I'm crossposting my Hot Take from Deadshirt.net. This issue is a serious doubling down. If this book’s quirks–hyper-compression, free-form art, gleeful carnage, and general irreverence–annoy you, then you’re going to be hopping mad. But if you’ve been grooving on this inimitable series, then sit back cause Scioli’s turning the volume up. If the other IDW books de-emphasize these franchises’ toy-based roots, this book makes the most of them. The early splash panel of two Decepticon titans bearing down on Metroplex feels like the world’s biggest toybox, filtered through a precocious child’s imagination. The rest of the issue delivers on the epic battle promised here. The multiple plotlines threading through events on Cybertron and back on Earth teeter on the edge of coherence. But it’s ultimately a triumph of storytelling that nearly every major plot point from the previous five issues is addressed or wrapped up here, and others are introduced. This issue feels like the start of a new era, both in story and in stylization. Scioli’s gleeful references and reinventions are denser than ever before, with particularly inspired re-imaginings of the Quintessons and a couple of Beast Wars characters. The drawback is that the story logic is now feeling strained. In this issue’s production notes, co-writer John Barber actually misinterprets a fairly significant plot point. If that’s not a sign that the brakes should be pumped a little, I don’t know what is. Bottom line, this series puts a lot of trust in the reader to interpret the chaotic events. That’s refreshing and welcome, but not for everyone. So far, it’s been appealing to classic comics fans more than it has Transformers and Joe fans. The breakneck storytelling will challenge the latter, but for the first time I’m thinking that the mythology is getting so dense and so dependent on the earlier iterations of the franchise that the former will be challenged as well. I loved the bejeezus out of this issue, but I actually hope its “Scioli-ness” has just peaked, and that we’ll settle into a Wackiness Quotient somewhere in-between this issue and the previous.