IDW's bimonthly Transformers shipping schedule means we're alternating settings for differing stories, and we all know we'd always rather be here on Cybertron, as we are in Transformers #26, with the lovely painted work of artist Livio Ramondelli.
When last we left them, Optimus Prime and his away team of Autobots declined Galvatron's offer to join forces against an oncoming threat without knowing more than the unstable mech would reveal, and thus they were forced to scramble away from the big G's superior numbers, and the massive space station he's captured and turned into a weapon of incredible destruction complete with hostages. Now we watch the Autobots scramble around trying to fight this two-front battle and make some sense out of what's happening. Not easy to apply reason to Chaos.
Despite the seeming futility of their efforts, the Autobots are in full tactical response mode, and Prime is firmly back in the saddle as commander, although once again, there's an ominous bit of foreshadowing of something coming down the line as the former Hot Rod, now Rodimus, is doling out sage ideas and seemingly positioning himself as a worthy leader in his own right. The fact that he has a special bond with the Matrix that Optimus doesn't seems to be leading us toward the inevitable change-up… and given the odds they face here on Cybertron, it may happen sooner than later. No one wants to see Optimus offed even if it's always part of every Transformers story, but Mike Costa has done a much better job of establishing Rodimus as a guy we wouldn't mind seeing in command than the original G1 movie did, by making him Judd Nelson and also foolishly responsible for Optimus' death in the first place.
As an aside, someday, there needs to be a Spotlight on Trailbreaker, who only ever seems to show up when a force field is required as a plot device. Let's get into this guy's head sometime, can't we?
Anyway, Ramondelli's amazing fine-art style makes things a lot more exciting. It's very dark at times, which can make it hard to figure out what's going on, but they are on an essentially uninhabited barren husk of a planet, and it's supposed to be dark. It's just the kind of quality work you're thrilled to see applied to these kickass robots that we know and love and have seen rendered poorly far too often.
This story has heroic sacrifice, intense action, and a beauty to it that we don't get to see enough in Transformers lore, but with any luck, it'll stick around for a while as Chaos ramps up – and boy, does it ramp up at the end of this issue, and make us stoked to see what happens two issues from now.
Come on, man. Megatron vs. Galvatron. Both with power levels amped to insane levels. This is gonna be fun.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 8.8/10