TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE #13 – THE VERGE

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Posted on: January 9th, 2013

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Writer: John Barber

Art: Andrew Griffith (Lines) Josh Perez (Colours)

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Synopsis:

The end is nigh! Megatron’s reappearance causes uproar in the streets of Iacon and former Decepticon combatants lay siege to where their former leader is being held; in the confusion, Wheeljack is rescued from the unruly mob by Prowl who, at last, is ready to put his cards on the table and reveal his endgame…

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Review:

The concluding pages to ‘The Verge’ are probably best described as ‘an expected shocker’ – most devotees of RID will have seen this development coming a long way off, what we may not have dared to imagine was the scale of Prowl’s scheming – and even this is surely just the tip of the iceberg!

With a loose narration provided by Starscream, events from last issue reach boiling point and Iacon is on the brink of anarchy once more. As Bumblebee and Metalhawk attempt to engineer a ‘happy outcome’ through fair means rather than foul, Starscream comes to the realisation that when it comes to foul, Prowl is out in a league of his own!

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Set in the same universe, the two Transformers ongoings have as many similarities as differences – epic story arcs, multithreaded plots, massive action, these are a given for both books. James Roberts’ ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ is usually your better bet if you’re after a sharper, self-contained story in each issue, with surprising concepts, characters out of left field and shocking twists and turns.

‘Robots in Disguise’ has for the most part focused on the slow-burn, the long game, observing political machinations, plotting and scheming and highlighting a tighter corecast than in its sister title and events play out with plenty of signposting as you go – this doesn’t necessarily make it any less satisfying a read, but it does limit the number of real ‘jaw-droppers’ you can pull off without it feeling forced or tacked-on. This time out though, John Barber takes a leaf out of James Roberts’ excellent book and really lays the shocks on thick at the issue’s end!

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Megatron’s potential return has always cast a shadow over the Autobot attempts to create a harmonious, free and democratic Cybertron – with Bumblebee the naive but friendly face, Prowl was left to pull the strings from the shadows, but now that Megatron has come back and intends to seize power and bring the Decepticon ideals back to prominence, its time for Prowl to step into the spotlight and for all of his shady machinations to be brought into the open for the greater good…

…except what’s good in Prowl’s dispassionate and logical rationale mightn’t necessarily be good as far as anyone else is concerned! This is classic Prowl as far as IDW TF is concerned – the plotter and schemer of dubious moral fibre as written by Furman and Roche is back and no mistake. What remains to be seen is whether John Barber adds a nod to Mike Costa’s handling of the character (where Prowl was played like a fool by Skywatch’s Spike Witwicky) and has him caught up in his own web or treachery and deceit.

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RID has been a on long road to this point and for the most part we’ve been told to keep our hands on the wheel and eyes straight forward at all times – now, the pay off. We’re getting into twisty-turny territory here where anything can (and probably will) happen.  In a previous review, I said that Megatron’s return marked the start of it and sure enough that seems to be the case; the end of this issue, in true RID fashion, was just the next logical step. However, it’s the scale of it that steers us towards dark and uncharted seas of storytelling.

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If the final double page spread of this issue is taken at face value, there’s going to be a heck of a lot of fallout from it – on the one hand, it is an entirely logical thing to happen and in Prowl’s view, maybe it will be the best thing he can do to help bring an absolute end to the war. If however, Prowl is still not being completely upfront and honest with everyone and is still playing by his own rules, then Primus alone only knows how he’s going to engineer his way out of this one as the secrets of the black room are revealed!

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VERDICT:

It’s all been building to this – the only question was what was ‘this’ going to be? We’re still not entirely sure, but that last double page will have RID fans reaching for the back issues looking for clues, no question! Whoever wins in the coming issues, the noises coming out of IDW are that their victory will be a pyrrhic one – who to cheer for eh?!

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