CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Animated: The Arrival #3
Reviewed by Blackjack
The first story is 'Stiletto' (mis-spelled Stilleto in the original printing, and as Stilletto in the TPB). Now, the first season had to fill in the villains with B-rank human villains, like, say, the Angry Archer, Meltdown, Nanosec and Professor Princess, so that the Decepticons would appear more dangerous (by not being defeated every episode). Okay, I get it. And characters like Angry Archer could be fun, too. However, there needs to be a limit. The Wraith, from last issue, at least got some dialogue and monologue. The 'star' of this episode, Stiletto, doesn't even have dialogue, and is as dull as a brick. The plot is banal (Stiletto steals something, the Autobots arrive, they defeat Stiletto), and Brizuela's art is at its lowest here. The humans all look bland and the action scenes are boring.
The second story, "Bots of Science", however, is a gem. Surprisingly, Animated
has a darker and more mature (yet still funny and engaging) writing compared to any Transformers show after Beast Machines
. This story is a gritty 'Great War' tale, during the time when Autobots are at full war with the Decepticons. Every panel with Ratchet and Oil Slick is joy, and the mood is beautifully shown. Ratchet's characterisation is wonderful, and feeds into his grumpy warhorse character in Animated
. Oil Slick's believable, although his betrayal would be expected. Boo's art is okay (he needs to work on expressions, though), and Liam Shalloo's colouring is impressive, bringing Boo's art to the next level. A beautiful spotlight for Ratchet. If the art had been touched up a little, this would deserve five cubes.
This is Stiletto's first and only appearance. Her name is 'Stella Healy', a former kickboxing champ. Her high heels could slice through a bridge's support cables, and she's fast. For some reason she doesn't have dialogue.
Those Armada-Laserbeak-esque camera bots make a return this episode. The tanker truck that Bumblebee accidentally blew up is similar to G1 Octane, and Stiletto tries to make a getaway on a motorcycle similar to Movie Arcee's bike mode.
'Bots of Science:
This is Oil Slick's first appearance in any fiction. He would reappear as a cameo in 'A few Loose Strands', and finally appeared in the TV series in Season 3, albeit with a slightly different colour scheme. His haz-mat helmet thing is removable. This is awesome. The toy's helmet is not, unfortunately.
This story takes place during the Great War, before the flashback portions of 'The Thrill of the Hunt', as Ratchet still has his EMP generator. In this episode, one of his 'horns' got sliced off by Oil Slick. In 'The Thrill of the Hunt', Lockdown sliced that thing off too. Not a goof, as Ratchet could've repaired it... he probably got tired of repairing it after the second time.
Cosmic Rust is a disease that first appeared in G1 Season 2 episode 'Cosmic Rust'. Unlike G1, in which the cure is Corrostop (the universe apparently ran out of 'Ingredient X' needed to brew up the cure), Oil Slick and Ratchet manage to cook up an anti-oxidant fast enough.
Many of the dead Autobots/Decepticons are references to other transformers:
-Page one, panel two. Starscream is coloured in G1 Springer's colour scheme, but most likely this is intended to be Animated's Acid Storm.
-Page six, there is a tiny mechanical scorpion observing Ratchet and Oil Slick. He has G1 Scorponok's colouring.
-Page six again, there's a crashed jet with Cyclonus' colour-scheme.
-An Autobot looks like an animated rendition of Guzzle.
-There's also an Autobot who looks like Powerglide, but it turns out that Animated Powerglide would look different.
-Final panel, one of the corpses is an orange Sentinel Prime. Another corpse is a blue Seeker, and in the corner is G1 Optimus Prime.
The title of this issue is misspelled 'Stilleto' in the original printing. The TPB corrects it into... 'Stilletto'. Oy.
Stiletto is only a kickboxing champ, but she's very... powerful. Sure, she got those funky laser scalpel and metal alloy high heels, but seriously. She jumps around with high heels fast enough to evade Bee's attacks, is able to kick a shuriken mid-air and could slice off a wrecking ball without getting herself killed.
'Bots of Science:
Oil Slick's name is misspelled as Oilslick throughout the entire issue.
How come Oil Slick didn't get infected by cosmic rust again when he pours the chemical on Ratchet? Although it's possible that he's wearing his bubble helmet... but since these are robots, it's unlikely. It couldn't be immunity, or he wouldn't have gotten infected in the first place.