IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 12:15AM CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Dr Va'al   Views: 33,066

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The City Speaks
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
WHO IS WINDBLADE? In the aftermath of DARK CYBERTRON, WINDBLADE takes the planet by storm! But where did she come from—and what does her secret mean to the future of the TRANSFORMERS? A powerful new chapter in the TRANSFORMERS saga begins here!

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review
Enter Windblade


Story

So, that was it for Dark Cybertron. Things happened, characters died (for now), and other, new names showed up across the Transformers board. Make sure to check out the latest Twincast Podcast for some further thoughts on all of that too! Somewhere along the line, we encountered three apparently gendered, and of female gender, characters, introduced by John Barber and James Roberts during the crossover: Nautica, Chromia and Windblade. And here begins the story of the latter two, and their coming to terms with the new Cybertron, eons after their departure.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review
Eons ago, I tell you


Mairghread Scott is at the writing helm for the first issue in the (as yet) mini-series of four, and she shows the same flare for dialogue that early issues of the Prime: Beast Hunters comics run had. The main cast, Starscream, Windblade, Chromia, Ironhide, Rattrap, even Metroplex and Blurr to an extent, all have their own voices, and interact actually quite well - good humour, nice set-ups and overall decent action, too.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review
Chromia is one tough cookie


I've seen complaints about Windblade's naivete towards Starscream in particular, but I believe that is what makes the comic work so well. The readers, mostly, *know* what everyone on Cybertron is already like. We know them, all of them. Chromia and Windblade have yet to learn, and believe you me, by the end of the issue they have an idea of what awaits them.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review
*shivers*


As a first issue with entirely new characters dealing with an unknown scenario, it definitely hit all of the buttons I wanted it to. It does world-building with Caminus and the home and roles of Windblade and her companions, links it all in to the current continuity, and it doesn't feel stretched or shoe-horned in. Add to that the good dialogue and actually good monologue too, and you've got me very interested. And oh the bar scenes.

Art

Now, the artwork. We knew it was going to be quite different from what we've seen so far in the franchise, and we saw how good it could be from the covers - but newcomer Sarah Stone hits it so far out of the park that it comes all the way back and slams you in the head. Artfully. There's character expression, and excellent panelwork, good personality to the designs and the art really fits Scott's storytelling.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review
Ironhide looks so.. glum


The colours, you might ask? It's still Stone, working her magic through lighting, shading, gloss and darkness. The blackouts running through, the different environments, the switches between settings and moods - Stone gets them all perfectly in her colours, with some amazing stuff happening while inside Metroplex and during the random power cuts. And that one page. Wait for that page.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review
I mean, come ON


Really exceptional lettering work by Chris Mowry too, with some particularly creative and poignant effects in the 'after' sequences (you'll see when you read it). Other than Stone's subscription cover, we get some excellent stuff from Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente on A, and Livio Ramondelli on the interlocking incentive one too!

Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

So, is it a buy? Yes. Gods yes. You will not regret picking this one up, especially after the strange feelings that came with Megatron's return all the way back in Robots in Disguise #12. Transformers: Windblade in this one issue has done what RID wanted to when it started: political intrigue, games of exhaust fumes and chromed steel, one of the sexiest, most devious Starscreams to this day, and all with *two* entirely new characters added to the mix.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review
Onwards, for more!


And then, just to top Scott's writing off, we get the icing of Stone's artwork and colours, with some nice little decorations from Mowry. The story is frustrating, anger-inducing, enticing, funny, intriguing and full of excellent moments of backstory without hamfisting it out or sledging in hammers. You'd do yourself a disservice by not picking it up, it's a beautiful piece of work.

. :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: ½ out of :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT:
Credit(s): IDW Publishing, Va'al
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Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565650)
Posted by ScottyP on April 16th, 2014 @ 8:26am CDT
If you don't buy this in some form or another today (paper or digital) I will call the fan jail for you myself to see if they have any openings.

Seriously, this book felt like a mid-late G1 Season 2 episode where there's all kinds of cool world building and new stuff going on. It's rad as hell, and really moves things in a cool direction.

No really, GO READ THIS (legally, or else it'll end in four months).
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565656)
Posted by T-Macksimus on April 16th, 2014 @ 9:07am CDT
So glad that today is pay-day. First stop after cashing my check will be to head to the mall and snag this and the final issues of Dark Cybertron that I need. Sucks having a job affected by the seasons and by bureaucracy. Makes it hard to support a comic book habit in the winter/early spring months.

Not too surprised that this reviewed so well but I'm willing to bet there will be a lot of people not liking it much. There is just too much in the way of "black & white" in the attitudes of many Transformers fans so something new is usually a hard sell with them. I'm all on board with this new mini-series though. I can't wait to get my hands on it.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565658)
Posted by Sabrblade on April 16th, 2014 @ 9:12am CDT
The way I see it, a lot of folks get mad at new characters when there's hype built up to them. Knock Out and Dreadwing from TF: Prime didn't get nearly as promoted at Windblade has been, yet fans took them rather easily. All Hasbro and IDW want is for fans to be as acceptive of Windblade as they were of Knock Out, Dreadwing, or any accepted new character, yet all the hype they use to promote Windblade only helped to stir up the mixed feelings, even if some of those feelings were misguided by a few of the more harsh critics.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565659)
Posted by Dr Va'al on April 16th, 2014 @ 9:12am CDT
T-Macksimus wrote:So glad that today is pay-day. First stop after cashing my check will be to head to the mall and snag this and the final issues of Dark Cybertron that I need. Sucks having a job affected by the seasons and by bureaucracy. Makes it hard to support a comic book habit in the winter/early spring months.

Not too surprised that this reviewed so well but I'm willing to bet there will be a lot of people not liking it much. There is just too much in the way of "black & white" in the attitudes of many Transformers fans so something new is usually a hard sell with them. I'm all on board with this new mini-series though. I can't wait to get my hands on it.


I think that the harshest opinions will fare from the readers who are not big fans of the recent IDW stuff (and by recent I mean the past two years, MTMTE and RID). This is good comics stuff, and in the same vein as the two ongoings - but with enough of its own voice to stand as its own thing. :D

EDIT: Also, what Sabrblade said up there. The fear of IMPOSED CHANGE, FORCED PROGRESSION, HAMMERED GOODNESS loom over a small but vocal minority of readership in comics, not just the robot ones. ;)
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565673)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on April 16th, 2014 @ 10:01am CDT
Va'al wrote:
T-Macksimus wrote:So glad that today is pay-day. First stop after cashing my check will be to head to the mall and snag this and the final issues of Dark Cybertron that I need. Sucks having a job affected by the seasons and by bureaucracy. Makes it hard to support a comic book habit in the winter/early spring months.

Not too surprised that this reviewed so well but I'm willing to bet there will be a lot of people not liking it much. There is just too much in the way of "black & white" in the attitudes of many Transformers fans so something new is usually a hard sell with them. I'm all on board with this new mini-series though. I can't wait to get my hands on it.


I think that the harshest opinions will fare from the readers who are not big fans of the recent IDW stuff (and by recent I mean the past two years, MTMTE and RID). This is good comics stuff, and in the same vein as the two ongoings - but with enough of its own voice to stand as its own thing. :D

EDIT: Also, what Sabrblade said up there. The fear of IMPOSED CHANGE, FORCED PROGRESSION, HAMMERED GOODNESS loom over a small but vocal minority of readership in comics, not just the robot ones. ;)

Obviously, a lot of it is going to do with the art. I happen to really like it, especially how Starscream looks. But a big part of how much I enjoy a comic will be the art; I don't care if the Bumblebee miniseries from 2009-2010 is the Transformers equivalent of the Batman Knightfall, I hate hate HATE the art on it, so I won't read it. (And I'm not usually one to outright reject something.)
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565674)
Posted by Dr Va'al on April 16th, 2014 @ 10:06am CDT
Yes, good point, also true.

Heart of Darkness comes to mind, with its fairly important story in the Chaos build-up, and its utterly abysmal visual power.


I was blinded by my complete and utter adoration of the colours of Stone's work, and focused mostly on the content in my point above. :D
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565681)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on April 16th, 2014 @ 10:16am CDT
Va'al wrote:Yes, good point, also true.

Heart of Darkness comes to mind, with its fairly important story in the Chaos build-up, and its utterly abysmal visual power.


I was blinded by my complete and utter adoration of the colours of Stone's work, and focused mostly on the content in my point above. :D

It's goygeous, ain't it?
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565682)
Posted by Rampage on April 16th, 2014 @ 10:17am CDT
Overall I enjoyed the issue. I agree that the art was rough in some places, while fantastic in others. I like that Arcee's origin is intact. The dialogue was mostly fantastic, but a bit wonky here and there. Good stuff. Is it good enough to sustain an on-going? Probably not, but I wouldn't be against it.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565686)
Posted by xyl360 on April 16th, 2014 @ 10:32am CDT
I was actually going to purchase a digital copy of this because I wanted to see more of Windblade and how her design turned out, particularly in alt mode, but sadly I'm running a PC (Windows 7, not 8/8.1) and my only option for viewing legit digital copies of this is iTunes, and since I f***ing HATE iTunes, I have no options that I can stomach.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565687)
Posted by Sabrblade on April 16th, 2014 @ 10:33am CDT
xyl360 wrote:I was actually going to purchase a digital copy of this because I wanted to see more of Windblade and how her design turned out, particularly in alt mode, but sadly I'm running a PC (Windows 7, not 8/8.1) and my only option for viewing legit digital copies of this is iTunes, and since I f***ing HATE iTunes, I have no options that I can stomach.
What about going after a print copy?
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565714)
Posted by ScottyP on April 16th, 2014 @ 12:03pm CDT
T-Macksimus wrote:
Not too surprised that this reviewed so well but I'm willing to bet there will be a lot of people not liking it much. There is just too much in the way of "black & white" in the attitudes of many Transformers fans so something new is usually a hard sell with them.


I haven't seen too many of those people (though we have a particular you-know-who around here that'll show up and rant incoherently, without naming any names) chime in on this book so far. I think it's probably exhausting to be one of those fans anymore, especially with how much the brand changes. Reaction here and on other fansites seems to be very positive and the criticism seems constructive, so I'm encouraged so far by the fan community reacting to something positively and maturely!


xyl360 wrote:I was actually going to purchase a digital copy of this because I wanted to see more of Windblade and how her design turned out, particularly in alt mode, but sadly I'm running a PC (Windows 7, not 8/8.1) and my only option for viewing legit digital copies of this is iTunes, and since I f***ing HATE iTunes, I have no options that I can stomach.


Doesn't Comixology have a web-based reader?
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565728)
Posted by xyl360 on April 16th, 2014 @ 12:38pm CDT
ScottyP wrote:
xyl360 wrote:I was actually going to purchase a digital copy of this because I wanted to see more of Windblade and how her design turned out, particularly in alt mode, but sadly I'm running a PC (Windows 7, not 8/8.1) and my only option for viewing legit digital copies of this is iTunes, and since I f***ing HATE iTunes, I have no options that I can stomach.


Doesn't Comixology have a web-based reader?

No idea and I don't see any info about one on their site. When you go to the checkout page all it talks about is iTunes, Google App store (for Android), Kindle and the Windows Store (Windows 8/8.1 only).

edit: Yes, I just checked and they do (I bought one of their 'free' comics to test it out). It doesn't like IE11 but it works fine in SRWare Iron so it looks like a can buy a copy :).
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565762)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on April 16th, 2014 @ 2:41pm CDT
I gotta wait till friday, payday n all, to pick up my copy; but so far from what i've read in the previews and the reviews I think i'll like the mini series, granted Windblade might be a bit to naive, but it makes sense to me in context.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565797)
Posted by partholon on April 16th, 2014 @ 5:10pm CDT
ive no problem with the art.

i like to see experimentation on that front from the publisher as sometimes it can pay off. it also reminds me of somthing but for the life of me i cant place it (the closest thing i can think of is "digitek" waaaay back in the day)

but i wont be getting this.

just dont like the whole idea of the book and the character doesnt enthuse me at all.these days it cost too much money to splash out on something im not completely behind.

kinda irked that this gets made in what looks like a cynical marketing move while theres literally hunderds of pre existing characters out there being ignored too. its not a MAJOR element , but i have to admit its there. theres just something very "90s marvel" feeling wise about the whole endevour IMO.

if this was DJD book for instance, i'd be all over it, but windblade ?

nah.

ill prob get it in trade when its going cheap in a years time or so.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565809)
Posted by Doctor McGrath on April 16th, 2014 @ 5:59pm CDT
I read it and I liked it. The art has it's moments. I thought a few panels looked really bad but overall the color work was nice.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565846)
Posted by xyl360 on April 16th, 2014 @ 9:30pm CDT
Well, I got it and I just finished reading it. I have to be honest here, other than the Beast Wars IDW books and the Dreamwave Transformers: Universe Wreckers/Beast Wars stories, I haven't read any comics (Transformers or otherwise) in years.

I'm extremely picky when it comes to my fiction, be it books, movies or TV shows (and they always seem to cancel the shows I like and replace them with crap [goodbye Young Justice, farewell Spectacular Spiderman, I miss you both :(]) and in general, particularly with regards to Transformers, I LOATHE comics. The main reason being the sprawling story lines that change direction at the drop of a hat because a new (or old) writer gets a wild hair up his/her butt to redefine the universe, make everything a 'dream' (or alternate universe/alternate reality/alternate timeline/alternate dimension/alternate [insert any other pitiful excuse for one artist failing to recognize and respect the existing worldbuilding and creativity by past authors and their longtime fans here, including and ESPECIALLY reboots, though those aren't always necessarily bad]).

All that said, I picked this book up because the art on the cover has intrigued me since it was first shown/previewed (on this very site no less) and because I'm excited to see what this new red female Autobot jet that was chosen by the fans really looks like (and yes, I'm totally buying the Windblade toy, so hurry the hell up and get her out already Hasbro so that I can buy both your version as well as Takara's :P) and I'm not sorry at all that I did. It's a really neat story and Windblade is a fascinating, sweet and playful character who views Cybertron through fresh, and somewhat innocent (naïve, at least at first maybe?) eyes. I love the artwork too. It's abstract without being obscure/indiscernible and the pastel colors are vibrant and really work with the style and bring a lighter tone to a sometimes dark/bleak story and strike a very nice balance. It also creates a very 'Windblade' vibe to me if that makes any sense at all (this being based on my impressions of her character so far after having read the first book in this series).

I don't know if I'll be digging into any of the other TF comics. Most likely not. But I am going to read this series for sure. Oh, and did I mention that there are cameos by Rattrap (hanging out with frickin' Starscream of all people :P), Waspinator and Tankor (the Beast Machines Tankor, not the renamed Octane, though he's in there too :P)? For a Beast Wars fanatic like me, that's just icing on the chrome plated cake :).

Anyway, for those of you who've not scoped this book yet, I highly recommend it (obviously). Especially if you're looking for something a bit different from your run of the mill transdimensional shoot-em'-up/blow-em'-up/punch-em'-up "oh noez teh wurld iz ending cuz' teh bad guyz haz teh mighty McGuffin o'DOOOOOM!/something catastrophic and universe shattering is happening! because we need an excuse to scrap all past continuities and re-create/modernize all of our old characters for the 'new' generation right now!!!" kinda book(s). It's an actual story with character and kinda reminds me of good old school anime which tells a character driven story in a slightly unique way with a different perspective than what you're used to. At least that's what I'm getting out of it so far. We'll see if the next 3 in this 4 part series hold up as well, but I'm hopeful they will. Needless to say, I liked the book and I'm now a fan of Windblade. She's not a super ninja badass/samurai warrior that I was afraid she was going to be (although her having some great fighting skills are alluded to, though never really illustrated, but that's not a bad thing in my opinion for the context of the story being told). She's essentially a nice person in a bad situation who is just smart enough to ask the most important question any good character should ask in these situations: "Where are we going and why are we all in this hand basket?" :P

So TL;DR: I like Windblade. Good book. Read it.

:)
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565849)
Posted by Down_Shift on April 16th, 2014 @ 10:03pm CDT
So far, I'm not impressed. It was okay, and honestly a whole lot better than BH Dinobots but it has a long way to go. The art for me is hit or miss. It almost seems a little too Disney Princess for my tastes. Almost a whiff of Pixar concept art in there. I half expected Chromia to ask Windblade is she "wants to build a snowman"
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565851)
Posted by 1984forever on April 16th, 2014 @ 10:06pm CDT
I kinda wish someone would just show up and RANT INCOHERENTLY about how bad this book was for a change of pace... but apparently no one has the courage to go against the masses anymore.

The Windblade book had Transformers in it, but lacks the magic of the '84-'85 Marvel run and the Dreamwave ongoing. It's not even good compared to IDWs low standards! It was a BORING read, and the illustrations were ripped straight out of a Chinese food menu.

I do not like what IDW is doing and Hasbro does not know what the hell they are doing when they CO-SIGN IDWs foolishness! I wish I could speak to the Transformer characters themselves. I would say "If you're an Autobot whose name isn't Skyfire and you turn into a jet, maybe you need to ask yourself if you are ruining this franchise". I would say "if you are a Decepticon rolling on 4 wheels, you are ruining the whole point of even having factions and ruining THE ENTIRE WAR!" Truthfully, if you did not appear on the '84-'85 checklist you are destroying this franchise!
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565855)
Posted by Sacredenginex on April 16th, 2014 @ 10:21pm CDT
So, the franchise has been ruined for the past twenty eight, out of thirty years?
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #1 Review (1565857)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on April 16th, 2014 @ 10:25pm CDT
1984forever wrote:
I do not like what IDW is doing and Hasbro does not know what the hell they are doing when they CO-SIGN IDWs foolishness! I wish I could speak to the Transformer characters themselves. I would say "If you're an Autobot whose name isn't Skyfire and you turn into a jet, maybe you need to ask yourself if you are ruining this franchise". I would say "if you are a Decepticon rolling on 4 wheels, you are ruining the whole point of even having factions and ruining THE ENTIRE WAR!" Truthfully, if you did not appear on the '84-'85 checklist you are destroying this franchise!


No, No buddy; keep going, tell us how you really feel :roll:. In fact lets add windblade to the TFwiki ruined forever page, looks good near oooh lets everything else in TF history  .


Also, you're username's 1984forever, don't mention 85 or at least change your screen name to "1984forever with minor exception" :lol:

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