IDW Publishing: "Windblade" Issue #2 Comic Book Review
Title: "A 'Bot and Her City"
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publishing Date: May 14, 2014
Writer: Mairghread Scott
Art: Sarah Stone
Letters: Chris Mowry
Editorial Assistance: Rebecca Huard
Editor: John Barber
The explosion in the Acrolight District has caught the attention of Circuit and Longtooth. As the duo tries to get quotes from those at Blurr's bar, they find a mostly uncooperative group except for Tankor (formerly Octane) and Tankor who are happy to give their opinions. Ultimately, Blurr tells the pair to buy a drink or leave.
Elsewhere, Starscream is visiting with the injured (now recovering) Windblade. Under the cover of concern, he actually threatens her and she tells him to leave. After, Windblade tells Chromia that she saw a key piece of evidence before the explosion: a wire that served as an igniter capsule! Suddenly, the two realize they are being filmed by Circuit and Longtooth! Chromia quickly closes the door and tells Windblade she has to be absolutely sure before she accuses the ruler of Cybertron of causing the explosion. Starscream and Rattrap watch as the pair leaves, and Rattrap tells Starscream he has a plan to deal with them!
Later, Windblade and Chromia meet with Ironhide to discuss their theory. He goes with them into Windblade's chamber inside Metroplex where she communicates with the Titan. She tries to talk to him and figure out what is wrong, but she can't. He simply has too many problems going on for her to nail it down to one. Fortunately, Chromia has been at work and discovers an odd statement by Waspinator from the news. He says he stayed away from the area because it was dangerous - except no one ever told him that! Curious, the group heads over to Maccadam's Bar to find him.
At the bar, they find Waspinator, and after a brief chase, Windblade talks him into helping her find out what he was told to stay away from. Deep inside Metroplex, they find what Waspinator describes as a mine. There, Energon flows but several systems are damaged. She thinks it through and figures it out: Starscream is mining the mysterious ores that Shockwave had used on Metroplex! She and Waspinator leave, but mysterious figures remain behind, lurking in the darkness.
Back at Maccadam's, Windblade has called Circuit and Longtooth to record her story as she accuses Starscream of being behind the explosion! She offers to take them to the proof underground. When they arrive however, the mysterious figures reveal themselves as beasts who are prepared to tear them apart! Windblade does not shy away from the fight however. She reveals her sword weapon and prepares to battle her new found foes.
Given the title of this series, writer Mairghread Scott has a delicate balance to play with. The title needs to focus on Windblade herself, but at the same time you need a compelling story that fits into the larger narrative of Cybertron and the "Transformers" universe. In that respect, Scott does an amazing job balancing the two. The story of the Acrolight District explosion is compelling on its own but throw in the ailing Metroplex and you have a very engaging story that makes for quite the page turner. However, the story would not move forward without Windblade's dedication, compassion and strength and that is a really nice combination to explore.
You'll notice above I didn't mention Windblade's cool weaponry or her special ability to freeze time or something like that. No, her greatest strength is from within and one of her best assets is the fact that she has not been engaged in war for millions of years. Sure this creates a certain level of naivety but it also gives her a fresh perspective on everything around her that helps develop the character. As she learns and adapts, she grows stronger while not forgetting who she is. My favorite scene (out of many) in this issue is her talking to Waspinator. Fans are so used to seeing the Predacon (I'll call him that for the sake of simplicity) being the universe's chew toy that to see someone show him some compassion (albeit in a tactical manner) was really interesting and to me, embodies a lot of the sensibility of this title and its main character.
I also appreciated the way the story is widening in scope. At first it seemed Starcream set the explosion just to hurt people or perhaps as an opportunity to look like a take-charge leader. Now however we see a more nefarious purpose, and I forsee some interesting revelations behind the ore he has already mined! I'm also curious about the Predacons/Terrorcons who we see at the end. They're never called by name here so I'm not sure if they (like Rattrap and Waspinator) are "transplants" from stories set in other universes who just happen to exist here as well. I'm also kind of excited at the possibility of them merging into Abominus as Combiners are still a relatively uncommon thing in the IDW universe.
Sarah Stone's artwork continues to impress. Not only does she frame panels really nicely, but she has a flair for drawing characters in a fashion that makes them look like still from a cartoon. At the same time however, they don't look silly or too exaggerated. When you see Waspinator sulking, his body language, down to his antennae tell the story just as much as his words. I also like Stone's use of angles and curves as she draws parts on Transformers that flare outward. This is evident on larger details like the wings on Windblade's back, but also on the armor panels on the Predacon/Terrorcon beasts at the end of the issue.
"Windblade" Issue #2 continues to impress, and it deepens the story in a way that makes me want the next issue right after I'm done reading it. Definitely pick this book up!