Spotlight: Ultra Magnus

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Denyer
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Spotlight: Ultra Magnus

Post by Denyer » Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:52 am

Should be out on Wednesday 17th January.

Preview pages here:

http://tfarchive.com/comics/idw/preview ... spotlights

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Commander Shockwav
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Post by Commander Shockwav » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:24 am

Well done again, by both Simon and the artistic team.

When you read a Spotlight, you want something that is a succinct clear story in and of itself (which this is) and something that sets things up for future storytelling (which this does).

Writing-wise, I think this is Simon's best use of dialogue since the Shockwave Spotlight. It really flowed and none of the dialogue or exposition felt forced in any way. There were no cheesy oneliners that have the intent of making things more kickass, but have the opposite effect of being distractingly cliche.

What's more, Simon's take with the Headmasters was so fresh, I completely forgot that in the past we've already seen a Con named Scorponok meet a guy named Zarak on a planet called Nebulos where characters called Headmasters were born (in the Marvel run). That's #### good writing when you can have the same character do the same thing in the same place, and make it read like it's never been done before. When you can stay true to the essence of these characters, yet make it comepletely fresh, that's called skill. Simon and Nick did the same thing with the Shockwave Spotlight.

Crucial to having strong short stories, you gotta have an intriguing cast. Magnus vs. Scorponok. Very clever of Simon, because these guys have never even met, if I'm not mistaken, in any TF continuity. So it gives us something unique. I had the same feeling with DW's War and Peace, when it was Magnus vs. Shockwave. It's nice to see some of the other head honchos from each side go at it besides Prime and Megs. Throw that cheap bastard Swindle into the mix and you've got yourself a captivating enough cast.

Musso doesn't disappoint, and although he could downsize some to make the characters less bulky, overall he gets the job done. Needs some work on the body poses too, however, as Magnus at times seemed to be positioned strangely during the action sequences.

Overall, I give this a "B+", just under the Shockwave and Hot Rod Spotlights. Four out of five on the Spotlights ain't too shabby. Keep it up!

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Post by Denyer » Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:47 pm

That was pretty awesome. I was a bit skeptical after seeing the preview pages, but finding that that scene was entirely a warm-up the Magnus/Swindle interaction (and not spotting any other awkward poses like Magnus on the second page) really got into it -- the art tells the story well. In particular enjoyed the twist with Zarak pushing the everything-old-is-new-again angle... a very 'Ultimate TF' feel to it, like Marvel's reinvention of series. But then there's an interesting new angle as well -- the Cybertronians don't want their tech in other hands, enough to sanction peacekeepers and consider Decepticons who share it rogue. Other nice touches were the adaptive holomatter av and those Robocop-ish security drones.

Ended the first run of spotlights on a high. :)

4/5 --> 8/10.

Was anyone else thinking of Spaceballs when they saw Magnus's ship?

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Post by MeGrimlock » Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:45 am

I think Magnus and Scorponok briefly met in Time Wars, but obviously this is not a significant one.
Aren't the security drones based on Fasttrack's design?

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The Scoponok theory

Post by Terome » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:13 pm

So, who around here is almost entirely certain that Scorponok has ended up on Earth and has something to do with the Machination? It's a theory that arose on the IDW boards, as a lot of you would know. His scheme on Nebulos is even refered to as his 'machinations' at one point. Of course, it does seem to be one of Simon's new favourite words.

What I'm saying is, it would be pretty neat if Mr. Jolly was a Headmaster.

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Post by Neuronutter » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:56 pm

Another late review, this time the Spotlight falls on Ultra Magnus and he’s reinvented as a bounty hunter/officer of the law. He wears the badge of the Autobots but he’s respected by both sides as an autonomous agent recruited to hunt down those who cross the line of the law. Hmmm, interesting. I picked up the Scherwinski cover due to the fact that the Musso cover had sold out, and that was the one I wanted. I’m not keen on this Scherwinski cover, which is unusual as I normally love his, but this one’s ok. It’s the first time I’ve not been able to get the cover I want on a TF comic from my local FPI, and that bodes well for the sales of this comic.

So far the Spotlights have been an excellent look at an interesting group of characters and this comic is also excellent. The characterisation is great, the dialogue is sharp and snappy and I also really like the art. There a few little niggles along the way but for the most part its great. Overall this is a bang up job and has me glad that the Spotlights aren’t gonna finish with this comic.

The story involves Magnus tracking down Swindle and from there Scorponok. The choice of secondary characters in the Spotlights has also been great (especially the Dynobots in Shockwave’s) and includes this comic. Both characters are well chosen and portrayed, especially Scorponok. I usually hate getting excited about the inclusion of a character, but this had me psyched. Scorpy comes across very well and, despite having the same alt mode as before, looks and feels great. I can’t wait to see his reappearance in the ongoing comics. I also enjoyed seeing Zarak and was actually saddened by his fate and can imagine Scorponok actually being cut up about that.

As for Magnus himself, well he’s tough and unflinching in his duty, but also aware of this desire to do the best job he can and so willing to trade things he really shouldn’t to get a better result. It’s a nice take on a classic character and positively adds to the IDW universe. Other nice aspects of the story include the arrival on Nebulos and the use of technology including Simulcrums and the Headmaster process as a possible technology in the IDW universe. Once again Furman takes a previously daft technology and reinvents it into something thoughtful and useful. I wonder whether the Headmasters and Pretender technologies will be reappearing in the IDW TF universe. I actually hope they do because they are interesting.

Another thoughtful aspect of the comic is the Tyrest Accord, an agreement between various planets that limits the spread of Cybertronian science. I’ve read various posts saying that they think the Tyrest accord is a bad idea, but I disagree. I think a race like the Transformers on the whole would be very cautious about the spread of their technology even to the extent that they could see the benefit for both sides of a civil war to limit the spread to other planets. Of course this leaves room for anyone who thinks they could benefit by illegally trading tech, and thus for someone to enforce the law.

I really like the art in this issue. Musso does a great job of portraying an action packed issue as well as giving Magnus a strong and dynamic look. The perspective of the frames is also great and tells the story in a very dynamic way. Overall I think the art of this issue is excellent. The colouring is also very good, adds a gloss to the art and gives a bright and shiny feel to the comic.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this comic, these is a lot to like about it and I rate it as the second best Spotlight of the series, only being beaten by Shockwave and thoroughly look forward to the other Spotlights and more work from Musso. The comic seems to have been reviewed very well across the spectrum and will hopefully raise the profile of the TF comics and attract people to give the TF comics a look. Here’s hoping!

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Post by MegatronIDW » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:30 pm

Terome, that's EXACTLY what I thought when I read the bit about Scorponok's "Machinations". Since we've been told that all these Spotlights have affects on the main storyline, maybe it's a hint that Scorponok is behind the Machination. It would explain why there so well informed about Transformers, how they got the technology to take them out and why their only targetting Autobots.
Mr Joly is probably either a headmaster like you said, or maybe a Facsimile like the one Megatron is currently using.

Wild Theory: In an upcoming cover art preview, there's a human (Who some beleive to be Hunter, who was taken along with Sunstreaker) hooked up to some kind of machinery. What if Scorponok is continuing the Headmaster research and Hunter is being used as a test subject? He may be the first of the new Headmasters. Which begs the question...will Sunstreaker become a headmaster? It would be an interesting way of taking things in a new direction. Also, to further back up the Scorponok/Machination theory, Furman has said he wants the Headmasters and Targetmasters to appear in Devastation. And how great a cliffhanger would that be for Escalation? Yep, the more you think about it, the more sense it makes for Scorponok to be the power behind the Machination.

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Post by Terome » Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:57 pm

Well, I can't take credit for that theory myself, it came off the IDW boards. In fact, I didn't really suspect Scorponok having any involvement with the Machination at all until I had it spelled out for me. But yes, the upcoming cover does seem to suggest something unhealthy and mechanical for probably-Hunter.

Presuming Scorponok is behind it all, the real ten thousand shannix question is: why and when did he come to Earth?
The Art Du Jour for the Soundwave Spotlight that went up quite recently at IDW shows Soundwave on Earth in 1984, getting quite badly shot up and forced into stasis lock (?) by what looks to be Bludgeon and, by the big, ominous claw, Scorponok too. That's the sound of a mystery broadening and deepening...

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Post by MegatronIDW » Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:13 pm

Bludgeon AND Scorponok?! WHOA! Although, in the old continuity Bludgeon was Scorponok's second in command (And actually a loyal one) So...here's a further theory...

What if it was Scorponok who told Bludgeon to research into Pretender technology? After all, Bludgeon is a mystic, not a scientist, so it would explain how he learned how to manipulate Pretender Shell technology. And Soundwave stumbled across their plans...and got put in Stasis Lock for his trouble! But, it's been said that he's going to join Megatron in Escalation. So, he tells the big Meg what Scorponok's up to...and the Machination learns what happens when they get on the bad side of the nastiest mechs this side of the Daleks.

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Post by Terome » Fri Jan 26, 2007 4:04 pm

Wait... on the less hopeful eye of others and on a further inspection of my own, what seemed to be Scoponok's claw is actually far better described as the back of Iguanus' head. But that doesn't mean that Scorponok isn't there... just off-panel...

You're right about Bludgeon not being a scientist. He fumbled his way around Stormbringer like Skeletor himself. Someone had to have given him a push in the right direction, materials-wise.

I wouldn't be surprised if Soundwave tries to find a way to play both the Machination AND Megatron, though.

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Post by MegatronIDW » Fri Jan 26, 2007 7:57 pm

After what Megatron did to Starscream, I'd think most Decepticons would want to avoid trying to double cross him.
Also it depends how Soundwave will be characterised. It sounds like he starts off like his Marvel Uk self (Self serving oppurtunistic) but whether he'll stay like that depends on what happens, as it's suggested that he may change durinmg the course of the spotlight. Which means he may possibly become more like his more loyal cartoon version. Personally, I would actually welcome that change. I mean there are dozens of Decepticons who have the whole "Self Serving oppurtunist" thing going on (Starscream, Double Dealer, Swindle) but I always liked the way Soundwave genuinely respected Megatron and was always loyal to him. And I'm not the only one who likes toon Soundwave either (I'm looking at Raksha when I say that). Of course, both versions of the character have their merits, so either way I'm happy to se him making his IDW debut.
And you have a point about Bludgeon. While he is and always will be THE freaky badass, the way he was completely unprepared for the side affects of the Pretender process pretty much proved that he's no Wheeljack or Shockwave when it comes to the Pretender science.

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Post by zigzagger » Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:08 am

statement withdrawn...sorry!

edit: nevermind (again), I found something to babble about.

After the somewhat inane first few pages, I found Maggies' Spotlight to be fairly enjoyable. However, considering that the Spotlights are given a limited amount of page space, the story might have benefited more without the silly introduction. Perhaps the intro would have done better if it was reduced to a recap with Magnus narrating. The Nightbeat Spotlight, I felt, did this quite effectively. Magnus’ reconnaissance on Nebulos, where I thought the story was at its strongest, would have received more, much needed, attention this way, I think. That’s just me though. On a pleasant note, I was also very pleased to see Scorponok featured in the fiction again – more pleased to see him over Magnus, actually! I was a HUGE fan of Zarak/Scorponok back in the Marvel days (though Ratchet will always have my heart). Furman made such a lovely Scorpy before so I am anxious to see what he has in store for him.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:25 pm

I liked it- Lots of nifty art and action and apart from the misplaced speech bubble on the last page no hugely obvious goofs (bar the lucky coincidence of Magnus having an alt mode suitable for Nebulos allready. Unless he just changes the truck and keeps the same trailer that is, he robot mode wouldn't be to effected then...).

Weren't the Nebulons a different shade of green in Stormbringer now I think of it?
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END OF AN ERA IN MY LOOK AT AOE 5!
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Post by Starfield » Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:32 am

It would have been pretty cool if it was Devcon tracking down Swindle. Maybe he can chase down Ultra Magnus if he ever goes rogue.
Terome wrote: Presuming Scorponok is behind it all, the real ten thousand shannix question is: why and when did he come to Earth?
Not to mention how he became a disembodied head.

Should I assume that Gutcruncher and Banzaitron have altmodes?

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Post by Denyer » Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:23 am

I think so -- recall Nick saying something about how he'd drawn with them in mind.

BTW, there's an edit button to add small bits with. :)

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Post by Halfshell » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:15 am

I think the "why" in the case of Scorponok is the same as why he went to Nebulos - tech trading. And also to advance the breakthrough he was on the verge of.

When? Any point in the twenty-odd cycles between Spotlight Magnus and Escalation.

The disembodiment is the only real mystery...
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Post by inflatable dalek » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:16 pm

My monies on the teleport device being new and hugely unstable tech causing him to loose his head.

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Post by zigzagger » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Well, after Devastation #5, the Grimlock theory was debunked. I can't imagine it was self-inflicted, considering the whole "new lease on life" comment Dante made back in Escalation. At least that's one thing that seems to be a mystery (how Mr. Sk-nk was disembodied).

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Post by Halfshell » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:00 pm

inflatable dalek wrote:My monies on the teleport device being new and hugely unstable tech causing him to loose his head.
I can easily imagine that first conversation between him and Dante.

"Oi! You! Down here! I am a terrible alien death robot! Oi! Come back! Do what I say!"

"You don't have a body."

"It's only a flesh wound."
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Post by inflatable dalek » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:05 pm

Joking aside, I'm also betting he'd been in contact with the Machination before Ultra Magnus in order to have a bolt hole set up should things go wrong.

No doubt when I do get Devastation 5 in a week or so it will turn out to be bloody Quake is the head...

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