With wonderfully inspiring rhetoric and equally effective dialogue, Ultra Magnus leads a heroic yet puzzling quest to find one of the oldest names in Transformers history. Writer Brandon Easton has cracked the code on how to make the gigantic warrior distinct from the shadow of Optimus Prime.
What has Easton done to accomplish this fantastic feat? Magnus is now equal parts Captain America and G.I. Joe's Duke — a leader of soldiers who creates an atmosphere of bravery, leading from the front but being strategic and surgical in the application of violence. Even there, there is a glimpse of wonder in the universe and who Magnus would be in a world without war.
How so? Magnus drops pithy bits of advice like, "With criminals, always expect deception." This thematically echoes the classic Larry Hama line, "The opposition always spreads lies, Sharif."
Magnus' ship The Fist of Iacon has landed on the potentially hostile world Obsidar, a "rocky, carbon-based world" in the shadow of a black hole where "intense heat and gravitational forces from its proximity to the singularity have caused the carbon to fuse into a crystalline form. In effect, becoming a world of diamond." Cool, right? Magnus sets foot on Obsidar and thinks to himself, "A desert of diamond dust. If this weren't akin to a suicide mission, I'd take a moment to appreciate the celestial wonder." That kind of introspection gives perspective and resonance to the action scenes that follow, and when things escalate, it's an earned moment.
Let's talk about the visual effectiveness of Andrew Griffith, Josh Burcham, and IDW lettering mainstay Jake M. Wood. They forged a battle scene with the natives of the diamond world that gave Magnus a chance to show some true grit and draw out the Decepticons in all their depredations. Even better, Easton digs deeeeep in the crates for a couple of enjoyable character reveals (one maybe making his IDW debut, one of which you'll recognize from the recent Transformers: War for Cybertron — Siege, where Easton was one of the writers) that give this a solid conclusion and a hook to drive the story forward.
There's a lot to like about the many layers of this story, and this issue gives you much more emotional depth than one might expect from giant robots. You may even find more than meets the eye. RATING: BUY.
'Storm Horizon,' Part Two. Ultra Magnus and his crew embark on a mission to the Black Sphere system-a solar system precariously close to a black hole-in search of a way to bring Alpha Trion back home. When they encounter another Cybertronian, they'll discover there's more to the mystery surrounding Trion's disappearance than meets the eye.
Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
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