More than Meets the Eye #33 Recap – Morality is shades of grey.

TF_MTMTE_33_cvrI love it when literature makes me think. Whether it’s books, articles, essays, comics or poetry, it is like hitting the gym, only with my brain, challenging me to think and ponder things in new ways. One of the reasons why I like to rank MTMTE extremely high on my list of favorite comics of all time is for this very reason, that besides engaging my emotions, there is always something in every issue which makes me think. This ongoing story line with Autobot Megatron has been particularly stimulating in how it makes me think about morality and good versus bad. And this issue was no exception. Spoilers below!

At first I feel it proper to apologize to those that might come here expecting a traditional review every month, but honestly, there are many talented review writers out there and I am much too emotional a person to stick to an impassioned form of writing, simply judging good and bad points. And man, did this issue make me fire on all emotional cylinders. Then, when all the emotions had settled I found myself thinking hard about morality and how I actually felt about certain characters.

There were two big bombshells that happened in this issue, which served as the final part in this harrowing mini arc where the few remaining crew members try to solve the mystery of “our” missing Lost Light. First, there was a dreadful snippet of fact, that someone on the Lost Light tipped off the D.J.D and effectively betrayed them to the horrible fate we were forced to witness last issue and then as Nautica and Nightbeat unearth Brainstorm’s body… Poor Brainstorm leaving his mysterious time-altering magic briefcase and…Hold on now. They notice that Brainstorm’s faceplate comes off and underneath it is a Decepticon symbol.

I share the characters shock and dismay that the quirky, yet lovable scientist with his crazy inventions has been a Decepticon secret agent all this time and the slim hope that it was only this dead, alternate who was the baddie is squashed in the last pages where “our” Brainstorm…But I get ahead of myself.

With the same anger as Getaway I want to punch something when the treachery is revealed, but then I pause. In the same issue we have Megatron, unwilling for them to take the risk of dealing with the danger-quantum-foam and saving the nearby planet from destruction (because there are no Cybertronians on it) and Skids tells him off for it, and rightly so. If Megatron truly wants to be an Autobot now, that means he has to buy into the old motto that Prime has always spouted “Freedom is the right of ALL sentient beings”. Freedom and…Not dying because a silly Cybertronian quantum engine ship captain can’t take off properly and inadvertently split it up in two versions (it’s okay though, in the other reality Rodimus sacrificed himself bravely fighting that spark eater). Why do I knee-jerk fume at Brainstorm when I still believe in Megatron? I don’t know Brainstorm’s whole story. If there is one thing this Roberts (and Barber too for that matter) is excellent at, it’s showing characters as shades of grey, with a very wide spectrum from the darkest dark like the D.J.D, to the more innocent and judgement free like Nautica (though she needs to stop her Ravage pets if she wants to keep that hand).

Of course, later on I get my faith in Megatron restored when he, after Skids rages at him, actually volunteers to shut off the quantum engines of the other Lost Light (so it might vanish and be replaced by the real one, through…quantum magic stuff Nautica explains better than me) because that whole mass-shifting he did is now so ingrained in his frame that he can do it in robot mode too, and they need small people to navigate the danger foam to get to the engines. Watching Rewind, with zero reason to trust Megatron and the downsized former Decepticon cooperate supplied much of the humor in this issue. And then, as Rewind thinks he is about to vanish, Megatron assures him that the versions of himself and Chromedome that is about to replace him (or so he thinks) are still “inseparable” in their affections for each other. The ruthless leader is slowly learning. Slowly, but surely.

And then we get the cliffhanger of the issue where we see “our” Brainstorm enter Swerve’s, cool as a cucumber, and unleash the full power of the briefcase, knocking everyone out stating that “…I can do whatever the hell I want.”

Chilling on its own, but then I remember how Megatron had no knowledge that Brainstorm was an agent and that we have no indication that Brainstorm has revealed himself in any way after Megatron boarded the Lost Light, despite the fact that surely he must have had opportunities. Add then Megatron’s lament about “toxic” Decepticon loyalty and…I wonder who Brainstorm is loyal to. Might the horrific scenes that we saw on the other Lost Light happen to “our” version as well? I expect we shall find out in due time.

Then, because I need to end this on a positive note, let us return to poor, darling Rewind, kind of sort of literally delivered from evil, with a dreadful tale to tell about the horrors done to everyone, but also personally to him and his beloved Chromedome by the D.J.D. As many fans have already guessed, this alternate or rather, second version of Rewind is the ghost that plagued Chromedome before and there was always a question of…how long will we get to keep him? Even Nautica assumes that simply because Rewind belongs to the other Lost Light, he will vanish when it does and Rewind seems to accept that fact (when his Chromedome died, it was as if he died too). So when we get the end of the first epilogue, where our Chromedome climbs up onto the RodPod and see none other than Rewind, still very battered, but very much alive and in existence… I made such sounds that my cat started acting very concerned. After all he has done, I feel like I want to thank Roberts for this very happy reunion and I expect the two will have it much better, at least for now (who has time for bickering when you have seen the other die and now get a second chance?).

So even though I called him cruel for exposing us to the nightmarish imagery in last issue, for tricking us into thinking Rodimus was dead…Well, this wonderful surprise makes me forgive all of that. Even my inner Decepticon fangirl was fed, not only by Megatron’s continued positive development, but by the suggestion that Ravage might stick around. An ally of Megatron, yes…But what would that imply about the feline Transformer’s true allegiance and beliefs?

As always I end the issue with much to think about and that alone is also something to be grateful for.