Transformers #21 – Comic Review

Transformers #21 and it’s time for some new characters, and the reappearance of a character briefly introduced back in issue #3.

First off, we need to talk about Azimuth. Azimuth is a transforming watch. He doesn’t change into a watch in this issue, but his design is clearly based on the “Microman Micro Change” series of actual transforming watches made by Takara in the 80s. There were originally four of them – Vector Prime (definitely not the same thing as the key to Vector Sigma), Meantime, Ephemeris, and Azimuth himself.

The artists are just messing with us now. Azimuth is on patrol with Beachcomber, Geomotus and another red bot called Landmine. They find Leviathan trapped in a crevice but before they can do much more they are ambushed by Rumble, Frenzy, Fangry, Triggerhappy and another bot called… Rage? I think? At this point they’ve introduced so many side characters it’s becoming genuinely difficult to keep track of them all and they don’t bother to introduce everyone properly.

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Meanwhile, Megatron continues to up the ante by broadcasting a massive hologram over the city, denouncing the actions of the Autobots and calling for more bots to rise up and join the Decepticon cause. Here’s where Orion Pax/Optimus Prime actually has quite an insightful comment on why they’re struggling to stay ahead of Megatron’s schemes.

“Megatron told me once, in better times, that the future would be built here, on Cybertron. I am afraid he is building the future HE desires. I am afraid he sees it more clearly then we see our version. Amidst all this chaos, all this disaster, he sees an endgame we do not.”

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The Autobots have been in power for so long, that they’ve forgotten what the point of it all was, while Megatron acts with pinpoint focus to achieve his goals. Not only that, he shows that he is willing to go to virtually any means to achieve it, leaving the Autobots fumbling about, reduced to reacting while Megatron sets the terms of every engagement.

MEANWHILE meanwhile, did you remember there’s a Voin Asserter on Cybertron at the moment, carrying out the Voin’s own investigation? It’s fine if you didn’t, we haven’t seen it do anything since being introduced back in #16. It shows up, glares at Pointblank and that’s it. It is in the comic for a grand total of ONE SINGLE PAGE.

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This story is starting to feel like they’re spinning too many plates at once. There are too many plot threads, too many side characters. Here we are at issue #21 introducing even more bots who will likely only show up for a single issue before being brought back ten months later, or simply forgotten about and never spoken of again.

I get that they’re trying to do a lot here, they’re attempting to show the downfall of the golden age of the Transformers in a level of detail that’s never been attempted before, but it’s beginning to feel really unwieldy with a cast of literal dozens to try and keep track of and, by my reckoning, around eight different threads/arcs going on all at the same time. This is still not a bad issue, but it is a very unfocused one and does little to assuage my concerns that the writers are perhaps biting off more than they can chew. Here’s hoping my concerns are unfounded. Roll on #22.

Transformers #21 is out now from IDW Publishing.

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