I find the switching between MTMtE and RiD, to be honest, distracting, mostly because it doesn't feel like you're reading one continuous story. It feels like distracting POV jumps. Still, this is such an excellent collection, I only knocked off one fourth of a star. The other fourth is for two reasons. One: because I always find The Death of Optimus Prime to be integral to his storyline, but a chore to read. Also, while Barber is an excellent storyteller, I'm spoiled by knowing what's to come: RiD isn't bad - in fact, it's a lot of fun and volume two was my gateway into this continuity because Dinobots - so much as his work gets so much more refined and nuanced later on, that this feels like an excellent author finding his way in retrospect. And this is, to be honest, not a knock-down in my opinion: some authors intuit what to write and how straight away, but most have to work at it. And if you ask me, I'd prefer the second kind of author. The struggle to reach that excellence can keep them from taking it for granted, or thinking that they don't have to or shouldn't hone their craft: they are the authors who, in my opinion, continue to excel. (There are exceptions both ways, but in my experience, this is what tends to happen.)
I say this because I feel like I've been comparing early Barber to early Roberts, and then to later Roberts. For me James Roberts has been one of those authors who's knocked it out of the park with a couple exceptions: some issues got too moribund for my taste and then he quickly injected the humor back into Lost Light in particular. I feel like I've been unfair to Barber, and so I'm explaining how I think of his writing at the present. The fact that I have changed my opinion about him as he grows means I may change my mind again: I may find him to slip, or to reach a point where he becomes, hands down, my favorite TF author.
I also am taking this much time explaining this because I think the context matters: how I view his work, and how it's evolved, does go into the rating. This works much better for me in the context of what is to come, from these storylines and from Barber himself. Reading this, I keep wanting to get further along, to what he does to Prowl, to the Dinobots in The Redemptions of the Dinobots, to Optimus Prime. I'm also eager to sit back and enjoy watching the evolution of his writing. So in a way, this is so high because in retrospect, that evolution is well worth watching and reading and it elevates this reading experience for me. Furthermore, I'm less sneer-y now that I've seen it once, and I'm just allowing myself to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Anyway, this has the Death of Optimus Prime and the beginning issues of More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise. A bunch of fun so far. I'm knee deep in Autocracy which starts off the next volume.
Note: "allowing myself" at one point autocorrected to "blowing myself". Vin's just being naughty now.
I was going to write a longer review, but no. This gets weird, and not in a good way, in a fucked up, this makes no fucking sense way.
James Roberts co-writes one volume, the one that not only made the most sense but was the most complex, nuanced, and interesting. It's the only one worth reading for the storyline. The last volume, however, had one of my favorite artists. So Livio Ramondelli? I will show up for his Transformers art, no matter how fragged the storyline is.
Onto better stories in Phase 2!
Infestation had problems, mostly that it was part of a larger thing and I feel like you don't get the whole picture when the two Transformers tie-ins - and they were all tie-ins to media like G.I. Joe and Star Trek - when just the Transformers issues are included here.
And Britt was just ridiculous.
Seeing Transformers vs zombies was kinda fun, though.
Two got more interesting, as it involved details of how the world in general reacted to Autobots given the events in All Hail Megatron. There's also collusion between Spike Witwicky - who was changed to Sam in the movies - and the Autobots.
There's also the Spike and Scrapper issue, which will come back to haunt him later on.
It's also not as nuanced, or balanced, or just plain good as phase 2, and this remains that way until the end. If I remember correctly, phase 1 gets worse and then we get phase 2...
Probably one of the more interesting volumes: Megatron gets a new body and turns his old one into guns. That he gives to humans. It's all about getting back at Optimus Prime and the Autobots by getting the humans to turn on them. Some already have, some need a little push, but the thing is that Prime and the Autobots still insist on protecting the humans. This is to prove how foolish they are for caring.
And this also sets up a lot with Jazz, who kills a police officer - on live TV - to protect Bumblebee. One of the problems? Bee was already talking him down.
I think this may be my favorite of the volumes in this series. But still not nearly as good as phase 2. Still, volumes two and three will come back into play pretty heavily for phase 2.
Man, I kinda like that he came back, but... I don't buy a lot of this volume. Like that Alpha Trion could bring him back, like trusting what he did to Sunstreaker, like if this is possibly why doesn't Alpha Trion bring back a bunch of people? Isn't it worth the time and effort?
Anyway, yeah, Ironhide on a mostly dead Cybertron fighting Insecticons. That's pretty awesome. Also, you get some insights into Ironhide and how he joined up the Autobots and why, and that's nice, too.