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Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Creator Commentary from John Barber

Transformers News: Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Creator Commentary from John Barber

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 9:12PM CST

Category: Comic Book News
Posted by: El Duque   Views: 22,926

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The official Transformers facebook page has shared the Creator Commentary for Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker. Writer John Barber shares his thoughts on the first five pages. We've mirrored the commentary below for those without facebook access.


Re: Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Preview
PAGE 1- Thundercracker is with a group of Decepticons who appear to be looking for Metroplex. What was your motivation to tie this story into recent events involving Metroplex from TRANSFORMERS: AUTOCRACY and the MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE and ROBOTS IN DISGUISE Annuals?

JOHN BARBER: Well, as much as this story is a nice, self-contained war-era Thundercracker story, it also plays into the bigger picture of what’s happening in the ongoing ROBOTS IN DISGUISE and MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE stories. It was important to writer James Roberts (who’s writing three of the other SPOTLIGHT comics) and I—and Nick Roche, when he wrote SPOTLIGHT: MEGATRON—that these stories have an impact on the continuing Transformers comics—and to each other.

This story in particular continues a thread that James started in the SPOTLIGHT: ORION PAX comic last month–that Thundercracker and a few other Decepticons on Metroplex’s tail. Except now they’ve had it confirmed that Metroplex is real. You don’t have to have read that other SPOTLIGHT—I mean, you should, it’s a good comic—but you don’t have to read it. There are just some threads that will weave in and out of all of the spotlights. This page, in particular, was also an opportunity to sort of line up some of the things we’d learned about Metroplex and the other Titans, from various comics. Clarify everything, to some degree, and make sure everybody sees how it coheres.

Also, it was cool to get to see Chee draw these guys crawling around, looking for stuff. Chee and I worked together on an issue of TRANSFORMERS: SECTOR SEVEN a few years ago, and it was great to work with him again. He’s a master of clear storytelling, and I love the visual quality he brings to the ’bots. They’re not shiny and smooth—they’re kinda scraped-up and lived-in.

Re: Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Preview
PAGE 2- Thundercracker and the Decepticons continue their search for Metroplex. How’d you find the challenge of writing Thundercracker, a Decepticon who necessarily doesn’t want to be one?

JOHN BARBER: I think that reluctance is a defining characteristic of him, yet we know he goes on to remain a loyal Decepticon for millions of years after the end of this issue. What I wanted to show here was a key moment of decision for him—when the doubts start creeping in about the Decepticon methods, if not the ultimate goals. He tries to tell himself the mission is more important than his own morality, but I think it’s eating at him a little. It’ll eat at him more as the story goes on.

We see him looking at Autobots and Decepticons as individuals throughout the story—like, he bristles a little at his commanding officer, and during the story he gains a grudging respect for at least one Autobot. I think that’s the key to him—he sees the two sides as made up of individuals, some good and some bad, and over the centuries that wears away his allegiance to a symbol or a movement.

Re: Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Preview
PAGE 3- Back story on Metroplex and the Metrotitans, along with a link to SPOTLIGHT: ORION PAX. How much trading/give or take did you have to do with James Roberts (SPOTLIGHT: ORION PAX writer) to tie your story’s together and potentially have then read as a single narrative?

JOHN BARBER: That was the plan from the beginning. He used a couple characters in ORION PAX that I thought would be good to use here, picking up on their lives after some time had passed. And there were a couple characters that had shown up here, that wound up in Orion Pax. It was a pretty natural collaboration. We were each building forward and back from ideas we each had.

Re: Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Preview
PAGE 4- More backstory on Metroplex and what happened to him after AUTOCRACY. With all of this new information we are getting on the Titans, is there still plenty more to tell with these giant race of Cybertronians?

JOHN BARBER: Yeah—definitely more to come with the Titans. As you may guess, something big is on the horizon with them… They’re huge and dangerous and mysterious and lots of people seem interested in them. So, yeah, there’s definitely more to tell, and more to be revealed about what’s happened in the past.

Re: Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Preview
PAGE 5- Thundercracker heads back to his home base. We haven’t seen him appear in either of the ongoing comic book series, since the “Chaos” storyline in 2011. Any chance he could reappear, and will his choices in this issue have lasting consequences?

JOHN BARBER: Thundercracker didn’t return to Cybertron with most of the other Cybertronians—and this is something we’ll see a little of in SPOTLIGHT: BUMBLEBEE in March. So what he’s been doing, how he’s been keeping busy… all of that hasn’t been revealed yet. I say “yet,” so, yeah, I think his story is far from over.

I will hint that there’s a character in SPOTLIGHT: THUNDERCRACKER who isn’t Thundercracker (or an obvious pick like Bumblebee or Metroplex or Bludgeon) who’s going to play a pretty big role in the Transformers comics in the next year or so…
Credit(s): Transformers Facebook Page
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Re: Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Creator Commentary from John Barber (1455997)
Posted by Sodan-1 on January 17th, 2013 @ 9:14pm CST
Flashwave wrote:
Sodan-1 wrote:Waspinator? Indeed, what the hell? Not only is his presence unusual, but so is his size. And what the fook is wrong with Bludgeon's arm in that last panel of his? Maybe he's mocking Grimlock's stumpy alt-mode arms.

Seeing that panel of all those Titans leaving Cybertron has put me in a ridiculously expensive troop building mood.

I'm intrigued to know where this story is going.


Yes, but Waspinator's animated form was more tf sized. And before you say "yeah, but that was Animated," where did Bulkhead come from?

Well, if it's alright with you, my response was going to be 'oh yeah, fair point.' I've got no problem with folk taking issue with what I actually say, but please don't presume to know how my side of the conversation is going to go. That's just wude. :-(
Re: Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Creator Commentary from John Barber (1456063)
Posted by Va'al on January 18th, 2013 @ 2:04am CST
Sodan-1 wrote:
Flashwave wrote:
Sodan-1 wrote:Waspinator? Indeed, what the hell? Not only is his presence unusual, but so is his size. And what the fook is wrong with Bludgeon's arm in that last panel of his? Maybe he's mocking Grimlock's stumpy alt-mode arms.

Seeing that panel of all those Titans leaving Cybertron has put me in a ridiculously expensive troop building mood.

I'm intrigued to know where this story is going.


Yes, but Waspinator's animated form was more tf sized. And before you say "yeah, but that was Animated," where did Bulkhead come from?

Well, if it's alright with you, my response was going to be 'oh yeah, fair point.' I've got no problem with folk taking issue with what I actually say, but please don't presume to know how my side of the conversation is going to go. That's just wude. :-(


For all of you confused or annoyed or intrigued by Waspinator's presence:

He gets blown to bits just after the preview pages. Called it. Image
Re: Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Creator Commentary from John Barber (1456274)
Posted by padfoo on January 18th, 2013 @ 6:25pm CST
I am really enjoying this story, I get really tired of the old he is good and he is bad. I hope we see more of this type of character portrayal in the future and not just with Thundercracker.
Re: Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker Creator Commentary from John Barber (1487533)
Posted by Va'al on May 15th, 2013 @ 12:46pm CDT
THA-BOOM
(Spoiler free-ish)


With this week's reveal of the official images of Generations Hoist and Thundercracker, it's time to complete the reviews for the Spotlight series, which now seems to have concluded as far as we know. Read the others so far: Orion Pax, Megatron and Trailcutter and Hoist.

Time for Spotlight: Thundercracker!

Synopsis

In the dark days of the war for Cybertron, THUNDERCRACKER had a special mission—one never revealed before! Now, as he faces off against BUMBLEBEE for the first time, the fate of METROPLEX—and an entire civilization — is at stake!


Image
The first of many THA-BOOMs



Story

Like Orion Pax, this issue takes place before Transformers: Autocracy and, in fact, after the previous Spotlight issue too. It carries on the Metroplex, and later Metrotitans plot, while focusing on everyone's favourite reluctant Seeker(?).


Image
And Waspinator!


The story does continue and pick up previous threads quite nicely, but there are some elements that just don't feel right. Why does he keep information to himself? Does it really follow directly from him not being a fully-convinced Decepticon? How does it advantage his own goals - if he has any?

Image
What indeed


The events in the issue do involve combat, and we're again introduced to Bumblebee (and some other 'Bots), the next Spotlight feature. But it all seems so rushed, and the Metroplex plot is resolved extremely quickly, deciding to focus on the planet's inhabitants instead.

Image
And they ain't pretty


I'm glad that the Metrotitan plot is developed further, and we get some insight into the powers and abilities of the big 'uns. The protagonist's characterisation, while interesting is a bit.. I actually can't think of the right words. Wait for the Thoughts section, below.

Art

I really don't mind Chee's work on this issue! I think there are some really good pages and detailing, even though the perspective is not always consistent with all the characters. The protagonist himself has some chin-length issues, and I'm still a bit confused about the alt-mode: the robot seems to be based on the upcoming toy (FoC mold) but the jet really isn't. Artistic license?

Image
Another!


Ronda Pattinson's colours are a very nice touch, too, and work really well between background and foreground, and there's a lot of space to colour outside of ships, around planets and you know, space, up there. Shawn Lee's lettering is nice, and creators always seem to enjoy playing with Thundercracker's signature soundword: THA-BOOM.

Image
See? Nice contrast


Overall, the artwork does present some minor faults, but nothing that distracted me from the story. The idea for the Spotlights is a good one, as new artistic teams can showcase their talent and abilities to different audiences, and this one, to me, delivers.


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

The story isn't bad, but I kept having the feeling that something was missing, constantly. It was a nice way for Barber to blend different plots, but not enough time was given to either as a result, unfortunately. And like Thundercracker, I'm not really sure what I come away with.

Image
Er.. ok


If you haven't read this issue yet, it's not that much of a problem. It pads in some stuff for what is hopefully to come, gives some information on the Metrotitans and Metroplex, kind of rounds off Thundercracker, and then just leaves it there. Shame really.

. :CON: :CON: :CON: out of :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON:
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