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Transformers Spotlight, fifth series of issues

| Orion Pax | Thundercracker | Megatron | Bumblebee | Trailcutter | Hoist |

Spotlight: Orion Pax: "Omega's Conundrum"

Published Date: December 12, 2012
Written by: James Roberts
Art by: Steve Kurth & Juan Castro
Colours by: Jesus Aburtov & Graphikslava
Edited by: John Barber
Cover price: $3.99

Synopsis: The issue opens with Orion Pax in a sticky situation. Tied to an out of control shuttle, heading straight for Iacon itís fair to say things arenít looking good for the future Prime.

Prior to this, Orion Pax is refitted into a new body, complete with visible mouth, to allow him to navigate the hazardous terrain of the Rust Spot, a hostile terrain where Chief Medical Officer Ratchet is being held captive by a Decepticon force led by Bludgeon. Seeking to trade prisoners, Orion Pax along with Nightbeat and Alpha Trion are to escort a Decepticon prisoner into the Rust Spot to exchange for Ratchet.

Nearing the Decepticon camp, the three are set upon by a swarm of slicers, but are able to fight them off without too much damage. During the melee, the trailer carrying the Decepticon prisoner is busted open. They recapture the prisoner, only to discover it is in fact 2 prisoners Ė Rack and Ruin. They explain that they are lowly troops and fear returning to the Decpticons. Before Pax can react to this information, a trio of sweeps lead by Thundercracker arrive to escort the Autobots the rest of the way.

At the Decepticon base, Pax meets with Bludgeon. Too late he realises that itís a trap with Bludgeon revealing that it was Aplha Trion they were looking for all along (and knowing he would be in the rescue party due to his knowledge of the Rust Spot).

Looking to gain access to Metroplex and his Space Bridge technology through Alpha Trion, Bludgeon sets his army of Decepticons on the Autobots but thanks to Rack and Ruins knowledge of the Tunnels leading from the base, they are able to escape. All of them, that is except for Orion Pax.

Pax is captured while providing cover for the others and awakens to find himself tied to a space shuttle. Bludgeon gloats over the situation that he finds himself in and aims the shuttle for the nearest population centre. Which leads us back to the start of the issue.

Escaping from his bonds by performing an instantaneous conversion into his alt mode, Pax redirects the shuttle to a barren stretch of land before performing a somewhat successful crash landing. While awaiting his rescue, he adapts a piece of metal to once again have his signature face plate.

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Orion Pax, Wheeljack, Kaput, Rung, Zeta Prime, Ratchet, Nightbeat, Alpha Trion, Metroplex, Rack, Ruin, Thundercracker, Acid Storm, Skywarp, Bludgeon

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by Red Dave Prime

Spotlight: Thundercracker: "The Hunting Party"

Publication Date: 16 January 2013
Written By: John Barber
Pencils By: Chee Yang Ong (credited as Chee)
Colours By: Ronda Pattison
Letters By: Shawn Lee
Edits By: Carlos Guzman & Thomas Boening

Synopsis: Space, long ago: Blitzwing, Thundercracker and a group of Insecticons search an asteroid for signs of Metroplex or the other Metrotitans, for Megatron desired the Space Bridge technology within them. Despite Thundercracker getting some odd readings, an irritated Blitzwing ignores him. Thundercracker mulls over the fact that they had destroyed an alien outpost for being in their way of the hunt while the group returns. Thundercracker the mulls over the fact that the reason he was assigned to the hunt of the Metrotitans was because he was present at an earlier meeting between Bludgeon and Alpha Trion, where the existence of the Titans were confirmed. Thundercracker also remembers how Optimus Prime had raised Metroplex, and he served as Autobot headquarters before vanishing.

Having retrieved a piece of unusual metal from where Blitzwing had knocked his datapad to the ground, Thundercracker runs a scan when they return to the ship, tracking a rare radiation wavelength. Thundercracker reports to the leader of the search – Bludgeon – but merely calls it a ‘hunch’, and keeps wondering to himself why he had lied. Bludgeon orders the ship to quantum jump to its target, but they are followed by an Autobot ship consisting of Nightbeat, Bumblebee and Jetfire, who follow despite not very confident about their chances. Days later, the Empirion arrives at its destination, where a surface scan reveals a reservoir of pseudo-energon, which seems to indicate Metroplex’s presence. Thundercracker is ordered by Bludgeon to eliminate the alien race which has settled above the reservoir, despite his reluctance. However, understanding the need for the lack of witnesses, Thundercracker complies and leads the rest of the squad down. The Autobots, despite knowing how outnumbered they are, decide to intervene to rescue the innocents. Thundercracker attempts to use his sonic booms to warn the aliens, but instead lures them out into the open, a tactic which is complimented by Blitzwing. Thundercracker lands, which is noted by an unsuspicious Bludgeon, who assumes that Thundercracker had located the Titan and orders an orbital bombardment… but is interrupted by the Autobots, who ram their shuttle onto the Empirion (although Bludgeon escapes the crash), and taking out Waspinator in the process. While Nightbeat and Jetfire hold off the Decepticons, Thundercracker enters a geothermal vent to hunt Metroplex, followed by Bumblebee.

Still plagued by insecurities and blaming himself for the planet’s destruction, Thundercracker finds Metroplex himself, albeit slumbering and absorbing energy from the pseudo-energon reservoir. Thundercracker engages Bumblebee in battle, and his aerial superiority lends him the upper hand. However, one of the local alien jumps into the fray to help Bumblebee, and when Thundercracker tosses the alien aside, the wounded Bumblebee steps inbetween them. Thundercracker realizes that while the alien probably knew that he couldn’t make a difference, he made a sacrifice play – either to save Bumblebee, or at least to help prevent his death for a little while. Thundercracker realized that like the alien, he lied to Bludgeon not for glory or duty, but to protect others by keeping Metroplex out of Bludgeon’s hands. He radios Bludgeon with a lie that Metroplex is already gone, and after telling Bumblebee that he wished all Autobots were like him, transforms and flies off. His sonic boom splashes the pseudo-energon onto Metroplex, awakening him and allowing him to teleport to continue his mission. Bumblebee and the alien reunite with their fellows, although the Autobots are temporarily stranded there. The Decepticons have their ship destroyed, and depart the asteroid in their alternate modes. They have all reached the conclusion that Thundercracker led them into an Autobot trap, and with Blitzwing’s goading, Bludgeon decides to remove Thundercracker from the titan hunt, something Thundercracker does not contest. However, doubt still lingers as he wonders if he had found what he was looking for.

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Blitzwing, Barrage, Thundercracker, Waspinator, Venom, Chop Shop, Metroplex (flashback and present), Orion Pax (flashback), Alpha Trion (flashback), Metrotitans (flashback), Fasttracks, Bludgeon, Nightbeat, Bumblebee, Jetfire

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by Blackjack

Spotlight: Megatron

Publication Date: 6th February 2013
Written By: Nick Roche
Art By: Nick Roche
Colours By: Len O’Grady
Letters By: Shawn Lee
Edits By: John Barber & Thomas Boening

Synopsis: Megatron finds himself reformatted in a new body, walking through the Decepticons’ base with Soundwave in order to establish what elements remain of his army, and finds that his Decepticons – and his legacy – have fallen into extremely pitiful conditions. Megatron attempts to rally the troops, promising them vengeance against the Autobots, but a handless Needlenose reflects the rest of the demoralized Decepticons. Shockwave attracts Megatron’s attention, and insists on Megatron testing out the space bridge technology stolen from Metroplex which has been integrated into Megatron’s new form, worried about it interacting with the localized black hole connection he also has. Megatron waves Shockwave off with a sarcastic remark, instead asking him to continue preparing the weapon caches. Megatron notes to himself that those like Shockwave and Soundwave who disguise their treachery must be scrutinized more thoroughly. As they continue to walk, Soundwave attempts to give Megatron a record of the procedural mis-steps taken by the entire army during the Decepticon leader’s absence, but Megatron silences him and requests to be alone (though he acknowledges to himself that Soundwave would most likely be eavesdropping).

Megatron then approaches Starscream, who lie dejected and defeated in his darkened throne room. Megatron orders Starscream to muster what dignity he has and explain his three-year tenure as Decepticon leader. However, Starscream is extremely submissive, telling Megatron to get along with the punishment instead of suffering from humiliation. Megatron attempts to prolong the conversation, but Starscream instead pulls Megatron’s cannon and aims it at himself, which disappoints Megatron. Megatron instead begins to expound on how Starscream had came into power – not by treachery, but by merely filling in a gap when he fell, as well as Starscream’s failed attempted use of the Matrix to gain respect. Megatron continues to taunt a still-passive Starscream over his failures, telling him that the mess which Starscream made out of his leadership tenure is even more disappointing than all his other attempts at treachery. Megatron’s verbal abuse continues on as he describes the deplorable state of the Decepticons, reduced to a bunch of cannibals with no military infrastructure, and lays all of it on Starscream getting what he wants.

Starscream eventually snaps and opens fire on Megatron, but immediately realizes his mistake and flies off in his jet mode. Megatron gets up, and notes to himself that he had expected to beat up Starscream upon his resurrection, expecting himself to vent his resentment, while Starscream could vent his own rebellious urges. Megatron notes that this little game has taken place multiple times, where he would exert dominance upon Starscream every time… and he felt the need to get Starscream back to how he had been before. With the gauntlet thrown, Megatron transforms into his stealth bomber mode and works it out, impressed with how well the alternate mode handles. Megatron pursues Starscream through the asteroid, and a further taunt provokes Starscream to fight back, something which Megatron notes as first a desire to live, then a desire to be punished, before concluding it as an attempt to find respite over his guilt. The battle rages on through the asteroid field, until Megatron has Starscream by the neck. Megatron asks if Starscream truly wishes to die, which Starscream answers yes, but Megatron refuses to grant him that, the continuing taunts igniting Starscream’s anger once more. Megatron continues to berate Starscream, blaming him for falling so far that he’s not even comparable to the already pitiful Starscream of past.

The Decepticon troops, meanwhile, assemble below to watch the battle, with Skywarp enforcing that no one interfere.

Starscream eventually breaks down, saying how he had everything – but was unable to make the Decepticons obey him through respect or fear, and how horrible it was to have his lifelong dream crumble beneath his eyes, telling Megatron he could never understand that. Megatron beats Starscream to the ground, telling him he can understand all too well – his own dream, the Decepticon army, has also been destroyed… by Starscream. Starscream begs for death, but Megatron opens fire instead on a nearby rock, telling Starscream that the reason that he keeps him around is that Starscream used to be the model Decepticon – a competent warrior who keeps those under him in check, and one who aspires for victory, and in Megatron’s greatest moments, Starscream’s presence will forevermore remind him the need to watch his own back and not be complacent. Megatron notes that Starscream is no longer any of the above, and gives Starscream one last chance to use all his self-loathing in a productive way. Weakly, Starscream accepts Megatron’s offer back into the Decepticon ranks.

The Decepticons gather around the two combatants, and Megatron begins to rally them again, telling them to use hate and anger to carry them through their troubled time, and this time they respond in kind, cheering for Megatron’s return. Megatron takes stock of his troops, noting that Soundwave lurks, Shockwave plots and Starscream lives to scheme… the Decepticon house is in order once more, and everything is as it should be.

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron, Soundwave, Pounce/Wingspan, Reflector, Sunstorm, Blitzwing, Windsweeper, Skywarp, Rumble (see notes), Razorclaw, Shrapnel, Acid Storm, Kickback, Needlenose, Shockwave, Starscream, Astrotrain

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by Blackjack

Spotlight: Bumblebee

Publication Date: 6th March 2013
Written By: John Barber
Art By: David Daza
Colours By: Zac Atkinson
Letters By: Shawn Lee
Edits By: Carlos Guzman & Thomas Boening

Synopsis: The story opens with Bumblebee finds himself at the receiving end of a beatdown by the Stunticons, alternating with a flash back to a day before:

With Optimus Prime and the Autobot forces on their way to Cybertron to handle a major crisis, Bumblebee had been left in charge with a small group on Earth to hunt down the remaining Decepticons left on the planet, but the latest search is a bust, and Bumblebee begins doubting himself, noting that Optimus Prime commanded respect, and that even the Stunticons moved as an army, unlike his men. Bumblebee argues with Prowl over the concern of Decepticon threats against the unknown threat of their human allies, and the argument boils over when Prowl orders Groove and Streetwise to come with him, with the justification that Optimus Prime would not put up with procedural nonsense and instead do what is right. Hot Spot tries unsuccessfully to cheer Bumblebee up

Left alone, Bumblebee pays Thundercracker a visit, but finds him packing up and leaving his hideout, claiming that he has no contact with the Decepticons for years. Bumblebee keeps up the conversation, but Thundercracker tells Bumblebee that he’s not leader material, making comparisons of Bumblebee with Optimus Prime and later himself. The conversation eventually led into talk about the space bridge, and how Megatron could make space bridges in his new body. Thundercracker eventually gives Bumblebee the radiation signature of the space bridge.

The other Autobots are all busy doing Prowl’s operation, and Bumblebee, finding himself not really cut out for command, decides to take things into his own hands. Visiting his human ally Sanjay Bharwaney, and after a short conversation, uses the equipment of a facility to scan the planet for the signature, locating it near some native American ruins. Bumblebee heads out alone, still unable to contact the others, and finds the entire Decepticon army gathered around a space bridge terminal. Bumblebee attempts to sneak and sabotage the bridge, but is discovered by the Decepticons. Starscream orders the Stunticons to take care of Bumblebee while he leads the rest of the army to Cybertron.

With his flashback over, Bumblebee is beaten up by the Stunticons brutally, but a flash of inspiration causes him to jam his cane into one of the bridge’s power conduits, causing an explosion that destroys the bridge and knocks the Stunticons away.

Bumblebee rendezvoused with the rest of the Autobots, dragging the five Stunticons behind him, surprising Prowl and the other Autobots. Bumblebee begins to take charge, explaining that they need to wrap out the business on Earth, and even orders Prowl to discuss procedural matters, eventually earning Prowl’s respect, who acknowledges him as a good leader.

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Bumblebee, Hot Spot, Groove, Dead End, Motormaster, Wildrider, Breakdown, Drag Strip, Omega Supreme, Ultra Magnus, Prowl, Streetwise, Thundercracker, Sanjay Bharwaney, Starscream, Astrotrain, Shockwave, Blitzwing, Soundwave

Reviews & Commentary: Reviewed by Blackjack

Spotlight: Trailcutter

Synopsis: TBA

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: TBA

Reviews & Commentary: TBA

Spotlight: Hoist

Synopsis: TBA

Characters Featured [in rough order of appearance]: TBA

Reviews & Commentary: TBA


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