These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Adaptation Displacement: This comic's portrayal of several characters are much more well-known and popular than their usual interpretations. Notable examples include Swerve, Tailgate, Whirl, Chromedome, Rewind, and Cyclonus.
Did Drift really bully Rodimus into working with Prowl's plan like Rodimus claims or was Rodimus just passing off his guilt? Or rather did Rodimus really agree to the plan or did Prowl arrange some mnemosurgery to be done on Rodimus to make him agree?
Does Atomizer genuinely support Rodimus or does he want him off the ship and is manipulating Rodimus to get him kicked out of captain position? Notably he uses the same sort of trick that Prowl apparently used to convince Rodimus to let Overlord on board.
The fact that the voting list is fake certainly points towards the latter, but it's still not really clear.
Some people think that Megatron's decision to plead innocent was made (at least subconsciously) just to spite Starscream, who had just got done making a speech about how pathetic Megatron could be viewed as.
Anti-Climax Boss: Sonic and Boom against Fortress Maximus. Probably intentional.
Dai Atlas against Star Saber. Saber himself against Cyclonus, though that confrontation was non-fatal.
Author's Saving Throw: There were some complaints about the Decepticon Justice Division sort of falling off the radar after taking off after Overlord. Come season 2, we find out that they attacked the duplicate Lost Light, and already did take care of him in a sense.
Awesome Art: Some of the character designs are really pretty.
Awesome Music: Uniquely for a comic, this series has a soundtrack which is made up mainly of indie rock songs. They're all awesome but special mention goes to:
Base Breaker: While the comic is almost universally loved by IDW fans, the recent revelation of Ultra Magnus!Minimus Ambus has a number of fans upset, however it's still nowhere near as bad as other fandoms, or the reaction Drift caused when introduced under Shane McCarthy.
Star Saber being a violent religious zealot. Though it comes as no surprise to readers of Robert's TFMUK stories, some fans see it a poor Alternate Character Interpretation of a well-liked character from Japanese fiction.
The art of Issue 22, or rather, the inking, which makes the issue awfully dark and gloomy, even though it's a lighthearted issue.
Bit of fridge there; the comic is normally done in a highly stylized manner, but issue 22 is a movie, and has a more "realistic" style.
Megatron's Heel-Face Turn. Boy oh boy. Roughly half the fanbase sees it as an ambitious foray into previously unexplored areas, while the other dislikes this as this flies in the face of all the evil that he's done. That said it seems to be decreasing as the issues actually come out, since it's acknowledged and discussed in-universe. A third camp doesn't really care either way and are just happy that James Roberts is writing Megatron again, since many felt the character's portrayal in Robots In Disguise was a bit underwhelming compared to Roberts' portrayal back in "Chaos Theory".
Josh Burcham's replacement. Just about everyone wished Josh good luck when he announced he was leaving MTMTE but still working on other IDW titles, but not everyone is happy with LaFuente's work.
Cargo Ship: Brainstorm sometimes gets this with his briefcase, which was kind of inevitable given that he's so attached to the thing that he brings it to a funeral. James Roberts jokingly suggested that this trope is in effect with Nautica and her wrench.
Colbert Bump: Some of the music in the soundtrack was languishing in obscurity before this comic, with some of the bands featured being barely known, let alone listened to. Now they're considered hits on the internet.
Pharma wasn't always like this, but by the end of "Remain In Light" he's evolved into one of the most twisted and sadistic characters in the series.
Continuity Lock-Out: One of the few real problems with the comic is that it's clearly intended to be read from the very beginning; there's loads of continuity, set-ups, characters, subplots, and jokes that can all appear or disappear at any time and it's not uncommon for the running gags to get zig-zagged all over the place. This is somewhat lessened as of Season 2, which provides a much more detailed recap page.
Counterpart Comparison: Whirl has had a lot of comparisons to Deadpool, while some have compared Chief Justice Tyrest to Judge Claude Frollo from Hunchback Of Notre Dame.
Crack Ship: Brainstorm/Atomizer seems bizarrely popular, despite the fact that they never spoke to each other until issue 33. The fact that they were both stationed at Kimia might have something to do with it.
Misfire/Fulcrum is also surprisingly popular even though Misfire is kind of a dick to Fulcrum in the comic.
Crazy Awesome: Whirl is very likely insane, and his impressive amount of jerkassery and insanity gets him through the day. When beaten, impaled and then threatened by a crazy Shell-Shocked Veteran, Whirl's response is to taunt him in cruel and amusing ways, diffusing the situation, and then impaling the guy when things heat up again. Rewind casually mentions that Whirl punched himself in the face to prove that he's super-invincible, and apparently introduces himself by saying he has no known weaknesses. He solves the problem of moving Ultra Magnus by having everyone's avatar jump on him till he transforms. As of issue 28, he's the only person in the history of the franchise to kick Megatron in the crotch.
Then in issue 10 Orion Pax flies down from the sky out of nowhere and slams down on top of the guy attacking Chromedome and Prowl. Chromedome assumes that he probably jumped off a random rooftop to do this but isn't sure...
Brainstorm's "My First Blaster" gun that he gave Swerve. It's an obscenely large gun that's apparently designed for children judging by the design. If you get a direct hit with it, it makes a little jingle and says "You got a direct hit!" like a toddler's toy.
In issue 20 when the Killswitch hits Constancy and starts affecting Krok, Spinister, and Crankcase, if you look in the background you can see that Grimlock (still mentally disabled from whatever happened to him on the Worldsweeper) is playing pengu with some toy blocks.
Surprisingly inverted with Whirl. Despite his tragic backstory making him a perfect candidate for this trope, most fans seem to prefer him as a complete asshole.
Played a bit straight with Cyclonus. His fans gloss out his initial abuse of Tailgate, including the slapping and kicking after Tailgate tells him he lied to him. Of course, Cyclonus does grow out of it and becomes a nicer guy, but the abuse still happened and neither Tailgate and Cyclonus ever bring it up again. Saving Tailgate's life arguably helped with this as well.
Ensemble Darkhorse: More Than Meets The Eye is arguably a series known for taking a group of previously obscure characters within the franchise as a whole, and turning them into a bunch of Ensemble Darkhorses:
Swerve, typically a rarely noticed background character in other continuities, has quickly become popular due to his fast talking, smart-assed, hilarious, and very personable portrayal in this storyline.
Roberts' character Rung has also picked up a posse of fangirls, due to his awkward, adorably gangly design, and matching adorkably geeky personality.
Tarn, the leader of the Decepticon Justice Division, if simply for looking really badass and having several cool gimmicks going for him.
Whirl has also become one, if for no other reason than being totally Crazy Awesome. In fact when the promotions of issue 6 made it out as if Tonight Someone Dies, most of the comments on them consisted of "I'm cool as long as Whirl makes it".
Cyclonus also has a share of fans, in part because he matches Whirl's badassness on the field and his Tsundere personality.
Getaway became a huge hit with the fans after his introduction scenes in issue 20.
Overlord is just about this personified, with his handsome (for a giant robot) looks and campy, charismatic, and theatrical mannerisms. (Doesn't make him any less scary or creepy, however.)
In fact, one defining trait of Overlord has been his luscious lips. Possibly lampshaded by IDW themselves with the alternate cover for issue 15 which is basically a close-up of Overlord's lips. This was later confirmed by the creators, where they indicated they based his looks on the Roman/Greek busts of old, pout and all, hence the luscious lips.
Oh, so you noticed all the work Alex Milne put into Pharma's design? So did the fans.
Fan Nickname: "Domey" for Chromedome after Rewind referred to him as such for one line in issue 9.
"Gay Robots In Space" or some other variation for the series as a whole in reference to both the canon couple and the huge amounts of Ho Yay in the series.
With Drift being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, people are pretty much done calling him Poochie and calling him Dorito-kun instead. "Weababe" also crops up from time to time. "Driftaboo" is an older one, but it's used a bit more affectionately than it used to.
Before his identity was revealed, the person responsible for Overlord being on the Lost Light was called "The Conspirator" by fans.
The "Lost Lighters" for the crew of the Lost Light.
"Trailguy" or "Trailmix" for Trailbreaker, due to Executive Meddling forcing the writer to call him Trailcutter, complete with an issue being devoted to explaining this.
New character 'Riptide' quickly gained the moniker of Boatstorm.
Fridge Brilliance: Sandstorm is one of the bailiffs at Megatron's trail. That same trial that allowed one of the most infamous war criminals in the universe to get off relatively easily. Are his actions in the Punishment motion comic starting to make a little more sense to you?
Fridge Logic: Whirl's upset about his lost hands which he used for making watches and he wants them back. Ratchet has shown to be able to make new hands, and even offers to give his to Whirl should he die, there was a question as to why he could not make Whirl some new ones even Shockwave replaced his claws with a hand and a gun. Whirl addresses this in issue 19, he keeps the claws by choice.
"Life's messed up. I'm messed up. I've done bad things and I continue to do bad things, because the voice telling me not to...? He's not said much for a while. And y'know what keeps me going? Anger. Anger's an insulator. Stops life getting too close. If I got myself "fixed," maybe the anger would leave me—and then I really would be screwed."
Who coined "Wreck n Rule"? Impactor or Whirl?
Ironfist states that Impactor coined it in Last Stand Of The Wreckers, with the caveat that Impactor was the first one to use it as a Wrecker. The phrase seems to predate Impactor and might actually be Whirl's seeing as it was scribbled in the walls of his cell, before Impactor became his cellmate, and way before there were Wreckers in the first place.
Roberts declares that Impactor was the one that made the phrase popular, but did not create it. As for whom was the original author of the phrase, well... he just simply said "let's just leave that unresolved".
Friendly Fandoms: With Doctor Who. Transfans and Whovians have always gotten along somewhat, but this comic pretty much cemented it due to the writer being a fan of Doctor Who and Overlord's personality being based off of the Master (specifically the John Simm version).
Also with Arrested Development due to a.) James Roberts being an avowed fan of the show and b.) the comic having a similar style of humor and storytelling to the show.
"Sound Bombs" are actually possible. There are studies that have shown cephalopods suffering massive trauma caused by noise, in some cases causing the nerves inside their heads to explode, leaving gaping holes in their heads.
In "Shadowplay" the Senator refers to his students as "outliers". An outlier is a math term for a number in a large collection of numbers that is different from the rest.
The Scavengers' ship is called "The Weak Anthropic Principle", a philosophical belief that claims that observations of the physical universe must be compatible with the conscious life that inhabits it.
"Omega's Conundrum" is filled with allusions to the notorious Schrödinger's cat paradox.
The title of Trailbreaker's spotlight issue is a reference to the classical novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid.
There is a principle of cybertronion biology called "Rossum's Trinity", a reference to the 1920 Czech science fiction play "Rossum's Universal Robots", which introduced the word "robot" into the English language.
In the 2012 annual we're given a quote from Megatron that paraphases a quote from Karl Marx; "Religion is the opiate of the people".
Issue 9 is titled "Post Hoc" a term that refers to the examination of data in search of patterns after an event. The issue includes a reference to a place called Apophenia, a word which refers to the experience of seeing connections in meaningless or random data.
Thunderclash's ship is called the "Vis Vitalis", which is the name of a classical alchemical principle of a "life force" possessed by living creatures.
Tyrest's failed "two-city state solution" is a reference to the fabled "two state solution" in Israel and Palestine's peace process.
Chief Justice Tyrest is designed to resemble a Principality a member of the highest order of the Third Sphere of angels in the Christian angelic hierarchy.
Issue 19's title is taken from R. D. Laing's The Divided Self, a seminal work on understanding madness.
Empurata is an anagram of the Latin word "amputare", meaning "to cut away". In ancient times, amputare was often used to punish criminals, marking them as lawbreakers and publicly humiliating them by removing specific digits or limbs. Sure enough, Empurata is given a similar purpose here.
Ununtrium is indeed a real synthetically created element.
The "Ambus Test" is a reference to the Turing Test, a scientific test designed to test when human-engineered "artificial intelligence" in computers has reached the level of sentience.
Cyclonus belongs to a religious order called the Clavis Aurea. "Clavis aurea" is a 16th century theological term that refers to the means by which hidden meanings in texts may be discovered; it means "golden key" in Latin.
"Momus" is the name of the Greek god of satire and mockery. It's also the name of an obscure indie band.
Nautica is a quantum mechanic, a play upon the real-life field of quantum mechanics. The cheat engines and Möbius ships she professes interest in are also wordplays, on heat engines and Möbius strips respectively.
The arena in which Megatron's trial is held is named the "Raskol arena", the Russian word for "split" or "schism". The term specifically refers to the 17th century splitting of the Russian Orthodox Church, triggered by reforms introduced by its patriach; no coincidence, then, that the Raskol arena should play host to such a shattering change to the Decepticon movement following a pronouncement by its patriarch.
Gorn: There can be some especially jarring scenes of violence, and/or torture, like Ambulon being graphically cut in half lengthwise or heads exploding in some messy fashion.
Harsher in Hindsight: The Shadowplay arc sheds some new light on many of the actions of Shockwave. Specifically, when he feels emotions in his spotlight and Maximum Dinobot comics, he discovers rage, how to feel anger and hatred and use that to his advantage. He expresses wonder and intrigue at these feelings, which we have just learned he was stripped of before the war.
Remember how funny it was that Tailgate got stuck transforming? Well, issue 17 revealed that it's because he has cybercrosis and is rotting from the inside, with the damage including his transformation cog.
And then we learn that he was only online for about 2 weeks prior to being trapped under rubble and put offline until found in modern times. He's an infant dying of old age. Makes his baby holo-avatar a lot darker.
Ultra Magnus' Super OCD tendencies are pretty funny, right? Ha, he thinks skewed Autobot symbols are tantamount to mutiny. Well, turns out his Super OCD is because he's having a full-on nervous breakdown because he can't handle peacetime. And it turns out his boss Chief Justice Tyrest found out about it and was not amused.
Even worse, his Stat-O-Vision in the annual, when he looks at his reflection reads 'laughingstock'.
Ultra Magnus chewing out Rodimus in issue 3 over how reckless he was during the Sparkeater incident given that the alternate Rodimus actually died because of his recklessness with fighting the Sparkeater.
Every single thing Brainstorm's done once it's revealed he's a Decepticon plant. Suddenly those horrific crimes against science stop being so funny.
Linked to this is a scene in issue 22 where Rodimus mocks Thunderclash for having a spy in his crew in the form of Paddox.
Heartwarming In Hindsight: In issue #6, Rewind is busted for storing recordings of graphic deaths in his head, basically being the equivalent of snuff films in the Transformers-Verse. Issue #12 shows why he does this- he's looking for a friend that he lost millennia ago, and is looking for any evidence of where he went or what happened to him.
He's Just Hiding: A lot of fans don't buy Rewind's death. As he was lost in a messy explosion and the body wasn't found. Lampshaded when Swerve recaps issue 33 to the audience and is surprised when he realizes that the audience never really thought he was dead in the first place. Of course, the Rewind the crew, and us, find is an alternate Rewind.
Cracked once made a list of the "10 Most Useless Transformers," a list which included Rewind, Chromedome, Mainframe, Skids, and Swerve. Come this series, Rewind is a walking database, Chromedome is the best Mnemosurgeon alive, Mainframe one of the central bridge crew, Skids is an enormously Badass spy, and Swerve helps figure out a cure to the dreaded disease cybercrosis.
Swerve asking Skids if he's an ex-wrecker when they first met. He's from the Diplomatic Corps, another autobot special ops team, seen as a foil to the Wreckers.
There is an episode of Futurama in which Professor Farnsworth builds a "Death Clock" that functions almost exactly like the Death Clock Ratchet has. To top it off, in both Futurama and this comic the local Naïve Newcomer is shown to have a very short time to live by the respective Death Clocks.
Whirl is shown in Issue 14 having issues with the Targeting Visor as he mentions it was designed for robots with "100% more eyes" than him. Cue Transformers Dark Cybertron and Shockwave having a binocular microscope and the Running Gag that came out of it.
In issue 12, there's a brief scene during the big fight where Chromedome rides Overkill (a Decepticon who has a dinosaur form). Not even two years later, Transformers Age Of Extinction has a scene where Optimus Prime rides Grimlock into a battle in the exact same way. Made even funnier by the fact that the issue has a scene where Rewind accuses Chromedome of pretending to be Optimus Prime.
In Homestuck there's a monster called Gl'bgoylb which functions in almost the exact same way as Tyrest's Universal Killswitch; targeting a specific breed of a species and then using a signal to kill them. Not only that but here the protagonists actually manage to prevent this from happening, while in Homestuck a good majority of the Troll race is wiped out by Gl'bgoylb.
Ho Yay: Tons and tons and tons. And this is excluding the canon couple and Prowl and Chromedome's past relationship.
Rodimus' texts to Drift might be easy enough to write off as Rodimus being Rodimus. Less so is Drift trying to impress Rodimus by interrogating Cyclonus (which he takes way too far), giving Rodimus sword lessons, complete with a Hands-On Approach shot, or accepting full responsibility for the Overlord affair to shield Rodimus.
Cyclonus and Tailgate too. Especially when it looks like Tailgate's going to die. Cyclonus goes so far as to gouge his face in self-loathing when his bad advice makes the little 'bot even more miserable.
Red Alert's monologue at the comatose Rung's bedside has heavy shades of this.
Brainstorm's "highly conflicted Perceptor fanboy" status got a lot of this treatment very quickly. Their interactions in "Dark Cybertron" only added fuel to the fire.
Brainstorm: You? Me? Simpatico.
Tyrest and Magnus's interactions are far more casual than you would expect from eitherof them.
In issue 29 when Atomizer is trying to convince Rodimus to take the voting list he gets a little too close and friendly with him. This had the members of TFW 2005's forums declaring the Atomizer was Rodimus's secret admirer. It helps that Atomizer very much looks as though he's got a Primus-Apotheosis-style hero worship thing going on for Rodimus. Though it's quickly subverted when it's revealed Atomizer was trying to play Rodimus.
Tailgate and Getaway in issue 30, so much so that Cyclonus walked out of the room.
Fayren's Retailer Incentive cover for Issue 33 looks like it could easily be from a scene of a slashfic featuring Tarn and Fulcrum.
I Knew It: Many fans correctly guessed that Prowl was responsible for Overlord being on the Lost Light. Many also correctly assumed that Brainstorm was in on the whole thing. Drift being the real conspirator was much less expected, though, as was Rodimus's involvement.
A lot of people also figured out that Ravage snuck onto the Lost Light to spy on Megatron for Soundwave.
There were two competing theories for the second Lost Light, Alternate/Branched Timeline and Quantum Superposition. It is the Quantum Superposition theory that was right. When the Lost Light took off and had a failure, the engines created two possible destinations, pretty much like Will and Tom Riker and the teleporter accident they had.
Inferred Holocaust: Bitterly lampshaded by Rodimus and Getaway when they discover that the hot spot on Luna 1 won't reignite, meaning thousands of Cybertronians essentially just died in utero.
"SORRY SORRY SORRY! I spend my whole life apologizing! Just once- just once- I'd like to have nothing to apologize for!"
It Was His Sled: Overlord has been smuggled onboard of the Lost Light. Also Shockwave is a Tragic Monster. It doesn't help that the former is revealed only six issues in.
Good luck avoiding the knowledge that Megatron joins the quest in season 2. Made even worse by the fact that IDW itself spoiled this through promos.
LGBT Fanbase: This series has gotten a lot of attention from the LGBT community for featuring the first official homosexual couple in Transformers in the form of Chromedome and Rewind. Which is rather ironic considering Cybertronians don't technically have different genders (per say) and due to their nature aren't capable of sexual intercourse.
Brainstorm: Your pain will change. It won't fade— course not, course it won't— but it'll eventually turn into something else. Something you can live with. Take it from someone who knows.
Megatron, who is filled with regret over his actions in the war and desperately trying to atone. Also he's Reformed, but Rejected. Starscream actually lampshades this in his speech at Megatron's trial, portraying Megs as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who got in over his head and succumbed to the same evil he fought.
Issue 32 reveals Ravage to be one; he genuinely believes in Megatron and the Decepticons and is devastated by Megatron's abandoning of the Decepticon cause.
Magnificent Bastard: It doesn't become clear until "Remain In Light" just how much Prowl has manipulated the Lost Light crew. For one thing, he correctly guessed that Chromedome would end up a point where Drift could convince him to join up with the Overlord project and played Rodimus like a fiddle to get him to do what he wanted. However, it's also deconstructed as his manipulations end up having loads of horrible consequences. Not only that, but once the consequences are real, those that were manipulated realize they were and some even call out Prowl on it.
As revealed by issue 33 Brainstorm.
Magnum Opus: Many are considering the comic to be this for both James Roberts and IDW's Transformers comics in general. In terms of the series, most fans seem to consider "Remain In Light" to be the best storyline so far (it even got MTMTE nominated for an award) while Roberts himself considers issue 16 to currently be the best issue.
Amusingly Getaway got a bit of this after a Ho Yay-filled scene in issue 30 where he hangs out with Tailgate. Since Tailgate is basically a child this caused some fans to jokingly compare him to Pedobear.
Social Justice Tarn. note Explanation: A running gag amongst the fandom, portraying the Big Bad, Knight Templar Tarn as a stereotypical Malcom X-style social crusader for Decepticons.
On that note, Everyone is Tarn. note Explanation: Because Tarn's face is an obvious Decepticon symbol mask, it's a bit of a joke to guess at who he used to be.
Courage Rodimus. note Explanation: Rodimus is insanely reckless at times and fans love pointing out his insane leaps in logic such as making medics fight on the frontlines or allowing a Shell-Shocked Veteran to walk around with a loaded gun.
Moral Event Horizon: Overlord undoubtably crossed it years before this series. It would be easier to describe the moments he isn't crossing it. However the moment he loses all possible likability is when he horrifically murders Pipes for no reason at all, then goes off to do the same to everyone else on the ship.
Star Saber crossed it in the backstory when he tried to commit genocide against everyone in the galaxy that didn't believe in Primus. If that didn't do it than him murdering Dai Atlas definitely did.
Tyrest crosses it when he activates the Universal Killswitch.
Pharma crosses it when he murders Ambulon just to prove that he is a better doctor than Ratchet and win the "contest".
Megatron likely crossed it ages ago (the events of All Hail Megatron come to mind). His character arc seems to be based around whether someone who has crossed the horizon can possibly find a way to redemption.
In case it wasn't clear how monstrous the DJD is; issue 32 shows how they slaughtered an alternate version of the Lost Light crew, torturing or mutilating everyone except the alternate Rewind than blowing the ship in half out of spite. And issue 33 shows that they forced Rewind to film everything by promising to spare Chromedome, than tried to force Chromedome to erase his memories of Rewind before brutally murdering Chromedome with his own needles when he said no.
Narm: "Primus hates you." It works in context when you take who's saying it into account, but by itself it sounds like the kind of thing a spiteful five-year-old might say.
Cyclonus rushing to the medibay is supposed to be dramatic, but the exaggerated fashion in how he's drawn running makes it hilarious.
Paranoia Fuel: Issue 28 reveals that Ravage has stowed away aboard the Lost Light and is spying on the crew. This is revealed to us by showing him sitting barely two feet away from Megatron and Rung during their session... without being noticed.
Later he manages to sneak onto the Rodpod as the Lost Light is evacuated and keeps hidden almost the entire time. He's only caught when Hound catches a glimpse of him by sheer chance.
Flywheels only appears very briefly for two issues before getting killed off, but comes across as one of the funniest and most likable Scavengers.
Glitch, an Adorkable outlier with the ability to stop machinery with his touch, only appears in some flashback sequences in "Shadowplay", has about two lines of dialogue, and has yet to appear in any other capacity.
Only The Creator Does It Right: Some fans react this way whenever someone other than Alex Milne or Nick Roche does the art. This view is not helped by the fact several of the artists who have chipped in (other than Guido Guidi) seem to have some trouble staying on model.
Pandering to the Base: The Underbase podcast actually accused Roberts of this with parts of the dialogue being too heavy on inside jokes only the most hardcore fans would get and trying too hard.
On the creative level, Alex Milne. His previous IDW work on the Spotlights and Megatron Origin had proved very unpopular, to the point that many were actively dreading him replacing Nick Roche as artist - Roche's colorful, characterful, and expressive style had been nearly the inverse of Milne's Dull Surprise and very overdrawn designs. But when #2 rolled around, Milne nailed the style and designs perfectly, and many are now hailing him as one of the best Transformers artists ever.
Rewatch Bonus: This comic is practically the poster boy of this trope. It takes multiple rereads to get the loads of subtle jokes, references, bits of continuity, and foreshadowing.
When Tarn fights the Scavengers, he changes modes the most, he disembarks the ship, transforms, then transforms again to go to the container, while everyone else just walks the short distance. When Grimlock attacks the DJD, Tesarus pounds on him, but Tarn transforms to run him over with his treads. When Crankcase gets a mechsuit, Tarn transforms to shoot him, instead of just shooting him. In a previous issue, Pharma does mention that the leader of the DJD was addicted to shape changing. It's never drawn attention to in the comic, but one can figure it out on their own.
Everything involving both Shockwave and the "Conspicuously-Unnamed Senator", after the revelations of Issue #11.
A lot of scenes involving Whirl take on a lot more relevance once you learn in issue 6 that he's a Death Seeker. Ditto for Rewind after the stuff we learn about him in issue 12.
A bit of a cross-title one, but the fact that Swerve isn't actually best friends with Blurr is actually foreshadowed in the RID comics when you realize that despite apparently being such great friends, Blurr never talks about or mourns Swerve's apparent passing with the rest of the Lost Light crew, or ever mentions him to Ironhide while being talked into reopening Maccadam's.
The flashback in issue 15 will make a lot more sense if you reread it after what you learn in later in the issue and in issue 17. You're witnessing Overlord's birth.
Tailgate's green inner energon from issue 12— is because its curdled up from the cybernecrosis, as Ratchet points out.
Whirl overdosed on Berzerker Buttons and flipped out when someone asked him the time. Whirl was a watchmaker, a job that he enjoyed until the empurata, it seems to be his Berserk Button.
Everything about Ultra Magnus, after he reveals that he's Minimus Ambus.
The conversation between Swerve and Ultra Magnus in issue 13 foreshadows a lot of developments about the characters that come up later. Ultra Magnus actually straight up admits to working for Chief Justice Tyrest at one point, but because he's drunk and he doesn't say Tyrest's name, Swerve just ignores him.
Issue 16, with all the close calls Ultra Magnus goes through makes us rewatch all the previous issues, as it gives us Ultra Magnus' Freudian Excuse for being the bot he is, as in, no smiles, no funny quips, hating dirt and crooked autobot badges. Turns out it was all a Red Herring after Issue 18 and 19 flip all that and reveal that Ultra Magnus is a Legacy Character, and we were actually watching the death of an Ultra Magnus every single time!
A comment Skid made on Ultra Magnus, about remembering him to be more cheerful in the past. That's because it was a different "Ultra Magnus".
Skids:Well, I think it's sad. The Ultra Magnus I remember was always so cheerful. He'd make all these little quips whilst bludgeoning you over the head and dragging you to the cells...
In issue 2, Skids notes that he feels like he's running away or escaping from something. As Chromedome later notes, he wasn't experiencing the need to run away, he was trying to remember Getaway.
Also, during the Shadowplay arc, it's shown that Skids dosen't know who Prowl is. This makes much more sense when it turns out that Skids destroyed his memories of being a member of Spec Ops and everything related to it, which naturaly includes Prowl.
Tailgate's naïve behavior makes a lot more sense when we learn in issue 21, that he's only two weeks old mentally. It most likely also explains why his subsconsciously-generated holomatter avatar back in issue #13 was an infant.
Issue 14 has Tailgate crafting something, with Hoist and Skids trying to figure out what it is. Issue 21 reveals it's Cyclonus' missing horn.
Notice how in issues 2 and 3, despite Swerve talking about how he's really good friends with Blurr, he seems to almost latch onto Skids for no real reason, pestering him for attention and friendship. As issue 13 shows, that's because he's so lonely that he latches onto nice actions as a sign of friendship.
In issue 21, the symbols that the strange spark being shows include an Autobot and Decepticon badge above a picture of the Lost Light. Now we know that after Dark Cybertron, Megatron joins the crew in their quest...
Chromedome and Prowl's backhanded behavior to each other and Rewind's constant jabs at Prowl take on a whole new meaning after Shadowplay (where we learn they were partners on the police force) and the Word of Gay from James Roberts regarding their relationship. Of particular note is a brief scene where Rewind gets defensive after Whirl comments on how Chromedome used to be friends with Prowl.
In issue 3 the Sparkeater has Brainstorm cornered, than suddenly just turns and runs after Skids and Rung. Then in issue 21 Brainstorm keeps the Point-One Percenter spark in his chest compartment... where his spark should be. Both of these things make a horrifying amount of sense now that we know Brainstorm is basically a walking corpse.
The Scrappy: The Senate and their cronies due to their corruption and unspeakably evil actions (such as mutilating Shockwave) while lacking the traits that make the comic's other villains cool. Than again, you're kind of supposed to hate them.
A fair amount between Brainstorm/Perceptor and Brainstorm/Nautica shippers.
Cyclonus/Tailgate and Getaway/Tailgate are running into this.
Ship Sinking: As collateral damage to Brainstorm/Nautica shippers, given the reveal of Issue 33.
Spiritual Antithesis: Interestingly, one could make a case for MTMTE being this for Roberts's previous work Last Stand Of The Wreckers. Whereas LSTOW was all about deconstructing the themes and clichés of Transformers, this comic strays more towards taking those same ideas and gluing them back together in an improved state. Also while LSTOW was a very grim tale of morality set in the tail end of a horrific war, MTMTE is a Dramedy with loads of humor, snark, and lampshade hangings set in a time of peace.
Spiritual Licensee: This comic captures the spirit of Star Trek better than any of the actual Star Trek comics. It even has some similar character archtypes (reckless captain, The Comically Serious second in command, grouchy medic, eccentric engineer, etc.). Alex Milne actually makes the comparison that he feels Rodimus is Season 1 Riker and Megatron is Season 1 Picard, although fans seem to have suggested that Megatron is closer to Captain Jellico.
Some also feel that it's the closest thing to a continuation of Firefly that we'll ever get.
True Art Is Angsty: Sort of played straight and also averted. "Remain In Light" and "Overlord" are by far the darkest storylines in the comic so far and are also the two most critically acclaimed. On the other hand, a big reason the comic is so popular is that it's pretty light-hearted and humorous. Make of that what you will.
Cyclonus as well. In-Universe, he is known for having been Galvatron's right hand man, and having killed many 'bots during his assault on Kimia. Even after he pulls a Heel-Face Turn that saves Cybertron, and helps Optimus stop Galvatron, he still gets mislabeled as a Decepticon, others openly reject him because they knew some of his victims at Kimia. Out of Universe, he's loved for his evolving relationship with Tailgate, being a honorable bot, and matching Whirl in badassness. This eventually culminates in him being more accepted by the crew following the Remain in Light arc.
And of course Megatron, who's hated by the crew for obvious reasons. Out-of-universe fans like him since, well, he's Megatron.
The Un-Reveal: Roberts acknowledges that he deliberately concealed Chromedome's original name ( Tumbler) as one of these. His original name, Roberts notes, is just a standard name - it's "Chromedome" that's important, because it shows he worked at the Institute.
When asked which leg Ambulon turned into, Roberts gave us this quote.
"You know how sometimes, a seemingly innocuous, tongue‐in‐cheek and throwaway question, if answered sincerely, can give away absolutely massive spoilers? This isn’t one of those times. He turns into a right leg."
Villain Sue: The Decepticon Justice Division edges into this territory in issue #32, where it's revealed that they managed to kill of the majority of the crew of an alternate Lost Light. Yes, Tarn is spoken of as though he were on par with a phase sixer, but this is a crew of around two-hundred Autobots. To contrast, Overlord, an actual phase sixer, needed an army to take Garrus 9, while the DJD massacred the Lost Light's crew with just themselves.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: As the Transformer Wiki points out, in issue #21, Rodimus allows himself to be strapped to a cross-shaped table so that he can use the power of their creator deity to wipe away the consequences of Tyrest's sins, at the possible cost of his own life. The cables connecting him to the killswitch even make it look a little like he has a crown of thorns around his head.
The Woobie: Tailgate. Guy's just woken up from missing six million years of war, and as such is incredibly naive about what has transpired. He spends an issue walking around an Autobot ship declaring that, based on the history Cyclonus has shared with him, he wants to be a Decepticon, and invites mistrust upon himself before being subjected to a brutal montage of Decepticon atrocities. Add to that Cyclonus beating the crap out of him in issue #4, leaving Tailgate a quivering wreck curled up in the fetal position, and you just want to give him a big hug. In issue 13 he becomes even more Woobie-licious when we find out, he's not a crewmember of the Ark 1 like he said he was. He's just a garbage man who fell while swapping out the ship's coolant and lied because he just wanted someone to actually care about him. Not only that, it turns out that he's dying of cybercrosis from all the radiation he received while in stasis for 6 million years, and before he went missing, he had only been alive for 2 weeks.
Thanks to Issue #11, Shockwave, of all people. One of the few decent members of the corrupt, pre-War senate, he sacrifices himself to save Roller's life. He is mutilated, and has his personality completely inverted, changing from an outspoken, affable benefactor to a cold, emotionless scientist. He's portrayed with such depth prior to this transformation that we really feel for him, despite the fact that years later, he's one of the Decepticon elite.
Cyclonus in issue 17.
Ultra Magnus is developing into one.
Rewind. He's been searching in vain for Dominus Ambus for millions of years.
His alternate timeline self has it even worse. He had to watch the DJD slaughter the entirety of his crewmates, including his Chromedome. Given that Rewind admits in issue 16 that he's terrified by the thought of outliving Chromedome...
Chromedome himself becomes a bigger woobie with each passing issue. Especially after Rewind dies.
Tyrest, pre-Sanity Slippage. He gave his all for the Cybertronian race, and ended up creating a multitude of Cybertronians he believes are predisposed to criminal acts. He starts mutilating himself as penance, and eventually damages his brain, rendering him a twisted, insane shadow of his former self.
Issue 31 reveals Riptide to be one; he's an MTO and was forced to go through a training exercise so traumatic that he refuses to talk about it. Plus he missed the initial launch and spent over a year being miserable on Cybertron because he got the crap kicked out of him by the Lost Light's prior owners.