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Transformers: Infiltration #3 (of 6)
#3 of an ongoing arc
Reviewed by Denyer

Issue Review

This story is seriously beginning to hit a stride. Some of the things I particularly appreciated: Verity in Pat Lee distortion-vision on the cam. The little hint of psychopathy in Sunstreaker's dialogue. Ratchet's "Why are we here?" counter-lecture to Prowl. The sense of danger accompanying the Decepticon evidence elimination squad. The perfectly timed cinematic moment that has Ironhide wrestling with his thoughts before he contacts Prime. Human names misunderstood as Hunteronion and Veritycarlo. Bumblebee living up to his spy credentials (and manifesting in hologram form as a woman.) Bruce Campbell running an auto-lot...

It's still amazing how much characterisation Furman can pack into nuggets of dialogue — and he's helped greatly by expressive body language and facial expressions from Su on characters. My only reservations at this stage of the arc are, as with previous issues, pretty minor niggles; on the whole the colouring fits, and it's pleasing to see that the muted lighting inside Autobot headquarters produces appropriately washed shades on metal... however, there are a few occasions on which Rauch falls back to using block grey for areas of characters that shouldn't be grey — Bumblebee's headlamps, for instance, or Ratchet's face in a distance shot. It's sloppy and doesn't do the art justice where it happens, as if the colourist is somewhat confused by panels that call for the shading to interpolate detail without hard ink lines.

But anyway... I could talk about this issue and achieve little more than a retelling or nitpicking, whilst it deserves to be picked up and enjoyed before coming to a review in this style that breaks the narrative down into chunks. Hopefully you've already done just that, and will be agreeable to this summary of the story: Res Ipsa Loquitur. [1]

All that remains now is for Furman to keep throwing curve-balls with this and successive storylines. Being an ongoing title, he has more latitude to hold open plot strands that would demand early resolution in a miniseries format, although I think we can expect an explanation of Starscream's reckless early advancement of plans. The question is, how and in what ways will the war on Earth now escalate?

The back of the issue contains a now-standard two pages of inked work for the following issues, three pages of Beast Wars #2 — I suspect this may be the last such, as the miniseries is only scheduled to run for four issues itself — cover list and two pages of letters. As the column was assembled just prior to the release of #1 it isn't particularly relevant, but there's a comedy letter from Cale Gernon who wants metal to crack like glass...

[1] Latin: the thing speaks for itself.

Character Development

Sunstreaker finds Verity's provocation annoying, but his words reflect a more general disdain for humans.

Bumblebee and Wheeljack go about with other business whilst Prowl is upbraiding Ratchet. Ironhide, Jazz and Sunstreaker stand and watch.

Prowl accuses Ratchet of deliberately putting humans at risk in order to give himself another shot at being a hero, suggesting that a similar situation has occurred previously. He goes on to say Ratchet should "get rid of" the humans after downloading data from the portable computer, which we can presume isn't murderous...

Ironhide contacts Optimus Prime, apparently before Prowl has analysed the data.

Bumblebee is spying on Ratchet, but his (deliberately?) casual tone seems to defuse any tension caused by the situation when he reveals himself. Appropriately for an alt mode of a small secondary family car, his holo-avatar is an equally non-threatening young student-type female.

Blitzwing and Skywarp are direct and effective, reducing targets to rubble and teleporting out.

Other Details

The Decepticons are suggested by Ratchet to specialise in destabilising world governments through infiltration, presumably to minimise resistance efforts. "Siege mode" is a military configuration adopted before phase six, which he refuses to elaborate on to the humans.

Speculation: it isn't known yet whether the teleportation employed by Blitwing and Skywarp is related to the latter's special abilities, as it carries two Transformers. Skywarp may simply be the only TF capable of controlling entry and exit with both precision and speed, making him particularly suited to the mission.

Although sighted, there is no indication that the Decepticons' activities have been captured on camera. Even if they have, simple magnetic interference could erase anything not broadcast live.

The Autobot base, the shuttle Ark-19, is parked on the bottom of Lake Michigan, northeast of Chicago.

Quotes of Note

Sunstreaker: "Noisy creatures, aren't they? Still... easily sorted."

Ratchet: "Tell me something, Prowl— why are we here? And I mean that in a literal rather than existential sense. Why are we here, on this planet? We're here to save lives."

Ratchet: "Hoo boy. My batch proto-initiator told be there'd be moments like this..."

Bumblebee: "Couldn't help but overhear... largely because I was lurking back here, where I had no real good reason to be."

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