Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Whole New World: Windblade (2015) # 1!

FROM the very first time that Windblade, Chromia and Nautica first appeared in the IDW continuity, readers have been wondering exactly where they came from. The three fembots spoke about their home, the lost Cybertronian colony Caminus, and how their home planet was running out of resources. Out of caution, Optimus Prime and the Autobots had stayed clear of Caminus.

Combiners can change so many things. After the events of “Transformers # 39,” the Combiner Wars are on. At the end of that issue, the devious Starscream, after taking possession of the fabled Engima of Combination, fooled Swindle and Menasor—the combined form of the Stunticons—to travel to Caminus via the new-operational space bridge to rob the planet. The Combiner Wars continue, with its first full chapter in the second “Windblade” mini-series, which we will refer to as “Windblade (2015).”

At the issue’s beginning, we get a quick look at Caminus and its inhabitants. They are clearly Cybertronians but possess what appear to be more ornate forms and a seemingly medieval form of society. There are also a lot of fembots here—but, it is important to note, not all the Camiens are female.

Most notably, one of the first Camiens to be introduced is clearly Hot Shot of Transformers Armada fame. The fliers of Alpha Squadron rush to meet the unwanted visitors from Cybertron but are quickly put down by Menasor. Swindle figures out that Starscream put one over them—because there are no riches on Caminus to be stolen—and tries to escape, but Menasor, now on a rampage, refuses to go back.

Back on Cybertron, Starscream is putting together a unit to capture the very same bots he sent over there in the first place. When Ironhide and Chromia fail to stop Menasor, Optimus plays right into Starscream’s hands.

Starscream had secretly manipulated Wheeljack into using the Engima to save the Aerialbots. Left out in the Cybertronian wilderness, the Aerialbots were forced to combine into a mad Superion. But with volunteer Alpha Bravo replacing the dead Slingshot, the Aerialbots were now saved. On Caminus, the Aerialbots combine into a seemingly in-control Superion. “This is your own warning, ‘con,” Superion booms. “Surrender!” Superion immediately takes down Menasor. When Windblade checks on him, Superion answers: “Superion is fine. Superion is in control.” Swindle is captured

The Camiens are surprised that Windblade has returned, and the cityspeaker calls for the gathering of the Council of Voices, the Forgefire Parliament and the Mistress of the Flame: These represent the leadership of Caminus. Starscream is eager to speak to the Camiens as he believes he will be welcomed as a savior. What he did not expect was the Way of the Flame.

The Way of the Flame is essentially the Camien religion. And in it, the Primes are living gods, and thus Optimus would be welcomed as a living god. Amid Starscream’s disbelieving outrage, the Mistress of the Flame intones: “The flame of truth shines within you, beloved Prime. You are welcome there.”

Interestingly, this first chapter of the Combiner Wars gives us what we expected to see—a straight out fistfight between Menasor and Superion—but it also throws us for a look with the expanded look at Camien society. Even as we see what Starscream is up to, the issue surprises us with the long-withheld revelation about the relationship of the Camiens and the Primes.

“Windblade (2015)” # 1 ends on that surprise, and it is interesting to see how the team on the original Windblade mini—writer Mairghread Scott and artist Sarah Stone—apply themselves to what is basically the behind-the-scenes story of the first one. This issue feels not so much as a beginning (the “Transformers” # 39 issue, dubbed the Combiner Wars Opening Salvo is the true beginning) as it does a middle part. As such, it’s pretty (Scott draws Transformers differently from anyone else) but also ends on a cliffhanger. The appearance of Hot Shot and the shoe-horning of both Superion and Menasor into the IDW continuity leads us to believe that more of the floating elements of TF mythology will be tied together through the Combiner Wars. If the intent of this issue was to pique our interest in the rest of Combiner Wars, then consider our interest piqued.

Next time: Transformers # 40!

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