Review – Transformers: Robots In Disguise #25 (Dark Cybertron Part 7 Of 12) (IDW Publishing)

TF_RiD25_cvrAPublisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: John Barber & James Roberts
Artist:  James Raiz (Lost Light), Atilio Rojo (Cybertron), Livio Ramondelli (Dead Universe)
Release Date: 22nd January 2014

Welcome back folks for part 7 of DARK CYBERTRON! Last issue our heroes were once again left in pretty dire straits! The Rodpod was blowed up, Hardhead was disintegrated and Iacon was practically wiped out by the Necrotitan and yet the pace of the event was starting to lag – does this issue kick it up a notch or are we still looking at a slow burn?

As you’ll all know (hopefully) I’m a big fan of the two writers of this book, so it’s becoming a bit superfluous for me to tell you that the writing is solid. The characters sound like the characters and the plotting all makes sense. Something I’ve yet to say about this series is that it’s effortlessly introducing the toys that the issues will be packed-in with. For those unaware each issue of Dark Cybertron is going to be packed in with a toy in the current Transformers: Generations 30th Anniversary toyline. So far we’ve had Tankor, Dreadwing, Rattrap and others appear on the Subscription covers and in this issue we get Crosscut – originally a Japanese-exclusive repaint of Skids, now getting a modern re-do as a repaint of the NEW Skids toy. He’s appeared in some ancillary material before but has never been given such a spotlight in which to shine. His appearance doesn’t feel forced and I’d be interested to see him in future MTMTE issues, although given his trend of dying in his few previous appearances it’s doubtful if he’ll make it to the final issue of the crossover! Nightbeat proves consistently entertaining, given his Sherlock-schtick it’s not surprising – I’m just wondering how long it’ll be until we get a Nightbeat/Ratchet team-up!

Raiz’s art is seriously growing on me. The colouring is brighter, which pulls it more into the MTMTE ballpark, fitting sine he’s dealing with all of the Lost Light crew within the series. The heavy inking has eased up but it isn’t gone completely – it grants the book some weight and gravitas. Ramondelli’s art, which is always best used sparingly, is starting to grate on the nerves. It’s murky and lacks the ability to convey any clearly defined emotion. It still suits the Dead Universe but I’d be interested to see another artists interpretation. Livio seems more suited to large vistas and individual pieces of art rather than sequential storytelling. Rojo feels more exaggerated than usual and less sharp than we’ve come to expect. Thankfully his work is expressive and his Galvatron is gleefully manic but perhaps the schedule is beginning to catch up with him.

Cover props this time around have to go to the Crosscut Subscription variant, if only because this’ll probably be the last time the guy will ever get a cover to himself! The pacing is still slow but each story definitely IS moving along, just a bit slower than I’d like. This Dark Cybertron crossover is going to read really well in trade though. The last-page cliffhanger is rather timely, given the recent fandom discussions about IDW Arcee’s origin from 6 years ago, sparked by the Windblade series announcement. No spoilers but I’m going to guess the Windblade series is going to be getting a lot of new pulls as a result of this issue.

Rating: 7/10.

The writer of this piece was: Daveav
David McIntyre (aka Big Dave)
You can also find David on  Facebook

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