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Thread: Transformers Spotlight: Blaster

  1. #1
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    Default Transformers Spotlight: Blaster

    It is my intention to begin reviewing the majority of comics that pass through the IDW stable in the hope of promoting comics. Understandably, the toys and their engineering are foremost of any collectors mind but of equal relevance I believe is the fiction behind these characters. These stories give them the spark that we find so alluring, that have capitvated us and helped us to return to the fold. It is these that have allowed G1 to transcend.

    I'd like to also preface my reviews by saying that I will attempt to write these in a way that objectively weighs these stories up but as spoiler free as possible. This is b/c I don't want to take away the reading experience. I just want to give you enough of a peek, a taste, so that you can venture out there and decide for yourselves. Bare with me, I'm new at this and I'm fully aware of how hard it is to write as such.
    __________________________________________________ _____________

    [BTransformers Spotlight: Blaster[/B]
    By: Simon Furman (scribe), Emiliano Santalucia (artist)

    Plot: Blaster embarks on a mystery to find out who orchestrated his assassination.

    Appearances of Interest: Silverbolt, Blaster, Beachcomber, Bluestreak, Inferno, Trypticon, Predacon, Perceptor, Fortress Maximus.

    Covers: Emiliano's cover really gives a G1 comic and toy vibe. There isn't as much happening in the background to give context like Milne's but that's because of the nature of the cover. Emiliano's given us a close up of Blaster in the background while in the foreground we have Blaster warily striding towards us.

    The Milne Retail Incentive one resonates of a cartoon one. There is more atmosphere to Milne's cover because of the background work. I do like Milne's cover better but that's only because it features the cassettes and I'm partial to the G1 cartoon. I do believe that this is the work Milne is suited too. Covers. The vast majority of his covers are among the best IDW have offered to date. He's not far behind Don in my mind as a TF cover artist and this is a cover that proves it.

    I notched up the Milne cover at $13. You should be able to find it for a bit more at a comic shop or a bit less online.

    Art: Emiliano Santalucia is Brasillian artist whose landed his first TF gig. He is a major fan and his art really shows it. In his designs and selection of weaponry for the Transformers that grace this issue, there is a touch of G1 in it. There are modifications, yes, but Emiliano takes great care to incorporate the G1 elements necessary to identifying the characters as those we know and love.

    He is one of the better artists in my opinion at IDW at the moment despite it being his first work. His Transformers are highly expressive and he works the angles very well. Look at the fight scenes in particular. You'll notice he handles it with an elegant grace that gives it a smooth transition from scene to scene.

    Issue Review:
    One of the key issues about Blaster is that he always appeared and was automatically dubbed the archnemesis of Soundwave. Given their alt modes, it was only natural. But therein lies the weakness. Just because their alt modes are both stereo systems does not mean they should be archenemies.

    This Spotlight changes that.

    What we have here is a cleverly spun tale from Simon Furman that not only gives life to these eternal enemies but gives context to the greater G1 story that Furman is telling in Infiltration/Escalation/Devastation. It is story that is excellent in its own right. However, in a Beast Wars type of way, because it is part of a larger universe, you feel there's a larger payoff if you've been following the IDW G1 mainstory.

    Blaster's role amongst the Autobots is redefined. We learn that he is more than just the cheery old voice amongst the Autobot ranks. He is considered the "Voice". An inspirational, motivational and riveting member of the Autobot ranks that is a vital cog in the Autobot machinery of war. A war that has lasted for millions of years. It forces us to uncomfortably remember that though Transformers are robots, they too are not immune from the rigours of war. Even more so, they have been at it for eons. It cannot be easy. And Blaster's role is imperative.

    So you can imagine when there is an attempt on his spark, the Autobots are thrown into disarray. And you can see why vitality is necessary and this war is not something to be just accepted. I think the concept of war in TF fandom isn't as pronounced as it is in other fiction. In my mind, this is in large part to the fact we're dealing with robots. Robots are supposed to endure. They may be casualities but they are one step removed from a glaring tale involving people. I think this issue helps to redefine that. It makes the Autobots "human".

    In this vein, I'd like to see someone define this side of the Decepticons. What motivates them to persist with a war that has lasted for eons? It is more than just an unquenchable thirst for power. To fight a war for so long without achieving utter domination requires a lot of psychological strength.

    Anyhow, enough of my diversions. Blaster recovers from his attack and begins a hunt for the assailant back by Silverbolt and Perceptor. The assailant isn't who you'd think it is though. And that's part of the fun. You. Won't. See. It. Coming.

    And that's why this issue is wonderful. It breaks the conventional paradigms of what we expect to see when we hear a Blaster or Soundwave story. And I hope I haven't said too much.

    There is also a brief appearance by the much revered Fortress Maximus that implies he's leading a force of Autobots. Something to look forward to in the IDW universe.

    Quibbles:

    I do take issue with the way in which the assassin is revealed. The backstory is awfully rushed and you can't at times help feel but it is slightly forced. Why in Primus did Silverbolt's squad not investigate the matter prior to Blaster recovering?

    Overall: 8.5/10
    The art is exceptional and the writing in this spotlight makes this as an individual story stand strongly on its own unlike other issues. What though is worth the price of entry is to have your preconceived notions of TF lore broken in a smart and intelligent way. Highly recommend.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by STL View Post
    Understandably, the toys and their engineering are foremost of any collectors mind but of equal relevance I believe is the fiction behind these characters.
    For some. I'd say Im 40% Transformers Toy collector and 60% Transformers Comic collector.

    Quote Originally Posted by STL View Post
    One of the key issues about Blaster is that he always appeared and was automatically dubbed the archnemesis of Soundwave. Given their alt modes, it was only natural.
    Except in the G1 comics where Blaster and Soundwave were seldom even in the same comic.

    I read that one of Furman's intentions with this comic was to try to blend the fun Cartoon Blaster and the serious warrior Comic Blaster which he did do but I don't know how successful it was.

    I do enjoy the idea of Blaster as the Autobot's propoganda agent.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundwarp View Post
    What does these comics set you back each month?
    I think I pay $6.95 an issue but can't remember for sure as I pick up a few issues at a time. I can remember when comics cost 12 cents each.

  5. #5
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    I think the Transformers comics cost between $6.50 and $7.50 an issue, which is strange as TPB prices varies on how well the US$-AU$ is going.

    I liked this Spotlight, even if it was a little "paint by numbers". Furman mixed together Cartoon and Comic Blaster fairly well, setup a good rivalry with Blaster and Soundwave, introduced a couple of new characters, confirmed Inferno survived the airship falling on him and Grapple in Megatron: Origins, and gave Blaster a very nice Cybertronian Alt mode.

    Nice cameo by Kup too (fighting alongside Fortress), shows that the Autobots were throwing everyone onto the warfront.
    Looking For: Wreckers Saga TPB Collection (with Requiem)

  6. #6
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    Individual prices for me are $5.75, Soundwarp. But the place I get comics from is the cheapest in Australia so you're more likely to be looking at between $7-8. If it's going to cost you more than that (last time I was in Brisbane, I was surprised by the higher prices), let me know and I can hook you up with issues for $6.75 (including postage)

    If that's expensive for you, the tradepaperback of the spotlights are collected every 9-10 months. You will behind the current arc but the price on a TPB is much cheaper than collecting individually. Generally speaking trade prices are around $26-30 for five issues. So it works out slightly cheaper unless you're able to get a good deal like I do on my individual comics.

    Oh, and the other thing I forgot was this issue settled whether or not TF Mosaic featuring Silverbolt was a concurrent arc.I remember not being able to place where I'd seen Silverbolt before but was sure he'd appeared at IDW. Guess I'd seen a preview from here.

    I should mention we get to see diaclone coloured Bluestreak here. It was a nice little treat for me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by STL
    The assailant isn't who you'd think it is though. And that's part of the fun. You. Won't. See. It. Coming.
    ...actually, I totally saw it coming. I was hoping that it wouldn't be who I thought it was - that there would be some twist to surprise me... but erm... it didn't. I fully predicted who the assailant was. The assailant's motive wasn't all that surprising either. Not necessarily Furman's fault though... the artist's attempt at obscuring the assailant's identity didn't work on me - I saw right through it. Meh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulbot
    I read that one of Furman's intentions with this comic was to try to blend the fun Cartoon Blaster and the serious warrior Comic Blaster which he did do but I don't know how successful it was.
    I thought it was reasonably well blended - it was as if Blaster's "cartoon" persona was a facade - an 'on-show' personality that he put on when he was on air to rally the troops and boost morale, whereas in reality he was more like his G1 comic persona. And I think that combination worked well.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_amtrunks
    Nice cameo by Kup too (fighting alongside Fortress), shows that the Autobots were throwing everyone onto the warfront.
    Other neat cameos I liked were Brave Maximus and Landfill. And there's also a yellow and black robot.. is that SALT-MAN-Z?! (o_O)

  8. #8
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    having Lee Harvey Oswald turn out to be the assassin was pure genius on Mr Furmans part, en bravius el elctrum [latin for 'brave people get electrum']

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by STL View Post
    Generally speaking trade prices are around $26-30 for five issues.
    One comic shop in Adelaide wanted $48 for the first Spotlight TP!!

  10. #10
    TheDirtyDigger Guest

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    Just on a sidenote: I will always take a TPB over individual issues because:-

    -No ads
    -Fits in the bookcase nicely
    -Better price
    -You can read the whole story in one fulfilling session instead of getting a 4 minute fix once a month that leaves you hanging for the next issue
    -No ads (although Marvel and DC are the worse for this chucking in an ad every three pages)

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