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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
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(2002-2004)
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(2001-now)
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(2001-now)
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CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers Spotlight: Optimus Prime
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

The visible scars will fade, but I know with dire certainty others never will.

A bit of a odd 'un this -- on first read through it seems to be revealing big important plot points but on closer examination there really isn't anything new except the fact that Nova Prime was a bit of a dodgy type and he was on the first Ark. Both facts that could easily have been included in Spotlight: Galvatron with the insertion of two lines.

The issues other two main selling points are Monstructor and Omega Supreme. The appearance of the former had its thunder stolen by this years GI Joe crossover, whilst the latest Revelation that -- as in the cartoon -- the Autobots keep their most powerful soldier hiding away from the rest of the action is less than inspiring.

Ultimately the book's main selling point is the art from Figueroa, which is just gorgeous to look at. But other than that it's all somewhat average, if harmless enough.

Oh, and jokes as obvious as "No one likes Wheelie HA HA HA!" should really be below Furman.

Notes

Optimus Prime's fight with Megatron was seen across issues five and six of Escalation, whilst we first learnt of the fate of the first Ark in Spotlight: Nightbeat before having it expanded upon in Galvatron. This is the first time we've learnt the name of Nova Prime and the fact he was on the ship. He isn't visible in the flashbacks in either of the two previous Spotlights but may well have been on the loo.

The communications screens Optimus is watching at the start of the issue contain the following references to other IDW stories:

• Ultra Magnus has a new lead on Scorponok following his Spotlight.
• Hound is moaning about Sideswipe as seen in Galvatron (this most likely places these events just before that as afterwards the stealing of Thunderwing would be far more important).
• Springer reveals that Kup is fixed physically but not mentally (a step up from Kup's Spotlight where his badly was badly bashed up).
• Wheelie is the odd one out as his plea for anyone to talk to is a dig at the characters un-popularity.

The main events of the issue take place between Esca and Deva in the ...tion main arc, long enough after for Prime to have been repaired. We learn that the Autobots have no way of tracking the missing Ironhide, that Nightbeat is about to begin investigating the storage device Verity stole back in Infiltration issue 0 and the humans will sadly suffer no ill effects from their gassing.

Omega Supreme is in hiding as an ultimate weapon to be used only as a last resort. His asteroid within the Muta-Gaath Nebula is hidden by sensors but the Decepticons seem to find it by following Prime -- so they're not that devolved as they were able to work out logically that as both a friend and the person who'd have to summon him if the Autobots ever needed him that following Optimus would eventually lead them to Omega.

Monstructor's weak point is on his chest. Whilst this seems a very silly place to have a weak spot (and is reminiscent of Scorponok in the Japanese Headmasters cartoon) it's worth remembering that this is a untried prototype rather than something built specifically to go into battle in the field and so is likely to have more rough edges. The group name for the toys was the Monster Pretenders; obviously that isn't used here as they don't have outer shell technology at this stage. They're not -- strictly speaking -- Decepticons either, as Spotlight: Galvatron established the time of Nova Prime predated factions, but they'll be referred to as such in the rest of this review simply for expediency's sake. The purple grid they're standing on as Omega recounts their story is a homage to the opening credits of the second season of original cartoon.

Optimus didn't recognise the face he saw in Escalation, he came to the conclusion it was Nova Prime at some point whilst being repaired. He claims the presence he felt was more akin to Thunderwing or Megatron than a Matrix bearer. He never met Nova -- though what he was at the time, or even if he'd been built yet, goes unspecified. His name is a reversal of Prime Nova, one of the previous Matrix bearers in the Marvel comic. As well as Sentinel Prime we see two other predecessors to Optimus in shadow.

One thing that isn't expanded upon is how Nova passed on the Matrix if he vanished without trace. It could be he left it behind before embarking on his mission, or that it is in some way replaceable (a computer program, perhaps, as it was in the early days of the Marvel comic?)

Jhiaxus was the name of the demented leader of the Cybertronians in the Generation 2 comic. The name might seem odd to the uninitiated: it's a play on "Gee, axe us" and refers to the fact everyone involved in the G2 comic assumed it would be cancelled after the initial 12 issues (which it was).

There were originally no plans to do a Prime Spotlight (and indeed, all the characters featured to date have been making their IDW debut) but it was ultimately felt it would make a good counterpart to the concurrent Megatron: Origin mini.

By way of bonus features the issue also includes a page with a series of sketches of Optimus Prime transforming (in blood red for some reason) and design sketches for both Sentinel and Nova Prime, which is the first occasion we have seen either's alternate mode.

Quote, Unquote

Optimus Prime: "But it was not my brush with mortality that weighs heavy on my mind... it is what I sensed beyond. In mid-download, in the virtual nothingness we call Infraspace I sensed a presence. Not just any presence, a Legend. A whole era of Cybertronian history personified. A Prime."

Optimus Prime: "You knew him didn't you? Nova Prime. Could he have changed that much?"
Omega Supreme: "He and I... Disagreed."

Omega Supreme: [on Monstructor] "They were supposed to represent the ultimate fusion of mind and body, creating a whole of vastly superior intellect and strength. Instead... they de-evolved into a monster."

Optimus Prime: "Jetfire, do what you can for them, but handle with extreme caution."

Goofs

What are the odds that on the very day that Optimus Prime decides to visit Omega Supreme and ask about Nova Prime and the old days is the same day that some Decepticons with links to Nova Prime and the old days would choose to attack Omega Supreme?

If you were selecting candidates for your "future of the species" program would you pick ones with names like Birdbrain and expect them not to go horribly wrong [the names must lose something in translation].

It doesn't seem to occur to Omega to just shoot Monstructor in the chest himself.

 
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