CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Tales of the Fallen #1: Bumblebee
Reviewed by Blackjack
"Absolutely not, Sam! Not after last time!"
Rather banal. There's nothing too wrong in this issue once. Nothing too right either. Basically, it's just a re-establishment of Sam and Bumblebee's friendship. No ground breaking plots like Reign of Starscream or a highly tense atmosphere like Alliance. Just simply Bumblebee hanging around and adjusting to life as a car, and Sam dealing with his life, and a re-match with Barricade. It's very nice to use Barricade as a villain, instead of the three dozen lifeless toy characters out there. Mowry tries his best in his post-movie books, but ultimately of all the characters he used, only two shines: Arcee and, to some extent, Thundercracker. So I really think that they should forego the toy characters clogging up space. Well, one or two to be cannon fodder or to fill up scenes are okay, but to have so much is just... redundant. Especially when they're all going to die.
That said, the Sam/Bumblebee vs Barricade fight is very trite, made a little unclear by the sometimes messy art. I didn’t understand why Barricade was playing with a control stick, until I realize that Bumblebee has been dropped into the car crusher. Oh, and Barricade faces away from Bumblebee most of the time. Carlos Magno is a decent artist, but needs to work on humans and action scenes. However, I must say that Alex Milne's art (especially in Alliance and the early Reign of Starscream issues) actually feels better and sharper compared to Magno's. It's a decent and fun issue, even if it's meaningless. It should've easily been half an issue, like that slow-paced Ironhide/Optimus story from AHM Coda. With the kitten in a tree and Miles taken out, it would've worked much better in that kind of length instead of spending an entire issue. There are some goof-ups, though, which will be covered below. Still, much better than IDW's other attempt at a Bumblebee spotlight.
The events of this story follow directly after that scene in Alliance issue four where Bumblebee was re-assigned as guardian of Sam Witwicky after a short stint as a NEST operative. His vocal circuits were damaged against Starscream in Alliance #2.
After appearances in Reign of Starscream, Alliance and the Veiled Threat, Barricade appears yet again. Every time he appears post-movie, he escapes from the Autobots to fight again. While Michael Bay seems to have forgotten Barricade during the second movie, IDW's writers must've been told not to kill off Barricade because Bay might use him in sequels. Apparently this doesn't hold for other characters, as evidenced by Alice and Reedman's deaths in subsequent issues.
Bumblebe watches TV in the garage. Perhaps that’s how he ‘improves’ on his English speak. It’s could be a homage to the Junkions of G1, though, who speak in the same way as movie Bumblebee. He talks in TV syllables most of the issue (it’s in italics and has “ signs), although he speaks some simple words, apparently in his own voice.
This issue marks the return of Miles and Trent, two of the supporting humans in the first movie. Also, as of this issue, Ron and Judy are aware of Bumblebee's existence.
Barricade still refers to Sam as Ladiesman217, like what he did in the first movie.
Barricade would be seen later (or earlier, depending when exactly this happens) in Alliance Four, where the NEST team apparently encounters him in Florida, but he manages to escape again.
None of the humans look like what they are supposed to look like. Sam seems to have gained a few pounds, and Ron looks like an overweight and bald G1 Sparkplug Witwicky.
Barricade wants the AllSpark, even though it's destroyed. Starscream even told him that when the two converse in Reign of Starscream. Later on, he tells Sam that he wants the All Spark shard (parsed in two words instead of one), so probably it’s just Barricade running out of space in the screen.
On the close-ups on page 13 and 15, Barricade only has two eyes instead of his normal four.
How does Bumblebee know where Barricade is? The message doesn’t show where his location is.
Miles: “Dude, tell me about Lindsley again.”
Sam: “She’s hot, okay, Miles? Just keep your hands to yourself, though. I promised Mikaela you wouldn’t perv out her friend.”
Sam: “But Dad, he stays in the garage. He watches TV in there. He won’t go into the lawn.”
Barricade: “This planet has made you weak, Bumblebee. Our fights used to be somewhat of a challenge. Your ‘victory’ last meeting was pure luck.”
Barricade: (to Bumblebee) “Ha! You can’t talk, but you sure can scream!”