Review: Transformers #44

(IDW 2015)

Writer: John Barber

Art: Andrew Griffith

Colors: Josh Perez

Love and hate, these are the two emotions that resonate in the pages of Transformers #44, as Tracks and Needlenose confront the ramifications of both as past and present collide. Each have been on opposite sides of this eons-long war, so what will happen when they finally meet again, and what is Arcee really up to on Cybertron?

Following a flashback to insightful events featuring Tracks and Needlenose set on Cybertron before the war, Transformers #44 finds Needlenose making his way in a new world Cybertron post-Combiner Wars. In this intricately structured issue John Barber once again quickly gets straight to the core story elements and motivations that drive the characters – with Needlenose and Tracks being focus of the issue as events develop around them.

Screen shot 2015-08-04 at 9.10.15 PMNeedlenose’s back story is explored as he confronts the new hopes and new faces on Cybertron, but he also questions how everyone can be truly equal under Primus, and is quick to remind his fellow Decepticons that while he may have no qualms against the newcomers, nails, or even Autobots, he would never be able to coexist with followers of a Prime. Needless to say, circumstances see Needlenose and Tracks reunited again, but they’ve been on different sides in this long war between Autobot and Decepticon for so long now, and soon the past begins to impact on the present in a way that neither of them could have expected.

Acree has returned to Cybertron via the spacebridge, a move Optimus Prime questions with Prowl still at large on Earth. Her assessment of the current situation however: with Starscream now in charge, Prime letting Prowl escape, the Council of Worlds, and Prime’s appointment as a kind of space messiah, quickly puts everything in perspective. She also brings news that Needlenose and Brawl are back, and they could be stirring up problems that could well give Galvetron’s forces an advantage. This ultimately leads Tracks to intervene, whereby he sets off to find Needlenose so he can try and talk some sense into his little brother.

Screen shot 2015-08-04 at 9.09.58 PMAndrew Griffith’s art is uniformly excellent; the Transformers are all incredibly detailed and well defined. From the gleaming expanse of the Spaceport, to Acree’s lone voyage across the surface as the sun sets in the distance, and the looming shadows of Starscream’s chamber, each location has a very distinct tone and style of its own. My favorite sequences take place in the grimy neon lit bar where the Engexes flow, hackles are raised, and Needlenose and Tracks get to settle some family differences. The colors by Josh Perez also complement Griffith’s art perfectly, sublimely enhancing every page in a way that really enhances the impact of the story.

Transformers #44 is a highly thought provoking and intense issue. Barber’s skill at writing these characters effortlessly draws you into the story, there is an impressive roll call of Transformers in this issue as well, and each character in turn gets their time in the spotlight. The scenes between Tracks and Needlenose are undoubtedly the big highlight of the issue, with the majority of the plot centered on their differences, everything is nicely counterbalanced by the intrigue of what Arcee is up to on Cybertron when she visits Starscream and Bumblebee, and the ending is both poignant and a little unsettling. The excellent art by Andrew Griffith and colors by Josh Perez brings a vivid clarity to every aspect of John Barber’s script to make Transformers #44 another outstanding and impressive issue of IDW’s superb Transformer comic book series.

PaulBowler-ProfilePic1Paul Bowler is a self-Confessed Sci-Fi Geek, Doctor Who fan, and Zombie Disposal Expert. He likes movies, comic books, and all things PS3. He likes to write about his interests, would love to write a novel one day, and also enjoys chatting to the many people he has gotten to know on Twitter. When he’s not busy being an Impossible Astronaut, he likes to take a break from his adventures in time and space to enjoy some of his favorite TV shows and movies, preferably with a nice cuppa tea & a sandwich! You can follow him on Twitter @paul_bowler, or find him at his website, Sci-Fi Jubilee.

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