‘Transformers: Windblade Vol. 2 #1’ Comic Review
Transformers:Windblade Vol. 2 #1 is an upcoming series from IDW Publishing, set in the Transformers universe, and is the first part of the Combiner Wars crossover event. The story is handled by Mairghread Scott and John Barber, with Sarah Stone providing the visuals. The opening issue describes the events of Cybertron’s first contact with the inhabitants of its long lost colony, Caminus.
Autobot and Decepticon factions are no more, with both groups being united under their new leader, Starscream (!). Optimus Prime, while still having his suspicions, tolerates Starscream’s leadership, hoping that a united front will prove to be a benefit to all of the inhabitants of Cybertron. Windblade and Chromia are newly arrived on the planet, hailing from a long-lost Cybertronian colony, called Caminus. The people of Caminus are seeking aid from their home planet, which Optimus has sworn to render, while Starscream seeks, as always, to spin the situation in a way that will best benefit himself. When the renegade ex-Decepticon Swindle, and a number of Transformers known as the Stunt-Bots access the gateway to Caminus and travel through on a mission to loot until they drop, the forces of Cybertron are forced to send in a team to combat them. Little do they know, Swindle has found the key to ancient combiner technology, and the threat is quite a bit bigger than anyone realizes. Will the team manage to overcome Swindle and his (now) monstrous companion? And who gave him access to the gateway in the first place?
Despite a brief introduction to the the setting and the major players, the story works on the assumption that the reader has been following recent series, and isn’t a good jumping-on point for anyone who isn’t familiar with the current goings-on in the Transformers universe. There are a number of familiar faces included in the story that casual fans will recognize, but many of the situations and characters will be a bit confusing if you haven’t been following recent events. It doesn’t help that, despite the story starting with an even pace, the action soon kicks into high gear, and throws a number of curve-balls at the reader. Speaking as someone who isn’t familiar with the current status quo, events can be pieced together, while others can be ignored, but this isn’t a good point for the uninitiated to start with. Readers who are unfamiliar would be best served by researching past events online, or picking up the older collections that predate this series. The story is a mid-point, not a beginning or an ending, and past events need to be read before the current action can be properly appreciated. In other words, this is not a self-contained release, and the background behind the current events are critical to understanding what is currently going on.
The story itself is engaging, fast-paced (after the initial period of rather minor exposition), and tends to put on a bit of a show. Its action sequences outweigh other parts of the narrative, with many of the plot points being subsumed by the later, more cinematic battle sequences. Being a first issue in a new series, character development is at a minimum, with the known characters (Starscream, Prime) reverting to type, while the newer additions remain enigmas. The best part of the story is comprised by the full force action sequences, which are contained in the latter half of the release, along with the political infighting that is peppered throughout. Hopefully, the first aspect continues, as presented, and the second aspect is built upon as the story continues. Time will tell.
Sarah Stone excels with her character design, her ability to dynamically depict the action sequences, and her knack for depicting the different robotic characters as individuals. Her art has a highly animated feel to it, and fans of the early Transformers cartoons will most likely appreciate her approach. Her depiction of light and shadow is virtually nonexistent, with any play of light falling to the colorist, while she relies mainly on her line work and overall character composition to carry the day. The art is almost entirely focused on the action in the foreground, with very little background detail included, and her focus occasionally lapses when she is depicting larger action sequences. Overall, this is good work, with a few minor flaws that the artist can readily improve upon.
This release will certainly appeal to fervent follower of IDW’s Transformers series, but may not be the best starting point for new readers. Well-crafted and presented, the issue lacks a suitable inroad to engage new fans. If you’ve been keeping up with the current goings-on, this is a recommended release. For anyone who’s new to IDW’s Transformers line, I’d suggest that you start somewhere else.