Spotlight: Blaster

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zigzagger
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Spotlight: Blaster

Post by zigzagger » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:43 pm

Here it is, the first of the third volume of TF Spotlights, Blaster. Should be fun. This is your all purpose, gladiatorial-style, Spotlight: Blaster reaction and discussion thread.
*throws dagger into middle of arena*
Have fun!

Due to arrive January 23rd according to CNI's shipping schedule
http://comicnewsi.com/article.php?catid ... emid=11006

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zigzagger
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Post by zigzagger » Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:48 am

It has been quite a while since I read about Blaster in TF media. Last I read about him he had a death match with Straxus, was later infected by Scraplets, and brawled with Grimlock. Now he's a morale boosting, shock jock for war time propaganda radio. And I must say, and perhaps I am feeling a bit generous today, I'm quite happy to hear from him again. I really appreciate that Furman decided to take a socio-political angle of the Transformers war for this issue, and would very much like to see more of this. Blaster's radio persona is referred to as "the voice" - a bit generic, true, bit it feels appropriate since he has plenty to say through out the issue.

Though, there was quite a few easter-eggs sprinkled through out the issue, including a Bluestreak that is actually blue (like the Diaclone model). But many of them felt necessary to the overall story, as many of these faces are Blaster's audience. Though most of these references were easy for me to ignore, I did get a few eye rolling moments. One being that Furman seems to be hinting at a Soundwave/Blaster rivalry. It was a bit predictable and I personally could do without it. Nevertheless, the issue is dense enough to keep a fickle reader such as myself satisfied, and the self-contained story telling is very much welcome here. Not quite on par with Spotlight Kup, but pretty close in my opinion.
4 out of 5

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Commander Shockwav
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Post by Commander Shockwav » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:47 am

Well, I enjoyed this one too.

For three main reasons:

Firstly, Simon understands the power of striking that nostalgic chord, and he does it again here by bringing together some of the crew from the Marvel Return to Cybertron story. Yep, Blaster's back with his pals Perceptor and Beachcomber, who together long ago fought so valiantly against that brute Straxus. Nostalgia worked well in the Shockwave Spotlight (when Shockers again fought the Dinobots on prehistoric Earth), and I think it worked well here too, in no way seeming like a rehash.

Secondly, it sets up the Blaster/Soundwave rivalry. Fans want to see things like the Dinobots vs. the Predacons, Magnus vs. Galvatron, etc. and it looks like Simon's giving us want we want. Most fans, anyway.

Thirdly, the character of Blaster as written somehow doesn't make a drastic departure from either his Marvel comic version or his cartoon version. He's the "Voice" of Cybertron, the Autobot who's job it is to put that positive spin on even the worst of situations, and yet he's that death-defiying Straxus-killer ready to take on all challenges in combat, finding compassion and patience in dealing with those less fortunate beings who do not have full control over their own selves (Spanner anyone? Again,nostalgic but new).

So kudos to Simon for tackling Blaster and this spotlight the way he did.

The negatives? Well, the whole 'talking someone out of mind control' gig has been done time and time again, so it's quite a cliche ending. Still, you gotta feel for Beachcomber who, in my mind, has always been one of the more innocent bots around.

I give this issue an A-. Took some points off for lack of originality in the plot department, but this is overshadowed by the originality shown by Simon in the characterization department.

Oh, strong work on the art as well.

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Post by Denyer » Thu Jan 24, 2008 6:26 am

Nearly perfect. It's a cliché to talk mind-controlees out of their state of mind, but it ties in beautifully with the focus of the piece being Blaster and his role in Autobot society. It's one of the first stories to suggest that they even have a society during wartime, though you'd hope there are some lighter programmes on offer as well to give everyone some escape moments.

Some background, some evidence that the 'Bots exist in a wider universe of alien races, plenty of character appearances and illustrating both the effectiveness of 'Cons such as Bombshell and the devastation a sleeper agent (witting or unwitting) can wreak.

Beats out Spotlight: Shockwave and on par with Spotlight: Kup, IMO.

Art's nice too, but I was expecting that.

4.5/5

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Neuronutter
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Post by Neuronutter » Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:15 pm

Another fantastic spotlight. Most of this series have been very good, but a few, Shockwave, Kup and this, have been excellent. Furman manages to reinvent old ideas and make them feel fresh again. Now that’s talent! I think I’d forgotten how good the spotlights can be after a couple of merely good issues, and had sort of lost touch with them, concentrating on the ongoing, but this issue dragged me right back in.

Furman manages to tell a great tale, a mystery that makes you realise the great stories he can tell in one issue, and helps you remember why we all love his and IDW’s new universe so much. Everything fits together well, from Blaster being a moral boosting DJ to his change in personality after being attacked, to the identity of the assassin, though I guessed who it was simply because it was the least likely going by personality (yeah backwards I know), to Blaster’s subsequent recovery and ensnaring the culprit. Even the rash of cameos feels natural and unforced and had me enjoyed seeing some new faces that, hopefully, will reappear soon.

Oh, and the art and colouring were also great. It was surprisingly consistent considering how many colour assists there were, unlike some of the previous, glaring differences in recent issues. Now that we’ve lost some of our great artists we need to attract some new ones as well as encouraging the ones we have to stay, though I doubt IDW will have any trouble finding enthusiastic artists for these projects.

I agree with a couple of other people on the boards. This was an excellent issue, up there with the best of the Spotlights. If we get Dev #5 next week we’ll have had three excellent (hopefully) comics in three weeks. Now that’s good going. Please keep the momentum going IDW!

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Post by Red Dave Prime » Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:17 pm

Boy is my finger not on the pulse of the transformer community...

I have read this one twice and found it pretty average, if not dull. With all the praise above I figure I should back this judgement up...

First off, theres a lot of duh moments. Silverbolt indicates that its been a while since the crime happened. The fact Soundwave is the perp makes it likely its a good while ago. In all that time, perceptor never once looked at the tapes and thought "hmm, that looks like a weak bit of tech cover. I should break it down and find the culprit". They all figured it was an inside job but no-one thought to check the rosters? In the flash back, Blasters body is blown into space. Fair enough. But seeing as there is no body, wouldnt the autobots have looked for him? He just drifts away and thats it? The autobot command hub looks like its filled with sensor arrays. All in all, it makes silverbolts command look... well, dumb.

Next problem is the beachcomber. For those of you who read the old marvel comics maybe this was a nice nostalgic touch. I gather theres history with some of the characters. But for me (only really reading dreamwave and idw) there is ZERO development of beachcomber as a character. He just appears as a guy in the background and then we see he's the guy. It'd be like an episode of star trek where they spend forty minutes looking for a treacherous science officer and then at the end it turns out to be a klingon from the first scene all along. Instead of filling the last TEN pages with ads (count 'em) they could have maybe done 5 pages to show how blaster thrusted all four of the guys who were suspect. At least I may have cared a bit.

The final bit comes when the trap is sprung. On the bottom of page 13 we see Perceptor taking to blaster about who he thrusts. The next page at the top we see a panel with the blurred assilants image and the panel next to it is Perceptor lying on his front, smoke coming out of his chest and a blast hits the panel of viewscreens which were behind him. Wheres blaster? good question. Turns out there should maybe be a caption saying "a little later" at the top of page 14.

There is good stuff here. It is nice to see more aliens, gives the impression of a much wider audience. The art is damn good in parts. The idea of Blaster as a morale booster for the de-moralised autobots is a good idea. But instead of the mystery story how about we saw the war through blasters eyes and THEN the assassination attempt. The flash back/ missing memory part just seems pointless.

Now, it would be fair to say that most of comics fall if put under too harsh a spotlight (sorry for the pun). But til now all of IDWs stuff, megatron:origin, has been good enough that I didnt look for flaws. Here, I did. Maybe its just not one for me, but I'd curious about what the rest of you think of my points.

The weakest spotlight and possibly overall issue from idw - 1.5 out of 5

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Post by Denyer » Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:43 pm

Red Dave Prime wrote: Instead of filling the last TEN pages with ads
Fewer ads don't equal more story pages. The only reason some of the Marvel reprints issues can substitute is because it's archive material and a publisher doesn't have to pay page rates to use it.
Red Dave Prime wrote:Next problem is the beachcomber. For those of you who read the old marvel comics maybe this was a nice nostalgic touch. I gather theres history with some of the characters. But for me (only really reading dreamwave and idw) there is ZERO development of beachcomber as a character.
How much does there need to be to establish Autobots generally aren't turncoats who attempt to assassinate each other? The only one out of those four with slightly more chance of not sticking with the Autobots is Mirage, who'd be more likely to desert than to sabotage the ranks from within. Besides, it's not really a mystery story -- the identity of the assassin is shown to us quite clearly by the shadow before Blaster starts reviewing vidreels.

Megatron: Origin didn't work for many longterm readers because we're familiar with the characters in previous incarnations, and familiar enough with older material that a lot of the references felt heavy-handed. I can easily believe new readers enjoyed it more.

Blaster isn't retrieved because the Decepticons use the diversion to launch an attack. What's more surprising is that they don't pick up (what they'd assume to be) his corpse for propaganda use and it floats far enough to be out of the range of sensors once they're back on / repaired. Then again, a body is a lot smaller than the space traffic they're presumably intended to pick up.

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Post by Terome » Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:06 am

The Thunderwing Event happened tens of thousands of years ago, didn't it? Pretty impressive that Blaster's been floating around in space for so long.

I can imagine it being a bit of a problem that all of the suspects are (as far as the new continuity is concerned) complete nobodies. You've also got to wonder about Blaster's assumption that it was the same guy. Seeing that Beachcomber has presumably been wandering around doing evil for a few thousand years, it's a wonder he hadn't been found out. If his acts of sabotage had been limited to just taking out Blaster, you've got to wonder why Soundwave went to all the bother.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:01 am

Terome wrote:The Thunderwing Event happened tens of thousands of years ago, didn't it? Pretty impressive that Blaster's been floating around in space for so long.
Is there any firm indication of when this happens in relation to the present time? Perhaps he was found fairly soon after and the big time jump is between this and Infiltration?

I really liked this, it does epic better in one issue that Stormbringer or Origin did in four and still manages to tell a very personal story. I will be willing to bet Blaster will find his peace by saving Nightbeat.

I'm in the middle of rewatching season 2 of Babylon 5 at the moment, so Beachcombers situation did put me in mind of Talia's (though I suppose it's more like the plan they had for the first officer in the pilot where she would have shot Garibaldi at the end of the first season under mind control if she'd stayed), which makes Soundwave Bester I guess.

Only bits I didn't like is that it was to easy to tell the traitor was Beachcomber through the first disguised image, and the Perceptor falls over bit was just odd, I think there was indeed a missing panel there.

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Post by Terome » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:57 am

The question of continuity came up on Simon's blog - he seems to prefer it being set in the present day. The only real niggles are Prime being notably absent and Nightbeat being on what appears to be the Ark-19. Both of these can be waved away pretty easily.

Fuel for the tiny fire though - Blaster is clearly in his cartoon design in Stormbringer. Maybe it is his similar-but-silent-and-certainly-never-seen-again brother, Bluster!

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Post by optimusskids » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:55 pm

have we seen how they reformat themselves in this continuity or has it all happened offscreen. It can't be too tricky as Hot Rod and Hardhead seem to have pulled it of quite easily.
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Post by Terome » Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:08 pm

They seem to be able to do it really easily. Nightbeat was able to change his form using the equipment on his apparently quite small ship.

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Post by zigzagger » Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:04 pm

inflatable dalek wrote:Only bits I didn't like is that it was to easy to tell the traitor was Beachcomber through the first disguised image, and the Perceptor falls over bit was just odd, I think there was indeed a missing panel there.
I thought that was a bit strange too. The dialogue between Perceptor and Blaster from the previous page continues onto the next page in the panel mentioned, where Perceptor is suddenly down. It took me a few seconds to figure out that a time jump had just occurred. An extra panel was definitely needed there.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:18 pm

Though I have now decided that within my own personal canon Perceptor had just come from Slarti's "Perceptor getting pissed" cover for the IDW contest and as such fell over simply because he was terribly, terribly drunk.

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Post by Brimstone » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:55 pm

Terome wrote:The question of continuity came up on Simon's blog - he seems to prefer it being set in the present day. The only real niggles are Prime being notably absent and Nightbeat being on what appears to be the Ark-19. Both of these can be waved away pretty easily.
What about the panel that shows Kup in the trenches with the other troops? This made me think this story took place quite a while ago.
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Post by zigzagger » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:37 pm

Brimstone wrote:What about the panel that shows Kup in the trenches with the other troops? This made me think this story took place quite a while ago.
Do we know how long Kup was marooned on the planet in his spotlight, or when his ship crashed?

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Post by Denyer » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:55 pm

Brimstone wrote:What about the panel that shows Kup in the trenches with the other troops? This made me think this story took place quite a while ago.
Since it's a flashback, it could be from any time Blaster's had the role. The flashback is placed during the first Thunderwing incident, but the rest is maneuverable.

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Post by AskShockwave » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:21 am

This one was much better than I expected, actually. Blaster being a propaganda boy was a clever idea, even if Furman's dialogue at times wasn't really up to the task. Nice art, and Perceptor seems to be coming a bit of a lynchpin cameo, all good. I loved the 'murder mystery' element, and the 'choose one of the four' panel half way through almost invited you to figure it out for yourself - in that sense, the Spotlight becomes almost a wasted opportunity, as the 'you be the detective' element could've been introduced earlier and played more with fan-knowledge. But still, minor quibble.

My only major problem is, like most, the whole cerebro-shell cop-out. If Soundwave's to be pitched as (sigh) Blaster's arch-rival, couldn't he have been a propaganda agent himself? Co-ercing Beachcomber into the act with a few well placed ideas, deals or even blackmail? Maybe the idea that Beachcomber would do anything to see the war over, and that Blaster's propoganda was only prolonging it? Not quite right, but Beachcombers "ooh, gosh, I don't know what I'm doing" was a bit embarassing.

Still, enjoyable, and enjoyed.
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Post by inflatable dalek » Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:10 pm

RE the whole "Bluster" thing:
http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Bluster

Is there actually a continuity error in Blaster being in the present day bits of Stormbringer? That was only about a month or so before Devastation 4, close enough to "now" to still work with Furman claiming a contempory setting. It also ties in with Blaster claiming it'll be a while before he's able to go looking for Soundwave. And considering he's still bearing his wounds from the first assasination attempt at the end of his Spotlight it's not unreasonable he'd change his exterior appearence whilst getting fixed up (as IDW Transformers seem to do this a lot anyway).

Unless of course Furman is planning to bring the character into contact with Soundwave in a way that contradicts this? Hmmmmm.

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Post by Red Dave Prime » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:20 pm

Re: no weapon

Quote:Silverbolt claims Blaster was unarmed in his battle with Beachcomber. Clearly he wasn't paying attention as Blaster's alt mode was in fact armed with a sonic cannon that he does indeed use on the geologist

Forget that, Blaster takes a few shots at beachcomber at the start of their fight. After a few re-reads, still not getting this issue and am amazed at the good response. Ah well, roll on dev #5 and arcee

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