Transformers: Spotlight Orion Pax

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Transformers: Spotlight Orion Pax

Post by zigzagger » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:32 am

Transformers: Spotlight Orion Pax preview @ Full Metal Hero.

Art by Steve Kurth, and written by James Roberts.

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Post by Skyquake87 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:02 am

Ha! Funnies :) And Alpha Trion is the Tumbler! A bit light compared to MTMTE on these few scant pages, and the colours seem a bit bright (deliberate?) but nice art from Mr Kurth, although Nightbeat looks a bit portly.

I also liked how the pomposity of 'wise old dudes' is pricked at every turn and the line about not forcing a transformation..! Someone broke a toy...

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Post by Summerhayes » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:27 am

James Roberts should be in charge of writing everything, ever.
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Post by Auntie Slag » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:12 pm

What a bonkers design for Zeta Prime! He looks like a cross between a Dungeons & Dragons character and a Python Holy Grail knight. Orion's design looks rather uninteresting after all his other versions... but is there a reason why Alpha Trion wears material and no other robots do? Was there ever an explanation, like he got it off world?

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Post by Red Dave Prime » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:04 pm

Auntie Slag wrote:What a bonkers design for Zeta Prime! He looks like a cross between a Dungeons & Dragons character and a Python Holy Grail knight. Orion's design looks rather uninteresting after all his other versions... but is there a reason why Alpha Trion wears material and no other robots do? Was there ever an explanation, like he got it off world?
There's possibly a bit too much of trying to gel all the past issues together here. Pax is in his Spotlight Blur Outfit, so this is a bit of an explanation of that. While we dont get a reason as such for Zeta to have changed from how he looked at the end of shadowplay, he does look like he did in Autocracy which makes sense. Sort of. And with Trion, maybe its something to do with the Knights in the same way that the crystal city robots wore clothing.

I like that the current staff are trying to make everything sync together, but this, like Orion Paxs story in RiD, feels very much like an un-needed fix. Maybe just be more careful with future stuff and move the overall story on.

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Post by Denyer » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:13 pm

I quite like the idea of upgrade being a habit or even addiction...

Seems fun enough. Kurth's stuff feels like old annuals.

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Post by Auntie Slag » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:24 pm

Ah yes of course, I think I flipped through the Spotlight: Blurr issue when it was in the shop but never bought it. And now you mention it, I remember Alpha Trion sporting the cape and facecloth in the Ironhide 4-part story.

Yes, its nice that they're linking all the bits and pieces together. Is there a story/set of stories that give the background or character setting for Zeta? The first time I saw him was at the end of Shadowplay, and other posters here seem familiar with him being a bit of a nasty piece of work.

I guess the simple answer is I just TFWiki the guy!

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Post by Death's Head » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:29 pm

All credit, though - Alpha Trion's cape does become part of his alt-mode. That made me smile (as did pretty much everything Orion Pax says in this issue.)
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Post by Red Dave Prime » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:43 pm

Not to put a downer but I think this is the worst issue Roberts has done.

Its not totally terrible, its fun in a throw about way. The characters are done well, with all the guys getting a chance to shine. The art has an odd, almost retro feel and is charming in its own way (but not a style I'd like to see too often)

But the actually story here has huge, HUGE silly plot holes. The Autobots are far too thrusting of the Decepticons and their choice of swap location. Its a very convoluted plot to get their hands on Alpha Trion. Why are they willing to let Pax, Ratchet and Nightbeat go (only then to decide to send Pax on a collision course on a shuttle) Can 4 Autobots really hold out against a swarm of Decepticons armed only with what looks like a few pistols?

This feels a lot like earlier the McCarthy era and not in a good way. Characters feel like they are doing things in spite of common sense, just to set up other situations. There's some good character work here but the issue itself is a dud.

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Post by Warcry » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:06 am

The objective part of me agrees with Red Dave Prime, but the rest of me spent about five minutes laughing at the mention of Killmaster (with the wand!) so it's willing to cut the story some slack. I wouldn't say it was bad but it was definitely insubstantial, not nearly as densely-packed as your average Roberts book.

I don't know if it's intentional or it just worked out that way, but all of Roberts' flashback stories so far have shown Optimus winning over one future Autobot after another -- not the Autobot faction but to Optimus personally. I think that's a really unique approach, and very different to what we've seen in past continuities where the Autobots were just the poor SOBs who fell victim to Decepticon attacks and Prime didn't meet any of them until he was assigned to be in charge. Making Optimus's charisma and heroism a driving force behind the start of the conflict makes him that much more Megatron's opposite number, and I like it.

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Post by Terome » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:35 am

Quite liked it myself - Alpha Trion, Rack and Ruin were nicely fleshed out and the early Decepticons were conspicuously nicer despite the rise of elements such as wacky ol' Bludgeon. Nightbeat didn't add anything in particular.

But man oh man was a lot of time and space spent on talking about the faceplate. And why, exactly, was Orion put into a new body for that mission? Was that not really explained or did I just miss it.

Liked the art too, though the penciller seemed to struggle with genericon designs.

Weird that Bludgeon talks about turbofoxes as though they are the only equivalent of 'lower animals' to Transformers but we just met the Slicers.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:31 pm

Well that wasn't what I was expecting at all. After the last MTMTE the solicitation convinced me this was going to be a tragic tale of Pax trying to save Shockwave.

Instead we got somthing frothy and bonkers. That to a ceertain extent felt like it was written by a slightly tipsy Roberts who'd decided to throw all caution to the wind and just do an unashamed Marvel UK love in.

Nightbeat (who still doesn't get to do any detecting! ), Rack and Ruin (who it turns out have been wearing gimp masks the entire time we knew them), Bludgeon... Alpha Trion (the slightly nuts take of him being the one highlight of what I've read from Costa, nice to see it revisited) was almost certainly Xaaron at one point wasn't he?

Indeed, you'd only need to change a couple of lines for this to fit in Marvel continuity just fine. Something helped by the Wildman on a good day style art. Though as with Wildman, I don't think bright and cheerful colouring helped the scratchy look at all.

So generally this is a fun bit of froth that, again, seems to be cheerfully ignoring Autocracy whilst at the same time trying to tie in with it. Is Flint Dilli inside the box or not?

The main negative is the attempts to explain old continuity errors are getting a bit silly now. How long before we get an issue dealing with why characters changed design in every issue of the Costa years (scarily the Megatron Spotlight seems to be set around then)?

That said though, the implication that something really bad had happened to Pax in the recent past that required a new body, presumably as part of whatever he did to end the conspiracy and bring Zeta to power, is an interesting bit of foreshadowing for future Shadowplay stuff. Is "The old senate" the one Starscream killed in Origin? That would actually fit in better with what we saw in that story than the editorial explanation for Autocracy that it was just A senate rather than THE senate.

Though it probably means nothing, and might even be Roberts mind ****ing with us, but no one can remember the name of the third triplet... just like Rung.
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Post by Terome » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:47 pm

inflatable dalek wrote: That said though, the implication that something really bad had happened to Pax in the recent past that required a new body, presumably as part of whatever he did to end the conspiracy and bring Zeta to power, is an interesting bit of foreshadowing for future Shadowplay stuff. Is "The old senate" the one Starscream killed in Origin? That would actually fit in better with what we saw in that story than the editorial explanation for Autocracy that it was just A senate rather than THE senate.

Though it probably means nothing, and might even be Roberts mind ****ing with us, but no one can remember the name of the third triplet... just like Rung.
Ooooooh. Didn't twig that Orion's new body was because of an exciting Untold Tale. I gave up on Autocracy pretty quick on account of it being amazingly dull so now I just assume that all gaps in my continuity keeping are because of Autocracy.

So yeah, 'old senate,' 'Megatron's new favourite' and that odd little scene with Zeta at the end of Shadowplay are now nice mysteries to ponder on.

Have to say though that guys like Thundercracker should really have realised that the idealism of any movement is probably long gone by the time it is recruiting a walking creepy-opening-door sound effect like Bludgeon to its ranks. And boy, Megatron started shooting deserters real quick, didn't he?

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Post by Knightdramon » Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:02 pm

Things and pieces I've put together from reading it, behind the lines, story-wise.

Nightbeat must be the unnamed hostage negotiator friend Chromedome mentionned in Shadowplay.
By that time, Shockwave must have allied with Megatron ["his new favourite, obsessed with combiner technology"]
Starscream killed the old senate in M:O 4, and the new senate we see in Autocracy is much less ornate and elegant, they look more like common bots.
One of Zeta's reasons for upgrading\downgrading Orion into a new body must be some sort of jealousy\envy. The two of them were modified by Shockwave to carry the matrix, yet Zeta rose to a Prime [without the matrix] and ordered Orion to ditch the body that was modified to carry it. Pure speculation on my part.
Nice part about Rack N Ruin. Cool faces and masks though, at first I thought Nightbeat was joking or there were elements of Cybertronians that were invisible to the naked eye [like how cats and dogs have unique characteristics we can't discern between them]

A bit light as well, but Prime's foreshadowing of Bludgeon as nice.

Also of note is that at the time, the Decepticons are still seen as terrorists and not a war faction. It isn't until after Zeta Prime is dead that Megatron publicly declares war. Perhaps the new Senate didn't really like Sentinel Prime or the old Senate to declare them as such in M:O.
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Post by zigzagger » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:15 pm

Yeeeah, sorry, the jury is still out on this one.

Maybe it's because Roberts has set the bar so high, that I found myself a little underwhelmed.

Nothing really wrong with it, objectively speaking. It's fairly light, knockabout fluff. If somewhat average -- at least by MTMTE's standards. Still, I'll have to echo Dalek's sentiments; I think I was expecting...something else. A follow up on Shadowplay, perhaps? I dunno. Though, I think that's more my hang-up than anything. So I really can't fault it for that.

On the plus side, I do appreciate all the love Pax has been receiving over the past couple years (or however long it's been). We really didn't know a whole lot about IDW Optimus/Orion until Roberts breathed some life into the character, starting with Chaos Theory and continuing with Shadowplay. We now have a much better understanding of who Optimus was before the war, as well as his motivations.

I guess I just wanted a little bit more of that here :)

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:37 pm

Knightdramon wrote:
Nightbeat must be the unnamed hostage negotiator friend Chromedome mentionned in Shadowplay.
I'm not convinced by that, it'd be odd for a hostage negotiator to go on a hostage negotiation and to wind up just providing some muscle.

I actually found the bit where Pax correctly predicted Bludgeon's entire character arc painful. It would up feeling less like he can read people well and more like he's read IDW comics. The poor bastard.

By the by, considering it fits in more with his MO I wouldn't be surprised if the "Explain Prime looking slightly different in that Spotlight" was an editorial request from Barber.

One thing I do like about this issue is that, contrary to what I expected/wanted it is stand-alone. What continuity there is I don't think would be off putting to new readers ever if there is some hints for the Shadowplay follow up. Considering that one of the things I think killed Spotlights was how they got tied up horribly in ongoing plots in an offputting way this is a good thing.
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Post by zigzagger » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:05 pm

inflatable dalek wrote:
One thing I do like about this issue is that, contrary to what I expected/wanted it is stand-alone. What continuity there is I don't think would be off putting to new readers ever if there is some hints for the Shadowplay follow up. Considering that one of the things I think killed Spotlights was how they got tied up horribly in ongoing plots in an offputting way this is a good thing.

True enough. Wouldn't have minded a proper Spotlight, though. You know, an actual character study. Roberts practically already does that sort of thing in the main book. I think I was expecting that more than a Shadowplay follow up, really.

Of course, it's probably too late to make an issue of that. Rarely is a TF Spotlight ever in that format.

And I suppose Chaos Theory already covered the Pax character study, now that I'm thinking about it :o

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:14 pm

Prime deciding to put on a faceplate so that he now has Schrodinger's Mouth isn't character focus?

Maybe not.

Oh my, we're going to have an issue explaining why Pax changed back to his earlier look aren't we?


EDIT: My BUGS season 2 boxset proved useful in checking the spelling of Schrodinger. To think people mock me for buying such cheaply made crap. Who's laughing now?

They are. :(
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Post by Auntie Slag » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:09 pm

I bought this during the week, couldn't resist. Also because I was bothered that, knowing Roberts there might just be a nugget of info that answers something else down the line. He never inserts a line you can disregard e.g. what is the significance of Rack n' Ruin's third brother...

The issue felt like Roberts cut to the bone for a one-shot.

Or like Roberts and Furman mind-melding.

Good lines here and there, I liked the spinning cog idea and the sensory deprivation helmets, but the whole Spotlight concept makes everything half-baked.

I'd rather they left the writers alone to cool down than push them with this standalone hackery. And now they're doing Megatron and Thundercracker? That's now four regular TF books, which again I wouldn't mind if it didn't mean a watering down of good writing.

Screw IDW and their pound of flesh mentality, I want my Roberts' material lean and fighting fit. Give a quality player a quality framework.

Anything else would be illogical.

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Post by Red Dave Prime » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:14 am

Auntie Slag wrote:
Screw IDW and their pound of flesh mentality, I want my Roberts' material lean and fighting fit. Give a quality player a quality framework.

Anything else would be illogical.
Yeah, that would sum up my range of thinking. Leave Roberts on one book, maybe let him supervise new/ different talent for spotlights. And ideally, leave them outside of main plotlines.

Also - I hope they never show Killmaster or do a spotlight on him. That would kill the whole joke.

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