the search for the Knights of Cybertron as an excuse to put all these robots together in one confined space. Now that MTMTE is entering its author-named “second season”, 25 issues with one overarching plot line, it is the characters that still jump out and grab me.
Spoilers below the cut!
Dark Cybertron is firmly in the rear view mirror and the Lost Light can finally resume its quest (made significantly more difficult by the fact that Rodimus broke his half of the Matrix, which contained the map they needed) and Roberts uses the fact that the Lost Light spent a while on Cybertron to add some more crew members to his character roster, while assuring us that most of the old gang are still there.
In this first issue most of the focus is on the big name character that is now not only a crew member on the Lost Light, but the captain, the big M, former Decepticon leader and recent Autobot convert: Megatron himself.
We all knew Megatron would join the ranks of Chromedome, Ultra Magnus, Swerve and the others on the Lost Light when the first solicits showed up which had Megatron with that Autobot badge on his chest and there were more than a few skeptics out there about this new direction for this iconic Decepticon. It’s time I come clean here and admit that for many years of my Transformers fandom life I was a Decepticon fan, if not a supporter at one point. Starscream has been one of my favorites for as long as I’ve known of the brand (alongside Bumblebee, a fondness I share with old Buckethead) and I am a huge sucker for heel-face-turn stories, where villains see the error of their ways and try to change. Well, I can understand why not only fans, but the Autobots are not so willing to kiss and make up; despite the role Megatron had to play in ending the events of Dark Cybertron in a way that did not result in the end of everything. Megatron has been the Decepticon leader since the line’s launch in 1984, so to have him not only convert to the good side, but to actually, genuinely express a desire to change is a very big thing indeed.
Naturally then, most of the issue is dedicated to showing two parallel plots with Megatron, one where he’s in a session with Rung on the Lost Light (complete with eavesdroppers), followed by a confrontation with Whirl, where the former Wrecker tries to goad Megatron into a proper fight (and fails, the former Decepticon merely monologues about how Whirl is responsible for not only giving Megatron his motivation to become the Decepticon we know him as, but that he also kept Whirl alive by forbidding other from killing him). The other plot shows the lead up to the inevitable trial on Cybertron six months ago, right after the end of Dark Cybertron, for all Megatron’s crimes during the war. Roberts has been good with this going back and forth through time in the past and it works here too.
But it’s not all about Megatron this issue, we also get to meet Nautica, the second female that accompanied Windblade, but unlike her companions she decided to see what this Lost Light business was all about. And within those few pages she appears on we get a pretty good idea why she signed up. Nautica is a full on nerd, hungry for knowledge. She’s an engineer (sorry, a “Quantum Mechanic”), who also loves maps and books, all sorts of books, books with facts. What she is less good at, is that whole social interaction stuff, so quips and jokes are not quite her forte, which is probably why Swerve declares that the two of them are “Comically Dissimilar” (well, except for Nautica’s love for really exclusive drinks). I’m in love with this girl already and look forward to more scenes of her discussing science with Brainstorm (and rejecting some of his crazier ideas, “color coded lasers”, who ever heard of such a silly thing!) in future issues.
But because this is a Roberts’ book, we also need some darker scenes and interestingly, they both involve Chromedome. The first one is where Optimus Prime suggests to Megatron that they use Chromedome’s mnemosurgical abilities to…speed up the trial by plugging Domey into Megatron’s mind, thus making him a witness to all that Megatron has done. Megatron completely freaks out and then solemnly tells Optimus that if they even try it, he’ll be forced to murder Megatron in his cell. I have to admit it had never sunk in before what a terrible thing it is that Chromedome can do to other people, but to see someone as powerful as Megatron react in such a way puts it all in perspective for me. The second scene is quite depressing, taking place in present day with Skids expressing concern about the fact that he hasn’t seen Chromedome for months because…He’s basically sequestered himself in his quarters replaying Rewind’s farewell message over and over. Well, this is the first time Chromedome has allowed himself to properly grieve for one of his life partners…
It’s only been one issue and I already feel confident that More than Meets the Eye will continue to be one of the best comics I have ever read and definitely the best Transformers comic. It makes me smile, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry and sometimes…it also makes me think.
Something Megatron tells Rung in the extended interview scenes which run through the entire issue really struck a chord with me:
“People never stop changing, Rung. We’re all of us works in progress. We’re the sum of our experiences even if we edit those experiences to suit.”
He also says that sometimes you might find that what you’ve done with your life until this point unsalvageable and that is when you must be brave or desperate enough to just…throw it all away and start anew, like he did when he was on Luna 2, and now on the Lost Light. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually found those words to be incredibly inspirational and if Megatron really means all that, then I think I will very much enjoy his journey of redemption as it unfolds in future issues of this book.
A journey which seems to have truly begun when he pleads “Guilty” to all charges in the trial on one of the last pages of this issue.