The very first TF comic I bought was Dreamwave's debut in 2002. Back then, I was highly impressed with the 'anime screenshot' artwork and the tantalisingly coy introduction of our childhood heroes. It felt like a smartly-written human POV of an alien encounter that looked like could only get better as time went on. Fast forward to today to find me staring agog at the astonishingly awful Ramjet spotlight. There are a select few comics that fall flat on their face from the very first sentence, and this is one of them. Since when is Ramjet a "lone wolf Decepticon whose plans involve nothing less than the overthrow of Megatron himself"? Considering the spotlights are meant to illustrate the character's personality, I wonder aloud why this depicts Starscream in Ramjet's body instead of the masochistic thug I used to know. There aren't even any themes in this introspective spin-off, just another failed grandiose scheme peppered with ludicrously cheesy dialogue that comes off as uncharacteristically eloquent for Ramjet. In fact, the only thing that hasn't degraded over time is the artwork, which seems to be the standard fallback of every bad story. This isn't an isolated incident. Virtually all TF comics by Dreamwave and IDW these past few years have followed a similar pattern. The epitome of this template is Shockwave's takeover. There's almost no 'dialogue' to speak of, only an endless string of vacuous, portentous monologues. Even during action sequences, the Transformers are grandeloquent to the utmost, which seems ridiculously unnatural for the situation. It's as if there's an unspoken competition on Cybertron for who can say the least in the most words. Or take Sunstorm's appearence. Every single line he speaks is agony. A pious, self-absorbed pudding whose spiritual preaching (which I'm sure the writers intended to sound 'deep' and 'epic') contained zero intellectual insight and degenerated into uninspired farce. Worse, the ending was sudden and unfulfilling. Sunstorm is dead, but nothing is resolved, because there was nothing to resolve in the first place. If McDonough and Patyk are indeed qualified writers, it's alarming to see them omit critical aspects of a substantial story like character development, themes, motifs and symbolism in general. Instead, the comic relies on pretty pictures and money shots to sell. I'm not so shallow. I cancelled my subscription long ago and would sooner impale myself on a spike than read any more. A good comic has to be more than cosmetic. If I wanted to admire the artwork, I'd simply download the preview pages, so I can experience them as a gallery without the speech bubbles. But I don't just want to look at the pages, I want to read them and feel drawn into the atmosphere and excitement of the TF universe. Isn't that what a good story is all about? And isn't that what the TF comics lack?