Monday, 25 January 2010

Transformers: Bumblebee #2 review

OK, here we go. Another review. Ho-hum. But here we go; Fanbot's analysis of IDW's Transformers: Bumblebee #2...

SYNOPSIS: Blurr races across the New Mexico desert. After unsuccessfully trying to contact Hot Rod, he notices a figure in the distance, which makes him transform and stop right in front of Bumblebee. This startles Blurr to the point where his concentration is broken, making him speak uncontrollably fast. Bee tries to explain the situation with Skywatch and how the have to bring Blurr in, but Blurr is having none of it and blasts Bee in the chest. He’s quickly subdued by the other Autobots but Ratchet notices that Blurr’s blast hit Bee’s Skywatch badge and absorbed the blast. Bee announces they won’t be turning Blurr in to Skywatch. Back at Autobase, Colonel Horiuchi is informed by Bee that they won’t turn over Blurr, that they’re done doing his dirty work. Horiuchi tries to activate Bee’s kill-switch but because Blurr blasted it, it won’t work. However, Ratchet convinces Bee to pretend that it worked, then pretending that Bee’s stuck in vehicle mode. This will make Horiuchi send a team to fix Bee’s faulty badge. Ratchet and the others refuse to talk. Bee realizes that they’re still being monitored on the Skywatch radio; meaning Bee s the only one who can speak or move freely. Meanwhile, Skywarp broadcasts a message into space, telling Megatron of his artillery-gathering antics and how he is nearing completion of a weapon that will kill the Autobots. Back at Autobase, Blurr doubts Bee’s leadership credibility, but Bee explains that he’s asking Blurr as a comrade. Bee then makes Blurr find a substitute VW Bug for Skywatch to examine, and before leaving Autobase Bee gives a speech to the Autobots of how their dilemma with Skywatch is his fault and that he will get them out of it. He then leaves, informed by a text-only message from Ratchet that a rare secret substance called darmstadtium. Bee locates a large shipment of darmsadtium, and is investigating it when he notices a repainted Scavenger, hiding from the humans. Bee tries to convince him that they need to earn the respect of the humans, but Scavenger attacks him, disgusted at the Autobots’ weakness for lower life forms. Bee transforms and drives away into the desert.

THE ART: Though nothing special by any means, Chee steps up his artwork to another level. The artwork shows little skill in the way of perspective but is nevertheless very dynamic and in a way is very G1 in its mood and style. The chiaroscuro shadows are very well done and give a very good sense of mood, even if the figure drawing is extremely basic. Once again colorist Moose Baumann does an exquisite job on rendering Chee's dark inks. Like Josh Burcham, though in a slightly different way, his palette adds so much to the artwork. So good work on that front. But once again those Geewun body designs are butt-ugly. Inconsistency is unprofessional, demeaning and slashes up continuity like nothing else. That part continually annoys me and frankly ruins the comic.

THE STORY: I'm slightly unsure of what to think of Zander Cannon's job on this issue. The story is reasonable enough but as with the last issue shows little in the way of substance. A large portion of the issue is taken up by Bee talking and giving speeches, which is very boring to read. But at least Cannon is actually making the characters do something; characters'ctions are beginning to intertwine and new developments are being made. Skywarp obviously has some kind of plan other than stocking up on guns, though Cannon writing him wrapped in a tarp, broadcasting his voice into space is slightly ludicrous. And it does not help continuity at all that he's writing Blurr as a fast talking no-spacebar bot. Blurr's lack-of-spaces talk is extremely hard to read and blatantly contradicts previous continuity. Despite the interesting developments in this issue Cannon has let us down with this sub-par, continuity-breaking, mindbogglingly dull story. Whether or not he can rectify his mistakes in the next two issues remains to be seen, but already, half this miniseries has gone down the drain.Disappointing. So, the damage today is:

Covers by Chee, GUIDO GUIDI

ART RATING: 8 out of 10
STORY RATING: 7 out of 10
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 out of 10

ERRORS: Blurr sported an Earth-based alternate mode in "A Rude Awakening". However, here he is drawn in his Cybertronian alternate mode. Although not apparent last issue, this issue's dialogue makes it fairly clear that the badges Horiuchi gave the Autobots are supposed to be covering their Autobot insignias: Blurr claims there is something wrong with Bumblebee's insignia and is described as shooting him "dead center" (where his insignia is), and yet only hits his badge. The art doesn't reflect this, putting Bumblebee's badge on his upper-right breast, leaving his insignia unobstructed and making Blurr's dialogue and the fallout of his actions make little sense.

VERDICT: a slightly less disappointing - though this is no great feat - issue that although contains some interesting developments, is decidedly lacklustre. The inconsistencies with the ongoing only add to its shame. Disappointing. But the art is getting a lot better. Rated 7.5 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 6:52 pm, MONDAY 25 January

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