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Red Dave Prime
2013-01-03, 02:29 PM
Well this is going to really piss off those of you who wish spotlights to stay out of the main plot and focus just on the character. This issue is tied completely into the hunt for metroplex. And it goes nowhere. And it sucks.

First, the art. Someone must love Chee in IDW because I dont think he cuts it. His style is far too simplistic. He's improved over his previous work but I would much rather see them pay Roche or Guido or even Burcham. And his design for the alien race is pure shit - stick an animal head on a human body. Voila! (it's french for "Ta-da!")

Next, the Thundercracker character - I kinda liked Costa and McCarthys view that Thundercracker was a more noble Decepticon warrior but here Barber has him as such a do-gooder that I have to wonder why he ever got involved in the Decepticon cause. He clearly is closer to the Autobot idealogy. And this is supposedly set before he felt that the Decepticon Cause lost its way under Megatron in AHM.

Even if we go back to when Cracker Jack joins the Decepticons, its when Megatron is going through his Pit Fighter phase. Surely this was a sign to TC that he wasnt quite the "fit" with his new buddies.

The plot itself is a bit "so what" as well. At the end of it all, nothings really happened. You could happily have thrown it into RiD when Thundercracker returns as a throw away flashback.

Obviously the whole Metro-titan thing is the big plotline but so far its the biggest "where's Wally" game and it needs to be explained at this point what the big smeg is. It cant be just a spacebridge.

inflatable dalek
2013-01-03, 08:53 PM
Chee? Oh dear. somebody shoot him with the Zander Cannon...

Terome
2013-01-03, 09:03 PM
No way man, Chee is one of the best artists IDW has had. You kids and your 'linework.'

zigzagger
2013-01-03, 09:15 PM
Oh, right. This was supposed to happen...

Missed the preview for this one, so it slipped my mind.

Red Dave Prime
2013-01-04, 12:01 AM
As far as I know this and Regen #87 got released on comixology a week early.

So, em, yay...

inflatable dalek
2013-01-04, 08:32 AM
It would seem they're no longer on there.

Knightdramon
2013-01-04, 11:15 AM
Loved it. It probably helps that the McCarthy-Costa run solidified Thundercracker as my favourite Decepticon.

Unlike Red Dave Prime, I believe that this issue focused more on Thundercracker than the quest for Metroplex. The story uses the quest as a means to probe Thundercracker's reservation and choices forward.

Chee has gotten much better at this than he was on the Bumblebee miniseries. I was a bit worried, but except from his trademark blockiness, everything else is pretty much solid.

The only thing I pretty much detest is Bumblebee. While the writing on him is at least consistent, it came in so randomly and overall he's such a random character to train the spotlight on, it hurts. Prior to Costa's run he was pretty much a nobody, plus the lowest ranking bot on the team in Infiltration--AHM. The movie popularity pushed him forward and thanks to a vote of the Autobots, he's centered in EVERYTHING he appears. He's a main character in Autocracy, he's a main autobot in this...

And why on Earth is the lowest ranking autobot of the team in this issue giving out orders?

Meh. I hope Megatron takes him out of that position in RiD.

Red Dave Prime
2013-01-04, 09:58 PM
On re-read, I feel I may have been a bit overly harsh on this. I still dont rate Chees work and the character of Thundercracker doesn't make sense to me at all but the issue itself isn't as bad as I first thought.

Unlike Red Dave Prime, I believe that this issue focused more on Thundercracker than the quest for Metroplex. The story uses the quest as a means to probe Thundercracker's reservation and choices forward.

I think its a bit of column A and a bit of Column B. While we get a lot of internal thoughts from Thundercracker and his feelings on being a Decepticon, the basic plot is that he is part of a squad which is hunting the metro-titan. In much the same way that many of the earlier Furman spotlights focused on Shockwave and ore 13, the spotlights here are focusing on the decepticon hunt for Metroplex. Orion Pax was the first sign that Bludgeon was the one assigned to lead the hunt and this is a story on how close they came. I would argue that Costas much-celebrated issue in the ongoing gave far more of a focus on Thundercracker but I'm not someone bothered by Spotlights not being one-shots or tying into a larger arc.

It probably helps that the McCarthy-Costa run solidified Thundercracker as my favourite Decepticon.


My feelings on the Thundercracker character is this: (and note:spoilers!)

In this issue Thundercracker expresses moral conflict with how Bludgeon and his fellow decepticons destroy other races just to continue their own quest in the most efficient manner. He also betrays his own mission by not revealing to Bludgeon how he located Metroplex, or that he actually was found him in the cave. Or that instead of gunning down an Autobot who initiated the attack on his squad, he found him noble for protecting the weaker aliens.

Now here's the thing. This is set way, way back in the past. If this is how Thundercracker felt why did he stick with the Decepticons all the way through the war. Even after Megatron created the 6-phase method of conquering other planets. What a tool. Thats not noble. Thats cowardly.

In AHM, Thundercrackers main bone of contentions were that Megatron is performing experiments on cybertronians/ decepticons to create the insecticons, and that the drop of a nuclear bomb on the autobots is a cowardly way for cybertronians to battle. Thats fair enough and in some respects I would view Thundercracker at this point to being similar to cyclonous - a patriot warrior who puts his own race at the top of the pile.

Then in Costas ongoing, Thundercracker, isolated from all cybertronians, gains insight into the human condition and an odd appreciation for human society. Its a fair enough evolution of the character. So I'd agree that both McCarthy and Costa provided a nice version of this character.

But this early incarnation doesnt fit for me. He's already questioning the whole decepticon ideal and has sympathy for other races. Then he goes back to being a regular seeker for 4 million years? Not buying it.

Curious how others see it, I'd never be someone who says I'm 100% right on something.

Unless its about Joss Whedon and how awesome everything he does is...

Knightdramon
2013-01-05, 06:57 PM
To be fair, Thundercracker seems to have joined Megatron's crew as a knee-jerk reaction to the Senate, their Clampdown and the corruption going on with the functionists society.

[Do note, than unlike, say, Drift, Thundercracker's already privileged by being a seeker]

He does remain skeptical as Megatron creeps towards terrorist actions and slowly declares war on the Autobots [Megatron Origin, Autocracy]

[Though, to be honest, he initially joins as a way to vent his frustrations at the arena instead of all out war]

Next you know, he's under a crew of somebody he doesn't like and has a different ideology [Bludgeon is more of a sadist and occultist, somebody who joins the Decepticons out of spite and as a tool to wreck havoc].

Finally, expanding their assaults on other, lesser races is probably out of Thundercracker's league.

Next thing you know, Megatron's methods of dissent and corruption even within his Decepticons [AHM Insecticons, the assault on Earth] disgust him enough.

Finally, the small rogue guerrilla pockets of D-cons on Earth finally hit it, as even after the war ended Decepticons acted as douches with no Senate, no oppression, no nothing, is what hit him to openly rebel.

What's troubling is that through the years we've been fed his story segmented and in the wrong order, but it still glues together pretty good, in my opinion.

inflatable dalek
2013-01-17, 09:06 PM
Now officially out!


Hmm. If Orion Pax was average then it has to be said Thundercracker is much the same. First off, apologies to Chee, this was much better than his work on the Bee mini.

The plot however did feel like a big Huh, despite being nicely told. The problem (and it was arguably the same problem Pax had, though that at least had a couple of curve balls) is there was very little that was new or surprising here. We knew they weren't going to capture Metroplex (though as the Decepticons seem to be pinning their space bridge technology on the Titans they must get hold of one briefly sooner or later), we knew Thundercracker was conflicted over the cause but wouldn't do much about it till the present day, we knew the Autobots would defend the aliens despite the overwhelming odds.

Nothing especially bad here, but nothing super sexy amazing either. The returned Spotlights are going to need too raise their game a lot to be worth pursuing.

And is there some sort of obligation to put Nightbeat in every story set in the past?

Terome
2013-01-17, 11:58 PM
Hmm. More solid in structure than Orion Pax but it told a fairly dull story. I do like Chee's art though, especially on the silent Titans, but I'm not sure he quite understands the tao of alt modes and his lines could probably benefit from a more minimalist palette. Looks like the colourist has tried to go with desaturated tones but in my opinion they should be Samurai Jacking this stuff up.

Come to think of it, I don't think we've yet seen an official Transformers story with a limited palette. Does anyone reckon that Hasbro might send back that sort of thing with the swatches attached in case they were forgotten?

Terome
2013-01-18, 11:55 AM
Forgive me for the double post but I think I have put my finger on what bugs me about this Spotlight. It's the cover! That image of Thundercracker being, well, spotlighted among all the other Seeker guys would probably be a far more interesting story if it was more literal. When I saw that I thought we were going to delve a bit into constructed cold vs forged, get to the bottom of Transformer lifespans, and consider what makes one unit from a production run become Starscream while another becomes Thundercracker.

So maybe I am quite down on the issue because of that thwarted expectation.

Red Dave Prime
2013-01-18, 01:37 PM
Thats a much better idea Terome. It could have explored not just why Thundercracker feels unique but also why some robots become one thing and others another.

I'll be honest, so far this series of spotlights is so much about finding the metro titan that I kinda wish that of called it something else (in the same way of spotlight: revelations). They're not bad issues as such but they feel like a step back from what both of the ongoings have produced.

Terome
2013-01-18, 04:58 PM
I'm sure they will get to that story eventually. Though the lengths to which they've gone to obscure basic details like that is extraordinary. Here's a basic question: why are all Seekers Decepticons? Were they recruited early in one big bunch? Is it a fashion thing? Are they considered a class unto themselves or just a body type? If so, where do body types come from - do Transformers make them consciously or did a factory on Cybertron just spring up one day and started to churn them out?

inflatable dalek
2013-01-18, 05:20 PM
Come to think of it, I don't think we've yet seen an official Transformers story with a limited palette. Does anyone reckon that Hasbro might send back that sort of thing with the swatches attached in case they were forgotten?

Assuming I've got the right idea in mind, I think there was a Costa issue that tried to do what you're talking about, one where the Decepticons were all sitting about being sad on a rock.

Terome
2013-01-18, 05:29 PM
Oh yeah, I do remember that one. E.J. Su drew it didn't he, in his Mignola style. Looked pretty good as I recall. But no, I meant something more like this:

http://lukepearson.com/2012/10/hilda-and-the-bird-parade.html/finalcover-web

inflatable dalek
2013-01-18, 05:34 PM
Ah got you. Not what I was thinking of at all.

I suspect the problem with that for Transformers is that there are several characters (including the star of this issue) who you can only tell apart by their colours. That might make it tricky to pull off, though for an issue where they were careful about who was included it could be worth an experiment.

Terome
2013-01-18, 05:41 PM
It would be an interesting challenge but with very few exceptions the teams don't seem to think about the colouring at all until the pencils are coming in. Burcham could pull it off - I'd be interested to see what he could do if he were doing all of the art for an issue. Great big, busy battle scenes that would otherwise be visually very confusing can really pop with a spot of limited or symbolic colours.

inflatable dalek
2013-01-18, 05:47 PM
And they did pull off the Marvel style colouring in the Annuals (in a way that was faithful but still felt more affectionate that a piss take of Yomtov) so I think if they went in with the right mindset anything is possible.

Terome
2013-01-18, 06:03 PM
Yeah, that was great. Guido did all that himself, didn't he? It's not an inherently bad form of colouring by any stretch - doing it digitally makes it a lot easier to avoid the classic Yomtov mistakes. It's rare, in my opinion, to have a colourist + illustrator duo produce better work than a single artist doing it all themselves because so much more thought can go into the process while the drawing is being done.

Apparently in the industry it is considered the highest taboo for a colourist to alter a single line received from the illustrator. This seems to me to be a very precious attitude that probably does more harm than good.

Warcry
2013-01-23, 05:12 PM
I read this issue back when it was accidentally released early, but it made so little of an impression on me that I genuinely didn't remember what happened (other than that Waspinator was randomly in it) until I read this thread. I certainly didn't think it was a very good spotlight on Thundercracker, since we didn't learn anything about him that we didn't already know.

Forgive me for the double post but I think I have put my finger on what bugs me about this Spotlight. It's the cover! That image of Thundercracker being, well, spotlighted among all the other Seeker guys would probably be a far more interesting story if it was more literal. When I saw that I thought we were going to delve a bit into constructed cold vs forged, get to the bottom of Transformer lifespans, and consider what makes one unit from a production run become Starscream while another becomes Thundercracker.

So maybe I am quite down on the issue because of that thwarted expectation.
I figured it was going to be something like that, too. A story focusing on what exactly it means to be part of a mass-manufactured subgroup like the seekers, and how their identical bodies and (presumably) minds could over time develop into characters as diverse as Starscream, Thundercracker and the rest of the seekers would have been most welcome. A story about the not-especially-interesting Metroplex mystery that just happened to feature Thundercracker? Not so much.