Comic Book Review: "Transformers: Nefarious" #3
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Published: May 2010
Written by: Simon Furman
Art by: Carlos Magno
Colors by: Kris Carter
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Assistant Editor: Carlos Guzman
Editor by: Andy Schmidt
In the Utah desert, Bumblebee is on a mission. Along with a contingent of N.E.S.T. soldiers, Jolt, Dune Runner and Knock Out he has been charged with leading a team to return the captured Soundwave to base. They load him onto a cargo plane and take off. Though restrained and surrounded by Autobots, Soundwave is smug and promises the Autobots that they only have twenty two minutes to live!
Optimus Prime is overseeing the preparations for Soundwave's captivity. Ironhide helps get the equipment ready but wonders why he isn't out there supervising the transfer. Prime explains that he needs his expertise there in the base. Just then, Lennox arrives to talk to Optimus Prime about taking Soundwave captive and making these preparations without authorization!
Soundwave is still counting down when suddenly the plane is attacked by Buzzsaw! He destroys the engines and the plane goes down, torn to pieces as it crashes.
Nellus Air Force Base, Nevada
Galloway runs to a helicopter, despite orders not to investigate the old Hoover Dam Sector 7 base, he insists on going there and the soldiers agree. At the Hoover Dam, something is being thawed out in a chamber. Newell is warned however that the artificial Allspark they have constructed needs new energy soon or it may fail.
The crew has survived the crash but now they have to get Soundwave to base. They hitch him up to Bumblebee and a convoy strikes out across the desert. Soundwave unfortunately has other ideas! Dirt Boss, Ratbat, Rumble, Beastbox and Buzzsaw await the Autobots, ready for a fight!
Lennox chastises Prime, explaining that this mission to transport Soundwave is so out of normal procedure that he can't even call in back up without causing suspicion. He acknowledges Prime had made the right decision, but it is still one that may cost lives.
The Autobots engage Soundwave's forces, but are quickly overwhelmed. Bumblebee's less seasoned teammates are no match for the hardcore Decepticon warriors and the tide quickly turns against the Autobots. When Ravage arrives, Soundwave tells him to set him free, but the Decepticon suddenly runs away, controlled by the Initiative! Bumblebee realizes he must make on last gamble to save the lives of his teammates. He releases Soundwave, and the Decepticons all leave with him. While a difficult decision, it is not one he regrets.
Skies over Nevada
Galloway and his escort helicopter are heading towards the Hoover Dam when suddenly their escort is attacked! Just as quickly, their own helicopter is damaged and when their attacker reveals itself, it's Ransack in his biplane vehicle mode!
So far the story of "Nefarious" has been very Decepticon-centric, with Soundwave taking center stage in most of the story. While Soundwave does figure heavily here, and his machinations do move the plot along, it was cool to see Bumblebee get the focus of attention for the issue. Unlike his scrappy little G1 counterpart, the movie universe Bumnblebee is more of a brawler and clearly more powerful than most other incarnations we have seen of the character. We also know he is loyal and brave, but until this issue we have not seen much of his leadership potential. This issue puts Bumblebee in the line of fire in more ways than one and he delivers admirably. I honestly thought at the very end he was going to just blow Soundwave's head open or something, but his solution
makes perfect sense since it gives the Autobots a chance to perhaps capture him down the road while also saving his troops.
While Bumblebee's little team doesn't get a lot of "screen time" for us to learn their personalities, I did find it interesting that these guys were not grizzled veterans of the Great Wars already. With Cybertron for the most part a dead world in this universe, you'd think by now any Transformers remaining would have had plenty of combat experience, but the way these guys get pounced on is interesting. I wonder if these guys were neutrals or just saw very little combat before abandoning Cybertron. Either way, it was a refreshing take on a group of Autobots since we're so used to seeing combat veterans in the movie universe.
While I enjoyed the issue a lot overall, the moment that had me literally laugh out loud was the introduction of the Decepticon Ransack. When the helicopters at the end were being blasted, I kept expecting it to be Thrust or some other jet-based Decepticon. Instead Ransack comes roaring in with his unconventional biplane mode and while it looks funny on one level, on another it is amazing how threatening it can be when you realize this "old" plane took down two modern military vehicles. A very cool way to whet the appetite for the next issue!
Rather than go on and on about what I enjoyed about the art overall (which I've done in the past couple reviews) I'll focus more on bits of the artwork that I liked best from here going forward.
First, I've got to say that I really love the whole Soundwave crew. I know I said it when they were introduced in issue #1, but getting to see them again is totally fun. It amuses me that Soundwave already has a rather unconventional set of modes and then his own little army also has fairly non standard forms as well. Beastbox and Rumble are the most impressive to me, especially with the close up we get on Beastbox in this issue! I also love the way their colors harken back to their G1 counterparts, with purple on Beastbox and Rumble's blue color alluding to the blue G1 version of the character as seen in the cartoon.
On the flip side, I enjoy the way Carlos Magno has interpreted the look of the Autobots who did not appear in the film. While Dune Runner is a fairly straight forward interpretation of his action figure, Knock Out is one with tons more detail and a bit of the exaggerated insectoid details used for Reverb in the previous issue. His extra long limbs and the intricate details under his armor really reflect the movie style, which is interesting since the action figure is very much in the traditional
"Nefarious #3" is a very fast read since the action cuts from place to place at near blinding speeds. I enjoyed it a lot and the art quality has continued to deliver. Bumblebee's bit of growth in this story makes it most worthwhile just as the action keeps you engaged.