Definitely a fitting issue to read while Halloween sets in! I think Roberts' style with character interactions and dialogue really settles in with this one. Each exchange between the cast felt pretty natural imo. The biggest standout character though has to be Rodimus, it's clear he's the main focus for this story as throughout the time he's depicted as this reckless, self-absorbed leader; which I think contributes a lot to what makes MTMTE so iconic. Sure, it doesn't align with the original self-doubting humble leader from G1, nor with Furman's previous characterization of him within the same continuity as you mentioned, but there's a lot more to this portrayal than what's being lead on as we'll see while progressing through the series.
And speaking of things that'll eventually become more important than what's being lead on here, I really love the amount of future story elements established in this issue. The mysterious whereabouts of how the sparkeater and the dead turbofoxes got onboard, everything shown in that pre-war flashback during Cyclonus' talk w/Tailgate, mnemosurgery, Rossum's Trinity, and the matter of Rung's spark (alongside poor Animus, with his particularly green-colored spark as opposed to the traditional blue)...all of these are nice little tidbits of foreshadowing that'll take time before seeing the payoff. I think this contributes a lot into why this series is so re-readable, at least for me.
One thing I definitely didn't catch onto until you pointed it out is how Megatron was likely aiming at Zeta Prime during the flashback showcase. It makes a lot of sense now that I think about it, especially as we find out in the next issue that Roberts clearly had a different vision for what went down with Zeta Prime that conflicted with what we saw in Autocracy. Now I wonder how different things could've been with Roberts' vision in mind...
So all that's left then is the art, which I mean...what more is there to say, really? Alex Milne and Josh Burcham are a match made in heaven, and as mentioned the work done in the scary monsters department as well as the dead bodies was handled extremely well, there's a lot more of that to come as we'll see in the next issue. The sparkeater's design definitely gives off the creeps. Another great issue then, one that's befitting for a Halloween-spirited read.
One fun thing is that the Sparkeater isn't planned setup, the notebooks show the process of working that connection out backwards from Elegant Chaos.
Ooh that's fascinating. From an outsider's perspective you'd be easily fooled into thinking Roberts had a LOT planned out from the beginning as I did in my first re-read of the series, but those notebooks really proved otherwise huh? I was very surprised when I learned Chromedome and Rewind weren't originally planned to be a couple, the same for Cyclonus/Tailgate. Really need to get my hands on those notebooks some day.
God, I wish Roberts had kept to his original plan for Cyclonus and Tailgate...
Ahem, anyhow, this is a good one; the Sparkeater's a great, creepy concept executed to perfection by Milne. I remember, having Bullets in my head, instantly thinking the Megatron with a sniper rifle image was indeed his assassination of Zeta Prime moment. And then Autocracy put the lie to it only a short time later. And then Barber will try to roughly massage it all together six or seven issues from now in HIS book.
To continue the Halloween-y theme for this issue I'm commenting on this a horrifying two weeks late. Another thing that was definitely planned, and not retroactively justified...
The thing that's most jarring about this issue is the sheer number of historical events and cultural details that Roberts brings into the story, that we've never heard about before. But that's certainly not a bad thing. Instead we're starting to see Cybertronians as having an actual culture and history for what might be the first time. Between this and Barber's writings we really are being given something we've never been given before.
And indeed this is par of what makes this issue so good. There's worldbuilding, tension, scares, character beats, all very deftly integrated to produce a great story, which works both as a self-contained horror story on its own, but also an essential piece of the ongoing story. A properly masterful piece of work.
And what is there to say about the art that hasn't already been said? I guess that'll learn me to comment sooner. (I promise to learn nothing.) But Milne and Burcham are really doing top tier work here.
In all, a brilliant issue, and the one that started to assuage my fears that maybe this bold, new reboot wouldn't take. Just as well I wasn't following one of the other ongoings at the time...
Stuart Webb. Who knows everything about nothing and not a lot about that.
Action Force/G.I. Joe