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review 2017-08-13 01:44
Still loving this series
Transformers: Lost Light #8 - James Roberts,Jack Lawrence

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!

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text 2017-07-02 16:06
Got another tweet from James Roberts!
Transformers: Lost Light #7 - James Roberts,Jack Lawrence

Third one, and he continues to be humble and amazing and appreciative of all readers.

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review 2017-07-02 14:54
Let's talk about Megatron
Transformers: Lost Light #7 - James Roberts,Jack Lawrence

Last month I mused upon typing up all my feelings about Megatron starting up a revolution in the Functionlist universe to James Roberts on twitter.   I, ah, never got around to it and I'm quite frankly glad I didn't.   I thought, I mused, I struggled, and somehow it became clearer after reading this issue.   After all, Megatron is gone, but far from forgotten.   There are talks about if people are still mad at him, and if he was trying to redeem himself and good, or if you couldn't really see that unless you didn't know him from before.   

 

My feelings have been evolving, the more I read and the more I think.  I apologize for not remember who said this, or what tweet of Roberts' it was in response to, so I'm just going to say that this wasn't my thought originally.   Someone out there in the twitterverse said that they didn't like Megatron being allowed to start over again in the FU because it was like a bad dad getting to start again.   And I get that, but the more I think about it, the more I like where Megatron ended up.   The split seems to be over whether or not it's truly redemption because it allows him to bypass the hurt he did in his universe.   

 

And I'm still torn because this is true.   However, Megatron started out as a peaceful orator,  if you believe him at all.   He wanted to create change, and couldn't from within, so he created an outside faction which was the Decepticons.   There is no way to turn back time to that same regime, and the FU allowed him to do so.   (If anything, the fact that he was tricked to gets to be blameless in his escaping eventual justice in his own universe is potentially more problematic to me, to be honest.)   I actually relish seeing him in the same position he was in before.   Will he learn from history, or will he be corrupted by power again eventually?   It's a compelling question and one that I dearly hope Roberts will bring up again.   I also read this a couple days ago and didn't have the energy to type this up either Friday night or yesterday.   It's given me time to read some reviews - some positive, some not so positive - since I finished.   

 

I've stepped back and looked at how I read, and enjoy this series.  I think a lot of the complaints comparing this to MTMtE disregard that this isn't the same series, and I'm glad that it's not.   (Valid points, by the way, on any dropped storylines, but I understand why the reboot had to shift attention due to Revolution.   But the quality drop?  I haven't seen that.   This is just as jam packed, with just as many questions about quality of life, what you believe in, who you trust, and on and on.   The questions are getting turned on their heads, or asked in different ways, and while I would have happily continued reading MTMtE, I'm also enjoying this shift in perspective.)

 

As for filler?   I can see that.   This is a short moment, a reprieve, between two larger storylines, most of which end up being absolute roller coasters of emotions for me.   And I enjoyed that quiet moment in between. 

 

I also apparently got more from the character interactions.   Sometimes I don't need everything to be larger questions; quiet, funny moments can do it for me.  I also have the benefit of reading about Anode and Lug's storyline, mostly via twitter, mostly via me following Roberts.   I guess I didn't think that much about them, but Anode and Lug aren't really my favorite characters, or couples.   But even with that being said, I've enjoyed Anode's growth, and the interactions between Anode and Lug in this issue.   It clears up a lot of air, and it's nice to see them happy for a while. 

 

The two highlights for me are the Magnus storyline and the Tailgate storyline.   Magnus was less depressing.   The Magnus armor fails and he proclaims he's only Minimus Ambus, and that Magnus is dead.   As diagnostics fail to reveal the problem, he finds himself not only unable to control the armor, but also locked into the armor.    At least until Rodimus tries to convince him that Megatron deserved another chance.   Angered at the notion, he stands up, and finds himself in complete control once more.   I liked the fact that cognitive dissonance - liking how much discipline Megatron brought to a captainship, liking that he fully read his reports and wrote back 'with thanks' to show his appreciation and hating his genocidal past and all the other assorted crimes, anarchy, and unruliness that brought along with it - creates a dissonance in the armor.    Also, Magnus just does it for me: he's one of my favorite characters in this, and one of the ones I'm most consistently obsessed with.   (Whirl is probably my second favorite by those standards.   But Drift, Rung, Tailgate, Cyclonus?   There's a long list of characters I love.)  Most storylines about Magnus?   I find compelling because they revolve around him.   (I really, really get disappointed anytime he's out of the armor.   Just way less sexy and I still have yet to be convinced that a mustache on a robot is anything but ridiculous.)

 

Tailgate decides to stay behind while others go off for help.   They're still stranded on Necroworld, and have found the corpse of a Decepticon who turns into a ship.   Morbid as it is, they're going to force him into ship mode, and fly him off with the twenty or so passengers he can hold to get help.   Cyclonus is going, but Tailgate is staying, presumably now that he knows he's hurting Cyclonus.   Powering up and flailing and attacking Cyclonus in his sleep is just too much to bear for Tailgate.  

 

While some hope comes along, so does Angry, coming back for Revenge.   It's a heartbreaking ending, but also leaves me intrigued about the brief interaction between Whirl and Cyclonus.   Especially given that Whirl was apparently the one who told Tailgate about his night time episodes.    Whirl and Cyclonus have had a past that includes threatening to kill each other, and really intense, physical and deadly serious fights.   So why create that divide?   I've seen presumptions that this is leading to a Whirl/Cyclonus pairing, but I'm not convinced.   And half of me wants to be.   Whirl/Cyclonus could just end up being a favorite thing ever of mine.   But I'm not sure Whirl is that capable: he tends to shoot off the hip.   (Although he did manage to route Fortress Maximus to save Rung.   He also considered Rung a friend.  I feel like Whirl might like Tailgate more than Cyclonus, and he told Tailgate to spare him from killing Cyclonus.    Then again, why stop Cyclonus from hurting himself in this issue, then?   Could it be that he does care for Cyclonus, or is Whirl still sparing Tailgate from the guilt of that?    And why is Whirl just as compelling when he's thinking things through as when he's diving into action?   I do kind of miss impulsive Whirl, though...)

 

Regardless, Whirl and Cylonus have a long history and I tend to sit up and pay more attention whenever they're in a scene together.   (Who am I kidding? I pay attention during all of MTMtE and Lost Light; if I even so much as blink, I miss something.)   I feel like this storyline will continue paying off for me, so I'm really happy with this series. 

 

I clearly didn't feel let down.  I do enjoy reading negative reviews of things I like and positive reviews of things I don't.   They give me a chance to sit, see things differently, and think about what I like and don't.  In this case, I respectfully disagree with the negative reviews.   I understand where they're coming from, but I'm enjoying this series immensely.  

 

I look forward to issue eight.  

 

ETA: no, I forgot the moments leading up to the Cyclonus/Whirl scene.   There just aren't enough of them for me to really consider them friends, or as Whirl caring that much about Cyclonus.   So I really don't know what to make of that.   I can see them in a relationship, but not as friends, which is probably really unhealthy and something I should get checked out now...

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text 2017-07-01 00:01
Someone is getting passive aggressive texts
Transformers: Salvation - John Barber,Livio Ramondelli
Transformers: Lost Light #7 - James Roberts,Jack Lawrence

If I don't finish these tonight.   I'm also about done with therapy.  I think I just don't... trust therapists anymore?   My therapist acts all offended when he doesn't respect my boundaries - aka, no, I will not talk about this, I don't want to talk about this - and then when I point out that I cry for a week and am a mess.   

 

And me missing out on these comics tonight - my reading goal of the day - is probably the final straw.   When I'm too depressed to read about the Dinobots, or James Roberts writing Transformers, it's just not worth it anymore...

 

I had the shittiest therapy session I've had yet, followed up by me calling and ugly sobbing for help, including high pitched sounds, and then getting hung up on, and I'm just... not good.   

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review 2017-06-08 00:41
This just gets better and better
Transformers: Lost Light #6 - James Roberts,Jack Lawrence

I think most people who follow me know that I consider James Roberts to be not only my favorite Transformers author, but also a perfect author.  I'm not sure there's any other way to put it, although I went over a list of things in my head that he not only does well, but does consistently.   On top of that, he balances all these elements, and again, does so consistently. 

 

Pacing, characters, plot?   All perfect for me, every single time.   He's plotted out years in advance.   How do I know this?   Well, I don't, but it'd would be hard for you to convince me that he does, given how well even the smallest moment, that innocuous joke, a line thrown out, a silent panel, fits into plans that fall into place years later, real time.    On top of that, I'd be hard pressed to find a comic that crams more in here; I keep thinking about a review I read of 30 Rock, where they said the jokes come so hard and fast that if you leave the room for thirty seconds, you miss five jokes, and are lost on one subplot.   And while there are an amazing amount of one liners and humor in Roberts' books, there's more in there: serious ideas about government, towing the line, friendship, love, and what the world is and can be.   War, and the effects of war, are obviously a large part of this, and I say obviously because More Than Meets the Eye (MTMtE) is sort of about what you do after there's an uneasy peace after millions of years of war, with some bots who've been fighting since the beginning of the war. 

 

Lost Light (LL) is the sequel to More Than Meets the Eye, although I've seen them referred to as seasons and/or years, with LL being... third?   I honestly don't keep track of the comics that way; I honestly jumped in midway, and started collecting month by month, because I couldn't imagine waiting that long for the collections to come out.  I needed my fix, stat.  And while there are story arcs, and themes, I just take what I can get month by month, try to piece it together with what's come before, and try not to guess what's coming next, because I never, ever really guess what's really going on.   (By the way, Lost Light six wraps up the first, alternate universe story arc, it's brilliant, it's brutal, and it's hopeful.   It's a mix that I've become used to; Roberts mixes his tragedy and his optimism in an equal mix, and I've yet to find anything that hits home in quite this way.   It's what life is like, and he doesn't hold back the tragedies, the triumphs, or how they can overlap.)

 

I'm finding I don't really like reviews that synopsize, at least not when reviewing MTMtE or LL; I can find them everywhere, and it's more about how this comic makes me feel, as well as analysis of what's done correctly.   Going back to my first point, while I know that amongst the things that Roberts does perfectly is weave in different plots into one coherent story, this was a masterstroke in that department.   There was something about the cuts from one story to another, and how they weaved into the ending, that really made me take a literal second look.   After finishing, I went back to a couple pages, and saw how Roberts took me out of one scene and into another in a way that kept me on my toes: I wanted more information about every single storyline.   (Another thing he does consistently, and perfectly in my mind, is that when he juggles plots and subplots, he never has one that is less interesting to me: I want to know about them all.)

 

I keep thinking Roberts can't get more perfect, can he?   And then he shows me that, hey, look, he's been working on this thing, or maybe he's just been doing his thing, and look, it's even more perfect.   And somehow, in all this, he doesn't drop the ball on any other aspect. 

 

You know what?   The next time someone asks me for the great novel, I'm just going to tell them it's More Than Meets the Eye followed up by Lost Light.   Because I've been giving this a lot of thought.   Is there an actual perfect writer?   Who would I consider better than Roberts?   

 

Yes, yes there is.   James Roberts.   And no one.   

 

And sort of off topic, but just to let  you know, to make a truly reading perfect experience, have a copy of MTMtE, Lost Light, and/or Black Bolt, and have this view while you dig your feet into the sand: 

 

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