Transformers #8 - IDW - Comic

Upon news that this would be a human-centric issue, many readers likely snapped to a conclusion about it. IDW’s post-All Hail Megatron Spike Witwicky is explored in greater detail than ever before in Transformers #7, and it’s a great read. The question is: Will you want to read more?

Mike Costa can write. Anyone who says otherwise hasn’t been paying attention (or is itching for a fight). Transformers #8 is reminiscent of what most will agree is another top issue of the run Transformers #4. What both have in common is a character focus. What makes these issues stand out is the willingness to take time out, not to extrapolate or justify (on occasion seemingly inexplicable) story decisions, but to propagate persuasive and gripping character - in #4’s case, for Thundercracker, the perennially under-explored seeker, and in #8, for Spike Witwicky.

Costa’s subdued exploration of this subject is one of the highlights of the ongoing Transformers comic.

The comic itself is compelling. After gaining insight into his youth we follow him into the rigmarole of his day, training and planning, interrupted by an important meeting with the powers that be, his own father among them. Answering officially to a parent is always a visceral setup. Any adult liberated from a parent who finds himself compelled to once again answer to them, be it through official rank or simple misfortune, has found himself in an emotionally distinct, though subtle, minefield.

Button your shirt, Hippie!

We learn some important and disappointingly off-page facts about the Autobots and their leader. Then we touch upon once again, without explanation, Spike’s shady past with the post-All Hail Transformers. A past that, it has been hinted at, could destroy the fragile Human/Autobot alliance.

Spike’s a lumberjack, and he’s OK...

Then we get our true glimpse into who Spike is.

It’s some fun, though hard to swallow, action.

Spike’s battle at the end of this issue feels extremely contrived. The lackluster art by Javier Salteres does nothing to help it. His robot, the one, is fine, but the humans that dominate the issue are acceptable at best.

Once again, Humans are portrayed as far superior to Transformers. Begging us to question what Autobots are even for.

Like so much of he ongoing the action sequence at the issue’s conclusion is there to make its point more than to be believable, or even understood.

Spike tells you who he really is in those last pages. So clearly, in fact, I give credit to Costa for making one able to forget that the character isn’t a real person. There is a ton there, most under the surface. The fight may not be, but the motivations are incontestably real and visceral - though that’s the issue’s flaw as well.

In the interest of full disclosure, this issue may have received an extra half star just for the use of the classic phrase “Human Germ!”.

Spike rings true, but he rings as someone I don’t want to read about. Spike Witwicky comes off, in the reviewer’s opinion, as a maladjusted violent vengeful child, with little to no conscience or understanding of responsibility. His actions are all based upon fear. His bravery extends, seemingly, only to the places where it will quell some greater anxiety. He’ll lie, be negligent, and kill to satiate his apprehension. He’s a bully, and a murderer. Before this issue, IDW’s Spike needed redemption; now he may not be eligible.

Wrapping up is tough on this issue. It’s well written and rings true, but it doesn’t inspire continued attention. Not for an action/adventure comic about giant robots. Ongoing continues to reek of thoughtfulness and effort, but again fails to give a reason to keep reading.

DateJune 8th 2010  
Score 7 stars (7 out of 10)  

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