CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek
A strangely lopsided issue. Grimlock’s reactivation and escape are hugely rushed and go past to quickly, but once he's out the second half of the story takes an overly slow pace with very little happening beyond Grimlock and Scorponok having a bit tussle before Grimlock buggers off. There's no tension or drama in Scorponok’s offer to Grimlock because we already know what the answer will be.
This is a shame as there's lots of nice little moments, such as Grimlock picking a minor incident as an excuse for a fight and the Machination operating out of a Airship like proper super villains. The art is also solid, even if the colouring looks rather half arsed and rushed.
This is probably something that would have worked better as a subplot across Devastation
rather than an issue in its own right (and as a minor aside, it's annoying that the opening exposition between Red and Weston effectively makes their handful of pages in that arc pointless), but is still an improvement over the last couple of Spotlights
Grimlock and the Dynobots were buried in Spotlight: Shockwave,
and Scorponok was revealed as the Machination boss and became a Headmaster in Devastation
#6. The various large scale Autobot/Decepticon/reaper conflicts Agent Red flashbacks to all occurred in the second half of Devastation
Here we learn the Machination are not only aware of Skywatch, but have their own mole in the organisation. It's a plot development that once again feels like a 24
Despite being buried and uncovered at the same time as the Dynobots, Shockwave is conspicuous by his absence outside of flashbacks. Agent Red and Doctor Weston talk as if the Thunder-Lizard's are they're only remaining captures. It's possible that Shockwave was more badly damaged than the others (who were already in Stasis Lock when the lava hit and may have been better protected) and thus has been written off as a potential Skywatch tool, or that there's been an adventure involving him so amazing and shocking that everyone has agreed never to mention it again.
"Thunder-Lizard" is of course a step towards the Dynobots final name, which, according to the Furman written Mosaic, Hail and Farewell,
they'll have adopted within two years of these events.
When Grimlock initially recovers he mentions damage to his vocal processor. Though this seems to be setting up his TV speech patterns, the problem appears to have corrected itself by the time he faces Scorponok. Though it isn't stated directly, the two Transformers are presumably speaking Cybertronian when they face each other as Grimlock hasn't had time to learn English.
The Machination have their own airship as a secret base, a possible reference to the Bond movie A View to a Kill
. The solar agitators mentioned by Grimlock may be a nod in the direction of the film of The Man With the Golden Gun
We learn Dante's first name, Abraham, which suggests he and the other Machination agents are using their real names despite the literary leanings of them.
The Dynobots ship is here named the Skyfire, after the cartoon version of Jetfire. Like it's namesake in Fire in the Sky
the ship winds up buried in ice.
Grimlock's flashback to Optimus Prime looks like the same one seen in Spotlight: Shockwave
, though there was no dialogue in that instance. Here we learn Grimlock lied to his team mates about Prime's unofficial approval of their mission. Scorponok claims that as a result they are now wanted 'Bots and Grimlock is datafile B-345-101 on Ultra Magnus' wanted list (though as with anything Scorponok says this may be bollocks).
In a nice continuity touch, Grimlock tries to use the mouth missiles he had in Shockwave,
but finds them already expended.
Marvel US #76 has a speech from Optimus Prime/Hi Q, which mentions the similarities between Grimlock and Scorponok, this issue extrapolates on that (though as Scorponok is a very different character the similarities are less pronounced) in their first proper one on one meeting.
This is the first Spotlight
where the titular character doesn't open the issue with an inner monologue. It also has the smallest Transformers cast of an IDW comic to date. Grimlock and Scorponok are the only speaking roles, whilst the other Dynobots appear in stasis lock, everyone else is a flashback.
Following the release of this issue a mini series called Maximum Dinobots
was announced that, involving as it does the titular characters, Huntstreaker and Scorponok, looks to be dealing with the bulk of the fallout from this installment.
This was originally announced, along with Mirage
, as one of two Spotlights
to be published in March. Ultimately it would be published almost a full month late with no explanation. However, all the ads in the issue are as seen in March published IDW titles, complete with one for Mirage
that still makes the two in one month claim. The delays may be the reason why the originally announced second cover, also by Matere, seems to have been dropped.
Agent Red is an idiot who would be relieved of duty by any sensible secret organisation. His plan so far has been "Giant robots running amock! Right, send the Seekers after them! Hmmm, they've broken their control and gone rouge? Right, send the big T-Rex guy after the Seekers and the giant robots! Hmmm, he's broken control and gone rouge? Right, send the other dinosaur guys after him, and the Seekers, and the giant robots..." Seriously, if that's the only idea he has what's he going to do when he runs out of Transformers?
When the duplicitous Kloss walks through the door labelled "Control Room" is clearly a scrawled place holder by the artist (it even has "Put better font" written below it).
At one point Grimlock talks about his "strength" (not a result of his damaged vocal processor as it's an internal monologue).
It wouldn't be an IDW comic if there wasn't one misplaced speech bubble, so Scorponok gets to deliver Grimlock's speech about how he'll get back in the Autobots good books by handing the Decepticon in (seriously, would it be that hard to get someone who knows which character is which doing the bubbles?). They then go one better over the page by having half a speech bubble cut off by the edge of the page.
Grimlock is concerned about using the recall device to transport back to the Skyfire in case the ship has been destroyed and he winds up floating in space, but surely if the ship had been destroyed its teleport wouldn't be working anyway so nothing will happen when he presses the switch?
Dr Weston: You're playing with fire. Procedures that took Skywatch 20 years to perfect, and were tailored specifically to the two initial acquisitions, have had to be overhauled and reapplied in days. One false move now Agent Red and disaster!
Dante: Then [The Dam] is where I shall introduce myself. Or is it ourself? I'm still not sure.
Grimlock: Onwards then, to whatever this world has in store for me. And not being exactly inconspicuous, I imagine sooner or later, the world will come to me!.
Scorponok: Are you that stubborn, that mired in outmoded notions of loyalty that you're willing to isolate yourself so totally and utterly? Why do you even hesitate?
Grimlock: Actually, it's that time back on Cybertron. You stole a consignment of solar agitators from a facility we were guarding.
Scorponok: What? That - That was nothing.
Grimlock: True. But it'll do!
Dante: Ah, the irony. Grimlock shall perish at the tooth and claw of his fellow Dynobots!