IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review

IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 1:51am CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: ScottyP   Views: 37,155

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"America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, bad ass speed."
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review

Velocitron Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Blurry
Race Against The Light, Which Is Totally Not A Title From MTMTE, We Promise


Remember back about a decade ago, when you first watched Transformers: Cybertron on TV? The first few episodes start with a bang, taking you away on a fast-paced adventure spanning three planets within the span of just the first four episodes. One of these planets was Velocitron, where the heroic Autobots Hot Shot and Red Alert assisted planet natives Override and Clocker in a bid to win races and secure a Cyber Planet Key, thus keeping it out of the clutches of the evil Megatron. To get it, they had to win a race, I think. Unfortunately, the race went on for longer than a Suzuka 8-hour and no one in the fandom remembers the details because why on earth would anyone watch that arc over again? The point here is that most Transformers fans are reminded of one word when thinking about Velocitron: Slow.

This is relevant today because IDW's fifth and latest issue of Windblade Volume 2, written by Mairghread Scott featuring art by Corin Howell and colors by Thomas Deer, brings us back to Velocitron. While doing so, it manages to do a lot of things, but "going slow" isn't one of them.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review


The pacing really is the stand-out characteristic here, and in fact, events happen so quickly that one has to wonder if the series ending at issue 7 was the original plan. While no one wants a repeat of Cybertron's fourteen episode circular boredom, I can't help but feel like this one takes a well developed premise with a lot of potential and steers off the exit ramp towards the next part of the story a little too quickly.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review


The art keeps with the implied tone of the narrative, lending a cartoon like quality to the scenes. This works well for most of the scenes, given the sometimes very convenient ways in which our heroes will overcome their external conflicts as the pages progress. Plot aside, the lines for some of the residents of this Velocitron are handled pretty appropriately, and Override in particular (not Nitro Convoy, take that Takara) feels suited to the style.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review


Deer's colors work very well, helping to lend contrast between locales and offering Velocitron a familiar yet altogether different feel. This isn't Cybertron, and at no point does it really feel that way.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review


Potential Full On Blatant Spoilers Ahead, Maybe
By the end of the read I certainly wasn't unsatisfied, but I also don't feel like I got the full taste of Velocitron, or perhaps the issue is that it was just a taste. If the sin of Cybertron's old Velocitron arc was being too slow, then this does the opposite and manages to go too fast, at least that's how I can best describe my malaise. Or perhaps, this is a crepe and what I really wanted was something else. They are the really thin pancakes. It's just a French word for them.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review


The great build to such a simple resolution almost made me forget what happened in between. To use an old theatre adage, "Show, don't Tell". This issue told me a lot about the planet and characters and city, but fell short on showing them to me. An abstract map of the city is cool, but ultimately kind of pointless if only some bits and pieces are shown. Telling me that Override is only tenuously in charge and implying that she's eccentric when given requests is great stuff, but when the chance comes to show it, it isn't taken. The politics of the planet have been played up as rather complicated for a couple issues now, but when you get to the ending they end up being really quite simple with Ransack just sort of doing, well, nothing. The end result is a story that felt complex, but then ultimately just isn't.

That's not to say there weren't parts I liked. Including the aforementioned Override and Ransack, along with Clocker (questionable color scheme aside, but at least it was a toy deco so I'll give it a slide) was a really fun touch. I absolutely adored Cybertron when it came out, and seeing some of these characters get further adventures is quite fun. There's nothing more frightening then driving with a live goddamn cougar next to you.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review


Our normal reviewer and News Admin Extraordinaire, Va'al, did point out some good stuff to me as well that I mostly agree with, so here are his words (mostly ;)) unedited:
Va'al wrote:I really liked the scenes with the Titan, both in writing (how Windblade feels about the whole thing, and how she connects with it) and the art, colours in particular. The race was quite good, and just the right length to not become overblown or dragged out. Ironhide and Chromia were also great, though Ironhide in general has and continues to be a stand out. I'm too drunk to taste this chicken.
My kudos to him for the help with this review as he juggled helping me out of my criticisms, all whilst writing up reviews for the other two IDW Transformers releases this week.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review


So with all that said, if you ain't first, you're last, so this gets the following score:

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


I'm just kidding, here's the real score:

"Shake and... eh, that's good enough I suppose." out of "SHAKE AND BAKE, BABY!"
aka
:BOT: :BOT: :BOT: out of :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT:


That there Seibertron.com review is trademarked, not to be used without written permission of Ricky Bobby, Inc.

Credit(s): IDW, ScottyP


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Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1714241)
Posted by Optimizzy on July 29th, 2015 @ 7:39am CDT
Hi, I'm here to discuss an important problem facing Cybertron, packs of turbo-foxes roaming the streets.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1714242)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on July 29th, 2015 @ 7:41am CDT
Wait, does this mean blurr's new house is actually haunted?
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1714247)
Posted by ScottyP on July 29th, 2015 @ 8:08am CDT
To clarify, I'm ultimately intending to be complimentary in saying I wish it didn't end so fast, despite what impact that may have had on a goofy objective numerical score that reflects a subjective view of the issue ;) Not sure it comes out that way reading my words here another couple days later.

In other words, if you don't chew Big Red, well, you know.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1714289)
Posted by Optimizzy on July 29th, 2015 @ 10:48am CDT
Well, you wanna come over and play GI Joes?
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1714334)
Posted by Optimizzy on July 29th, 2015 @ 1:39pm CDT
you know, my biggest gripe is the cartoony city that's bigger on the inside. I just don't think the artist is skilled enough to really convey the idea of moving cities. They should be huge. Honestly, I hope she improves or they replace her. Its not terrible, its just not ... quality


and a side note, I dont really dig the condescending attitude of the Camiens. And why do they keep making me not like Chromia? I liked her in the one-shot. Dont like her here.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1714343)
Posted by DeadCaL on July 29th, 2015 @ 2:17pm CDT
Optimizzy wrote:you know, my biggest gripe is the cartoony city that's bigger on the inside. I just don't think the artist is skilled enough to really convey the idea of moving cities. They should be huge. Honestly, I hope she improves or they replace her. Its not terrible, its just not ... quality


Transformers + Scale = Oh dear, I've gone cross eyed ;-)
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1714379)
Posted by Optimizzy on July 29th, 2015 @ 4:41pm CDT
DeadCaL wrote:
Optimizzy wrote:you know, my biggest gripe is the cartoony city that's bigger on the inside. I just don't think the artist is skilled enough to really convey the idea of moving cities. They should be huge. Honestly, I hope she improves or they replace her. Its not terrible, its just not ... quality


Transformers + Scale = Oh dear, I've gone cross eyed ;-)


Ha ha. But really the city should have been huge. :)
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1714388)
Posted by Tigertrack on July 29th, 2015 @ 5:44pm CDT
Nice connections to the past in Cybertron cartoon eps, which I have a very hard time remembering a whole lot about.

I didn't hate it, and enjoyed it mostly, I'm just not superbly and overly impressed by what's going on in the TF comic verse lately.

Blurr, Blurr, Blurr!!! A resolution that so far was not a surprise. Art could be criticized, but is workable enough. We can't all be Stone, Coller, Milne, Or Guidi. It's not Heart of Darkness bad, everything looks better when compared with that.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1714473)
Posted by King Kuuga on July 30th, 2015 @ 12:41am CDT
I would have thought that a society whose culture revolves around racing would take more than one lap. That annoyed me a lot. They had potential for a two-issue story here, but I guess they're just doing one issue per planet to wrap the series up. :/ Maybe I'm wrong and we have a lead-in issue to the Beast planet and 7 has them meeting the Beast planet delegates properly.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1714520)
Posted by MrBlack on July 30th, 2015 @ 9:27am CDT
Optimizzy wrote:
DeadCaL wrote:
Optimizzy wrote:you know, my biggest gripe is the cartoony city that's bigger on the inside. I just don't think the artist is skilled enough to really convey the idea of moving cities. They should be huge. Honestly, I hope she improves or they replace her. Its not terrible, its just not ... quality


Transformers + Scale = Oh dear, I've gone cross eyed ;-)


Ha ha. But really the city should have been huge. :)

Agreed.

I like the style of the art, but the sense of scale implied by the dialogue is totally missing from the page. The moving "city" was roughly the size of a small building, and the "huge" racetrack looked to be the size of a big high school gym.

If the next issue is just talking heads, I think I'll enjoy it quite a bit more.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1715751)
Posted by Va'al on August 4th, 2015 @ 3:15pm CDT
Via Comic Book Resources, we have a fairly lengthy interview with the creative team behind Transformers: Windblade, in particular issue #5: Mairghread Scott and Corin Howell! The two touched upon the general direction of the series post-Combiner Wars, the introduction of multiple characters from several branches of the robot franchise, their thoughts on their favourite characters so far and much more, including some concepts for Moonracer and Knock-Out. Check out some snippets below, and head here for the full interview!

CBR News spoke with Scott and Howell about what's next for "Transformers: Windblade," what it means for their title character to learn that Prime may not be the 100% altruistic hero she once believed him to be, and why giant, battling robots provide the perfect allegory to explore themes like politics, war, gender and more.

[...]

Starscream has been handling this all magnificently, maneuvering everything into place. Has it been fun to get to have him outpace the others and show off his political agility?

Scott: Starscream is one of my favorite characters and I've had a great time revealing just how cunning he is. He also has a big advantage because everyone else in the book wears their heart on their sleeve. Windblade wants to save Caminus. Optimus wants to save Cybertron. And Starscream just wants to do whatever's best for Starscream. That makes him a lot more flexible than our other characters, and he uses that flexibility to its fullest extent. When Starscream sent Swindle and Menasor to Caminus, I saw a lot of people exclaiming that this would be Starscream's last mistake, and by the end of "Combiner Wars" he'd be ousted from power. I think underestimating Starscream is a lot of people's biggest mistake.

Scott: So at the end of "Combiner Wars," Caminus and Cybertron are now connected via SpaceBridge, and the Cybertronians have learned of at least four other colonies. Windblade's new mission is to make first contact with these worlds and somehow convince them to ally with Cybertron's new Council of Worlds, but each colony will have its own unique challenges she'll have to deal with. We're also kicking open a lot of doors to continuities that haven't been explored much in IDW. We're including a whole lot of new Transformers, many of which fans will know from other iterations of the brand throughout the years.

[...]

The Transformers comics seem to handle sci-fi as allegory more capably than anyone else is able to right now. What is it about the Universe which makes them so suitable to introduce themes of politics, war, gender and the like?

Howell: I think it's because when you get to see huge talking robots fighting, you can be sneaky with some bigger themes like political disputes and rivalries or the cause and costs of war. Everyone reads it to have fun, but they come away with a little bit more than that -- or at least that's the hope, anyway.

Scott: When you are dealing with alien robots, you have just enough distance between you and the subject that you can explore difficult ideas and themes much more comfortably. "Transformers" as a brand has always dealt with war, battle fatigue, prejudice and factionalism. And while our main goal is to tell a really great story, it's always my hope that we're giving people the chance to explore the rationale, emotions and beliefs of people they wouldn't get the chance to do in real life.

[...]

Was it a conscious choice to pick characters from so many different versions of the franchise and unite them here?

Scott: My goal for introducing more diversity to the brand has always been about opening as many doors as possible. I never want a writer to think "I can't introduce Character X because they have no place in this universe." So Caminus got the ball rolling on introducing female Transformers, but now all these other colonies will have female Transformers, too. My next thought was how can we push this further and introduce more bots. I realized that we had a lot of G1 and G2 bots but what if you grew up with "Beast Wars" or "Animated" or any of the later generations of Transformers? I wanted something for those viewers, too. These colonies have allowed me to open even more doors and create a whole universe of possibilities for future stories and future characters. I want any fan no matter their age or what iteration of the brand they grew up with to be able to see their favorite Transformer fitting in to the story.


Image

Image
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1715755)
Posted by .... on August 4th, 2015 @ 3:21pm CDT
Corin Howell is my favorite TF artist of all time, just saying.
I gotta say I LOVE Moonracer's design by her, she looks amazing! :D We REALLY need a toy from this design!
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1715774)
Posted by Optimizzy on August 4th, 2015 @ 6:40pm CDT
SillySpringer wrote:Corin Howell is my favorite TF artist of all time, just saying.
I gotta say I LOVE Moonracer's design by her, she looks amazing! :D We REALLY need a toy from this design!


I don't agree with the first comment. But I do think a moon racer based on this would be nice.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1715775)
Posted by MasterSoundBlaster on August 4th, 2015 @ 6:42pm CDT
Those Knock-Out expressions... =P~
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1715777)
Posted by deathdrive on August 4th, 2015 @ 6:48pm CDT
Please please PLEASE give us knockout as a female decepticon. Like she turned from male to female almost like how arcee did but to himself. I always thought transformers prime knockout would have been a great female character and the toy sadly did not allow me to just use my imagination. If the second sketch is indeed knockout.. then to answer the question in the sketch, dark eyes.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1715778)
Posted by fenrir72 on August 4th, 2015 @ 6:50pm CDT
So turn well established iconic characters upside down ala Megs, Starsaber, Deathsaurus etc. Wash Rinse Dry. Is that all the handbook of well worn out ideas have to churn out today?
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1715794)
Posted by Black Bumblebee on August 4th, 2015 @ 7:25pm CDT
Quite frankly, I like Megatron as Autobot (and I know I'm far from the only one. After all, the most recent Megatron figure came with an Autobot sticker!). If you keep telling the same stories with no character growth, the brand becomes stale. As far as Star Saber and Deathsaurus... well... they're hardly iconic outside of Japan, are they? The comic needs to put their own twist on things. The old cartoons and old comics are still there. This is a new story.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1715801)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on August 4th, 2015 @ 7:40pm CDT
Black Bumblebee wrote:Quite frankly, I like Megatron as Autobot (and I know I'm far from the only one. After all, the most recent Megatron figure came with an Autobot sticker!). If you keep telling the same stories with no character growth, the brand becomes stale. As far as Star Saber and Deathsaurus... well... they're hardly iconic outside of Japan, are they? The comic needs to put their own twist on things. The old cartoons and old comics are still there. This is a new story.

Also in the Victory manga continuity Deathsauruas had continued fighting essentially to protect his and the other Decepticons' families, which parallels well with his IDW interpretation of not wanting to treat his comrades as disposable. As for star saber the villain interpretation comes from Transmasters UK a transformers fan club in the UK, which Nick Roche and James Roberts were a part of. So these character changes have some biases in the past.
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1715830)
Posted by jrgreer74 on August 4th, 2015 @ 10:59pm CDT
If Knock-Out is a fem-bot now it would help explain his rather feminine behavior in TF Prime. He could of been in a transition period for all we know. His/Her "sex" matters nothing really being they are robots, but we can come up with our own conclusions. Either way the character is cool as they come IMHO! Who else has, or lacks having the balls to give Prime a Decepticon tattoo? EPIC! In reality, the changing of ones "sex" has become as easy as a scalpel, money, time, and hair dye. If it is seemingly easy for us, how much more for them when they can just scan/rescan? It would make for one heck of a story though. :lol:
Re: IDW Transformers: Windblade #5 Review (1715959)
Posted by Evil Eye on August 5th, 2015 @ 12:39pm CDT
So wait, is Knock Out a fembot now? I always thought the whole appeal of Knock Out was that he was a preening, sadistic and extremely camp guy. Making him female removes most of his uniqueness.

If they wanna add more female Decepticons, how about making Cybertron Ransack and Crumplezone female? They barely had any personality beyond "incompetent troublemakers" so they're pretty much clean slates. Heck, if you wanted to go uber "progressive" you could always make them lesbians (Ransack always looked pretty feminine anyway, and Crumplezone...well...She could be the butch I guess? Or just keep him a guy, whatever works...).

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