Review: Robots In Disguise #19

What does MBob Saget think of the latest from John Barber and Co?

Robots In Disguise #19

WRITER: John Barber

Orion is Paxed off.

Orion is Paxed off.

ARTIST: Dheeraj Verma

COLORIST: Joana Lafuente

LETTERS: Chris Mowry

EDITOR: Carlos Guzman


While we leave Cybertron for an issue with Iacon firmly in the grasp of Starscream, we pick up with Orion Pax on his journey to make amends for his part in war that raged for four million years and left untold destruction in the galaxy. However, two particular Cybertronians have plans all their own and Waspinator has a role to play


Barber, for all his faults, is an extraordinary continuity writer. This issue is nothing if it’s not a continuation of a plot left stranded due to the sudden dismissal of Simon Furman several years ago with “Revelation”.

With this story Barber is as crisp as ever, bridging the gaps of what has come before to what is to come with a deft hand. The questions raised at the end of issue #18, the biggest one dealing with Arcee’s belief that Jhiaxus is on Cybertron is answered here in a roundabout way. The use of Waspinator was a much bigger question. How well can Barber and crew bring in the Beast Era characters into the G1 universe? The answer: Fairly well.

One has to put a little suspension of disbelief in their to overlook why he has an organic alt mode as opposed to the rest of the G1 crew, but with the Deluxe Insecticons having made an appearance with him in the Thundercracker spotlight and in the current More Than Meets the Eye issue, it doesn’t stand out as much as it could.

The last parts are the point of Waspinator, which is an interesting tact to take to say the least. I’m sure some will see his involvement as a sort of Deus Ex Machina or a forced reason to have him present, but frankly, I’m okay with it. We get Waspinator in full Wazzzzzzzzzzpinator glory and his time in this issue was very well spent. It’s just neat to see him standing next to Optimus Prime.

The use of Gorlam Prime was a great call back and the Titan reveal and it’s use is tying in the overall theme and plotline of this year. The only sticking point is the other Deus Ex Machina that closes out this issue. Some will, again, take issue with the convenient way that Orion and Co. get off of the dying planet; but the story has been told and the quicker way to the ending the better.


The art is; gorgeous. I love the art style that is similar to oil or water paintings. It’s just such a pleasant change up from the more straight forward animated or cartoon style that these books show more often than not. That’s nothing against that style, but a shake up an issue here and there in the art style keeps the book fresh and adds something to the experience. If you are looking for exacts and detailed vistas; look elsewhere. This artist takes the artistic approach and does not worry about exacts.

I’ve never been a stickler for exacts and have enjoyed the artistic style more so than others. Dheeraj has a better grasp with scale than Livio (Ramondelli is the closest artist I can compare him to), but loves to use the softer tones and palettes as opposed to the more primary and darker tones of Livio.

I would love to see more of this artist in future issues of RID or even in his own work in a digital comic of his own. 


I don’t like to refer to Barber as a lesser writer than Roberts. They are telling two separate stories and Barber is handling his tale deftly and with a much improved tale than his predecessor. The tales of Cybertron’s resurrection has been all over the place in quality but there is such an ease of telling when he handles Optimus’ journey. He has a real understanding of the character and gives that wonderful blend of fierce and compassionate that defines Prime. His Orion is more Optimus than Optimus has been in the entirety of the IDW run.

I love how Prime is taking it upon himself to try to make amends to those damaged by the War for Cybertron. It’s the first time (in my memory; which could be faulty) that any Transformers writer has attempted to show how the War has affected (or in this case devastated) other parts of the galaxy as a whole. While that plot point is more a macguffin than an actual plot, it’s still a nice hint of a theme that has been overlooked for far too long.

I can’t wait for the Dark Cybertron story, but this tale of the Atonement Road of Orion Pax is a tale that is definitely worth telling and I would love to see more of that.