IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review

IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 2:37am CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 32,881

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Twisted Plot
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
THE FATE OF CYBERTRON! WINDBLADE learns more about the new face of CYBERTRON—and lesson number one is: never underestimate STARSCREAM! She’s trapped in a no-win situation—but what is the scheming DECEPTICON really after, and how far will he go to keep WINDBLADE out of his way?

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review
Hum, far..?


Story

We left Cybertron last month as Windblade, Chromia, the Maccadam's crew - the jolly jumble of Blurr, Snarl, Waspinator, Tankor and Tankor - and reporters Longtooth and Circuit entered the lower levels of Metroplex, as the Terrorcons prepared to pounce on the cast, and the battle was on the very brink of commencing.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review
On the edge, even


The fight sequence that ensues, at the opening of the issue, is gloriously long with good narration and exposition (and world building, too) at just the right pacing from Mairghread Scott to not be either boring nor too much of a punch fest. And also serves its function as the first of many minor twists in the story of the mini-series so far, before some major changes towards the end. None of which I'll show.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review
Have some air-fighting


Not only does the pacing work, with the captions recapping the story so far from Windblade's view, the dialogue aiding the progression of the story and some great exchanges in the aftermath of the fight, there's space for a little humour (without too much tonal discordance), and some very very dark moments during and after.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review
Comedy gold


Starscream has some very nice traits in the issue, Rattrap is a little stinker, Windblade shines through her fighting skills, as does Chromia, the story goes in multiple directions at once, then returns to itself as everything changes - and we even get a new type of character introduced. Not a character, a type.

Art

The artwork, of course, makes my appreciation of the issue rise even further, with Sarah Stone's excellent panel work, returning to Longtooth's head camera (as in, his head is a camera) device and commentary on the technique. Combined with some brilliant facial expressions, the result is an issue of dynamic, clear fight sequences and truly terrifying moments later on.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review
'Is this thing on?'


Moments which are expertly enhanced by Stone's use of colour and shading, and some great contrasts in how the light, be it fire, glow or else, reflects on and refracts off different Cybertronian surfaces and bodies. Add in some subtle touches in sound effects and lettering by Chris Mowry, and we get a truly thrilling addition to the mini-series.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review
See? Stinker. And creep.


Additionally, not to forget, the covers. Stone's amazing 'crying' Windblade has made the rounds many times now, but Alex Milne and Joana Lafuente (thumbnail) create an impressive valiant rendition of the character, too. And continuing the 30th Anniversary celebratory series, Guido Guidi and John-Paul Bove recreate a victorious Stascream over Megatron for the retail incentive!

Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

Well. I mean, well. Scott had me convinced that the story would be doing certain things, and then took it wildly away, only to drag it back and split it again and end it on a note that appeared from nowhere - but could still make sense. In the next issue. Because of course there's a cliffhanger that actually leaves you wanting more.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review
What? WHY WHAT?!


So the narration works, the characters really work with and against each other, so many questions, points, issues, revelations are addressed and made to hang. There. Just hang. And then you get so much in terms of body language and expressions and behaviour in Stone's artwork and colours, a mixture of glee and repulsion, and - I just want more. Please?

(Though again, next issue is the last for now, at least until 2015. But still.)

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

Credit(s): IDW Publishing, Va'al


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Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1585705)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 25th, 2014 @ 12:07pm CDT
It will be a shame to see this series end. Its been a good read and the artwork is amazing, I hope she gets more tf work.

Also glad that Windblade is getting another series.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1585709)
Posted by Va'al on June 25th, 2014 @ 12:33pm CDT
Sarah is doing interior art once RID shifts back to Cybertron, apparently!
(The September issue, according to solicitations.)
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1585783)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 25th, 2014 @ 5:01pm CDT
Va'al wrote:Sarah is doing interior art once RID shifts back to Cybertron, apparently!
(The September issue, according to solicitations.)


That's good to hear. It was seeing Sarah's art work in the previews for Windblade #1 that made me start drawing again.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1585785)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on June 25th, 2014 @ 5:04pm CDT
As you said, Va'al, Stone does a nice job on facial expressions. But with Slag here, this was all I could think about looking at the panel:

image.jpg


Gave me a good chuckle.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1585790)
Posted by Va'al on June 25th, 2014 @ 5:27pm CDT
Dinobots. No manners *and* they're always high.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1585828)
Posted by Sabrblade on June 25th, 2014 @ 10:57pm CDT
Va'al wrote:Dinobots. No manners *and* they're always high.
That's cuz they're taller than most everyone. :P
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1585942)
Posted by Optimizzy on June 26th, 2014 @ 11:43am CDT
I just read it and while I like stone's artwork when there is a static image, I find it a little messy when there is action.

However, her expressions and the interrogation scene. Brilliant. Liking the comic. Just would like a little more clarity in the art but honestly not complaining about it.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1586019)
Posted by Va'al on June 26th, 2014 @ 4:07pm CDT
IDW newcomer artist Sarah Stone has shared both her pencil work and a progression GIF (from pencils to inks to colours) for one of the pages in this week's release of Transformers: Windblade. Take a look!

(Not newsing this, potential spoilers if you haven't read yet, but still gorgeous stuff.)


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Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1586193)
Posted by cybercat on June 27th, 2014 @ 10:22am CDT
Man, I dunno. I keep expecting this series to grow on me and it hasn't. I'll be honest, I find Nautica and Chromia to be much more interesting characters than Windblade, and I'd much prefer one of THEM get another series.

Things I don't get:
* Why Windblade seem pretty savvy when Roberts and Barber write her, and then, six months later in canon (when Windblade is set) she's somehow, uh, kind of really overly trusting? Like she's been there how long and she's not picked up the vibe of Starscream not being a Nice Guy? Did she not talk to ANYONE for those six months?

* Why she was 'ground zero' at a bomb that we're told was deliberately targeting her but she lived, but later we hear that a lot of people died from that explosion. That...is not how bombs work? There's no magic 'safe zone' in the kill radius.

* Torture doesn't work like that. I'll leave out that the torture the babe is a really problematic gendered trope discussion just to say that I find it improbable that she's instantly able to attack Starscream, both physically and psychologically. And moreover that it is to become this massive turning point where she goes from being gentle and hopeful to LET"S KILL EVERYONE--so bloodthirsty even Chromia is more reasonable, insisting they not kill guards unless they have to.

* Can we talk about the strangling? I get it was played for laughs, and I sure did laugh, but it was that secondhand embarrassment kind of laugh for the writer. Because, well, if Windblade's been pretty isolated from other cultures and if she is a Cybertronian herself, WHY WOULD SHE EVEN THINK OF STRANGLING STARSCREAM? You or I might because we're human and it works on humans. But if we weren't? We wouldn't even think of it.

The big issue I have with it is that it seems to be written based off a plot diagram, and Scott will bend and twist and mangle her characterization to get them to follow her carefully mapped plot points. The result is that finding a coherent characterization for Windblade herself is really difficult. Considering the main question that was used to pimp the story was "WHO IS WINDBLADE?" I have to say I still don't have a clue. Innocent, naive city speaker? Out of control angry fighter? Victim? Hero? The last issue has a LOT to try to pull together.

CC, [UNNECESSARY VOICEOVER RECAPPING EXPOSITION]
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1586204)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 27th, 2014 @ 11:25am CDT
cybercat wrote:Man, I dunno. I keep expecting this series to grow on me and it hasn't. I'll be honest, I find Nautica and Chromia to be much more interesting characters than Windblade, and I'd much prefer one of THEM get another series.

Things I don't get:
* Why Windblade seem pretty savvy when Roberts and Barber write her, and then, six months later in canon (when Windblade is set) she's somehow, uh, kind of really overly trusting? Like she's been there how long and she's not picked up the vibe of Starscream not being a Nice Guy? Did she not talk to ANYONE for those six months?

* Why she was 'ground zero' at a bomb that we're told was deliberately targeting her but she lived, but later we hear that a lot of people died from that explosion. That...is not how bombs work? There's no magic 'safe zone' in the kill radius.

* Torture doesn't work like that. I'll leave out that the torture the babe is a really problematic gendered trope discussion just to say that I find it improbable that she's instantly able to attack Starscream, both physically and psychologically. And moreover that it is to become this massive turning point where she goes from being gentle and hopeful to LET"S KILL EVERYONE--so bloodthirsty even Chromia is more reasonable, insisting they not kill guards unless they have to.

* Can we talk about the strangling? I get it was played for laughs, and I sure did laugh, but it was that secondhand embarrassment kind of laugh for the writer. Because, well, if Windblade's been pretty isolated from other cultures and if she is a Cybertronian herself, WHY WOULD SHE EVEN THINK OF STRANGLING STARSCREAM? You or I might because we're human and it works on humans. But if we weren't? We wouldn't even think of it.

The big issue I have with it is that it seems to be written based off a plot diagram, and Scott will bend and twist and mangle her characterization to get them to follow her carefully mapped plot points. The result is that finding a coherent characterization for Windblade herself is really difficult. Considering the main question that was used to pimp the story was "WHO IS WINDBLADE?" I have to say I still don't have a clue. Innocent, naive city speaker? Out of control angry fighter? Victim? Hero? The last issue has a LOT to try to pull together.

CC, [UNNECESSARY VOICEOVER RECAPPING EXPOSITION]


Well with the first point, I got the impression she had only minor contact with otherd as she was very, very busy with sorting Metroplex out the best she could. So any spare time was kept to herself (probably exploring Cybertron or inside Metroplex).

Not sure what to say about the torture thing, I don't see the problem myself, especially with the 'torture the babe' trope as you put it. I mean screamer wanted information, giving Windblades status, only logical that she'd have the information. I mean they're not going to torture blurr are they when it's clear that Windblade is the one he wants. At that point her gender doesn't matter.

As far as the blast goes I assumed the deaths were caused by aftereffects of the blast, I.e. Buildings collapsing, more explosions etc. Of course having said that, I'm used to characters surviving un-survivalable explosions. Indy 4 and Gundam Seed/ Seed Destiny spring to mind.

Now the strangling thing, I thought it was just because she'd had enough and wanted to just attack him, not the best reason but I don't think it was intentionally funny.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1586261)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on June 27th, 2014 @ 6:43pm CDT
Dun Dun Duhhhn
Image

Speculation? :-?

Starscream and Rattrap are red herrings sorta, so who is it?
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1586375)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 28th, 2014 @ 3:28am CDT
I've got two possible subjects, ironhide and Metroplex. Admittedly can't think why either of them would do it. There is also the possibility that it was someone who hasn't even been introduced yet.

Actually, thought of another suspect while typing. Circuit, an attempt to show media corruption perhaps
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1586399)
Posted by Va'al on June 28th, 2014 @ 7:51am CDT
I'd also say Ironhide, or even Chromia.

As someone else pointed out, having someone we have yet to see in the story would belittle the entire thing, and using characters that show up either early or regularly could work as a twist.

Also, I still think there *could* be a connection between Skids' venture into 'Cyberutopia' and Metroplex' way of talking to Windblade. But it may just be visuals.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1586460)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on June 28th, 2014 @ 3:15pm CDT
I hope it isn't Chromia I actually really like her :(
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1586467)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 28th, 2014 @ 3:44pm CDT
After some more thinking, some one else popped up. The person she was reminiscing about in an earlier issue. From the looks of it said bot was either her mentor or her lover. Though I hope not, that part of her history looks like good fodder for more stories.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1586544)
Posted by Va'al on June 29th, 2014 @ 2:37am CDT
Hmm. That would also disappoint me, though.

Let's see let's see.
(It's bound to come up when I'm away this week, just you wait..)
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1586555)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 29th, 2014 @ 4:27am CDT
Va'al wrote:Hmm. That would also disappoint me, though.

Let's see let's see.
(It's bound to come up when I'm away this week, just you wait..)


Don't get me wrong I would be disappointed as well. I'm just trying to think if a suspect list. I'm hoping there would be more clues in the other issues that we may of overlooked...

(or am I looking into this too much...)
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1592264)
Posted by Va'al on July 21st, 2014 @ 12:53pm CDT
Next up from IDW Publishing, and again courtesy of Newsarama, we have the conclusion of the Transformers: Windblade mini-series, by the double-team of Scott and Stone. Check out a full preview below, and make sure to tune in again tomorrow to read the Seibertron.com review!

Transformers: Windblade #4 (of 4): Dawn of the Autobots
Mairghread Scott (w) • Sarah Stone (a & c)
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE! WINDBLADE seeks out the last refuge she has left, the living city METROPLEX as his malfunctions intensify! WINDBLADE realizes that even if she survives STARSCREAM, METROPLEX himself may doom them all!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Bullet points:
WINDBLADE versus STARSCREAM for control of CYBERTRON!
WINDBLADE’S first solo adventure comes to its soul-searing conclusion!
The aftermath of this issue will affect TRANSFORMERS comics for years to come!
Variant 30th Anniversary cover by Phil Jimenez!


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Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1592644)
Posted by The Variable on July 22nd, 2014 @ 5:10pm CDT
I like how Chromia's "assessing the situation" sounds a lot like Arcee's line to Hot Rod during the siege of Autobot City in the G1 movie. Bonus points for it also technically taking place on Metroplex.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #3 Review (1592646)
Posted by Va'al on July 22nd, 2014 @ 5:15pm CDT
The End, Pt. 1
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE! WINDBLADE seeks out the last refuge she has left, the living city METROPLEX as his malfunctions intensify! WINDBLADE realizes that even if she survives STARSCREAM, METROPLEX himself may doom them all!

Image
Recap? Recap


Story

And so we've had explosions, more explosions, scheming, Predacons, bar scenes, torture scenes, world building, a fantabulous Starscream and so far, a plot that does not seem to want to resolve itself in any way that may have been indicated by writer Mairghread Scott up until this very moment - does it pay off? Is this final issue in Windblade's story, for now at least, a satisfying conclusion? Keep on reading...

Image
Evidence A: Fantabulous Starscream


Scott writes some magnificent Starscream narrative, alongside Windblade and Chromia's - the latter in particular, especially in this issue - and how the three key players interact on the grand scale stage of Metroplex, Iacon and Cybertron.. and maybe even further than that, as we find out more about Caminusand the Camiens, Metroplex himself, and some continuity-bending that would make Barber blush.

Image
Evidence B: REDACTED


The plot throws us some bones, which turn out to be herrings, of the red kind, pointing in all the possible wrong directions before establishing and setting up the actual endpoint to the story started in issue 1 - which is not actually the end of the issue at all. Of course, the actual clues were there all along, and quite in plain sight, looking back.

Image
The Reveal


I'm obviously not going to spoil the climax and denouement, but I do have to say that while the apex of the running plot itself was, in fact, almost anti-climactically played out, everything - everything - else happening around it is so astoundingly powerful that it more than made up for it! (So much so I just used an exclamation mark.) But more on that below.

Art

I'm not entirely sure what more I can say about Sarah Stone's artwork that I haven't commented upon in the first three reviews. But this issue does highlight what it is I really truly enjoyed in this début run for the new artist: her characters' expressions. We get anger, concentration, satisfaction, smugness, despair, hope - we get rounded personalities captured in linework, by way of faces, bodies and interactions.

Image
Evidence C: Intense


All of that is before you even consider the excellent layouts and panelwork, with some truly experimental, slightly non-linear (dat final page), but not bordering into abstract just yet, pages, splashes and spreads. Then you get the colours. And the contrasts of light, of monochromatic blocks versus all-white or all-black backgrounds - something showed off on the cover, too.

Image
Evidence D: Words, panels, revel


Chris Mowry's lettering does some masterfully crafted complementary work to the already great artwork, rendering Scott's sounds and words vividly on the page and in characters' heads and voices, and beautifully fitting between Stone's lines, with fonts, hues, colours and fading effects alike. And just to keep us guessing, two Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr covers, one with Windblade, one with Chromia (see thumbnail).


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

A truly magnificent ending to what is clearly, obviously, just the beginning of a long long story to unfold in the Transformers universe, from MTMTE to Primacy to Empire of Stone to RID - where we'll see Windblade again not too far in the future - which, as I said, if it does tone down the plot resolution, it does so by amping up absolutely everything else, with a personal reaction that hit as far as Soundwave's arc in RID, or the C/R one in MTMTE.

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Evidence E: AMPING UP


Sometimes, as a comics reader, one should just revel in the pure aesthetic, sensory pleasure of a book as object, of the colours as feeling, of the story as layout, of the words as sounds. This comic has allows all of that, and sets up something so big it will make several people complain. But I, and I suspect many many more, do not care. At all.


. :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: out of :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT:

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