The payoff to the big story thread hanging over the last few issues finally arrives. Overlord is free aboard the Lost Light, and there's only one question left that matters: Who will survive? Written by James Roberts, pencils by Alex Milne, inks by Alex Milne, Marc Deering, Brian Shearer, and Phyllis Novin, with colors by Josh Burcham, with Josh Perez and Joana Lafuente. All hands on deck for art duties this month!
So, what might Brainstorm develop next? A literal "Chekov's Gun"?
We replay the final moments of last issue, now in Chromedome's perspective. It takes him mere seconds in his frame of reference to leave the slow room. But Overlord has had half an hour to work in his absence, and has wasted not a moment of it, as Chromedome finds every able body on the ship struggling to destroy Overlord, but barely managing to hold him in place. We flash back to thirty minutes earlier, to normal life aboard ship: Whirl is being allowed to explode something with the ship's guns, Swerve plays with an experimental Meta Bomb in Brainstorm's lab, Perceptor tries to explain in as few syllables as possible why the Matrix Map can't be copied, and Rung visits Fortress Maximus in the brig. But all is halted when the alarms are sounded by Pipes, who was unfortunate enough to have first contact with Overlord.
The crew gathers and begins battling Overlord, but all good intentions and enthusiasm does not change the fact that Overlord is Overlord is is practically unstoppable. Overlord easily dispatches anyone within grasping distance, catching us back up to the "present" time as of the start of the issue. Rodimus accidentally manages to stall Overlord's advance, just as Fortress Maximus arrives on scene. Chromedome knows there's little time to capitalize on this, and has a plan to end this battle. But it will be costly...
Though I try my best to summarize each issue while keeping spoiler content to a minimum, not only do I feel that to be of even greater importance this time, but it's also so much more difficult because so many important, story-changing things happen over these pages. Believe me, what I've said already is barely scratching the spoileriffic surface. There's been only two weeks since issue 14 to anticipate and speculate upon what will happen and who will die in this installment, but I feel very safe in saying that the final outcome will be a shock to everyone. The preview pages spoil one death in issue 15, but it gets even worse from there.
This issue does appear to conclude the Overlord plot line, and I'm kind of on the fence over whether I feel like the resolution came too quickly. To be sure, if this had gone to another issue's length, the casualty list would surely be much longer than it will likely end up standing, and it hurts enough as it is that I don't want to see more slaughtered in the process of demonstrating Overlord's strength. Not to mention a book with a necessarily limited cast can't sustain too many losses all at once. A strength of More Than Meets The Eye, which I'm sure I've brought up before, is how it can have such a density of things happening per issue. That's true here, where a space of 35-40 minutes feels like so much was happening, and I suppose trying to extend that same timeframe out to fill another issue might have caused decompression problems like I see on some other Transformers titles.
I think part of how I feel on this comes from the length of the flashback to pre-Overlord-rampage scenes, taking six or seven pages just establishing what select characters were up to before the alarm, most of which doesn't have a direct connection to the subsequent fight scene that the issue focuses around. Though at least one of those random scenes is very likely to be laying out a plot point for use later on. I would love to see an issue of this book simply be "A Day in The Lives" showing completely random events happening on the ship in a given day. But I don't really want that taking several pages from a really major event. There is character building, and again, probably story setup that will matter later, and I really enjoyed the scene in Brainstorm's lab. But I really thought the resolution at the end felt like it was being rushed along, and it's hard not to look at the pages earlier and think this could have been paced out a little more smoothly if there were more pages available.
15 is one of the very few occasions where I take issue with the art. Or in this case, I think it's more the coloring in particular. During one part of the fight, it's difficult to read exactly what the action is because of really similar coloring on two characters, who are hard to distinguish thanks to everything sharing a desaturated palette. With richer colors, maybe it would have been easy to show the true differences in how the characters are colored? I'm not really sure, but as it is I just see a big blob of pastel colors and can't readily tell what part belongs to what body. But for as crowded as a lot of action panels are in this issue, it says something that there's only a couple of individual panels I have trouble figuring out. The crowding could be seen as a little problematic too I suppose, but it makes the setting. They're fighting in interior corridors of a spaceship, so the environment is confining and having a lot of people there, it would be really crowded. The art manages to express that quality in such a way that you don't ever need to consciously think about the situation, you just understand it.
The preview for next month looks like the start of a new story arc, so I suppose Overlord is dealt with for now. But given how last issue made special point of explaining the how and why of Overlord being effectively unstoppable, I can't imagine anything they could really do would keep Overlord down forever. But I think Chromedome, Brainstorm and Drift probably have more immediate concerns to deal with when next we'll see them.
|Date||March 19th 2013|
|Score||(6 out of 10)|
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