Transformers – Spotlight: Bumblebee Review

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Posted on: March 5th, 2013

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Writer: John Barber

Art: David Daza (Lines) Zac Atkinson (Colours)

 

Synopsis:

Undermined at every turn by his own troops and desperate to prove himself as a leader, Bumblebee sets out to track down and apprehend the Decepticons on Earth.

 

 

 

Review In A Nutshell:

The latest Transformers Spotlight issues have certainly been a mixed bag. Nominally one-shots focusing on a single character, each batch of issues has usually had a common theme running through them, embellishing the mainline continuity; Simon Furman’s first run provided the historical background to the Infiltr/Escal/Devast-ation arcs. Another batch were off-shoots from the events surrounding Shane McCarthy’s All Hail Megatron epic and now we have issues revolving around the Titans from the RID & MTMTE annuals last year.

Sadly, for my money Spotlight Bumblebee belongs at the very bottom of that mixed bag I mentioned.

Compared to the other books in this series, it brings very little to the table – yes, it has tonnes and tonnes of continuity references, but none of it particularly helps with world building or character development. Set during the events of ‘Police Action’, Bee again visits with his ‘old pal’, Thundercracker – Mike Costa ‘started’ this relationship between the pair in the ‘International Incident’ arc, but the recent Spotlight: Thundercracker has retroactively added a further (somewhat contrived) commonality between the pair.

 

 

Thundercracker’s ambiguity regarding allegiance and loyalty was one of few high points most fans took from the Costa ongoing, but his exchange with Bumblebee in this issue is simply a retreading with some required plot-exposition tacked on – I love John Barber’s continuity handling on the whole, but this issue really does feel tacked on for the sake of it, with loose ends tied up that really didn’t need tying .

The crucial point in this series is that Megatron gets his hands on space bridge technology from the titans – that the Decepticons had to build a bridge terminus on Earth is hardly important.

As I said, all this continuity fixing and tidying is fine if you’re telling a story worth telling in its own right as you go, but shoehorning in an appearance from Dr Sanjay Bharmaney? Yeah, I didn’t recognise the name either, but the face was vaguely familiar – if you read the Bumblebee mini-series, this will make (some) sense, if you didn’t you really don’t need to worry as to whether or not you missed anything.

 

 

The art in the book is also strikingly different from that seen in any of the mainline books of late – David Daza isn’t an artist I’ve come across before, particularly in Transformers circles – he appears to handle vehicle modes quite well but once in robot form, the characters become quite ‘bubbly’, lacking in fine detail but possessing some peculiar ‘bars’ of teeth. There’s a few panels where perspective is a bit iffy and the proportions are off (Thundercracker lifting some crates, Ultra Magnus and the ‘trash bag’).

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