It’s the turn of Maximum Dinobots #1 for the post-script analysis. As usual, expect teases rather than spoilers, but be warned: if you’d rather be flat out surprised when October rolls around, read no more. What’ll come as no great surprise to pretty much anyone who’s been following the IDW/TF-verse is that Maximum Dinobots #1 picks up pretty much where Spotlight Grimlock left off. You don’t have to have read Spotlight Grimlock, as there’s a handy recap of all Grimlock/Dinobot related events leading up to this point in the story, but it wouldn’t hurt to seek it out (or at least pick up vol 3 of the Spotlight TPBs when it comes out). Many elements come together for Maximum Dinobots, including Scorponok, the Machination, Headmasters, the Sunstreaker/Hunter combo, Hot Rod, Skywatch and, of course, the Dynobots/Dinobots themselves. Oh, and there are a few other characters/elements from previous stories also in the mix, but I’m not saying right now. And, as if that wasn’t enough, three more characters make their IDW debut (though not in #1). Anyhow, last we saw Grimlock he was stranded under a glacier in New Zealand. Events (and characters) conspire to bring him back right into the thick of things, as part of a Machination plot to… well, you’ll see. But suffice it to say for those of you craving Dinobot on Dinobot action (how wrong does that sound?!) you won’t be disappointed. Massive destruction and carnage on an unprecedented scale is the order of the day. This first issue takes its perspective, much as the second half of Spotlight Grimlock did, from Grimlock himself, and I aim to give each Dinobot their quote-unquote “spotlight” during the course of the series. Despite the number of plot lines coming to a head (and a conclusion) in this and subsequent issues, issue #1 is actually a great jumping on point, especially if you can’t get enough Dino! The five-part story is very much self-contained in and of itself. Art is by Nick Roche, which is great for several reasons. First, because I love Nick’s oh-so-expressive art. Second, because he drew the Dynobots’ original appearance in Spotlight Shockwave. And three, because I knew going in to the script he was going to be drawing it, so could tailor it to his many strengths. Maximum Dinobots kicks off in October. For more details on all IDW’s Transformers titles, check out their website here.
Also out this week, rounding off a glut of new TF releases I had a hand in (to some extent or other), is issue #13 of Titan’s Transformers (UK) magazine. Contained therein, is the final, tumultuous part of ‘Twilight’s Last Gleaming,’ our alternate take on what happened after the movie credits rolled. So big it needed an extra story page to tell (the originated page count per issue stays at 11 from now onwards), TWG5 sees not one but two epic showdowns: Prime versus Megatron (the rematch!) and Ratchet/Ironhide versus a whole platoon of Decepticon drones (under the command of Bonecrusher). The odds are heavily stacked against the Autobots in both head-to-heads. Unless, that is, Mikeala can come up trumps. What exactly was that she found deep within the old Sector 7 base? All is revealed. ‘Twilight’s Last Gleaming pt5’ is written by me with art by Marcelo Matere. And… there’s a whole lot more in TF-UK #13. For a start it’s bumper-sized, sports an all-new art cover by Gary Erskine, comes with a designated Transformers Animated pull-out section (with its own BIG news) and has a FREE disc launcher to boot! Not to be missed! TF-UK is out (in the UK only) on Thursday June 19th!
Well, they said it couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be done (and it was mostly me said it), but this week sees the release of Spotlight Wheelie (the second of two Spotlights this week!). It’s no secret that I have little regard for the old (or maybe young) Wheelster, so it’s due credit to artist Klaus Scherwinski for managing to get me motivated enough to join his little venture. Make no mistake, this is Klaus’s book. He came up with the original story concept idea and asked me if I’d pitch in on the writing front. We kneaded and refined the story together, then I wrote what amounted to an old ‘Marvel-style plot’ (in which the action was loosely broken down in clumps of pages) and away Klaus went, breaking down the story, pencilling, inking and colouring the entire book and co-collaborating on the dialog we then layered in to the art. And the end result? Very pleased. We did the IDW thing with Wheelie and while not discarding what had come before entirely re-created him for this new continuity, in the process turning him (we hope) into less of a two-dimensional (and annoying, let’s face it) character. Of all the Spotlights I’ve been involved in, this is perhaps the most focused, the most character-led, and yet still there’s a penultimate page payoff that makes it a part of something MUCH bigger. We even get around to explaining why (by the end of the issue) he talks in rhyme! I’m looking forward (with some trepidation, I’ll admit) to hearing what people think of Spotlight Wheelie. It’s out Wednesday 18th (US) or Thursday 19th (UK). For more information on all IDW’s TF releases check out their website here. Oh, and Klaus’s cover art can be seen by clicking on the thumbnail below.
I’m off to Bromsgrove this Wednesday (18th), where I’ll be giving a talk on all things comics (and Transformers in particular) at the ‘Dads and Lads’ evening event at the library (Stratford Road, Bromsgrove, B60 1AP), as part of their reading initiative. Not sure how ‘open’ the event is to the public at large, but if you’re in the area and want more details, best bet is to phone Bromsgrove library direct (on 01905 765025). The talk kicks off at 6.30PM and includes the visual presentation (story to finished art) that I put together with Nick Roche for W5 event in Belfast (last year). I’ll also have script/comic packs for sale after the talk.
Out this week, part of a veritable torrent of new releases (talk about feast or famine!), is Transformers Spotlight: Cyclonus, part 1 of the 4-part Revelations arc. Those of you who’ve been following the brooding, bubbling under subplot concerning Nova/Nemesis Prime and the Dead Universe are about to be hit by the raging hurricane that is Revelation. But, as well as being part 1 of 4, it’s also a Spotlight, and the character focus falls, first and foremost, on Cyclonus. But who is IDW/TF-verse Cyclonus? Given the recent IDW reinvention of Galvatron (in Spotlight Galvatron) it can’t be the animated movie version (as there’s no Unicron). This Cyclonus is, nevertheless, associated to Galvatron, inasmuch as both are/were part of the crew of the (long missing) first Ark. But who is Cyclonus and why’s he back on Cybertron (now a ruined, largely uninhabited husk)? And why exactly is he taking out his considerable frustrations on Hound’s unit (comprising Sideswipe, himself the subject of a latter Spotlight in this quartet, Warpath, Road Rocket and Skram)? And how does Ultra Magnus get drawn into the action? And what’s that stirring inside a cave on Corata-Vaz? Something BIG, something terribly familiar (especially if you’ve been following the various IDW/TF arcs of late). The Expansion (whatever THAT is) is upon us, and the storm is well and truly raging! Spotlight Cyclonus hits this Wednesday (18th) in the US and Thursday (19th) in the UK. It’s written by me with art by EJ Su. Click on the thumbnail below for a look-see at EJ’s cover, part of one huge scene specially created for this landmark four-part arc. For information on all IDW’s new releases, check out their website here.
Just back from Derry’s 2D comics festival, which I also attended last year, and once again (I’m pleased to say) I have nothing but good things to report. 2D master of ceremonies David Campbell laid on a feast of activities, workshops, panels and an all-day signing/sketching session that ran throughout the Saturday. Not only does David really know how to put together an event that has something for all ages, he really knows how to look after his guests: myself and the likes of Garry Leach, Will Simpson (Transformers UK back in the day!), Rufus Dayglo, Charlie Adlard, Nick Roche (Maximum Dinobots) and Jock were treated to true VIP status (not to mention the ever-wonderful and gratefully received beer tokens!) throughout the weekend and sent back home happy and contented (if a little worse for wear). A more convivial atmosphere for a convention I can’t imagine. On my side of things, I got to do a portfolio review session (with Garry) that I can only describe as ‘interesting,’ and I compeered one of the Saturday evening panels at Sandino’s bar, a rambling discourse on, well, just about everything, made notable by Charlie Adlard who’d lost his voice, but still somehow made it through the panel, in the process destroying whatever was left of his vocal chords. Thanks to David and the whole 2D crew. If they’ll have me back, I’ll be there next year… for sure!
Forgot to mention, during my script (w)rap for TF-UK #14-15, that the first part of Aftermath will be drawn by fan-favourite artist Gary Erskine (whose long list of credits includes Knights of Pendragon, Lords of Misrule, Terminator and Virgin Comics’ recent revamp of Dan Dare), who’s previously been supplying many of the art covers for TF-UK. Anyway, by way of amends, here (exclusively — thanks to Gary and TF-UK editor Steve White) are two scintillating pages from Aftermath pt1. All I can say is, “wow.”