Thursday, October 31, 2013

10 Transformers That Need More Exposure Part I

We truly live in a Golden Age of Transformers comics.  With Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, and Transformers: Regeneration One, more and more Transformers are seeing exposure beyond the supposed core cast.  Characters such as Hot Rod, Ultra Magnus, Skids, Swerve, Tailgate, Metalhawk and even Chromedome have been given great focus and characterization.  These are truly great times for the Transformer comic enthusiast.  Even with the ever-expanding cast, there are still those characters that I feel could use more exposure.  Here then, for your reading enjoyment, are the first five characters on my list, in no particular order.

Smokescreen

www.botchthecrab.com

Know who loves Smokescreen?  Hasbro and Takara.  Just looking at his TFWiki profile, he's had two reissues of his original figure, essentially 4 Binaltech figures,Classics and Henkei figures and he's now a hotly anticipated Masterpiece figure.  That's a lot of love.

Do you know who doesn't seem to like Smokescreen?  Writers.  Sure, he's been in every iteration of a comic published by whatever company is holding the license at the time, but it's always been as a background guy.  Fighting Thunderwing?  Better throw Smokescreen in there.  Everyone knows him, but no one's done anything to really to give any kind of personality.  Except for the TV show.


Yes, Smokescreen had an entire episode dedicated to him and it really colored my opinion on him.  Thanks to this episode, I think that this how Smokescreen should be portrayed - as an inveterate gambler.

Don't start thinking that I want an entire three issue story arc dedicated to Smokescreen in some, ahem, smoke filled room playing poker or attending robot bird fights.  Instead, I've always thought of Smokescreen as a risk taker on the outside, but on the inside he's someone that's rigged the risks in his favor so he's not really taking that big a risk.  Think Longshot from The X-Men combined with Hot Rod and Prowl.  Then again, I would like to see a scene where Bumblebee and Cosmos have to drag Smokescreen out of a casino so he can help in a battle.  I dig it, how about you?


Bluestreak
www.botchthecrab.com

How about that - another Datsun!  And my favorite character to boot!  Bluestreak is the bee's knees.  And like any great Marvel superhero, he has a tragic back story.

Here's Bluestreak's TFWiki profile:

Bluestreak is a talker. He talks a lot. Any subject, any time of the day, his lips are flapping while his Autobot comrades are rolling their eyes. Could be about things on Earth, could be about things on Cybertron, could be about just about anything, but the point is, y'know, he's talking. Words are coming out of his mouth in a near constant prattling stream. Some think he's vapid, that his mouth just moves a billion times faster than his brain, if his brain is moving at all. Or they imagine that he's a fool who doesn't know when to shut up, that he drones on and on and on and on because maybe he just likes to hear himself speak or something.
His friends realize, however, that his jabbering hides a deeper pain. At the beginning of the war, Bluestreak's home city was totally destroyed by Decepticons. He was the only survivor. It's as if by talking he tries to drown out his own fears and memories somehow. "There's some demons runnin' loose inside that boy," says Hound, "and sometimes I think they grab hold of him and won't let him go." He hated war, he still does, but ever since, he's hated Decepticons even more. It is odd to see a bot of peace so willingly take up arms, but Bluestreak's got a score to settle.
Talk may be cheap, but it keeps him sane. 

So Bluestreak has some sort of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?  Survivor's Guilt?  Is he Spider-Man?  That...that could work.  

Why not? www.tfwiki.com
I honestly think that Bluestreak was meant for bigger and better things in the the IDW universe.  He commanded his own squadron in Stormbringer.  He did have some speaking lines during Costa's Ongoing run, but nothing really materialized.  From my understanding, James Roberts wanted to include Bluestreak as part of the Lost Light crew, but John Barber wanted to use him RiD.  This turned out to be a bad move as Bluestreak has been relegated to the background.  Ugh.  Maybe Hot Rod can take Bluestreak with him once Dark Cybertron ends.  Hopefully.

Battletrap
www.botchthecrab.com

Ah, Battletrap, the perennial background character.  He's used whenever a writer or artist wants to prove that they're about more than the 1984-86 guys.  Maybe he's mentioned as a weird science project; an early precursor to the triple changing process.  But there's more...much more there, I believe.

Duocons are a nifty concept, if you ask me.  They're small scale gestalts.  And with Flywheels meeting an unfortunate end at the hands of the Decepticon Justice Division, Battletrap is the only one left.  With his huge feet.  Where was I?  Yes, interesting concept.  The amazing thing to me is that with the Duocons, both vehicles appear to be sentient beings in their own right as demonstrated by the two halves of Flywheels arguing all of the time.  But whereas Flywheels two halves fought, Battletrap's have achieved a sense of camaraderie.  If you call squishing foes together with your two halves camaraderie.
www.seibertron.com

I had intended for this to be about Flywheels, as I prefer him over Battletrap, but as I stated above, he's dead.  Anyway, I think that just exploring the dynamic behind the Duocons would be fascinating.  How did the Duocons come to be?  Were they an experiment or were they constructed that way?  Are they gestalts?  Are the two halves truly sentient?  These are questions just screaming to be answered.

Roadblock
www.botchthecrab.com
First off, I think that Pretenders as a whole are under represented.  From the great origin presented in Stormbringer to the first successful use of the process in Revelation, the presentation in the IDW-verse has been top notch.  But Roadblock hasn't been represented in the comics other than as a cameo.  It's time someone changed that.

The biggest sticking point in the comics, whether it's been Marvel or IDW, has been the lack of Decepticons.  While I like Jhiaxus, Straxus and their ilk, I don't really understand their inclusion.  There are tons of characters with great bios that have been produced in plastic form, but haven't been given their due.  Why?

Roadblock is a ground forces commander that uses fear to motivate his troops.  Then again, I can imagine that most Decepticon commanders are the same way.  His uncompromising disposition has caused those under his command to get promoted just to get away from him!  I'll admit that there isn't much to work with here, but there's enough.  It's not like there was a ton of characterization with Skids before he blew up in popularity.  He may not be a featured character, but maybe used in an issue to explain how a character got to his position as a flashback.  It's worth a shot.

Jetfire
Why is he on this list?  He's been featured plenty in the comics!  Well, he was under Simon Furman, but then he just kind of disappeared.  Not that it's a bad thing, as it made room for other characters to shine.  Still, I think there's room for him as more than a background guy now.

Jetfire is a scientist, even if his tech spec bio gives him the function of "Air Guardian".  Let's see, during the "-tion" comics, Jetfire was responsible for finding a way to beat Thunderwing when he first went insane, defeated Jhiaxus, and perfected Pretender technology.  Then he was used as an air guardian and then Apeface shot him.  

So I guess that there's only room in the group for one main scientist.  Once the Autobots returned to Cybertron, Wheeljack became the science guy whilst Perceptor became the science guy in space with Hot Rod.  Can't there be more than one science guy?  Besides, what exactly has Wheeljack done during this time?  He launched a rocket into Cybertron's orbit to help stabilize Energon flow, and got shot by a brainwashed Prowl and killed.  Maybe killed.  Surely Jetfire could have done that and a better job to boot.  I seriously doubt Jetfire would've been killed.  Then again, Jetfire did get punked by Apeface, so what I do know?

Well, that's it for Part I.  Are there any characters that you feel have been under served?  Sound off in the comments!

7 comments:

  1. Bluestreak was definitely underserved. De-fi-nite-ly!
    I'm still sore about how Barber abused Bluestreak in RiD.

    I think Reflector is pretty underserved too.

    Oh, and Prowl is over-served. Just wanted to throw that in.

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    1. I still have part II to do, but Reflector is on that list. And I'm already working on a list of overused characters/concepts.

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    2. excellent new. Can't wait to read!

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    3. oh, and don't forget Snapdragon and Pointblank!

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  2. Glad to see someone else that appreciates Smokescreen. I've always loved his character and hated that he was under used for the most part.

    As for your inclusion of the Duocons, do I even have to mention the name Flywheels?! I'm not up to date on my IDW reading, but someone else hard already let the cat out of the bag regarding Flywheels no longer functioning. Bummer.

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    1. Imagine the grin on my face when a Duocon - Flywheels no less! - got some screen time and lines! Then imagine the disappointment when Flywheels met his untimely end. Bummer indeed.

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    2. "my, you have big legs" *chomp chomp crunch crunch*

      At least, Flywheels, in his somewhat fleeting MTMTE appearance was better scripted than Bluestreak in RiD....

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