Friday, July 4, 2014

Enemy Mine: Windblade # 3!

THE good news is that our new female Autobot protagonist Windblade will be returning in another mini-series from IDW Publishing in 2015, a series called—what else—“Windblade Returns.”

That revelation does give away that fact that Windblade will be surviving her current series, “Transformers: Windblade,” but then again, it would have been a real shame if this intriguing new fan-favorite creation met her demise at the end of her first four-issue solo run.

That doesn’t mean writer Mairghread Scott and artist Sarah Stone won’t be putting Windblade in dangerous situations because it can be argued that Windblade is dangerous situations throughout the entirety of “Transformers: Windblade” # 3.

At the end of “Windblade” # 2, Windblade had rallied some Autobot back-up (and Swindle) to dive deep into the bowels of Metroplex’s filtration system in order to stop Strascream from mining a powerful ore. Unfortunately, the motley group of heroes (and Swindle and Waspinator) get pinned down by the Terrorcons. While they put up a pretty good fight, the heroes are captured when Starscream himself shows up to do the dirty work.

During a rather ridiculous but very much in-character monologue while the Autobots are behind bars and Windblade tortured (by a deliciously evil Rattrap), Starscream admits to mining the secret ore within Metroplex (“Metroplex is a big ‘bot. A few dings in his filters aren’t going to kill him.”) and that he intends to charge the captured ‘bots with crimes against Cybertron and execute them to cover up his clandestine mining.

But then Starscream inadvertently reveals that the attempt on Windblade’s life (in “Windblade” # 1) was not his doing. ‘Screamer doesn’t seem to be happy about it, too.

What follows is a rousing escape sequence (see Blurr and Slug work together) and now Windblade realizes that there is another player behind all this. This other shadowy figure is the one who tried unsuccessfully to kill Windblade and is behind the real damage being done to Metroplex, whom Windblade, as City Speaker, has vowed to protect. And Windblade knows who it is. “Someone is pulling power from Metroplex,” she thinks. “The only question left is why.” Ominously, the issue ends with the power transfer from Metroplex being comlleted—and the Spacebridge is activated, waiting only for a destination.

Suffice to say, all of our remaining questions will be answered in next month’s “Windblade” # 4. But so many questions are answered in this issue and it is full of action as well as character moments (Waspinator and Rattrap remain proof that Beast Wars had some of the most vivid characterization in all of TF mythology). But more than anything, this issue displays Windblade’s determination and fighting ability. In the previous issues, she had come off as being much more of a thinker than a fighter, and “Windblade” # 3 shows she can fight with the best of them. Additionally, this issue also continues IDW’s attempt to differentiate the female Autobots from each other (and in particular from OG female Autobot Arcee).

Scott and Stone continue to do excellent, distinctive work. Their work is immediately identifiable and it is great news that the two will also continue to work with Windblade in the future series. There were times “Windblade” # 3 could have easily devolved into exposition just trying to link the first two issues to the last one, but Scott’s snappy words and Stone’s unique art elevates the issue. Now, it’s all down to the final issue. Who is behind it all? Will Windblade be able to stop this unseen menace? We’re all staying tuned and so should you.

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