Not too long ago, IDW split their Transformers line into two books, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, and Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. Each book focuses on a different set of Transformers as they set out on different missions to restore Cybertron in the wake of the end of the great war that has defined the bulk of every Transformers story since the very beginning. Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye Vol. 1 collects the Death of Optimus Prime special and the first three issues of the MTMTE series. These issues set up the new status quo for the series, and see a crew of mostly lesser known ‘bots as they go on a quest to the stars.
The war with the Decepticons is over, and the Autobots have won. Now they have control of a Cybertron that hasn’t seen peace for millions of years. Now, thousands of Cybertronians who stayed neutral during the war are returning to their home planet, and they aren’t necessarily happy with Optimus and the rest of the Autobots. Two courses of action are decided upon; Bumblebee will stay on Cybertron and try to unite the people in a new vision of the future, while Rodimus Prime will go out in search of the Knights of Cybertron, a mythical group who will remind all of Cybertron of the glories of the past.
More Than Meets the Eye follows Rodimus and his ragtag crew of “˜bots as they go out into the stars. His crew is made up of mostly lesser known Autobots, which is one of my major problems with this book. I’m a child of the 80’s and I love the Transformers as much as the next guy, but I wouldn’t say I have a masters’ degree in this universe and a lot of these characters are brand new to me. Writer James Roberts does a good job of introducing the characters and letting us know each of their personalities, but they don’t spend a lot of time in their vehicle forms (or whatever it is they change into) and I had a fairly difficult time keeping everyone straight. It didn’t help that there are a lot of references to past stories that I hadn’t read, so I found myself more than a little lost at times. That said, when I could follow what was going on, I found an enjoyable story with all the classic tropes of a Transformers story.
The art by Nick Roche and Alex Milne works in the series’ favor. It’s not an easy thing to draw an entire cast of non-human characters, which is what the artists are faced with in this book. There are a lot of characters to juggle, and while I couldn’t keep all of them straight, I wouldn’t blame the art for it. The art is solid throughout and the colors add a lot to the whole thing. Everything is bright and jumps off the page and it perfectly captures the feel of the animation that the series is rooted in. All in all, this is a great looking book.
I can’t give this book a whole-hearted recommendation. Most of the book was spent trying to figure out who everyone was and I never got as lost in the story as I would have liked. I wish this was friendlier to those who haven’t been reading the series for a while. However, if you’re willing to do a little wiki searching, or if you want to go back and read the whole series, you should have an easier time than I did. I’m going to give this one a 2 out of 5. Now transform and roll out.