Luke Owen reviews the latest Transformers: Spotlight from IDW…
ESCAPE FROM EARTH! Before Cybertron was reborn—BUMBLEBEE lead the Autobots on Earth. In this untold tale, he must take the reigns of command… and he’s got hundreds of rogue Decepticons standing between him and respect!
Last month’s Transformers Spotlight on Decepticon icon Megatron was an absolutely fantastic and demonstrated just how great this series of books can be. Can one focusing on the often mocked Bumblebee match up to the previous effort?
Set during the events of Transformers Volume 6, Transformers Spotlight: Bumblebee focuses on the yellow bug’s attempts to lead the ragtag group of remaining Autobots on Earth by asking just one question, ‘what would Prime do?’ His struggles as a leader aren’t helped by Prowl who downplays Bumblebee’s skills and trying to take charge himself.
It may just be me, but I’ve always had a hard time accepting Bumblebee as anything more than ‘the one who always gets captured’ from the cartoon series. To me, he was the April O’Neal of the group, the Princess Peach if you will. But comic book iterations (and especially in the ongoing Transformers: Robots in Disguise series) have Bumblebee as somewhat of a badass and genuine leader. Transformers Spotlight: Bumblebee continues this trend by posing Bumblebee as a troubled bot who feels like he is in the shadow of greater men that him, much like Rodimus did after Optimus Prime was killed. He constantly compares everything he is doing to the great Prime rather than focusing on his own strengths. This is all captured beautifully by John Barber who poetically weaves the main plot with one-page inner monologues reminiscent of Frank Miller’s Sin City. It’s a really well-written book.
Month after month I seem to find myself praising the interplay between two Transformers and here is no different. There is a scene in the middle of the comic where Bumblebee seeks out Decepticon splitter Thundercracker as he tries to move on with his life on post-war Earth. Barber adds a brilliant level of history to their war and his dialogue sounds genuine between the two hardened veterans as they dissect the war and their roles in it. It’s moments like this that make you happy to be a Transformers cannon fan.
David Daza’s artwork is also really strong and he captures the look and feel of the original designs while merging them with more modern day Michael Bay era Bumblebee to create a cohesive unit. It’s this bright and vibrant style (with colouring from Zac Atkinson) that really shows just how lacking the ongoing Transformers: More That Meets The Eye (issue #14 is also released today) series is in terms of artistic quality.
As a Transformers fan, I would heartily recommend picking up this title. The script is great, the art is good and the story is almost heartwarming and ideal for those who love a bit of sensible Autobot/Decepticon banter. Bumblebee may not be my all-time favourite Transformer, but Transformers Spotlight: Bumblebee is just one step further into convincing me I’m wrong.