CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Spotlight: Kup
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek
Kup! Kup! Kup! Kup!
Gorgeous, brilliant stuff. As a writer Roche excels, deftly handling action, plot and characterisation. But it's his art that really stands out, being the best we've yet seen on any IDW comic. The switch between the caricatured style used for Kup's viewpoint and the more conventional aboard Ark-17 is wonderfully done.
I really can't heap enough praise on this, the only change I'd make is that I'd have liked to have originally seen Outback as Kup sees him — alive — keeping the reveal for later in the issue. But other than that, magnificent and an essential purchase.
And as an added bonus this comic makes Trailbreaker cool for the first time since… well, ever. Albeit mainly because, thanks to those Nescafé adverts (Tasters Choice if you’re Colonial) it’s impossible not to hear him being played by Tony Head after that opening line. Mind, that does add a previously missing element of repressed sexual tension to his relationship with Kup, but still a wonderful comic.
This issue likely takes place during the three day gap between Infiltration
(or right after Stormbringer
for Springer). It's unlikely that the Wrecker leader would normally have to contact the Earth based Autobot commander so Prowl is likely acting as Prime's overall second-in-command whilst he's on the planet. Springer claims to have left the Wreckers fighting "The real Big Bad", so they've most likely gone back to the mission they were on before being called to fight Thunderwing (the use of the phrase Big Bad is most likely a reference to Buffy
which made popular calling a shows principle villain by that moniker). Prowl, unlike Springer, is on the Autobot High Command.
Autobots trained by Kup include Siren, Springer, Prowl, Optimus Prime, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker and Hot Rod. Perceptor seems not to have been, as he states at one point "the values he imparted to you" rather than "imparted to us". Which makes sense considering his scientific background.
The suits the Autobots are wearing are antiques, their normal stealth armour won't work in the high radiation levels (a deliberate statement on the value of old things, even if Siren has issues with the suits).
Kup should be virtually powerless by this stage but is somehow maintaining full energy during the attacks. The implication is he's being recharged by energy from the crystals though it's not made explicit as Kup is a somewhat unreliable narrator...
When badly damaged a spark breaks through a Transformer's outer casing and if unchecked will exploded. The glow seen emitting from Prime's chest during the flashback in Stormbringer
may be down to this as well. Trailbreaker's force field is powerful enough to both contain this and protect him from the radiation without a suit.
The scenes with the dead Outback are similar to a sequence in the Red Dwarf
where a deranged robot pretends the bodies he's surrounded by on his crashed spaceship are still alive.
Despite Springer's claim that Optimus would risk everything to rescue Kup that doesn't really gel with what we've seen elsewhere. In Escalation
he refuses to let Ironhide investigate Sunstreaker's disappearance so as not to get distracted from the matter at hand even though it could have a bearing on their current mission. Assuming that Prime doesn't just not like Sunstreaker very much, Springer is probably bluffing and — as he knows Prime better that Prowl — he gets away with it.
Nick Roche has previously drawn covers for various IDW titles and interiors for the Shockwave
and Hot Rod Spotlights
. He's previously written and drawn several fan comics and here becomes only the fourth person (after Barry Kitson, Mike Collins and Bob Budiansky) to have both penned and done art for an official Transformers
Other characters he considered pitching his Spotlight
for included Roadbuster and Blur, before settling on Kup. He deliberately picked a character who hadn't appeared yet as he wanted to do a standalone story that wouldn't contradict anything Simon Furman was planning.
The comic also includes five pages of design sketches, including the rough pencils for a page that was eventually dropped.
As usual the first five pages were previewed online, but in a more unusual publicity step Kup joined other fictional characters such as Doctor Who
companion Martha Jones in having his own Myspace page: http://myspace.com/lostkup
. Written by Roche, Kup's friends include some familiar faces from IDW and British writer Paul Cornell.
(As much of the issue is seen from Kup's kooky point of view 98% of any flaws can be put down to his cracked worldview. Having said that...)
The crystals on the planet may be unstable, but are a great potential source of energy. Yet the Autobots, who've been surviving on poor Energon substitutes, seem completely uninterested by this. Perceptor at least would be excited by this. [They are trying to stop Kup blowing the planet up, so maybe it's on the cards later? And who knows how unstable the things are? -Ed]
Kup is an insane, ancient, badly damaged Autobot yet he manages to kill half a dozen fully sane and powered colleagues by beating them with Outback's arm. The training he gave them can't have been all that good.
Considering the mission has resulted in deaths, shouldn't Prowl be pushing harder for Springer to discontinue with the rescue efforts? If he's High Command surely he should have a bit of clout over Springer? [Maybe Prowl's bluffing as well and has stolen someone's High Command certificate and Blue Peter badge? Okay, okay, it's your Goofs section... -Ed]
Kup: "Last thing I need is another pair of eyes staring into my soul".
Kup: “It’s this place. This world. These crystals. I know life is worth livin' cos' they sing me so".
Kup: “He’s a good kid, that Outback. Always willing to lend a hand".
Kup: “I’d do anything to feel like this all the time. Anything".
Siren: “Where the Hell are the Wreckers during all this?"
Springer: "On the other side of the Galaxy protecting 'Bots like you from the real Big Bad".
Trailbreaker: "Look, I'm not judging Springer".
Springer: "No, but everyone else will. And so will history, I guess. And what would he think if he knew what I sanctioned just to get him back in this state? Look at him, trapped mind, body and soul... was it worth it?"