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Transformers: Galaxies seeks to explore the lives of autobots who are scattered throughout the stars. The current, two-part arc “Wannabee” follows Cliffjumper, an autobot everyone seems to mistake for Bumblebee. When he’s handpicked to accompany Deathsaurus on an excursion to a biological colony to pick up Energon, Cliffjumper quickly realizes his purpose on the mission is different from what he was told. He also discerns that Deathsaurus isn’t the role model he believes him to be.
Transformers: Galaxies #6 concludes their mission in a fast-paced adventure with plenty of explosions — and some important character growth, too.
This issue is funny. The stakes are high and Cliffjumper has to both save an entire population and himself, but Kate Leth and Cohen Edenfield write situational comedy so well. The characters feel real even in the most absurd moments and the dialogue is laugh-out-loud entertaining. There’s a clear difference in how the autobots and the organic life forms communicate, which creates an interesting back-and-forth that both increases the tension and adds humor. This balance can be tricky to maintain, but Leth and Edenfield manage it with grace.
Alex Milne’s art sets the perfect tone for Transformers: Galaxies #6. Cliffjumper and Bumblebee really do look alike, especially to biological forms who don’t see well in light. Plus, the story behind why everyone confuses them is simultaneously sad, sweet and hilarious. Together with David Garcia Cruz’s colors, the art in this issue adds buoyancy to what could otherwise be a super dark tale. The writing is very carefree, but the art cements the absurdity, which makes everything work.
There is one brief flashback in this issue and it fits into the story seamlessly, without futzing up the pacing or drawing focus away from the present conflict. Whereas the previous arc in Transformers: Galaxies frequently jumped through time, “Wannabee” stays rooted in the present. This allows the character’s emotions to bear more weight and come across in a clearer, more concise way; Leth and Edenfield provide just enough exposition to clue readers into Cliffjumper’s life prior to this mission, but don’t rely on it — which ultimately makes for a stronger, more cohesive short story with higher stakes and more interesting narrative choices.
Finally, Jake M. Wood and Val Lopez polish the issue through their lettering and design, which pulls together important plot parallels and establishes character’s inner thoughts. Much of the pacing herein is determined by panel and letter placement, which pulls the reader’s eye from point to point without hesitation as to what comes next.
Transformers: Galaxies presents characters and worlds even longtime fans may not be familiar with, which makes for a unique reading experience. The second arc, “Wannabee,” takes place across issues #5 and #6 and proves why an anthology approach works for this title. Cliffjumper’s misadventures could easily fill more issues, especially with this creative team at the helm — and considering the implications of the arc’s ending — but it also feels nice, as a reader, to dip into his world and then dip out to meet another autobot. If Transformers comics seem interesting but also too daunting, this series is a perfect jumping-on point because of its format — plus, readers can jump in with little to no knowledge of the franchise as a whole.
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