The rise of the Decepticons continues in Transformers #21 by Brian Ruckley, Bille Montwort, Blacky Shepherd, Joana LaFuente, John-Pual Bove, and Jake M. Wood but it feels uneven. The groundwork has been laid for the revolution everyone knows if coming. A major change needs to occur to truly get this series on track.
There are certain members of the Rise that if captured by Security Operations, would be bad news for both sides.
The issue opens well with Megatron stroking the fires of dissension. Pushing the entire planet closer to a civil war with the potential to rip the entire planet apart. This point has been made already, why must it be reiterated repeatedly? The fragile state of the society and the entire social structure of the planet have been laid out. Get on with it!
The second half of the issue is where things go downhill. The capture of Quake and Rumble who are wanted for murder has been built up as being the turning point to start the war. This would have been a great trigger for writer Brian Ruckely to move forward with the civil war…if it happened four issues previously. The murder of Brainstorm which started the fall of society and the Rise of the Decepticons happened in the first issue. Resolve this plot point and move on. Also, while on the topic of bad ideas, why bring in Azimuth? For those who didn’t use the internet to find out who this character is, he’s the Transformer who turned into the wristwatch. With the hundreds of characters to use to tell stories, why use one no one has heard about?
The pencils and inks are uneven as the story but it isn’t as much of a negative. The work by Bille Montwort and Blacky Shepherd has a more detailed look for the scenes in the city and more plain for the ones in the wasteland. This juxtaposition is noticeable but fits properly with the settings they are representing.
The colorwork by Joana Lafuente and Jon-Paul Bove offers a perfect level of detail between the wastelands and the city. When in the city, the color adds a level of sharpness and helps the characters to stand out against the dry atmosphere of the wasteland. There also is a nice level of shading and gradients to help as the transformation sequences occur in the same frame.
With the lettering by Jake M. Wood continues to showcase a fantastic ability to meld the sound effects with the scenery. Many times the words blend perfectly to the art adding to the experience instead of distracting from it. Wood could give pointers to others in the business with this continued level of quality.
Transformers #21 proves the plot point of the fugitives whose actions helped move the revolution forward has lost its power. It would be ill-advised if the next step was some kind of trial or anything else to extend this plot. Shift towards the civil war and don’t look back. The readers will thank you for it.