Sunday, 10 January 2016

Transformers Spotlight 01 Shockwave.

Transformers Spotlight 01  Shockwave.  

Summary :
Six hundred thousand meta cycles ago, during the height of the great war, Shockwave surmises that the  perpetual conflict will have disastrous consequences for the planet.
So he decides to do something about it. 
Distilling raw energon and loading it  aboard missiles, sending them to various  planets among which a pre ice age earth.  

Much later, after the last ice age and the mammoths are dying off  Shockwave becomes proactive, stabilising  the wild energon reactions.
First stop: earth.
However the Dynobots have tracked him to the planet. During the war the Dynobots got foiled by Shockwave and are eager to extract revenge. 
The energon reactions on the surface of the planet  are dangerous to unshielded  Transformers. Causing the Dynobots  to  go to extreme lengths, by wrapping themselves in to synthetic flesh, buffering them against the  energy fluctuations and taking on alt modes that resemble dinosaurs.  

Down on the planet, Shockwave goes about his business, ruminating  about the parallels of  earth's current condition  and Cybertron's predicament. Concluding that evolution is key. Evolve or die. 
The Dynobots attack and are barley able to hold their own. As the battle goes on, Shockwave  realises this is about nothing more then wounded pride and he can barley comprehend it. This is not logical. 
Instead he  turns off his  higher core functions and facilitates a synthetic form of rage,  with which he brutally takes the Dynobots down. 
Grimlock however has anticipated things not going to plan and pre-programmed their ship to fire  upon a nearby volcano. Sweeping Shockwave and the Dynobots in to a pit of molten lava. 

In a Decepticon base Megatron notices Shockwave's absence and order Bludgeon to look in to it. 
In 2006  a  team archaeologists in Eureka Nevada, unearth a  massive purple hand.   

Credits :
Writer : Simon furman
Artist : nick Roche
Colorist : Josh Burcham
Letterer : Sulaco Studios
Editor : Dan Taylor

Notes  :
Set six hundred thousand megacycles before Infiltration, at the very least. 
The website on the first page of the very first issue of Infiltration 1, refers to the last  page of this comic. 
This issue is released in September 2006,  concurrently  with Stormbringer 3.
After Infiltration 6  (  June  2006. ) 
And before Escalation  1  (  November  2006.  )
The Dynobot ship isn't named here yet, but it will get it's name in Maximum Dinobots. 
Revealed to be skyfire  ...gee  ..wonder who that could be in relation to.

Review  :
It's only logical that this should be the first spotlight review. 
The spotlight series were an  loosely set of  one shots. Spotlighting one character in particular, with ties in to the main storyline weaving in between the main story arcs. 
As such the placement of the spotlights is a bit hard to determinate sometimes. 
But not in the case of the series premier issue. 
Spotlight Shockwave.
Which quite clearly, is set far before Infiltration or any other current issues, 
at this point in time.  Spotlight Shockwave is one of the earliest excursions in to Cybertron's past. 
With only Megatron Origins, being earlier. 
Autocracy, Primacy and Monstrosity in due time will be set even earlier then  Spotlight Shockwave and so will stories in, More Then Meets The Eye.
But right now this is our first glimpse in to Cybertron's past and a character piece for Shockwave.
The first  page already set the tone of Shockwave's personality : "six hundred  thousand meta cycles ago, I foresee the future of  Cybertron. A dead world deplete of  natural resources, I decide to do something about it.

And just like that we  get an glimpse of Shockwave. Cold, detached, unnatural,  unemotional  and willing and capable to do anything.  

Spotlight Shockwave also  gives us some anwsers on the back of  Stormbringer  and  Infiltration.
And concurrently with Escalation.
The origin of  ore 13, which is  rather  fast  considering the slow burn of the preceding issues.
But considering this is at least issue 11 or 12, it might be in time after all. 
And the awnser is simple.
 And frightful in it's implications and simplicity. 
Shockwave has seeded worlds with energon ores and then waited to see what will happen. 
After which  he went to the worlds he seeded, to take a direct  hand in the matter and stabilise the  injected energon. Otherwise their  evolution would be wildly unpredictable. 
Earth is Shockwave's first stop, around the end of the last ice age, and only stop  as it turns out. 

This issue also introduces the  dino...ahem Dynobots, whom have not changed a bit.
In fact, their design are carried over from The War Within issues over at Dreamwave. Probably because they were too good to waste and Hasbro owns the designs regardless. 
In fact the Dynobots are still the same as they ever were, way back in G1.
 Rebellious, contradictionary,  aggressive, a group unto their own.
 Listening to nobody and unbeknownst to them, they may have doomed countless planets by interfering with Shockwave. 
Their reason to tackle Shockwave is in character, amounting to nothing more then wounded pride. A realisation that nearly shorts Shockwave out, because of the supreme banality. 
Needless to say Shockwave demolishes the Dynobots. 
This issue is a  somewhat modern reinvention and reinterpretation of marvel US 8 'Repeat Performance'.
Probably one of Budiansky's finest scripts on the title. Where the Dinobots also tackled  Shockwave in a prehistoric setting and also got decimated. Even though the circumstances were different, the outcome was pretty much the same. 
This issue seems to uphold the old adage of the more things change, the more they stay the same. 
And both the Dynobots and Shockwave have been taken over wholesale from the G1  comics. But some characters don't need to be reinvented, they were perfectly fine as they were the first time around.  

Shockwave is  more pragmatic however  and  doest seem to care about  leading the Decepticons or even what Megatron thinks of him or could  do to him. 
Clearly, Shockwave is his own agent with  the power and abilities to underline that.  ( Something the Dynobots will attest to. )
Shockwave meditates on the meaning of evolution and his message is simple, evolve or die. Which is what the meaning has always been. 

The reasoning for the Dynobots  to appear as well, dinosaurs is perfectly realised within the frame of the story and is perfectly logical.  
To dampen the Rampant energon radiation, they have to  envelop themselves in to  synthetic mammal flesh and  look like indignant life forms. 
Which is a leaf  taken right out of the Beast Wars book. 
Grimlock's revulsion is also a small glimpse in to Cybertronian general distaste for organic life, which is something that will come to the forefront later on in the series lifetime.  

Shockwave is also willing to practise what he preaches, by turning off  his  high functions and producing a synthetic equivalent of  rage. 
This, he proclaims allows him to evolve.
It also makes him even more of a  unstoppable juggernaut, who would probably have  no problem holding his own against the likes of Optimus Prime or Megatron. 
Shockwave seems to wipe the floor with the Dynobots effortlessly. 
But then, he always has been at this level  in the original Marvel comics.  

Spotlight Shockwave also introduces Nick Roche to the interior art chores. Formerly a cover artist only, until he took over art duties from EJ Su, for a single issue of Devastation. 
Roche went on to write and draw one of the best single spotlight issues as well as tackle one of the most brutally violent and disturbing mini series in 2010.
 (  And one of that years few bright spots, in an otherwise utterly miserable and bleak offering. Not that the mini series wasn't miserable and bleak, the comics around it were just  excruciatingly bad.  )
Roche's art is somewhat more cartoony then Su's more realistic approach, but it's  perfectly fine here. 
The story telling  beats  are  perfectly easy to follow, as is the action even if it's a beat of  'Repeat Performance' albeit  more kinetic.
In Infiltration I disparaged about the reuse of the same panel  over and over again ona  single page, but Roche does the same trick to  show  the passage of time and it's perfectly fine here, because the panels are visually  distinctive. 
We see the same  hills and mountains as they  change over the eons. Tricks like these are something comics excel at. 
Roche also redesigned  the  Dynobots  to conform more to their new  alt modes, which makes Swoop  look very gangly and giving him  goggles for some odd reason.   

Spotlight Shockwave is a fine start for the anthology series even if it riffs a bit too much off 'Repeat Performance'. 
The Dynobots reason to attack Shockwave is petulant and childish, but  in character for the. 
The story  gives us awnsers in regards to ore 13, where it came from and what it  actually is, while opening up new questions and plot avenue's and a insight in to Shockwave's  character. 
If only all spotlights were like this. 


  1. I thought the Spotlights were off to a fine start with this one. Furman used it to fill in some background for his new version of the universe, and I loved the homage to the Dinobots' first appearance in the Marvel series. I also really like the BEAST WARS nod with their organic alternate modes.

    1. yeah , I thought this was a fine start of the spotlights too.
      Not all of them are great or even essential, but the first 12 or so are pretty much good.