Saturday, 19 December 2009

Going Backwards - Spotlight: Cliffjumper review

Hi guys, I'm really sorry about the delay on posting but it's nearing Christmas and I'm flat out making  presents for the family. But here you go; a more in-depth review of Transformers Spotlight: Cliffjumper than the last one I did.


SYNOPSIS: In the darkness, Cliffjumper speaks to an unknown being. Some time earlier, he crash landed on a planet and was attempting to make a transmitter to contact the Autobots when he was greeted by two natives. Kita and her younger brother Coll were orphaned when their parents died and struggle to maintain their family's farm. Others of their kind help out from a nearby settlement. After some introductions, Kita doesn't believe that Cliffjumper would hurt a fly, as hurting others is a great evil in her peoples' eyes. He hurriedly changes the subject and they later head to the farmhouse where Cliffjumper refuels on synthetic energon. He believes he will be there for awhile and suggests he help with Kita's farm. Time passes and the farm is now thriving. While Cliffjumper and Kita discuss flowers, a Decepticon ship flies overhead and lands near the farm where Coll is playing. They rush back to the farm, where the Decepticons are threatening Coll (who mistakes them for "Autosmots"). As they try to pry info out of Kita, Cliffjumper kills three of the landing party. They finally use her as bait to lure out Cliffjumper, and are surprised to learn he is but one Autobot. To humiliate him, they tell Kita that Cliffjumper is a killer who sabotaged a Decepticon ship. She is saddened and wishes to leave.

They let her go but only to shoot her in the back and then toss a bomb toward her and her brother. Cliffjumper uses his body to protect his friends and then rushes them to the barn. In the present, Cliffjumper consoles the dying Kita and tells Coll to stay with the body while he tends to his enemies. The Decepticons had called for backup, who chastises them when he finds out it was but one Autobot. However, when he figures out it is Cliffjumper, he quickly tells the team to arm themselves, but it is too late, as the furious Autobot unleashes on the 'Cons and destroys them all. Cliffjumper later plants a memorial for Kita, banging it down with the head of the 'Con who threatened Kita. He places her favorite flowers on the gravestone and sees to it that Coll is raised by a new family. He then takes off in the Decepticons' ship to rejoin his own family, the Autobots.

THE ART: I'm fairly new to the Transfandom and so have never seen Musso's other work (on Spotlight: Ultra Magnus), but from this issue I can see he is a very talented artist. The art is breathtaking and smooth, with every line looking like he spent an hour on it. The robots' facial expressions are very realistically done, which is something rarely seen in today's Transformers comics. I wasn't so sure about the anime facial styling on the flashlings, but. Joana Lafuente returns to her shiny, soft-light coloring style seen in Spotlight: Blurr and Maximum Dinobots3-5, and she does an excellent job at conveying the serene, anime-style environment of Kita and Coll's planet. I absolutely love the artwork and think the anime flair makes it interesting and different. An instant classic.

THE STORY:  Shane McCarthy again. Hmm. I'm a bit at odd for what to write for this one; sitting at my computer, the little blinking cursor mocks me; "What you gonna put? Huh? Huh? Huh?" Shut up, little cursor. Shane McCarthy has done a reasonable, though in no way perfect, story for us today. The plot is pretty standard -- a lone warrior (who turns out to be not all he seems) comes to a peaceful land to escape his enemies, and in doing so brings his war to the land. Nothing we haven't seen before, but McCarthy has made is unique enough to make the story enjoyable. I am still really annoyed that the awesomely cool internal monologues characteristic of Spotlights have disappeared. CJ only does this on the last page -- literally. The only place you find the int/monos is in Tales of the Fallen, and I don't even read that! The killing off of Kita borders on sentimentalism, and I think McCarthy shouldn't do this again. But I like it, kind of. The story flows well, and I like the idea that CJ is so feared by the Cons that a warlord and his unit are scared of him -- not to mention him slagging them all single-handed! The dialogue isn't very natural or smooth and seems very plot-driven. But I think Coll's rendition of "Autobots" is so cute! ("Autosmot." "Uh, don't touch that.")So, Spotlight: Cliffjumper's results overall:

ART RATING: 9 out of 10
STORY RATING: 7.5 out of 10
OVERALL RATING: 8 out of 10

FAVE QUOTE: Decepticon 1: Did you say "little red runt"?
Decepticon 2: Yeah, little red-
Decepticon 1: Small?
Decepticon 2: Yeah.
Decepticon 1: About so high?
Decepticon 2: Yeah.
Decepticon 1: Horns?
Decepticon 2: Yeah, but-
Decepticon 1:
Arm yourselves! [The Cons slowly realize they are so dead.]

VERDICT: A reasonably-plotted story with purely breathtaking art that blew me away. Robby Musso and Joana Lafuente have really outdone themselves this time. An instant classic worth every cent. It's out in the All Hail Megatron Vol.3 TPB now. Next month: who knows? Stay tuned! Rated 8 out of 10.

Posted 9:53 pm, SATURDAY 19 December

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