Spotlight Vol. 5 / All Hail Megatron Vol. 3

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by hrothgars, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. hrothgars

    hrothgars Autobot Scout

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    After numerous (unexplainable) delays from Amazon, today I finally received my trade paperback copy of AHM Vol. 3.

    I read the first two Spotlights (Blurr & Jazz) on my lunch break, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The Blurr story is exactly the type of thing I longed for as a 7-year-old G1 cartoon fan, e.g. background regarding how Cyberton descended from a once great civilization into a war-torn & then abandoned planet. I was also never much of a Blurr fan, but this story (and especially the Piston character & the pre-matrix Optimus cameo!) made this a very enjoyable read. The illustrations are also pretty great.

    Next came a surprising story about another G1 character I really couldn't care less about, Tracks. Tracks is featured prominently in the Jazz Spotlight and here again the authors take a character with very little positive development from the G1 cartoon continuity (Tracks, not Jazz) and they give him a back story that makes him a much more respectable & memorable 'bot.

    I have read all the previous negative reviews for AHM and I admittedly am not much of a comic book collector, but I have enjoyed almost all of the IDW trade paperbacks from the new continuities (Spotlight Vol. 1-5, AHM Vol. 1-3, Revelation, etc.). As a G1 fanboy, the art & the stories are all helping me to fill in the gaps for characters that I otherwise would have said were getting in the way of the original G1 plot line. If it is even possible, I think I am an even bigger fan after having read this series.

    Just wanted to throw these comments from a 25-year TF fan out there to see if anyone else felt the same.

    Thanks.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  2. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 Man, I've been here a LONG time Veteran

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    Seconded. I'm been a fan since 1984 myself, and among other things, I'm looking forward to getting this trade paperback at some point soon. I've read the Jazz spotlight, but not the others in this collection, so it would be largely new material for me. I really like what IDW's done with the characters and concepts. I love the tpb format as well. It's nice to see the material collected in a single volume.
     
  3. wheeljack01

    wheeljack01 Happiness is a warm gun

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    Same here, I can't wait for this volume, especially for the Metroplex story!
     
  4. Leemon

    Leemon Yar, spare sum fuel mate?

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    I got this and read it over the weekend, and was disappointed. My biggest peeve is that IDW title the collection All Hail Megatron Vol. 3. I'm sorry, but it in no way does this TP directly continue the AHM story line, it is just a bunch of stories from the individual Transformers pasts. IMHO IDW should just named this collection Spotlight Vol. 5, because if they had it wouldn't feel like they pulled a Bait & Switch.
     
  5. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 Man, I've been here a LONG time Veteran

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    Well, the framing sequence for spotlight Jazz does take place during AHM, and Drift is directly related to events in that story. The Throttlebots mention the galaxy-wide Decepticon assault.

    It's all marketing really. The events of some of the Spotlights are tangentially related to AHM, but I guess IDW felt the book would sell better if it was released as part of the series. It doesn't really bother me.
     
  6. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 Man, I've been here a LONG time Veteran

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    I picked this up today, but haven't had a chance to read all of it yet. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the story about Blurr. It's such a relief to see him as something other than the rather lightweight motormouth from the cartoon and old comic. Interesting to see a young, pre-Prime Optimus as well, and to watch Starscream try and recruit.

    I guess in this war, you don't get to stay neutral, right? Good art for the story was well as good writing. I liked it.

    Blurr
    I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this particular story, because from the promos I had read it sounded way too obvious. I found though, that despite its simplicity, it's a very enjoyable slice of both Cybertron's history and Blurr's history as well. Blurr's always annoyed me in the past, but this particular origin story strips Blurr of his annoying hyper-nervousness and fast speech patterns and sets him up as a star athlete from pre-war Cybertron. I don't normally consider racecar drivers as athletes, but since Blurr drives himself and runs I guess he's the exception. [​IMG]

    So what we have is a self-absorbed celebrity ("I don't watch the news, I am the news"), basking in his fame and living the high life, until it's all taken away from him. Both sides try to recruit him, but in the end he chooses the high road and his better impulses and takes the Autobot side, thanks to a good recruiting speech by a pre-Prime Optimus. Who reminds me a bit of Animated Prime, probably just because he has a mouth.

    The art is nice and clean and effective, and the story's simplicity is its strength.

    Jazz
    Not perfect, but a strong "survive against the stronger opponents" type of story. Jazz rescues Tracks from certain death at the hands of the Predacons, and in the process shows his capabilities as an agent and soldier. The Predacons are sold as "Megatron's elite squad", but I was never quite convinced, given the way Jazz tears through them. The intention is to show just how good he is, but it does make the Predacons look less than elite rather than simply making Jazz look good. Perhaps if there had only been two or three of them, Jazz's success would have seemed more believable. The last minute save by Ironhide is a bit cliched as well, as he saves Jazz just in the nick of time.

    I know I've missed quite a bit in the last year, but is this the first time we've really seen Tracks in a major role? Commander Wax-n-buff relates the story as a flashback, which negates any suspense about who lives or dies. But given that we're reading about Jazz and Tracks, I doubt anyone expects them to do anything other than survive, so it's not that big a deal.

    The art is very good. I'm always glad to see E.J. Su's art again, and I was delighted to see Josh Van Reyk get co-author credit, since I worked with him on the Mosaic project at one point. Should he be considered an "ascended fan" like Don Figeroa now? [​IMG]

    Cliffjumper
    This is not the type of story I ever expected to see about Cliffjumper, the little guy with a big attitude. Apparently he's some sort of expert fighter and assassin in IDW's continuity. That's fine, but it does make for a jarring story at first as I read Cliffjumper behave in ways I don't expect. He gets a break from the war in a fairly idyllic place, thanks to his spaceship crashing, and exposure to some rather innocent people either helps him to grow a bit more of a conscience. Or else he's simply afraid to tell them what he's done while fighting the war, for fear of disappointing them. And of course the Decepticons find him, forcing him to fight them to save his new friends. I'm not sure I buy him killing five or six opponents by himself, but that's apparently what happens.

    Some nice touches include Cliffjumper's discussion about the differences between himself and the organic humanoids he encounters. He can't feel the heat or cold, and at one point Kita burns her hand slightly while touching his arm, as we might when touching a hot car. Cliffjumper didn't even notice he was hot from being in the sun.

    The art's good, if a bit too "anime" for my taste (at least when it comes to the two aliens) and the story focuses on a character who has rarely gotten the spotlight. I don't know that I like it better than the Jazz spotlight, but it's probably the more sound of the two when it comes to the narrative.

    Drift
    Ok, I get a bit of a 'fan character' vibe from Drift, but not enough to cripple either him or the story. And this definitely fills in some holes in AHM for me, such as just how badly Perceptor was injured and who did it.

    So Drift is a former Decepticon turned Autobot. I gathered that much from AHM, but the information about the third faction was new, and it's an idea I'd like to see explored further. Perhaps the entire planet didn't choose sides, but the Autobots and Decepticons are just a portion of the planet's entire population. It's also interesting to see Drift talk about the past and what both the Autobots and Decepticons were like before the war and how much it would take to get back. It ties in with Kup's speech about the Matrix being their way back, and shows that McCarthy has some ideas about just how much both sides have changed. I guess if I were a raging fanboy I'd be screaming about how bad McCarthy's writing and characters are, but I'm not and I enjoy both. I think he has some good ideas. So sue me. [​IMG]

    Another very nice touch is the way other races view Cybertronians. "They're a plague everywhere they go." They're hated and feared at the same time, to the point where Drift has to disguise himself in order to interact with the natives. We haven't had much in the way of a third party commentary on the Transformers' war before. It makes sense, given how destructive they are.

    Metroplex
    Spotlight: Throttlebots, anyone? This was a fun issue, and it was good to see the return of Sixshot, as well as an explanation of how he was freed from the Dead Universe bots. I had picked up that Megatron obtained space bridge technology from Sixshot, and I wonder if the gestalt technology for Devastator was obtained the same way? It would make sense. Sixshot is, as usual, unstoppable... until Metroplex stomps him like a bug. I love the idea of an Autobot whose arm is the size of one of Greenville's high-rise office buildings, who can humble even the mighty Sixshot. If they had to shrink down Fort Max, at least they left Metroplex big. But what's he guarding?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  7. slugslinger2004

    slugslinger2004 TFW2005 Supporter

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    I'm not a big fan of comics, but I picked this up while at a bookstore with my wife. I've got to say it was really entertaining, and I'm looking to pick up the other volumes of AHM now.
     

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