Spotlight: Arcee

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zigzagger
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Spotlight: Arcee

Post by zigzagger » Sat Feb 16, 2008 3:50 am

Holy token female characters, Batman, it's Arcee! That's right, the pink-clad Autobot is here and she's whole lot crazier. Ooo, and Jhiaxus will be there too, in some capacity. This is your all purpose Transformers Spotlight: Arcee reaction and discussion thread.

Due to arrive in your sweaty fanboy/girl hands the 20th of this month according to....some anonymous source?
http://forum.idwpublishing.com/viewtopi ... 5&start=45

edit:Yep, confirmed for Wednesday. http://comicnewsi.com/article.php?catid ... emid=11134

To some within the fandom this might be controversial subject matter, so do try to stay on topic, m'kay?
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DrSpengler
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Post by DrSpengler » Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:11 pm

.

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Drivaaar
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Post by Drivaaar » Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:28 am

DrSpengler wrote:The colorists did a fairly good job. It was muddy, but nowhere near the level of Megatron: Origin. I was actually able to tell Milne's characters apart from the background.
Glad you liked the colouring - Milne's art sure is a challenge to colour!

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zigzagger
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Post by zigzagger » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:28 am

Alright. This wasn't as silly as I had expected it to be. Not as many gendered stereotypes or subtexts distracted from the over all story (not to say that they're non-existent, of course. There's plenty).The story itself isn't as self-contained as earlier rumored, though its ties to Spotlight: Optimus Prime and Devastation #5 are somewhat indirect, but definitely there. But my initial observation of this Spotlight, much like Spotlight: Galvatron, was that it didn't necessarily feel like a spotlight of a particular character, but part of a larger, continuing story. Hence why it didn't quite seem "self-contained". But we do see some some of Arcee's inner dialogue, which was nice. Fortress Maximus, who is the main supporting cast member for this issue, is stationed at a detention center as a warden was a nice touch on the character. However, though he gets plenty of page time, we're not offered much insight of the character. He's seems very....Magnus-like. The former G2 antagonist , Jhiaxus, finally makes an appearance. Well, sort of. In a distorted transmission, but from what we're able to make out, thankfully, looks familiar (yellow face, red helmet, some gold around the shoulders). Guess that will have to sate me for the time being.

Arcee's history is...an interesting one, from what we are able to ascertain that is. Maybe even tragic. The gender thing, much like it sometimes is in society, is a construct. Arcee, from the sound of things, under went a sort of forced sex/gender change simply because....well, Jhiaxus felt like introducing it into the Cybertronian species. What Jhiaxus' justification behind creating a pink clad, femme-bot of death has yet to be revealed. I am hoping that this does receive some explanation at some point other than simply that "Jhiaxus was curious." It is explained however that Arcee's "change" is more than just cosmetic, so to speak, but is on a molecular level, which Arcee appears to deeply resent. Still doesn't explain a whole lot, and what we do get seems...kind of silly, but almost believable enough. It's not as if "sex" (since were not talking about gender here) isn't a completely inconceivable concept as far as this issue is concerned, especially since Arcee claims to have been infected on a molecular level - then again, I suppose it doesn't have to be inherently "just so" either. There's just something that is slightly off about how Furman decided to tackle this subject. Still, the whole transgendered identity thing could potentially be interesting, contentious as it may be.
3.2 out of 5 (good but not great)

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Commander Shockwav
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Post by Commander Shockwav » Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:38 am

Got it.

Liked it, overall.

Positives?

The cast grows, with some big hitters this time, including Fortress Maximus and Jhiaxus (he looks like Jhiaxus too!) Banzaitron and his secret service (which we find out includes the Combaticons too) make their appearance. Good to see Jetfire and the Technobots again too.

Certainly, these events that take place away from Earth add scope to this continuity, making things more epic.

Looks like the door is opening for some more gestalts now too.

Another positive is that Milne's art, though still cluttered, is nothing like his Megatron:Origin work, and though I'm not fond of his blocky style, at least things are more clear.

The negatives? Well, the whole gender thing is kind of stupid. "I hate Jhiaxus because he made me......a girl!!!!" But on some level, the idea is pallatable and almost believable, given Jhiaxus' strange experimental tendencies. So where I thought I would be more "nah" on the idea of female Transformers, instead I'm more "ehh".

Overall, enjoyable. Give it a "B".

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Rossum
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Post by Rossum » Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:58 am

Good story, like the personality on Arcee and the addition of the new characters. The art was pretty good too, though it seems like no one knows how to use a light switch in the TF world.

The big 'explanation' for femme-bots was pretty much a letdown--like zigzagger said, it just felt "off". Gender=experiment, great. Not a lot of insight there as to what the differences are that make Arcee female. Just some CNA and sensory input blather.

Oh well, still pretty good, and action-y.

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Post by Denyer » Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:20 am

Very solid. Plenty here apart from the titular character; Jhiaxus is up to something (and probably active in the main universe), more on the Tyrest Accord, an Autobot penal colony, spark prisons, a power play for technology, lots of character appearances, Autobots prepared to kill prisoners, off-the-record deals... all slotted around enough action sequences to keep the most ADHD fan happy. And Banzaitron playing the part of the Romulans. And leaving the field open for Repugnus to get take out of a spark prison and slotted back into a body for whatever need the Autobot cause deems vital enough; magnificent -- and Skyjack and Longtooth are similarly interesting choices to be incarcerated.

Onto the main attraction. The characters aren't speaking English, but the pronoun they use amongst themselves corresponds to one that in amongst beings would be "he". When addressing Arcee, they unconsciously use a pronoun that they'd use when addressing non-Transformers that identify as female.

What are they "sensing"? It seems unlikely a different body-shell would provoke an unconscious reaction, given the many and varied (and non-bipedal) robot modes out there. Spark signature? Sparks seem a reasonable candidate for what C.N.A. is encoded into -- after all, we've seen no sign that metal is grown. Something unlike themselves. Jhiaxus had a stated aim and tampered with an existing Transformer, creating an almost psychic link to himself (super-string theory? harmonics?) and leaving his subject with a side-effect of sensory damage.

This raises the possibility that the 'fembots' seen in Megatron: Origin are just Transformers with body-shells modified to fit a fashion, rather than having significantly different C.N.A. like Jhiaxus' experiment. Indeed, all Furman would need to support this reading is to mention casually in another plot that, in peace-time and when opportunity permits, Transformers actively enjoyed mimicking organic species -- whether to attempt to better understand the lifeforms they share a universe with or just for fun.

Art's a hell of a lot better than anything else I've seen Milne do on a published TF comic. Hats off to him for sticking with it.

4/5. Would've been higher with some further explication.

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Clay
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Post by Clay » Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:23 pm

Transgender transformers.

Awesome.

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Post by MikeB » Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:46 pm

Anyone else hear of IDW's entire weekly shipment for the UK going missing?

That's what the guys at nostalgia and comics were talking about when I tried to get this (overheard them, it wasn't an excuse peddled to me for not having the comic!), I'd forgotten to order it from Steve's site and wanted to get it there and then, but nowhere in Birmingham seems to have it. I've ordered it from Steve now, so no worries, but that's quite a lot of stuff to go missing if it's true?

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Post by Neuronutter » Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:38 pm

I finally got this today and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought the art was much better than Milne's previous issues, much easier to understand, the colours were nicely done and the story well executed. It was good to see some more characters making a debut as well as some of the previously introduced reappearing and the way the story intermingled previous threads from other spotlights and issues was also well done. I hope we see Arcee make her main ongoing debut sometime soon, hopefully in the first few issues of Revelation.

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Red Dave Prime
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Post by Red Dave Prime » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:40 pm

Yeah, good issue. The art works much better then origins and the plot rumbles along nicely. Swindles abscense from the combaticons is interesting (as he was last seen in Magnus Spotlight). Is he part of the squad?

On the matter of sparks I'm curious here - is it possible to destroy a transformers body but still have them "alive" if their spark is intact? This issue would seem to indicate that thats the case but other issues would indicate otherwise (without spoiling I'm paricularly thinking of Devastation #6)

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:40 pm

The best bit of this issue: Firm confirmation Arcee is the only female Transformer and that the rest of the IDW cast don't have genders.

Second best bit: Longtooth as a hard core prison bitch. And is his spark floating there the first proof Bludgeon is still alive (albeit outside of his body)?

The rest was crap though.

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Post by Denyer » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:56 pm

Haven't seen Dev #6 yet, and won't until Steve gets his deliveries or it shows up in seedy parts of teh intarweb, but I'd presume that sparks/sparkcores need stabilising outside a body -- this may be a delicate procedure.
MikeB wrote:Anyone else hear of IDW's entire weekly shipment for the UK going missing?
Sounds credible. Diamond are ****ing incompetent at the best of times.

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Post by Halfshell » Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:44 pm

Enjoyed that. Not as focussed on/driven by Arcee as I'd expected. More bookended by.

Felt slightly misled on the whole fembot issue. No questions properly addressed or answers given... more just a case of the issue acknowledged, with some vaguaries about Jhiaxus. The why was brought up, but sketchy details and mumblings about CNA don't really constitute a how. Though it does act as confirmation that, beyond experiments to introduce the concept, gender definitely doesn't exist for TFs here.

Art was nice. Colouring seemed to blip slightly on one page (don't have the number to hand, thumbed it in FP as my copy hasn't arrived yet). A bit too good for its own good in some places, though... action shots in small panels don't suit Milne. Superdetailed backgrounds make it hard to focus on exactly what we're meant to be looking at. The orbital jump scene for one could have been clearer.

Nice to get our first "proper" Jhiaxus appearance, even if it's not a full shot as per Devastation.

Intrigued as to how exactly Dealer found out about the gestalt. Though if the science team are on the case and openly discussing it with Fort Max, it's probably not TOO classified.

Liked the little cameos on the inmate roster. Also interesting premise as to how they act as auxilliary staff in an emergency. Confirms Bludgeon's fate... though does leave me interested in what exactly was being guarded at Thunderhead Pass... unless of course "guarding deactivated Decepticons" was just a generalisation and it was only the one.

Getting annoyed by the whole "then" and "much later" approach to chronology... how am I supposed to piece together a definitive timline without a hard sequence of events?

Surprised by the lack of Swindle. Would have thought he'd be jailbreaking too... guess there are still some twists and turns to be taken.

Oh, and massive points for the inclusion of an Autobot security expert in an Autobot security facility. Anything with Kick-Off in it is automatically awesome.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:46 pm

Halfshell wrote: Felt slightly misled on the whole fembot issue. No questions properly addressed or answers given... more just a case of the issue acknowledged, with some vaguaries about Jhiaxus. The why was brought up, but sketchy details and mumblings about CNA don't really constitute a how. Though it does act as confirmation that, beyond experiments to introduce the concept, gender definitely doesn't exist for TFs here.
The concept behind Arcee's origin was fine for me, it was the execution that let it down. Everyone in the issue seems hugely scared of her but the sense of power didn't really come across very well, despite her taking out the Combaticons I didn't get the sense she did anything Jetfire or Fort Max couldn't have done on a day where the plot didn't depend on them being useless.
Intrigued as to how exactly Dealer found out about the gestalt. Though if the science team are on the case and openly discussing it with Fort Max, it's probably not TOO classified.
Possibly he got the information from Hot Rod during their chat- Hot Rod probably isn't aware of all the details of Prime's little jaunt in his Spotlight but he may know enough for Dealer to be able to piece it together from things he may have found out from other sources. Am I the only one to find it a shame that Banzaitron (and I guess the lack of hyphen is deliberate then rather than a mistake in Hot Rod) wasn't joking about calling him Doubledealer from now out?

And speaking of Banzaitron, why was he on the ship? The head of the secret service is to important to risk in a dangerous situation like that, and its not as if he needs to be there when he could just radio in his orders, or even give them before hand.
Surprised by the lack of Swindle. Would have thought he'd be jailbreaking too... guess there are still some twists and turns to be taken.
Wasn't Magnus going to hand over Swindle to a Decepticon Prison for trial?
Oh, and massive points for the inclusion of an Autobot security expert in an Autobot security facility. Anything with Kick-Off in it is automatically awesome.

It's just a shame Kick-Off was clearly so useless at security, they wouldn't have needed to wake up a prisoner to use in the defence of the place if he'd been half decent at his job...

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Post by Halfshell » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:39 pm

inflatable dalek wrote:And speaking of Banzaitron, why was he on the ship? The head of the secret service is to important to risk in a dangerous situation like that, and its not as if he needs to be there when he could just radio in his orders, or even give them before hand.
Maybe the whole thing's so secret that they only have the one ship. Hrmmmmm.
Wasn't Magnus going to hand over Swindle to a Decepticon Prison for trial?
The first time. He arrested him twice. We don't know what happened the second time. He might have been handed over for trial, he may have struck a deal that gave Magnus the further lead on Scorponok. He may have been thrown in Garrus-9.

Given that we knew the other Combaticons were going to be involved, I half expected Swindle to be in the issue in some capacity.
It's just a shame Kick-Off was clearly so useless at security
Yuh... huh...

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Post by inflatable dalek » Sun Mar 02, 2008 3:11 am

Halfshell wrote:Maybe the whole thing's so secret that they only have the one ship. Hrmmmmm.
Seven ships (at least, that's all that appears on panel). I'm not sure if it's a flaw in the art or the writing that despite sending some bloody big ships (based on the scale of the room Banzaitron is in to the exterior of the ship) the Decepticons opnly seem to send about six troops down to the planet...


The first time. He arrested him twice. We don't know what happened the second time. He might have been handed over for trial, he may have struck a deal that gave Magnus the further lead on Scorponok. He may have been thrown in Garrus-9.
Garrus 9 seems to be holding the top line prisoners (all of whom seem to have special powers in other continuities, though not yet in IDW's case for some of them so that can be treated as coincidence), for Swindle to get sent there he must have really upped his crime game between the start and end of the Ultra Magnus Spotlight.
Given that we knew the other Combaticons were going to be involved, I half expected Swindle to be in the issue in some capacity.
I'd be surprised if Swindle were part of the IDW Combaticons, his free wheeling Del Boy style antics makes me feel it's unlikely he's ever been part of a crack commando secret service team. One thing I wasn't sure on actually, does the term Combaticon apply to everyone who goes down to the surface? Becuase there's at least two other Decepticons- as well as Blast Off- who die horribly in the raid (is the chap with the Hot Rod style spoiler on his back a toy based character?).

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Post by Halfshell » Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:22 am

inflatable dalek wrote:Garrus 9 seems to be holding the top line prisoners
What exactly was the crime of the Pretender Monsters? Having been made? Fort Max seemingly wanted them stripped down solely because he could. Okay, they might be dangerous, but it's not like they've done anything major.

Like persistently break intergalactic law. Swindle's a bigger criminal than them.
(all of whom seem to have special powers in other continuities
What's Skyjack's special power then?
Blast Off- who die horribly in the raid
Missed that. Milne really needs to work on clarity. Nothing to do with my only having skimmed it the once.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:35 pm

Halfshell wrote:What exactly was the crime of the Pretender Monsters? Having been made? Fort Max seemingly wanted them stripped down solely because he could. Okay, they might be dangerous, but it's not like they've done anything major.
Ah, I didn't say necessarily top line criminals, but prisoners, the ones that are absolutely essential to be kept under lock and key because they'd either most likely escape from a more normal prison (Arcee) or can not ever be allowed to fall into the wrong hands (Bludgeon and the Pretender Monsters), or indeed both.
Like persistently break intergalactic law. Swindle's a bigger criminal than them.
They did try to kill at least two Autobots, including their leader. Political assasination probably counts as a fairly big crime whatever the mitigating circumstances of their mental states (and they don't even have the excuse of being Decepticons and thus at war with Omega and Prime).


What's Skyjack's special power then?
Do Cyberjets have no special skit then? Well, the odd man out in that regard then.
Missed that. Milne really needs to work on clarity. Nothing to do with my only having skimmed it the once.

Stabbed right through the chest by Arcee- Reading again though he is being carried by Brawl as they beam out so seemingly surrvived. Good for him (and means Arcee sportingly only kills generic Transformers).

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Red Dave Prime
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Post by Red Dave Prime » Sun Mar 02, 2008 6:09 pm

Re: small size of the secret service... in IDWs storyline it seems that altough powerful, both the autobot and decepticon armies arent exactly huge. Take for example the decepticon scouting parties on Nebulos and Earth. Theres only a few robots in each group. It would be possible that the secret service contains itself on a few ships and robots. More interesting is why the decepticons would have a secret service. I've been thinking that surely it should have been these guys who megatron sent to follow shockwave (and bludgeon). The concept could be great if they flesh it out more but so far we've had no interaction between megatron and this secret service. Before they started getting involved in clandestine schemes it would have been nice to get a feel for how they work within the decepticon army. Spotlight:Banziatron perhaps?

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