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Blackjack
2014-07-21, 11:17 AM
Transformers Windblade #2
21 May 2014
Written By: Mairghread Scott
Art By: Sarah Stone
Letters By: Chris Mowry
Edited By: John Barber & Rebecca Huard

Synopsis: News reporters Longtooth and Circuit attempt to interview the various civilians regarding the bombing, but after interviewing several patrons at Maccadam’s, Blurr kicks him out. Starscream and Rattrap visit the injured Windblade, despite Chromia’s protests. Starscream meets Windblade alone, and delivers what is essentially another warning. Windblade tries to put on a brave face and demand that he leave. She confides to Chromia about the orange wire, which she suspects is part of an igniter capsule. However, they realize that the news reporters are recording them, causing Chromia to scare them away with her axe. Windblade says how she suspects that Starscream had Rattrap set off the blast, but Chromia warns her to watch what she says until they can get more conclusive proof. They head off to meet Ironhide, watched by Starscream and Rattrap, who plan their next move.

Ironhide (who had been guarding Metroplex’s brain in their absence) is unsurprised to hear of their theory but could not find a reason why. Windblade tries to consult Metroplex, trying to find if any of the problems plaguing the titan could be Starscream’s doing, but the wounded Metroplex shows too many possibilities where it could’ve gone wrong, and Windblade curses how she had not healed Metroplex but may have made things worse. Chromia and Ironhide watch Circuit’s footage, noting Waspinator's remarks that he’s ‘not wanted underground’, and the three surmise that someone told him to. Windblade and Chromia head to Maccadam’s and immediately find Waspinator, who makes a run for it, but is quickly taken down by Chromia. Windblade shows some pity on Waspinator, who’s constantly abused, and talks nicely to him. Waspinator is still afraid and keeps avoiding the issue, but agrees to lead Windblade to where the encounter took place without naming any names.

Waspinator leads Windblade to Metroplex’s filtration systems, where they find a massive energon reservoir from one of Metroplex’s wounds. Windblade concludes that Starscream is trying to mine either the Death Ore or the Regeneration Ore that Metroplex was infused with. They depart, not knowing that they are being watched by Rippersnapper. Windblade contacts Circuit of the Iaconian news, and allows them to interview her live at Maccadam’s. Circuit asks for proof and Windblade leads them, as well as a group of other people in the bar, down to Starscream’s mine. However, upon their arrival, they are ambushed by three Terrorcons, and Windblade draws her sword, preparing for battle.

Featured Characters: Longtooth, Circuit, Chromia, Blurr, Tall Tankor, Fat Tankor, Waspinator, Starscream, Rattrap, Ironhide, Metroplex, Slug, Nautica (flashback), Rippersnapper, Sinnertwin, Cutthroat

Review:

”You gotta ask yourself, ‘why now?’ What have you done to him lately?”

This issue still has the slower, more character-oriented focus of the past. Windblade takes center stage once more, being a kind soul to Waspinator and the issue in general shows the poor guy some love. After spending time establishing the current situation last issue, this one backpedals slightly from the cliffhanger of last issue, and has Windblade and Waspinator investigate the mystery and quickly solve it, and it’s really refreshing how it’s solved in the space of five or six pages when it took five or six issues for Dark Cybertron just to get to trying to explain stuff. Pacing is still a bit wonky, though, and it feels like the issue’s taking a fair bit of time since they had time to go back and forth from the bar to the reservoir and the bad guys apparently just sit and wait while they do that.

The art is still nice, though it’s wobblier than the standards from the first issue. There are some panels that looked rushed, such as Starscream leaning on the wall, Chromia pining down Waspinator, Blurr’s mouth when he was trying to apologize… and sometimes it kind of fails to show an action as clearly as it should. The scene with Windblade apparently falling down into a grate that Waspinator opens is awkwardly drawn, since at one point Windblade is on all fours a fair distance away from the grille, and the next has her surprised, falling down feet-first because Waspinator apparently opens the grille, but the art doesn’t make it clear whether she moves there, or if Waspinator pushes her in, or what. And robot-mode Waspinator can be added to the people who have weird mouths. For all the wonderful, wonderful expressions that Sarah Stone brings to the series, Waspinator’s mouth is just a big gaping static hole, and especially for someone who has watched Beast Wars and knows how his mouth is supposed to emote, it’s certainly an oddity for me personally.

Still, for all my complaints, the art still manages to convey the story pretty well, with the emotions and facial expression and body language being portrayed wonderfully. At one point when Windblade was putting clues together in her head and flying away to do plot-related stuff, we can see Waspinator back-paddling in the energon pool in the background! The panel with Chromia deflecting an explosion was beautiful, as is the image of her energon axe materializing and scaring the shit out of Circuit and Longtooth. Blurr’s another one that Stone draws really nicely, he looks really good and is certainly very emotive.

Windblade herself is pretty likable, coming off as this kind, nice person who wants to help but is out of her league in trying to fix Metroplex, and instead finds herself in Starscream’s crosshairs either because of a perceived slight or because of the chance of stumbling into something more sinister. I do quite like how she’s unsure of herself throughout though she’s determined to do what is good.

Starscream is a massive slimey asshole, and he definitely exudates his Prime cartoon counterpart’s voice and mannerisms. Perhaps it’s a direct influence from Scott, who’s worked on the Prime cartoon before? I certainly approve! The take on having Starscream be a jealous leader defending a perceived threat on his position is nice, and while it seems to be reduced to a more traditional ‘mine the energon and kill Metroplex because I’m evil’ plot at this point, it’s still not quite all confirmed yet. This has been the first time in a long, long while that I’ve been impressed by a comic book portrayal of Starscream.

Chromia and Ironhide are still more or less the same as before, Ironhide being the wiser, older mentor and Chromia being more hotheaded. I do find that Chromia’s pretty fun and acts as a nice foil for Windblade. Rattrap as a villainous lackey of Starscream is something that I have hated on a lot of times ever since RID, something which in my opinion rather disrespects the character despite any ‘oh, but this is a different continuity!’ arguments. While backpedaling on that would be a dick move among authors, Rattrap’s presence is kept to a minimal where he’s just working for Starscream and is generally non-offensive.

Unlike his fellow Beast Wars immigrant, however, Waspinator takes center stage without completely pissing all over his previous incarnation. You just get this feeling that he’s abused constantly that he just bolts the moment anyone mentions his name, he tries to evade the questions because he doesn’t want to get hurt even more and you can’t help but feel sorry for the poor dude. I just want to give Waspinator a hug! Poor little bugger. It’s nice to see Windblade be a kind soul to him, though he does drink Metroplex’s… energon? Blood? It’s always weird how energon is both the Transformers’ drink and blood for me.

Longtooth and Circuit fill a pretty nice niche role in the story, and the scenes of them filming the bar, and later being instrumental to Windblade’s plan to expose Starscream, and they’re generally well-done. Blurr doesn’t show up as much as last issue, but the few scenes he gets is pretty fun. Slag gets a funny scene, though I have the sinking feeling that the Dinobots will show up as cavalry in the third or fourth issue. Using the Terrorcons as villains is a nice thing, it’s been too long since we’ve had actual Decepticon goons just getting in the way of the good guys.

It’s a pretty good read. The general political-themed main plot with Starscream being a Luthor-style tyrant with good publicity and underlings that do the dirty work is a nice one. Most of the characters come off as pretty likable. It’s a good, solid issue in my books, despite a few shortcomings in the art and pacing department, it’s still a nice solid read.

(3 out of 5)

Notes:

Again, all the stuff with Metroplex and Shockwave’s ores and the thumb and everything happened throughout Dark Cybertron, whether they were seen or explained afterwards. Chromia mentions a meeting with Optimus Prime, which was shown in Robots in Disgsuise #28.

Circuit and Longtooth (whose IDW design is a hybrid of his original inner body and his Pretender shell) have been established to be reporters in Robots in Disguise #11 and has popped up here and there after the fact. Circuit’s alternate mode is first glimpsed here, however, and it’s a car.

Chromia is equipped with a shield and an energon axe. Windblade’s sword seems to be one of her jet turbines transformed.

The three Terrorcons appear in the bodies from the Prime toyline. The Terrorcons, except for Hun-Grrr who’s a prisoner abroad the Lost Light, were last seen as part of the Decepticon rioters from Robots in Disgsuise, though Cutthroat shows up in one panel of Dark Cybertron. Blot is conspicuously absent due to his apparent death at the hands of Arcee in Robots in Disguise.

Again, in contrast to Windblade’s light-blue energon ‘blood’ from last issue, the energon pool here is the traditional dark-pink colour. The energon Waspinator coughs out when Chromia tackles her is likewise pink, meaning that last issue could either be an artistic error or another way Windblade is different from normal Transformers.

Goofs:

Again, the last time we saw the Terrorcons, they were rioting alongside Megatron’s forces against Starscream and the government. While they are certainly going to be inclined to work against former Autobots, it’s rather odd that they would choose to work alongside Starscream, who’s practically disowned all the Decepticons in the past.

During the fight with Waspinator, Chromia summons her shield with her left hand, but in the next panel when she rams Waspinator, the shield seems attached to her right hand.

A red car that seems to be Ironhide was among the people that drive alongside Windblade when they go to the mine, but he is completely absent in the next issue.

Quote, Unquote:

Blurr: “I know I talk fast, so I’m gonna slow down… buy… a… drink… or leave!”

Windblade: “We think that Starscream was behind the explosion in Acrolight.”
Ironhide: “You got the proof?”
Chromia: “Does the fact that you’re not even pretending to be shocked count?”

Waspinator: “Wazzpinator did not do it!”
Chromia: “Do what? I didn’t ask anything!”
Waspinator: “Whatever lady botzzz thinkzzz he did!”

Windblade: “Wait… why would we hurt you?”
Waspinator: “Everyone hurts Wazzpinator. Right?”
Windblade: (internally) That… is really depressing.

Windblade: “Argh, that is just gross! That’s someone’s energon!”
Waspinator: “Shhh! It’s free!” –slurp-

Chromia: “Hey, Blurr – how many ‘bots in here you think would want to kill Starscream?”
Blurr: “Honestly, ‘haven’t tried to kill him’ would be a shorter list.”

zigzagger
2014-07-21, 06:17 PM
Well, you're just firing on all cylinders.

Gave it the once-over. Not much to correct. Sterling stuff, as usual.

Blackjack
2014-07-22, 02:35 AM
Having already done a recap/review I can copy-paste a good chunk of in the comic forum is certainly helpful. :)