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Transformers Spotlight, fourth series of issues

| Blurr | Jazz | Drift | Cliffjumper | Metroplex | TPB | Prowl |

Spotlight: Blurr

Released November 5th 2008.

Written by: Shane McCarthy.

Art by: Casey Coller.

Colours by: Joana Lafluente.

Letters by: Neil Uyetake.

Edits by: Denton J. Tipton.

$3.99 cover price, choice of covers.

Synopsis: Blurr, the best sportsbot on Cybertron, wins his latest race and sets a new track record. Though he’s barely aware of his assistants like Piston he and competitor Fasttrack are friendly enough to follow up the race by going to the Circle, the most exclusive club on Cybertron.

Outside a reporter asks him about the current political unrest but Blurr couldn’t care less. That is until a Decepticon terrorist attack destroys the main racing arena, resulting in Zeta Prime shutting down the races for good. An annoyed Blurr finds Piston cleaning out his stuff, the worker having decided to join the Autobots. His efforts to persuade Blurr to join as well fall on deaf ears, as even without the races he still has no shortage of parties to go to.

But the Circle is now deserted, with everyone either hiding or fighting. Without even his adoring crowds anymore Blurr seriously considers plugging into a addictive virtual reality device but is interrupted by the arrival of Starscream, who tries to persuade him to join the Decepticons.

Travelling home with much on his mind Blurr wanders into a firefight, where he finds Piston and Fasttrack -- now on different sides -- have killed one another. A young Autobot commander called Optimus approaches him and explains the group they were fighting were a Decepticon assassination squad out to kill Zeta Prime. Communications are being blocked and no one on Optimus’ team is fast enough to get to Zeta in time to warn him. After an impassioned speech about Blurr’s true nature the speedster decides to help, and races off to beat the Decepticons…

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Blurr, Fasttrack [Killed], Piston [Killed], Starscream, Ironhide, Optimus, Kup, Skywarp.

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by inflatable dalek

Spotlight: Jazz

Released April 1st 2009.

Written by: Josh Van Reyk and Shaun Knowler.

Art by: E.J. Su.

Colours by: Priscilla Tramontanao.

Letters by: Chris Moway.

Edits by: Denton J. Tipton and Andy Schmidt.

$3.99 cover price, choice of covers.

Synopsis: Cybertron: Duped by Megatron and trapped on their home world, the Autobots are at breaking point, arguing and bickering amongst themselves. Tracks attempts to lift their spirits by telling them a story about his first combat mission.

The group Tracks was with had been suddenly and violently attacked by Decepticons, leaving him as the only survivor. With his optics damaged to the point of being virtually blind he is shocked when an Autobot appears to offer him a hand up. Jazz (for it is he) is part of a rescue squad, but the helicopter with the rest of the team on it is suddenly shot down. The Predacons, Megatron’s elite guard, have come for Jazz and intend to make great sport of him.

Jazz drags Tracks to cover, and begins using his auxiliary energon reservoir to make a bomb. Outside the Predacons offer Jazz a quick death if he surrenders. Instead he sends tracks out, something that provides the Predacons with much amusement but also provides enough of a distraction for Jazz to sneak behind them and begin a rear assault.

After knocking them off balance Jazz seemingly runs for it, but it’s just a trap to lure the Predacons over his bomb -- which explodes, taking three of them out of the game and allowing Jazz and Tracks to run.

As Razorclaw and Divebomb move in for the kill Jazz knows the odds are still against them, and he orders Tracks to get away as best he can unaided whilst he takes on the two Decepticons himself. When Tracks protests, Jazz points out being an Autobot is more than a badge; it’s a way of life he intends to uphold.

Jazz goes to face the Predacons, but his words have affected Tracks and even though he can’t see more than outlines he transforms and crashes himself into Divebomb. The two remaining combatants face up against each other, with Razorclaw soon on the point of victory. However, their fight is interrupted by the arrival of another Autobot rescue team, forcing Razorclaw to flee.

Tracks is repaired but never found out who his saviour was. When he asks after him Ironhide relays a message that all he wanted Tracks to know was he was just an Autobot, just like Tracks is.

In the present the Autobots find this story uplifting. Prowl walks off from the group and wryly notes to Jazz what tale has just been told. Jazz proclaims the whole thing clearly nonsense, but afterwards gets Tracks alone to thank him for giving everyone new hope.

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Trailbreaker, Hound, Cliffjumper, Bumblebee, tracks, Switch [Flashback, deceased], Flint [Flashback, deceased], Jazz [Flashback and present], Headstrong [Flashback], Tantrum [Flashback], Razorclaw [Flashback], Divebomb [Flashback], Rampage [Flashback], Wheeljack, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Mirage, Ironhide [Flashback and present], Bluestreak [Flashback], First Aid [Flashback], Brawn [Flashback], Cosmos [Flashback], Beachcomber [Flashback], Prowl.

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by inflatable dalek

Spotlight: Drift

Released April 8th 2009.

Written by: Shane McCarthy.

Art by: Casey Coller.

Colours by: Joana Lafuente

Letters by: Chris Moway.

Edits by: Denton J. Tipton.

$3.99 cover price, choice of covers.

Synopsis: In a bar on an alien planet, a clocked figure buys access to the local spaceship-docking platform on the black market. The seller warns him the ship he wants is Cybertronian and they’re a species best avoided, but is then shocked when she touches the buyer’s arm, realising that it’s metal and that he must be a Transformer as well.

The disguised Transformer is Drift, and the ship a Decepticon one carrying prisoners. Using the access codes and his own ninja skill, he manages to get onboard unseen. Such subtlety is wasted however when the Wreckers, led by Kup, just blast their way in through the side.

On the bridge, Commander Turmoil is alerted to the breech and instantly knows it can only be Kup. Below decks, Drift fights alongside the Wreckers, with Perceptor being incredibly impressed by his recently upgraded body. Drift tells Kup he has also come to rescue the Autobot prisoners, and leads them straight to the cells where the captives, a mixture of Wreckers and regular Autobots are held.

Perceptor keeps the Decepticons out by scrambling their locking system, but Turmoil simply blasts through both the door and Perceptor. Drift rushes Turmoil in an attempt to retrieve the fallen Autobot, but only succeeds in being recognised as the former Decepticon Deadlock. Turmoil then blasts through the floor with such force that both Drift and Kup are knocked to the floor below.

After recovering from their fall, Kup reveals he knows Deadlock by reputation, and that he killed a lot of Autobots. He then adds that in the early days of the war there was a third faction who refused to take sides and left Cybertron never to be heard from again. The design of Drift’s sword suggests he found them. Drift agrees and explains that the consequence of that meeting led to him leaving the Decepticons and changing his outlook on life. Kup acknowledges the importance of second chances, and Drift offers to help him blow up the ship. He knows how as he used to be Turmoil’s second in command.

Soon they have reached the engine room and rigged it to explode, but are interrupted by an angry Turmoil. Drift pushes Kup out of the ship to safety, and the two former colleagues fight. Drift soon succeeds in pinning Turmoil to the wall and gives him a lecture on how much both sides have degraded each other. He then proves how much of a better person he is than Turmoil by not killing him personally, instead leaving him (and all the other Decepticons on board) to die in a massive explosion instead. Before the detonation, Drift rescues Perceptor and gets out just in time.

As the Wreckers head back to the Trion, Kup offers Drift both Autobot membership and the chance to join a new team he’s putting together, despite Springer’s misgivings. Drift accepts.

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Drift, Perceptor [Blasted], Roadbuster, Springer, Kup, Twin Twist, Commander Turmoil [Exploded], Topspin, Whirl, Sandstorm, Broadside, Blurr, Blaster, Lots and lots of generic Decepticons [Killed].

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by inflatable dalek

Spotlight: Cliffjumper

Released June 17th 2009.

Written by: Shane McCarthy.

Art by: Robbie Musso.

Colours by: Joana Lafuente.

Letters by: Chris Mowry.

Edits by: Denton J. Tipton and Andy Schmidt.

Synopsis: Now: In the darkness, Cliffjumper talks to a badly hurt individual. “They” have brought reinforcements, but he promises the injured person that they’ll be OK.

Then: On an alien planet, Kita and her young brother find Cliffjumper in a clearing trying to set up a distress beacon. He explains he’s a Autobot/Cybertronian whose ship has crashed and Kita explains she’s a local farmer and has been raising her brother Coll since their parents died of the “sickness”, though some of the nearby locals help out occasionally. Though Cliffjumper reluctant to place her in danger, she insists he come back to their farmhouse whilst he waits for his distress signal to be answered.

At their home, Cliffjumper gives more background detail on the war, and Kita is shocked as her species find hurting others abhorrent. Cliffjumper promises to prove he’s one of the good guys by fixing up the farm whilst he awaits rescue.

Sometime later Cliffjumper has done a great deal of work and he and the two aliens are getting along famously, with Kita even introducing him to the idea of giving girls flowers. Their idyllic lifestyle is interrupted however when his distress signal is answered, but rather than Autobots it’s Decepticons who have arrived, and landed by the farm where Coll is playing alone.

Cliffjumper and Kita rush to the scene, and though he tries to persuade her to stay out of sight in the bushes, she rushes to her brother. The lead Decepticon demands to know where the Autobots who sent the message are in a rather violent way, before sending minions into the trees to search them out. Cliffjumper easily takes out several, leading the others to assume there’s an entire Autobot army in there, so they rather nervously call for reinforcements.

Kita tries to tell them there is only one, and what a nice friendly Autobot he is at that. Lead Decepticon smugly proclaims her “friend” has lied to her and that the Autobots won’t lift a finger to save her, and tries to prove it by shouting a “surrender or she dies” ultimatum into the trees. He’s at first surprised when this succeeds in bringing out Cliffjumper, and then shocked when he realises there was only one Autobot after all.

Lead Decepticon then takes a perverse delight in telling her Cliffjumper is an assassin who broke into their command centre and killed his superior. The Autobot ship didn’t crash; it was shot down. This reduces Kita to tears. Cliffjumper demands the Decepticons release the humanoids as agreed. Lead Decepticon keeps his word by chucking Kita away in the direction of her brother and then chucking a grenade at them. Cliffjumper manages to shield them from the blast with his body, and then get them both to the barn as the Decepticon reinforcements arrive.

Now: In the darkness of the barn, Kita dies from her wounds. Outside, the newly arrived reinforcements mock Lead Decepticon for needing help to fight just one Autobot. Their tune changes however when they realise the description is that of Cliffjumper, resulting in them calling a hurried retreat. This is too late however, as an irate Cliffjumper comes running out of the building guns blazing.

Later Again: With the Decepticons defeated and Kita buried, Cliffjumper leaves Coll with one of his neighbours before taking the now vacant Decepticon spaceship to rejoin his own family.

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Cliffjumper, Kita, Coll, Lead Decepticon, Reinforcing Decepticon, Lots and Lots of Generic Decepticons. [All except Cliffjumper and Coll killed]

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by inflatable dalek

Spotlight: Metroplex

Released July 1st 2009.

Written by: Andy Schmidt.

Art by: Marcelo Matere.

Colours by: Priscilla Tramontano.

Letters by: Chris Mowry.

Edits by: Denton J. Tipton.

Synopsis: Orvus Base, in orbit of Salwantan VI: A top-secret space laboratory where the Throttlebots are used as couriers to get information to their Autobot superiors without Decepticons intercepting it. They don’t know the nature of the work carried out there, but they’re still in danger when Sixshot makes a surprise attack and kills all the base's staff.

Fleeing in an escape capsule, the Throttlebots detect Cybertronian life on Salwantan VII, and head there in hope of help. What they find is a large, abandoned city with vast stores of Energon.

Sixshot arrives and demands to be told all they know about the labs work. If they cooperate, they die painlessly; resist, and they’ll be tortured. The Throttlebots pretend to run, but instead lure Sixshot into a surprise attack. It fails miserably, leaving only Searchlight and Rollbar standing, with the others all badly wounded. However, the fight has penetrated a security room in the city and set off several alarms.

As Sixshot prepares to deliver the killing blow to Searchlight, he fails to notice a giant hand rising up behind him, which squashes him. He survives this, but fares less well when the city becomes a giant robot, the Autobot Metroplex, who steps on him.

Metroplex offers the Throttlebots supplies and a shuttle, but he won’t go with them to join the war effort, as his mission of protecting “IT” is far more important. Metroplex then transforms to spaceship mode and departs to a new hiding place.

As the Throttlebots start to prepare to leave as well, Searchlight reveals he knows what “IT” is and that Metroplex’s mission is that important. As they begin to receive messages of the massive Decepticon offensive across the Galaxy, they realise they may have already lost the war.

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Scrounge [Killed], Sixshot, Chase, Searchlight, Freeway, Goldbug, Rollbar, Wideload, Metroplex.
[NB: Only Searchlight, Goldbug and Rollbar are still definitely alive at the end of the issue. The fate of the other Throttlebots is uncertain, all got hit badly].

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by inflatable dalek

All Hail Megatron: Volume 3 TPB

Amazon estimate November 2009.

$17.99 list price.

Reprints the fourth series of Spotlight issues.

Publisher solicitation: IDW's one-shots focusing on the most celebrated Transformers characters continue in this fifth collection of Spotlights. This time around, see how and why Blurr, Jazz, Drift, Cliffjumper, and Metroplex fit into the Transformers universe and the events of All Hail Megatron.

Browse at | Browse at

(The fourth collection of Spotlights was, of course, Revelation.)

Spotlight: Prowl

April 2010
Written By: Mike Costa
Art By: E.J. Su
Colours By: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters By: Chris Mowry
Edits By: Andy Schmidt, Carlos Guzman & Denton J Tipton

Notes: Prowl is a stand-alone issue released during the Mike Costa run, and is basically stand-alone unlike the rest of the Spotlights here which are all collected in an All Hail Megatron TPB. Spotlight Prowl is collected as part of Mike Costa's Transformers Ongoing run.

Synopsis: Prowl stays undercover as a human police car, apparently bored as he observes his ‘hosts’ going through crimes. Nothing serious.

Two years ago, after the cataclysmic events of Megatron’s reign on Earth, Prowl and Prime exchange some words. Prowl decides that they have won, and it’s all that matters. Prime, meanwhile, decides that they have to help the humans rebuild, to which Prowl responds that it wouldn’t help since humans no longer trust them. Prowl says that they’re humans, and they don’t know the difference. Prime, agreeing, dispatches Prowl to disguise himself as a police car and observe the humans.

So he does, observing the humans for a long time, seeing the chaotic swarm that the humans really are. A bunch of cops discover a damaged red jet transformer in a building and burn it down in an attempt to kill it.

More new arrivals arrive on Earth, and Prime decides to reinforce their Earthen base, to which Prowl balks. Prime says that they’ll push out of New York, and Prowl tells Prime that the humans are ready to kill them, even when they were wounded. Prime, meanwhile, tells Prowl that the humans can’t tell the difference, quoting the strategist’s words. Prime tells Prowl that Prowl has to keep observing the humans on his ‘own journey’. Prowl also observes that the chain of command has been steadily breaking down, with Brawn giving orders without them going through him, and Prime replies that perhaps there’s no more need for a chain of command, and that they should become something more democratic.

Prowl knows that logic and maths dictate that a human life is not worth a Cybertronian life, but when a recovered transformer weapon accidentally blows up a building, the Autobot transforms, despite knowing the maths, to save a girl. The cop who rides in Prowl for the past eight months speak to him, telling him that the people around them are ready to kill him. Prowl responds by saying that by breaking cover, he would’ve done more good than simply doing nothing.

Prowl frees himself before Skywatch arrives (with the help of the cop) and one year later, he gets captured by Skywatch again. However, things changed when Prime speaks to a government guy, and Prowl is now free, going with human police to catch some bad guys, resolving that both human and Cybertronian life are worth his life.

Featured Transformers: Prowl, Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Bumblebee, ratchet, Seaspray, Windcharger, Jetfire, Brawn, Sideswipe, Hound. Thrust is mentioned but not seen.

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by Blackjack


| All Hail Megatron | IDW Comics Guide | All Hail Megatron: Coda |

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