Although I think a lot of it has a More Than Meets the Eye vibe, especially in this issue. Not better than the previous issues, just different, even more familiar. I loved the alternative universe, although it changed a lot of dynamics: how characters saw each other, how the action played out, some of the humor. Revelations changed people. Loses changed more dynamics.
And perhaps losing Megatron skewed this back to feeling like the beginning of this series a bit, although arguably the addition of the femmes - Nautica, Anode, Lug, Velocity and so on - add something that MTMtE didn't have at the beginning.
Then again, being in a familiar universe allows Roberts some freedom: to bring them to a planet where everything is sold and bought, even grief, and where they can have some old school, somewhat tangential adventures. (Some are tied to finding the Knights of Cybertron and Cyberutopia. Some of are not. But some of the stories that were least tied to the grand finding Cyberutopia storyline were also the most fun. I'm glad that this is not going to be non-tangential: Roberts has never been afraid of diverging from the larger plot, although he never does so without adding more to his mythos, his characterizations and doing a lot with the world and sub-plots. Still, the AU story was fairly contained, less tangential, and this issue makes me realize how much I wanted an action/mystery based slightly tangential story, and how perfect this timing was.)
I love the way this series is evolving and I love what they're doing with Skids. (And wondering if Arcee will get wind of this and do something for Sideswipe, although I think the might be a lost cause and she might accept it at this point in time. She wouldn't have earlier, but she just might now.)
I'm afraid for Lotty, for Anode, for Lug, for Nautica. I'm afraid for the rest of the crew, because things like this are never self-contained with Roberts: this will have consequences. It might not be immediate, it might be years down the line, but it's going to happen, I won't be able to see it coming, and it's exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
And since I tweet these to him, and since he reads his reviews, I hope I don't embarrass him, but I can't think of a single author that excites me more. It's not just the stories, it's the way I think about them, find new things in them when I reread them. It's breathlessly waiting for the new issues. I can't think of another author who consistently takes me on these roller coasters to the point that Roberts does. And I think I look forward to these issues more than any other writing that comes out.
Sadly, I didn't get to this issue as soon as I normally do. Weird couple of weeks, but I did get it out before the next issue, and I read all my new comics backlog including this so I can hopefully get to issue nine immediately when it comes out!