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Transformers Spotlight, third series of issues

| Blaster | Arcee | Mirage | Grimlock | Wheelie | TPB |

Spotlight: Blaster

Released 23rd January 2008.

Written by Simon Furman.

Art by Emiliano Santalucia.

Colours by Josh Burcham.

Colour assists by Andrew Elder, Liam Shalloo, Espen Grundet Jean.

Letters by Neil Uyetake.

Edits by Chris Ryall and Andrew Stephen Harris.

$3.99 cover price, choice of covers.

Synopsis: Autobot Blaster is "The Voice", the fast talking propaganda broadcaster who plays a huge part in keeping morale up and is a legend in his own lifetime. But, as the Autobots recover from Thunderwing’s first assault [See Stormbringer], Blaster is attacked and shot by a mystery assailant while preparing to transmit to the tired and besieged soldiers, his body dumped into space. Whilst the troops are left confused and disappointed by the lack of a show, the Decepticons launch a full scale attack.

A great deal of time later, Blaster's body is retrieved and revived. Though his physical wounds will heal, the mental scars run deeper and the brash DJ everyone needs to hear is now like a stranger to him. Worse yet, Perceptor and Silverbolt reveal that they believe the original attack to have been an inside job; something confirmed that night, with Blaster barely surviving another assassination attempt.

Perceptor narrows the suspects down to four who were stationed nearby at the time of both attacks - Mirage, Bluestreak, Inferno and Beachcomber. Realising he needs to draw his enemy out, Blaster announces publicly that he'll be resuming the Voice broadcasts.

As transmission starts, Perceptor is attacked and the recording studio bombed. However, having already taken a second assignation attempt into account, the show had been pre-recorded while Blaster lay in wait in order to face the traitor - Beachcomber. As they fight, Blaster draws a story out of the mentally confused Autobot; Soundwave had captured him and used a "Bombshell" to implant something that controlled his actions. Blaster attempts to convince Beachcomber that he is better than that, a stronger person who could overcome the influence, and Beachcomber is so stirred by Blaster’s words that he fights the implant to the point of collapse. Blaster realises the only weapon he needed was his voice.

Later, a recovered Perceptor reveals the cerebro shell had burnt out, taking most of Beachcomber's mind with it. A bitter Blaster promises that when his immediate duty is taken care of he's going to find Soundwave.

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Blaster, Silverbolt, Downshift, Chase, Override, Perceptor, Nightbeat, Springer, Fortress Maximus, Trailbreaker, Bluestreak, Inferno, Beachcomber [Brain fried], Cosmos, Huffer, Dogfight, Crosshairs, Gears, Backstreet, Getaway, Broadside, Kup, Jazz, Smokescreen, Landfill, Trypticon, Spinster, Razorclaw, Divebomb, Rampage, Headstrong, Dreadwind, Darkwing, Needlenose, Mirage, Soundwave [Flashback], Bombshell [Flashback].

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by inflatable dalek

Spotlight: Arcee

Released 20th February 2008.

Written by Simon Furman.

Art by Alex Milne.

Colours by Josh Perez and Kris Carter.

Letters by Chris Moway.

Edits by Andrew Stephen Harris.

$3.99 cover price, choice of covers.

Synopsis: Arcee is a Transformer on a mission, obsessed with tracking down the missing scientist Jhiaxus she attacks and decimates the Stellar Cartography Archive in the Van-Dema Sector- where she can sense his presence. Ultra Magnus arrives and subdues her under the Tyrest Accord, and leaves to take her to a secure facility. Unknown to him the Cartographers were in league with Jhiaxus after all.

Much later, we discover that the Garrus-9 penitentiary is home to some of the most dangerous Transformers in Autobot hands -- prisoners' sparks are removed from their bodies and placed in secure confinement.

The newest arrivals are the six combiner Transformers recently captured by Optimus Prime. Jetfire has been charged with both their rehabilitation and ensuring the technology never falls into Decepticon hands. But the traitor Dealer has alerted the Decepticon Secret Service of the Combiners capture, and Banzaitron leads a group of elite Combaticons to bring them into his possession.

The attack is swift and brutal, and a desperate Fortress Maximus (in overall charge of the prison) is forced to release Arcee and allow her to fight in their defence. He gets her to agree by revealing the Combiners were the result of Jhiaxus' work, and she swiftly cuts through the Combaticon forces. But her help is too late to stop the surviving Combaticons escaping with the prisoners.

Arcee then promptly offers to go after them, but Fortress Maximus refuses until she explains how she too was the result of a Jhiaxus experiment -- one to introduce gender into the normally asexual Transformer race. Most of her fellow Autobots don't even notice they refer to "her" by female pronouns. She has a link to her fellow experiments that allows her to follow them.

Letting her leave, Fortress Maximus almost feels sorry for Jhiaxus...

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Arcee, Ultra Magnus, Jhiaxus, Fortress Maximus, Jetfire, Scattershot [Blasted by Combaticons], Strafe [Blasted by Combaticons], Lightspeed [Blasted by Combaticons], Afterburner [Blasted by Combaticons], Nosecone [Blasted by Combaticons], Scowl, Slog, Wildfly, Bristleback, Icepick, Birdbrain, Monstructor [On-screen image], Banzaitron, Axer, Roadblock, Gutcruncher, Kick-Off, Fastlane*, Cloudraker*, Kick-Off*, Rad*, Jackpot*, Rollout*, Over-Run*, Skyfall*, Sprocket*, Vroom*, Windbreaker*, Turbofire*, Brawl, Onslaught, Blast Off, Vortex. In Prison we see the Sparks of: Repungus, Longtooth, Skyjack, Ransack and Bludgeon. Characters marked * were involved in the front line defence of Garrus 9 and are either badly wounded or killed in the Decepticon attack.

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by inflatable dalek

Spotlight: Mirage

Released 5th March 2008.

Written by George Strayton.

Art by Guido Guidi.

Colours by Josh Burcham.

Letters by Chris Mowry.

Edits by Andrew Stephen Harris.

$3.99 cover price, choice of covers.

Synopsis: As he regenerates, the Decepticon Mirage is plagued by dreams of a battle in the Pegasus Star Cluster where he fights as an Autobot. Awakening, he's contacted by his leader Megatron, who is angry that Mirage has failed to deliver on his promise of handing over the last remaining Autobots. After haggling over a deal that will give Mirage a majority share in all Energon mining profits he promises Megatron absolute victory.

At the Pegasus Star Cluster, Optimus Prime and his few remaining Autobots are in a bad way. Jetfire is near death, their resources are depleted and the only possible source of help -- the mysterious Zodiac energy they have discovered -- is proving next to useless due to its cross-dimensional properties.

Some good news does seem at hand as Bumblebee arrives, but as soon as he has established there are no other Autobots he blasts the security net and reveals himself to be Mirage in a holographic disguise. As the other Decepticons in his team arrive a fierce battle is joined.

Though the two groups are evenly matched, Mirage persuades Optimus Prime to surrender in exchange for Jetfire's life. With the promise that no-one will be hurt the Autobots lay down their arms. But Megatron insists the killing blows be delivered and, though Optimus makes an impassioned speech to Mirage on his inner good nature, the Decepticon still goes through with killing Hound. This so enrages Prime he pushes Mirage into the Zodiac energy...

...And in a battle at the Pegasus Star Cluster Autobot Mirage is badly damaged, his sparkcore failing, when a strange energy seems to pass over him. Sometime later as he regenerates he is plagued by dreams of being a Decepticon. But they're only dreams...

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: [all as dream sequence/alternate time line versions as well as the regular versions; only Jetfire and the real Bumblebee doesn't appear in both sequences] Autobot Mirage, Decepticon Mirage, Hound [AT version killed by D Mirage], Optimus Prime, Bumblebee [our version, plus as a hologram in the AT], Ratchet, Starscream, Astrotrain, Megatron, Blitzwing, Soundwave [AT version decapitated].

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by inflatable dalek

Spotlight: Grimlock

Released 23rd April 2008.

Written by Simon Furman.

Art by Marcelo Matere.

Colours by Zac Atkinson, Liam Shalloo and Andrew Elder.

Letters by Amauri Osorio.

Edits by Andrew Stephen Harris.

$3.99 cover price, choice of covers.

Synopsis: After the events of Devastation, an increasingly desperate Agent Red orders the activation of their latest capture, Thunder Lizard 1 (AKA Grimlock) despite being warned by the lead scientist that the new robot has a more complex and difficult to control brain than the two seekers they've already lost.

True to his word, Grimlock overcomes the mental conditioning and escapes the Skywatch lab. Despite this, Agent Red orders the other four “Thunder-Lizards” be prepared for the same process in order to take the escapee down. However, Grimlock's escape was no accident, the Machination had a spy in Skywatch plant a virus that made the controls go wrong. Phoning his true employers, he informs them Grimlock is free and ready for them. On board a Machination blimp, a delighted Dante gloats at the chance for "them" to meet Grimlock again.

A confused Grimlock wanders the countryside, and remembers with guilt how he lied to his Dynobots that Optimus Prime had unofficially approved their mission, and that he set up the blast from their ship that buried them without their knowledge. Though he had been equipped with a recall device that would teleport him back to their ship, the Skyfire, Grimlock is uncertain if the vessel is still there.

Just as he decides he must face this new world head on, he is confronted by Scorponok who tells him the Dynobots are now wanted criminals for disobeying Prime and on Ultra Magnus' hit list. The Decepticon explains he is working his own secret agenda to take over the planet, and offers Grimlock a job to run interference on Megatron to stop him from interfering. Grimlock decides instead that if he takes the notorious criminal back to Cybertron with him, the Autobots will forget his own crimes, and thus, the two fight.

However, Grimlock's long sleep had left him drained and poorly armed. Determined to live and find his missing comrades, he risks the teleport and arrives on the Skyfire, now buried in ice.

A disgruntled Scorponok learns of Skywatch's plans for the other Dynobots, and orders that this time the program be done in such a way as to let Red think they are under his control when they really belong to the Machination. Scorponok will use them to destroy Grimlock...

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Grimlock, Agent Red, Dr. Weston, Starscream [Flashback], Optimus Prime [Flashback], Sixshot [Flashback], Optimus Prime [Flashback], Swoop [Flashback, and in stasis lock], Snarl [Flashback and in stasis lock], Sludge [Flashback and in stasis lock], Slag [Flashback and in stasis lock], Shockwave [Flashback], Kloss, Dante/Scorponok.

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by inflatable dalek

Spotlight: Wheelie

Released June 18th 2008.

Story/Script by Simon Furman.

Story/Art, Covers and Colours by Klaus Scherwinski.

Colour Assist by Josh Burcham.

Letters by Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt.

Edits by Denton J. Tipton.

$3.99 cover price, choice of covers.

Synopsis: During the Great War on Cybertron resources and manpower are stretched to their absolute limits, meaning that when a search for inhabitable planets is needed the only available Autobot to undertake it is the often overlooked with contempt Wheelie. Seizing his chance to prove himself, the young Autobot sets off, but disaster strikes when his ship crashes into the planet LV-AA7.

Salvaging what he can from the wreck, Wheelie sets up a distress transmitter, but with little idea if the signal is leaving the ionosphere. Though he finds himself better at surviving than he realized, an encounter with the vicious Chaosteros removes his arm and dampens his spirit. Though he is later able to retrieve the limb, without a CR chamber he can't reattach it properly and now has trouble transforming.

Sometime later, fresh hope is offered when he sees another spaceship come down a distance away. After a perilous journey where he fights a giant spider and braves transforming to cross a lava flow on an ancient bridge, he finds the ship is a Decepticon one, crewed by Spectro and Spyglass.

The Decepticons are interrogating an alien, who Wheelie frees as a distraction to allow him to board the Decepticon ship (unmanned except for the corpse of Viewfinder) and steal it. However, realising the Decepticons will kill the alien when they capture him, Wheelie realises he can't abandon his Autobot principles and goes to help the stranger.

Coming into an abandoned ancient temple, Wheel finds both the alien's ship and the alien itself, a shapeshifter now in the form of a salivating beast. After Wheelie persuades him of his good intentions the alien relaxes and introduces himself as Varta. However, a problem with his translator device means the two can only speak in rhyme. Wheelie is able to fix Varta's ship using the Energon converter he salvaged from his own craft, but disaster strikes when the Decepticons pounce on Varta before he can board. Ordering Wheelie to abandon the ship or they'll kill the shape shifter, Wheelie reluctantly agrees. Spectro and Spyglass board, gloating that they didn't have any power left in the gun they'd threatened Varta with anyway. However, Wheelie has the last laugh as he'd removed the Energon safety catch from the converter, causing the ship to explode on take off.

A year later, Wheelie and Varta have built a more permanent shelter on the planet, and the Autobot feels he has found a place in the Universe. However, back in the temple we see hieroglyphics that show Quintesson faces...

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Ultra Magnus, Springer, Wheelie, Perceptor, Hot Spot, Jetfire, Spectro [Blown up], Spyglass [Blown up], Varta, Viewfinder [Stabbed through chest], Quintesson drawings.

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by inflatable dalek

Spotlights Volume 3 TPB

Amazon estimate September 2008.

$19.99 list price.

Reprints the third series of Spotlight issues.

Publisher solicitation: This volume focuses on Blaster, Arcee, Grimlock, Mirage, and Wheelie. Written by long-time Transformers scribe Simon Furman and screenwriter George Strayton, with art by popular Transformers artists Guido Guidi, Marcelo Matere, Alex Milne, Emiliano Santalucia, and Klaus Scherwinski.

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