Robots In Disguise #4 - Generation 1 - IDW Motion Comic

Murder Mystery on Cybertron! Except it's not that much of a mystery. But either way it's up to Prowl to deal with the murderer and his accomplices, while also dealing with his experiences on Earth. "Devisive" is written by John Barber with art by Andrew Griffith and colors by Josh Perez. Built for the motion comic format by Tomas Sisternos with separations and setup by David Reyes.

This is the last time you'll see Prowl as Prowl for the next year, guys. Savor it.

Work-release Decepticons Swindle and Dirge go about their business, only for Dirge to come across the body of Decepticon Skydive (no relation to the Aerialbot of the same name). Now part of the government with neutral Bumblebee and neutral Metalhawk, Starscream announces that there'll be open public elections, much to Prowl's chagrin. Prowl has his own reasons to be nervous about Starscream, as they share culpability in the recent murder of Ratbat, nominal leader of the remaining Decepticons. But then Prowl is called to the murder scene, as witness Dirge is acting weird... cerebro shell weird. Time for a chase!

All in all this is a perfect issue to be re-reading as the Dawn of the Autobots arc sets up shop, as it sets up a lot of what's going on with key character Prowl. Since the plot points of this issue and its ultimate outcome have been known for at least a year, I'm not going to worry too much about spoilers. This issue is pretty much a crucial plot point to the Robot Politics story arc... but we don't get to grasp its full importance until almost the end of the arc. This is the last really good look we get at the true Prowl, as somewhere between panels he is taken control of by Bombshell- you may notice that near the end of the book his inner monologue simply stops. It stops in a very natural place, and one that makes sense for the subject it's discussing in the book, but this is the last time we get the real Prowl until the end of the arc in 16. And... nobody notices for a year's worth of issues. Which bothers current-day Prowl, but not enough to really alter his outlook. If anything, Dark Cybertron's outcome has made him more extreme in his plans and reactions. The monologue also serves to further explain Prowl's personality change, and change back, due to events on Earth in previous IDW books.

Motion comic effects here seem limited as compared to their use in More Than Meets The Eye. Since we still have Tomas Sisternos on the motion build, I suspect it comes down to the art itself and what can be done with it. Andrew Griffith's work is in many ways much more elaborate and complex than Alex Milne's, though I don't mean that as an insult to either artist as they are both fantastic. Milne's strengths are in strong, expressive character design and staging while if Griffith has a weakness, it's expression- at least when compared to Milne. Here in RID's early days you can see how far he's come in rendering Arcee. But digression aside, Griffith's style doesn't seem to take to being pulled apart for the motion comic process quite as well, and I don't think that's a necessarily a weakness as a whole. But it does make for a different and more limited feel for this motion comic. Sound is used in a couple of spots for transformation, which is plenty for me, and we get an added flash of light to accentuate a specific gunshot panel near the end. And that works well! But otherwise transitions are limited to the positioning of panels and to the ability to zoom out on some of Griffith's more elaborate panels to form different "frames." The effect isn't bad, but it's not as, er, transformative as MTMTE's motion makeover has been.

if your tablet is your primary reading device, then this is a strong contender for best way to read RID. The comic itself is excellent and the motion comic rendering definitely doesn't hurt it; Tomas Sisternos understands the staging and drama of the issue and his presentation enhances them. It's not as enhanced as some other TF comics, though. Whether or not it does so enough to warrant the cost is going to be up to you. Or possibly the Insecticon controlling you.

DateJune 16th 2014  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  

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