Are you ready for Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #10 out this week in comic book stores and on digital platforms?! Because ready or not—it’s here! The penultimate chapter of the Shadowplay event digs into the history of the Transformers, as cops Orion Pax, Prowl, and Chromedome find themselves embroiled in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest echelons of Autobot power! Don’t miss the biggest story yet of IDW Publishing and Hasbro’s More Than Meets the Eye comic book series!
PAGE 1: We’re getting more into the politics of Cybertron with Senator Proteus, the rise of the Decepticons and how to deal with them. How far in advance did you have these kinds of political games worked out, and who would benefit from them?
JAMES ROBERTS: With “Shadowplay”—particularly Part 2—I’m trying to move MTMTE into “political thriller” territory. Well, a political thriller with some old-
fashioned conspiracy tropes thrown in. This isn’t the first time I’ve explored the socio-political infrastructure of pre-war Cybertron—“Chaos Theory” (which can be found in the trade paperback of the same name), laid a lot of the groundwork upon which the plot of “Shadowplay” rests.
Structurally and hierarchically, ancient Cybertronian society has parallels with our own—there’s apartheid, civil rights, democracy (of a sort), classism, etc; to counterbalance that I wanted to bring something uniquely Cybertronian to the fore—namely the fact that these creatures are blessed (or cursed) with a second shape that determines their lot in life.
As for how far in advance I had these political games mapped out… far enough. Far enough to extend beyond this particular story.
PAGE 2: Chromedome gives chase to the bot who threw the body in front of him and Prowl from the last issue. Did you give specific designs on the sky bike and the craft he is pursuing as well as the Translucentica Heights?
JAMES ROBERTS: I certainly wanted Prowl and Chromedome’s sky bikes to be reminiscent of Action Master Prowl’s motorcycle. Just because.
The key thing about Translucentica—as th
e name (from “translucent”) suggests—was to make it look like it was entirely made of glass. Issue 9’s script said, “Translucentica is visible in the distance, a cluster of shimmering glass skyscrapers, sculptures, monorails, all of it tinted blue.” That was easy for me to write—the ever-talented duo of Alex Milne and Josh Burcham—had the difficult task of bringing that sentence to life.
PAGE 3: Chromedome loses his quarry and meets up with Prowl. Why put these two characters together for this story and not another pair?
JAMES ROBERTS: The simple answer is: I love Prowl and I wanted him in MTMTE.
Way, way back I pitched a story to IDW—a Prowl Spotlight set on pre-war Cybertron which had him tracking down a Transformation-Cog-stealing serial killer against a background of Decepticon rioting. Obviously that story was never written, but I was attracted to the idea of Prowl working for this CSI-type unit called the Mechaforensics Division.
PAGE 4 and 5: Prowl and Chromedome meet Red Alert and find the ’bot they are looking for. As all three of these characters have quite a bit of history to them, will we be seeing some of their actions catching up to them in future issues? Maybe across Robots in Disguise with Prowl as well?
JAMES ROBERTS: Your question reveals a universal truth about MTMTE: every character has a past, and everyone’s past will catch up with them. We’re not jumping back to pre-war Cybertron at random: events that take place during the run-up to war will have lasting repercussions on our present day crew.