IDW's Transformers series continues on its dark and winding path with issue number 5. The looming conflict between the Autobots, Ultra Magnus, and Rodimus's renegade group of Cybertronians comes to a head in the new issue while Optimus continues his voluntary incarceration. Meanwhile, the Decepticons live up to their name...
The art is particularly good in this issue, particularly in the early pages featuring Optimus Prime. The art features a style that is very cool and detailed but still clear and based on classic Transformers. The character models seem to be halfway between the movie characters and those of the Classics/Universe toys. The art also recalls the Japanese roots of the franchise and in those early pages, Optimus looks very much like a futuristic samurai robot.
The Stunticons get a lot of attention in this issue, which is nice as these evil counterparts to the Autobots have been underused in Transformers media. A subplot involves the recovery of the deactivated Breakdown from the Spike Witwitcky and Skywatch. The issue ends with the betrayal of the Decepticons and the formation of Menasor. The art on these last half dozen panels is really stunning.
Overall, Transformers #5 continues the quality storytelling that we have come to expect from this new ongoing series, which is unafraid to take some risks with its characters and storytelling. So far a main character has been killed, the beloved leader of the Autobots is so doubtful about his role in the war that he has taken himself out of the equation, Ultra Magnus is a total schmuck, and Rodimus is a dumbass. I for one am happy that the writers are taking these very familiar characters and finding new aspects of their personalities to show off in a compelling story.