Been a while since I did one of these, and there’s a few to catch up on (Devastation #6, TF-UK #8 etc), but for now here’s my post-script pontifications on Transformers Spotlight Arcee. The storm of comments that accompanied my earlier announcement of this particular Spotlight (which encapsulates the whole divisive issue of gender in Transformers) has served to make me only too aware how much this whole business seems to get fans riled up, one way or the other. For those who need some context here, Arcee was introduced in the original Transformers animated movie, joining the (limited) ranks of what have become known as fem-bots (robots with distinct female characteristics) in the Transformers universe. Personally, it always seemed strange to have any kind of gender demarcation in a machine-based species that didn’t reproduce (at least, not in any conventional sense). I did a 5-page story back in the Marvel UK days called “Prime’s Rib”, which explained away Arcee as an attempt by the quote-unquote ‘male’ robots to be politically correct. It wasn’t intended to be taken at all seriously, by the way. This time around, within the context of the new IDW/TF-verse, Arcee is a much more troubled and tormented character. When we first meet Arcee, ‘she’ is on a personal crusade, a vengeful rage and adrenaline-fuelled tilt that brings ‘her’ into inevitable conflict with law-enforcement officer Ultra Magnus. It’s not pretty. This in turn leads us to Garrus-9, an Autobot detention facility (something readers have speculated about since we showcased a Decepticon penal colony in Spotlight Hot Rod). Garrus-9 brings the authoritarian Fortress Maximus into the mix, and a story thread running on from the end of Spotlight Optimus Prime (concerning a certain sextet of captive combiners!). Add into the mix Banzaitron, some Combaticons (minus Swindle) and Jetfire and the Technobots (oh, and Arcee of course!) and you can start to see there’s one heck of a showdown/melee in the offing. Oh, and Arcee’s ‘state of mind’ ties into the Dead Universe storyline (which all starts to kick off in the last couple of issues of Devastation). And yes, why ‘he’ and ‘she’ are or aren’t used is most definitely addressed. Alex Milne is on art duties, and if his two covers are anything to go by, you’re in for a treat. Spotlight Arcee hits in Feb 08. I can almost feel the discussion thread stormclouds looming already!