Review: “Transformers: Windblade” No. 3 by Mairghread Scott & Sarah Stone

Let them fight! Okay, that’s a bit overused in relation to a certain 300-plus foot tall mutated Permian life form, but the phrase fits in this action-packed issue of Transformers: Windblade #3 from IDW Publishing! Tag-along news reporters, conspiracy, fighting, and even more conspiracies, this one will leave you wanting more!

After what she thinks she’s found the main cause of Metroplex’s problems and the bombing culprit that nearly killed her, Windblade convinces Chromia to gather up some folks we’ve seen at Maccadam’s for a brief fight in a not-so-OSHA-compliant mine. Of course, it wouldn’t be that easy, now would it, with the Terrorcons guarding the mine. While you’re ready to be cheering for Windblade’s group to take the lead, they get arrested by Starscream. Granted, creating a firefight inside a Titan is pretty good grounds for getting sent to the slammer, but the lawyer-type minds will ask on what charges of “crimes against Cybertron” would apply. While much of Blurr and the other guys, as well the reporters chill out, Windblade goes through a very shocking questioning session, which leads to an illuminating revelation that maybe the current Decepticon leader – and backstabber, cunning, sell-out-others-for-his-own-gain – Starscream ISN’T the real culprit…

No need for all the exposition talk!

Where the first two issues of Windblade sets things up in true mystery story fashion of laying out some clues, issue three brings in some action that some fans have no doubt been wanting to see. In a way, it’s quite similar to a CSI: Crime Scene Investigaton episode, or almost any detective show – you have your setup of an incident, the suspects with probable causes and motivations, the chase for clues and reasoning, and figuring out the proper context of reading the evidence. Mairghread Scott has littered some phrases that Metroplex uses in quotes, like someone using part of a paragraph or song line as a way of trying to get a hidden message across. An interesting note is how Windblade is referred to by Metroplex, which could infer that the damages Metroplex took has affected his speech or it’s how he’s interpreting both her name and primary function. And instead of having Windblade voice out constantly, the use of captions as a train of Windblade’s thoughts is used beautifully, as we see her struggling to think out the “who” and “why” of what ever is affecting Metroplex. There’s also a sense of poignancy on how she’s seeing the Bots and Cons after millions of years of fighting with each other, contrast to her life on Caminus.
An interesting thing to note is the difference between Windblade and Chromia compared to the others that have appeared since the beginning of the ongoing, Robots In Disguise, and More Than Meets The Eye. No, it isn’t the “female robot” thing, but a cultural side. Scott has Windblade mention that Camiens – those that were sparked on Caminus – gave up using any type of fire-arms, citing that they’re wasteful and loosing that once chance if you miss a shot. Instead, they’re more close-range combatants, as demonstrated by Chromia’s pole-arm and Windblade’s sword, plus they get creative when it comes to combat. Compare Windblade tackling Cutthroat midair with sword in hand and robot mode versus Blurr using his tires as skates (which could be considered as a shout out to live-action movie Jazz and Animated Bumblebee) while shooting at Sinnertwin.
Another cultural aspect is how Windblade – and Chromia by extension – gets referred to as an “alien” by Starscream during the jail scene and later by Rattrap. We all know that Caminus departed Cybertron at some point long in the past, and thus both fembots here would be Cybertronian by descent, but both consider themselves as Camiens. In a fashion, it’s similar to people who are children or descendents of immigrants that have left their home countries for another, and are seen as “outsiders” when they go visit their parents/ancestor’s lands. Those of direct Cybertronian descent are aliens to us, but for them to consider those of their kind – almost kin, even if far removed – as “alien” to them, will probably strike a chord in some readers.

“Fly like an eagle~”

As usual, Sarah Stone‘s art is gorgeous as ever. The facial expressions is expressive as ever, from fear to dejection, rage to surprise, and pondering to determination. “Poetry in motion” has been used before, and with the action scenes, even more so, such as Tall Tankor and Windblade dealing with Cutthroat and Blurr tackling Sinnertwin. Bonus points on the main cover where the red lines evokes both dripping energon from an injury and jail bars. Some of the humorous bits have hints of the “notice” marks seen in anime and manga, like one particular panel in the jail scenes involving Waspinator, Longtooth, and Circuit. Colors are also beautiful as ever, with red apparently the main theme in the “mine battle” and jail scenes, matching the “danger” and “sinister” sense, respectively. The interrogation scenes has a lighting effect that looks like it’s coming from one light source, almost like the old-time interrogation sequences where the accused – or suspects – gets grilled by law enforcement with either a single overhead lamp or desk lamp pointed in one direction instead of all-around fluorescent lighting.
If you want to work the gray matter on whodunit, it’s definitely an issue to pick up.
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