Transformers Spotlight: Grimlock

Released: April 2008
Publisher: IDW
Number of covers: One regular, one incentive
Cover price: $3.99
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Marcello Matere
Rating:

Characters: (Autobots) Grimlock, Sludge, Snarl, Swoop, Slag, Optimus Prime (Decepticons) Shockwave, Scorponok, Starscream, Megatron (in gun mode), Sixshot (Humans/others) Abraham Dante, Agent Red, scientist Weston, Kloss


Synopsis:


Defiant to the end: Grimlock rejects Scorponok's offer of an alliance - with typically explosive results!

An inconspicuous looking warehouse in Carson City, Nevada, is a front for something entirely out of the ordinary. Inside, the secretive Government agency charged with combating extra-terrestrial threats - Skywatch, prepares to activate a dormant Transformer code named Thunder Lizard 1, or better known to you and I as Grimlock.

The Dinobot (sorry Dynobot) leader is still stuck in the same pose as when he battled Shockwave forty thousand years ago - a battle which the Dynobots would have lost, but for Grimlock commanding their ship, the Skyfire, to blast all the combatants from orbit. They had been engulfed by fire, rendered inoperative, and disappeared under the Earth's crust until they were unearthed in recent times by human archaeologists.

But now, at Joshua Red's command, electricity courses through Grimlock's circuits triggering memories from long ago, of Optimus Prime and that last, fateful battle against Shockwave. Skywatch is hoping to remote control Grimlock's body and use it to counter attack the Decepticon invaders, who have now declared their presence on Earth. Instead Grimlock awakens and busts out of their facility. Red has no choice but to order the plant shut down, and to fix the problem so they can try again with Thunder Lizards 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Meanwhile the cause of Grimlock's reawakening is revealed to be a virus planted in Skywatch systems by an agent Machination agent called Kloss. He calls Abraham Dante who, moments later, combines with Scorponok and teleports to Grimlock's position.

The Decepticon Headmaster and renegade tells Grimlock he is isolated and alone, and wanted as a criminal by Ultra Magnus. There is no way back, but he offers and alliance - a chance to share the Earth in return for moving against the Decepticons and buying Scorponok breathing space to bring his Machination plans to fruition. However Grimlock has a better idea: he'll turn Scorponok in and win redemption.

A fierce battle ensues, but Scorponok has grown more powerful since upgrading as a Headmaster and soon has the upper hand. Grimlock has no choice but retreat, or as he puts it, remove himself from the battlefield, by teleporting back to the Skyfire. No longer in orbit, the ship has long since fallen to Earth and is now buried under ice.

Grimlock vows to find his fellow Dynobots and make good his debt to them. While Skywatch prepares to send those very same Dynobots against him, and Scorponok stands ready to seize control of Grimlock's friends for his own ends. Will he perish at the tooth and claw of his fellow Dynobots?

******

Review:

By Omega Steve

Given Simon Furman's well-known fondness for Grimlock and the character's popularity, it was inevitable that he would get the Spotlight treatment at some point. Yet when it came the cheers from the fan forums were hardly overwhelming. The criticism, not entirely unjustified, was that this comic is more a scene-setter for the upcoming Maximum Dinobots series than an exploration of Grimlock.

But reading the book again some 18 months after publication, and looking at it as a piece in the wider story there is a lot to like here. The writer clearly knows this character very well and is able to convey the workings of his mind.

Grimlock maybe a maverick Autobot, but he still has a conscience and is able to feel guilt at having doomed his fellow Dinobots. This is what sets him apart from Scorponok when the renegade Decepticon attempts to convince him that they are the same. Grimlock prefers to go against the grain and has an instinctive disdain for authority. But I rather liked the justification he offers after after disobeying Optimus Prime; that Prime may say something officially, but privately he needs warriors who are prepared to break the rules, push the limits, and do the things nobody else will do. Grimlock get ths results and that is all that counts.

He comes over as stubborn and petty, and boy can he hold a grudge. This, to be honest is nothing new, as we saw it at play in Spotlight Shockwave. But with Scorponok, Grimlock is able to bring up an insignificant incident from long long ago to start a conflict.

For all of his bluster and stubborn selfishness, he is acutely aware of the guilt he feels at the demise of his fellow Dinobots, whose only mistake was to blindly follow their leader into a trap - and one that would render them inoperative for forty millenniums and deliver them into Skywatch hands. It is probably this desire to make amends as much as anything else, which leads Grimlock to reject Scorponok's offer of an alliance. That and the fact that conquest and power are not motivating forces for Grimlock.

His escape through a populated area is fantastically well done; particularly for me, the panel capturing the shock of school pupils as this huge robotic dinosaur whizzes past outside. The reader gets a real sense of Grimlock's confusion at the world he has woken up in, and his desperate need for answers, such as how long he has been inoperative and what has become of his comrades.

As we've seen on previous occasions, Transformers have the technology far advanced to anything on Earth, which stands to reason when you consider how long they have been in existence. Scorponok utilises tech to teleport to Grimlock's location, and he in turn uses a recall trigger to escape back to his ship, Skyfire, which is miraculously still in existence, albeit now buried in ice. This is deliberately ironic as Skyfire was Jetfire in the Transformers cartoon and he too became trapped in ice for thousands of years.

Finally a word about Agent Red from Skywatch. How dumb can this guy be. Having lost Laserbeak and Ravage he tries his luck with Grimlock, ordering his reactivation without knowing for sure that the techies can they can control him. Sure enough it goes spectacularly wrong so what does he do? Orders a clear up and to ready the other four Dinobots for battle! There appears to be a pattern of incompetence forming here and you have to wonder how long Joshua Red will be in a job. Where is Spike Witwicky when you need him?

Overall an action-packed issue, probably more a prequel than a spotlight, but a fun read all the same.

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