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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
Club/Con
(2001-now)
Titan Books
(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
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Other Books
and Titles

CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers Spotlight: Metroplex
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

I WEEP FOR MY FELLOW AUTOBOTS BUT I CAN NOT HELP THEM.

There’s one missed opportunity with this Spotlight, it promoted as being about the wrong character. Considering it's Goldbug who gets the inner monologue and the focus is very much on him and his team, if this had been called Spotlight Goldbug with Metroplex turning out to be a surprise guest star it would probably be a bit more satisfying.

That said however, it wonderfully fun. The new more chilled out Sixshot is that rarest of things, a reworked IDW character that’s the better for the change. No more brooding and introspection, he’s just having a ball. His continued defiance in the face of various giant body parts is silly, but in the entertaining sort of way the comics haven’t managed for a while.

The Throttlebots also come over well. They may not be soldiers, but they are smart and come up with the best strategy that stops them getting killed instantly. Apart from Goldbug and Searchlight, the others are perhaps a bit light on characterisation, but provide background support well enough.

Metroplex himself is the real flaw, though not entirely through any fault of his own. The star of the issue gets some great visual moments, but as soon as he starts the ominous foreshadowing it’s impossible for a reader who’s been let down time and time again by the poor long term planning at IDW to care. Hopefully Metroplex will turn out to be a complete coward on the run making up secret missions so he can go hide.

The art has an excellent sense of scale and is appropriately bright and breezy. This isn’t going to go down as the greatest Transformers comic of all time, though sadly it’s one of the best of this year, but as entertaining fluff it makes a pleasant change.

Notes

Having previously served as Prime’s secretary, Searchlight seems to have transferred into the Throttlebots unit at some point since Revelation. His prior position no doubt explains why he knows of the “IT” that Metroplex is protecting.

Goldbug isn’t Bumblebee reborn. This is theoretically a massive change from prior G1 continuities, but in practice he’s not all that different personality wise. When praising the speed of his team he mentions the Benzuli Expanse, location of the entrance to the Dead Universe.

It’s not clear if “Throttlebots” is a properly recognised team name or an unofficial one as with the Terrorcons.

Scrounge, as immortalised in Marvel US #17 The Smelting Pool! is part of the Orvus base staff. Special hand not shown.

Sixshot is alive and once more in possession of all his marbles. It seems he brought his freedom by giving Megatron Jhiaxus’ Space Bridge technology (as mentioned in All Hail Megatron issue 10). This is hard to quantify as a goof, but it seems a dubious explanation at best. Sixshot doesn’t seem the technical type and was a sparkles zombie his entire time with Jhiaxus. As there weren’t any Decepticons on Bhul you also have to wonder why the Autobots gave his body back to the Decepticons, though no doubt there’s a really exciting off screen adventure that explains it. Either way, Sixshot is now a much more happy and cheerful fellow than he used to be, positively relishing his work.

Metroplex seems to be hidden amongst a real city, though who built it and if it was built just for him is unclear. Both the panel of his hand coming out of the ground before the rest of him and the Guido Guidi cover homage the Marvel UK story Space Pirates!. His battle station mode doubles as a handy spaceship. He also only speaks in capitals.

Searchlight’s “You still function?” line is a misquote from the 1986 Transformers film.

So what is the mysterious IT Metroplex is guarding? It could well be just a McGuffin to keep him away from the main action where he’d end every fight faster than even Omega Supreme would. However, considering Schmidt is usually editing the comics rather than writing them, he may well be seeding future vital plot points. If this is the case, IT will be the second such thing in an IDW Transformers comic to be named after a character played by Tim Curry following the Darkness. No doubt the ongoing will reveal the deadly Franknfurter.

An editor’s note expressly states this takes place “just prior” to All Hail Megatron issue one. It’s probably slightly more before than that as Sixshot’s offensive is clearly part of the mass Decepticon attack launched by Sunstreaker’s betrayal/Optimus and the other Autobots getting sent to Cybertron as seen in flashback during issue 7 of that title. As Prime’s group has clearly been marooned on the planet for a while by the start of issue 1, this must be a similar span of time before as well.

The issue was promoted as being told entirely in two page spreads (which usually means one piece of art across both pages). It fact, the panel lay out is more traditional, but read from left to right across the two pages.

According to the IDW Botcon panel, this is to be the last Spotlight for the foreseeable future.

Goofs

As is traditional with the Throttlebots, a mix up over their names has to be made at some point, so early on Goldbug calls Chase Freeway.

Jhiaxus is spelt without the H.

Searchlight makes great play of having seen Sixshot defeat an entire army on Bhul. This doesn’t gel with what we saw in Revelation where a small group of Autobots would have teleported in behind him to grab the Nega Core without confronting him. As this happened off page, it is possible something went wrong and a fight did ensue, but in that case the Autobots would have won it [The reason Searchlight got transferred from headquarters is he’s a psychologically unstable nervous wreck with paranoid delusions].

Great confusion surrounds Metroplex’s presence on the planet. He must have been there before Orvus Base as they’d have likely noticed a giant flying city enter the system, but at no point has anyone at this facility noticed the Cybertronian life sign nor the empty abandoned city on their neighbouring uninhabited planet. It might be Scrounge and the others were in on it and Metroplex was part of their secret work (perhaps with them even building the surrounding city?), but in that case, putting an Autobot base next to their most well hidden secret was deeply stupid. Why not have them in the next system over? Or even a few more planets away?

Quote/Unquote

Goldbug: And we’re the only survivors of a mission I never had clearance to know about.

Sixshot: Surrender. Hand over the lab’s information. Die without pain. You don’t want the alternative.
Goldbug: I suppose if we don’t have any information you’ll have to torture us?
Sixshot: Something like that.
Goldbug: Yeah, I thought so. Throttlebots, roll for it!
Sixshot: Like I didn’t see that coming. Time to play.

Sixshot: [Getting dragged along behind Rollbar] AHA HA HA HA! This is fantastic!

Sixshot: You’re the one that knows me. Are you afraid? Well?
Searchlight: I-I… [Sees a giant hand] Nope.
Sixshot: Really, well you should…
WHOOM
Metroplex: STOP.
Sixshot: Uuuuhh…
Searchlight: You still function?
Sixshot: I am Sixshot and…
Metroplex: I AM METROPLEX.
[Giant comedy foot crushes Sixshot]

 
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