It’s the turn of Spotlight Cyclonus (part 1 of Revelation, the next main arc, in chronological terms at least, of the ‘ongoing’) to get the post-script treatment. As usual, expect spoilery stuff but as always I aim to tease rather than give away the real nuts and bolts of the issue. Anyhow, here was a challenge: tell the Revelation arc in four issues and lace a character strand (worthy of the Spotlight branding) into the mix. It was an invigorating exercise, necessitating four characters (over the course of the four issues) that a) hadn’t been a Spotlight character already and b) would propel the main story onwards in some way, shape or form. So, first job was to sort out the four characters. Cyclonus I already had in mind for one of the Dead Universe cast, so he seemed the ideal choice to kick things off. Next job was decide what sort of character he was, and how that played into the larger demands of what the issue needed to accomplish, namely alert Optimus Prime and the Autobots to the impending threat, one that’s really been well in the background so far. Things had to snowball rapidly, so that by the end of this first issue the scale of the threat was evident and a response was needed urgently. The challenge was to take Cyclonus’s ‘mission’ and somehow (believably) make it less than straightforward enough so that, instead of just coming and going without a ripple, he draws unwanted attention. But why would he deviate from his there and back? There had to be something about him, a character quirk, that made him add in a detour (to Cybertron) and then lose sight of what’s important (for a brief but telling time). This wasn’t going to be the animated movie Cyclonus. By recreating Galvatron as a new character we’d effectively recreated Cyclonus too. So who was this Cyclonus? What made him tick? What draws him, at the outset of the issue, back to the ruin of Cybertron? And then, the supporting cast: Hound’s crew (Sideswipe, Road Rocket, Skram and Warpath) and Ultra Magnus were pulled into the mix. Then, in separate but interconnected strands, Arcee, Nightbeat, Optimus Prime, Jetfire and others. All enmeshed in the same mystery but unaware (yet) of the connections, the bigger picture. Oh and there’s our first look at the full Dead Universe cast and the big (and I do mean BIG) reveal at the end of the issue. Hoo boy… that should leave no one in any doubt just how bad things are going to get and how high the stakes are! Spotlight Cyclonus ships in June with E.J Su on art. Don’t dare miss it!
The convention season (for me at least) kicks off next month with Botcon, the annual (official) US Transformers convention. This year it’s in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Duke Energy Center, over the weekend of April 25-27. I’ll be there for the whole three days (four if you count the Thursday), doing signings and panels and just generally hanging out in the bar, looking pitiful and thirsty. I’ll also be sitting in on the IDW panel, along with the likes of Chris Mowry and Denton Jonathan Tipton, so expect plenty of, um, revelations there. Might even let slip what my as yet-unannounced Transformers project is, after the Revelation quartet of Spotlights. For more information on the event, hotels and other guests, check out the Botcon website here. And for the official IDW panel announcement go here. Then, with hardly a pause for breath, I’m off to Bristol for the UK Comic Expo, which is the weekend of the 10th/11th May. I’ll be there on the Saturday, with a panel entitled ‘Crossing the Ts’, in which I’ll be discussing Transformers, Terminator, Turtles and Torchwood (and other stuff too!). Expect plenty of special guests on the panel too! For more information on Comics Expo go here. More updates on these and other appearances soon!
Also out this week (it’s feast or famine with the folk at Titan) is issue #10 of Transformers (UK), which features the second part of ‘Twilight’s Last Gleaming’ (story by me, art by Jeremy Tiongson). I won’t drone on overlong about our tumultuous reality warping storyline (as I’ve done so at length already, elsewhere on this blog), but suffice it to say that the action this issue out-Bays Michael Bay. The combined military forces of pretty much the rest of the (currently) free world take on Megatron’s Decepticon would-be world-conquerors… and the result isn’t pretty. And it’s not any rosier a picture for the Autobots, who are in process of making one last (almost certainly futile) effort to derail the Decepticons’ plans. Plus, more comic strip, a first look at Transformers Animated and a free missile blaster (admit it, that’s the real clincher!). For a peek at the cover, click on the link below:
The latest issue of Titan’s torrid Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (#12) comic/mag hits UK stores today (March 27th) and features (among the usual fun, features and free gift goodness) part 1 (of 2) of an all-new, all-different comic strip: ‘Rewind’, written by me with art by Diego Jourdan (and Kris Carter on colours). What makes Rewind different? Well, for the first time ever, anywhere, the ‘Fast Forward’ Turtles (of 2105) appear side-by-side with their 2005 counterparts, uniting the then and now. ‘Fast Forward,’ ‘Rewind’… geddit? Anyway, how this all works (and trust me, it took some temporal twisting) centres around a certain Chronox Corporation and the kidnap of Splinter. Suddenly, the Turtles of two eras are investigating the same mystery, but the coming together of the two Turtles teams may just equal catastrophe! For a peek at cover to the issue (so’s ya know what to buy!), click on the thumbnail below:
Falling a bit behind on my Script (W)raps, so here’s a potted digression on/tease for Transformers (UK) #11 & 12, the third and fourth parts respectively of (the 5-part) Twilight’s Last Gleaming. For those who either haven’t yet read issue #9 (shame on you), which is already out, or immersed themselves in previous TLG blog entries (double-shame on you), here’s the basic premise: post-live action movie, but an alternate take on the way things pan out. Instead of happy endings all round, the final victory belongs to the Decepticons. Earth (or a decent chunk of it anyway) is controlled by Megatron and the Decepticons and those Autobots still active are fighting a desperate rearguard action to prevent a planet-wide transformation into new Cybertron! In parts 3 & 4, Starscream does what Starscreams have been doing since time immemorial, making his own power play for control of the new empire. And if that means provoking a reaction from the Autobot reinforcements (including the likes of Arcee, Armorhide and Skyblast) on the moon, so be it. More familiar faces start to emerge as the story cranks up to fever pitch, including Frenzy (Mikaela’s got him), Bonecrusher (Ironhide and Ratchet have got him) and Tom Banacek (who’s kind of once removed from the main action). And Bumblebee? He’s got by the far the worst deal: one on one with Megatron. That’s gonna hurt! And you know what? Anything can happen from this point on! Now firmly in its own distinct movie continuity, things are gonna get a whole lot worse for the Autobots (and Earth) before they get any better. This… is just the beginning! Issues #11 & 12 hit (UK) stores 24th April and 22nd May respectively. For more information and art go visit TF-UK’s MySpace page here.
As a certain Wheelie might say. Almost forgotten, unfairly so, in the general hubbub surrounding the announcement of June’s Spotlight: Cyclonus, the first of the four ‘Revelation’ themed Spotlights, is the similarly June shipping and wholly notable Spotlight: Wheelie. Notable because, apart from the fact that Wheelie is possibly the last Transformers character many (myself included) thought would ever merit a Spotlight, my involvement (as writer) is far more backseat than usual. This is very much a team effort with artist/colourist Klaus Scherwinski, who came up with the original premise for the story, convinced me to get involved (no mean feat) and worked with me closely on developing the idea into a working and well-rounded story. In fact, it’s fair to say that Klaus has been the driving force behind the whole project, and his sheer enthusiasm for the character (not to mention artistic skill) got me trying my absolute best to make it one no one should miss, both in terms of the story itself and it’s place in the wider scheme of things. Really, though, at this stage my job is only half done (so this is kind of half a Script (W)rap). Given how involved he was from the ground up, it seemed a waste of Klaus’s amazing storytelling abilities to do this as a full script, so I reverted to what has become known as Marvel-style plot, wherein you describe whole scenes, broken down in clutches of pages, and then hand it over to the artist. Then, once the art comes along, you add in the dialog. Of course, a lot of that dialog is already there, based on our back-and-to discussions and Klaus’s own breakdown-stage notes. It’s been a fun and refreshing change of pace, and I’m looking forward to stage 2, which is pulling all the dialog together as finished pages roll in. So what can you expect from Spotlight: Wheelie? Well, a really solid, character-led story for a start. For a large part, it’s just Wheelie, doing his level best to survive against all the odds. Then there’s a certain trio of Decepticons making their debut, plus a last-but-one page shocker that’ll just floor you! And ties into stuff that’s in the works for 09 and beyond! Oh, and we even get into why (by the end of the issue at least) Wheelie talks in rhyming couplets. As far as Spotlights go, we really think this one is the full ticket. Who’da thunk it!!
The news is out: the next main arc in the IDW/TF-verse series will indeed (as previously reported) be Revelation, but instead of the usual 6-issue format it’ll play out over four interconnected Spotlights (Cyclonus, Hardhead, Doubledealer and Sideswipe). Expect major plotlines to be resolved as the last of the -ions (for the foreseeable) brings the Dead Universe storyline (that’s been bubbling under ever since Spotlight: Nightbeat) to a suitably shattering conclusion. I’ll be doling out the usual Script (W)raps in due course, so I’ll be drip-feeding my own revelations over the coming weeks/months, but for now let’s just say that the Spotlight format remains intact, with a solid character arc in each of the four issues, plus… fallout from Stormbringer, Spotlight Hot Rod, Spotlight Nightbeat, Spotlight Galvatron, Spotlight Arcee and more. And when I say fallout, I mean it. The lives and destinies of numerous main characters are altered forever as two universes clash explosively. Oh, and don’t think this is the end. There’s another series (no, not The 13 or All Hail Megatron) to come, one set firmly in the ‘-ion’ continuity. More on this soon! 08 is SO going to blow you away!