“Transformers: Windblade” #1 Review
Come, sit down, and listen to the tale that shall be –
Oh, let’s just get right to it and put pedal to the metal. If you haven’t been following Robots in Disguise OR More Than Meets The Eye at the same time, as well the earlier ongoing issues, go pick those issues up and get right to it. If you HAVE been following the tales told by scribes James Roberts and John Barber, visually crafted by the many talented line artists and colorists and inkers (Guido Guidi, Alex Milne, Priscilla Tramontano, Josh Perez, and Brian Shearer to name a few), then you’re ready for writer Mairghread Scott and artist Sarah Stone‘s Transformers: Windblade #1!
– Story –
Things start off with six months after the finale of Dark Cybertron, what with Megatron having joined the Autobots and both sides having to deal with preventing the universe from collapsing in on itself courtesy of Shockwave. Windblade is, as Chromia calls her, a Cityspeaker, someone who can speak with a Titan – short for Metrotitan – and serves as the voice of Metroplex. The reason why is that due to events in Dark Cybertron, Metroplex has become severely injured and can’t talk except in the oldest language, of which only Cityspeakers still learn. Alongside the damages Metroplex has suffered, it’s also causing rolling blackouts in various areas of the city, which causes inconveniences to the inhabitants living on the big guy, which has them voicing their concerns to “His Lordship” Starscream, which has him asking Windblade to find out why and to see about fixing the problem.
Even with her respect for Starscream, Windblade doesn’t feel comfortable with him and her own suspicions gets a bit deeper after doing some of her own investigations and after a second attempt of investigating the reason for the city’s rolling blackouts with Chromia’s help. There are plot hints here and there, such as a few phrases Metroplex “tells” Windblade, and then there’s the possible significance of a location that had her seeking Ironhide to find out in the first place before an unexpected event puts a halt to that. Considering that Windblade mentions Caminus being a place that she and Chromia came from, that may come into play later on as well.
For a character created by fans, Scott delivers a good overview of Windblade’s character at first glance. You get that she has respect for those who are either her seniors (Chromia and Ironhide) or those who are the leaders of a large population (Starscream), being that she isn’t originally from Cybertron – you also get an explanation for her facial design. Yet while Windblade feels like that of an in-awe newcomer when compared to the other Bots and Cons (which she is), she is still cautious enough to not take everything at face value, especially when it concerns Starscream here, before and after her own little investigation. As this is the only the first issue, no doubt this is only the tip of the iceberg of the jet-bot that is Windblade. On the others characters, you still have the smug-snake charm that is Starscream, who also doses out the “concerned leader” image, while Chromia feels like a mix of a slightly aloof older sister and tough war bot when she interacts with Windblade (while being reasonably paranoid of Starscream). Even the short appearances of Blurr, both Tankors, Slug, Swindle, and Fizzle at a familiar bar adds a splash of life.
Regarding the “female Transformer” situation, Rattrap makes a note of the use of “she”, but when he gets no response from Chromia, he drops it. From a reading perspective, it’s a nice touch since we’re looking beyond the fact that Windblade is a female Transformer – we want to see her for her stance on various topics, her interactions with others, and her thinking processes. Same with Chromia by that extension, and any possible future female Transformers.
– Art –
We’ve seen Guido, Milne, Nick Roche, Marcelo Matere, Robby Musso, and Casey Coller on line arts before in previous titles. We’ve also seen the colors as done by both Josh Burcham and Perez, Tramontano, Joanna Lafuente, Kris Carter, and Liam Shalloo.
And then there’s Sarah Stone, doing double duty on both line art and colors. “Gorgeous” does not do the art justice in this issue. The characters are EXPRESSIVE, and not just facial-wise. Body language is also a form of expression, and you can get the feeling of what the characters are feeling on how Stone’s drawn them, from a grumpy Slug complaining about his drink being not strong enough at the bar to a “concerned” Starscream being interviewed by a reporter bot. Other than Windblade’s switching between her two alt-modes, seeing her flying in her jet form is almost poetry in motion, noticeable by the trails following her fan blades. The closest in regards to description on just how expressive they are would have to be that of the “Transformers Animated” art style as done by Derrick J. Wyatt, especially for those that lack strong facial features, “fat” Tankor (“not to his face”) as one example.
There isn’t a large amount of lines to distinguish certain edges, compared to other line artists, and it’s where Stone’s coloring that does the trick. In a way, it feels almost similar to a watercolor painting/ink brush painting being in motion (the Japanese sumi-e in particular), with the way how two different color tones can give the illusion that you’re seeing the “lines” of what would be Chromia’s “collar”. or the trailing edges on the jet-based Transformers. The use of color to indicate the mood is also used, and Stone does it well: from the dawning of a new Cybertronian day on the city line, to the marginally dim lighting of a comfortable bar, and then to using it to indicate the change of a character’s perspective. In fact, some panels doesn’t even use line art to distinguish a character at all – Stone uses just the colors and it works beautifully. Stone’s coloring here could be considered “softer” in contrast to the more “solid” feel usually seen in most comics, but they still pop out and work in their own unique way.
Jumping straight into Windblade #1 isn’t quite recommended, but the first page of the issue does provide a very brief recap of things that has happened in Dark Cybertron. Even then, it’s worth picking up for Scott’s writing AND Stone’s art. There’s something teasing enough to make you want to learn if Windblade will be successful, learn more about her, and find out what will happen in the next issue. Don’t forget the main cover as done by Coller and colored by Lafuente, the alternative cover by Livio Ramondelli, and the retail incentive version by Stone!
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