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Transformers Spotlight: Cliffjumper

Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2009
By: Jason Cohen

Shane McCarthy & Denton J. Tipton
Bobby Musso, Joana Lafuente (c)
IDW Publishing
Plot: Cliffhanger is stuck on an alien planet and is hiding from Decepticon pursuers.

Comments: Cliffjumper is portrayed as a lighthearted, yet competent, Autobot warrior. He is portrayed to have a good heart before anything else as you only see his deadly abilities after he is portrayed as a peaceful journeyman. The realization that he has a darker side becomes somewhat of the focus of this book as Cliffjumper takes the time to become acquainted with locals before the Decepticons swoop in and reveal his true nature.

I wish there was more room here to further delve into the purpose here, so the lesson could become clearer and it has the ability to resonate with the reader. This brief story gives the reader just enough, yet ends before providing anything the reader can really take away from the book. The heartbreaking ending seems to lack a concrete lesson. Was it the price of war? Every good guy has a bad side? Without a more developed story, this lesson or purpose does not seem to lead to a proper conclusion.

I also wish that some of the Decepticons were named as to help make this story feel like part of the Transformers universe, instead of a solitary story that connects to no higher continuity. The action is great but the killing of these red shirts makes everyone seem expendable and inconsequential. This is another aspect that may have increased the value of this book.

Normally I do not like art that resembles the anime style, however in this book that type of style seems most appropriate for a giant robot and a strange alien world. The colors a bright and bold, but not over exaggerated. Each Cybertronian is crafted in distinct and identifiable detail that makes each character a true individual. The art brings these robots to life, with glowing eyes and well-devised physical actions, making the action that much more action packed.

Despite some shortcomings, Transformers Spotlight: Cliffjumper is a self-contained excerpt from the war between Autobots and Decepticons. The action is great and brutal and the Cliffjumper is portrayed in a believable and appropriate manner in both his words and his actions. While this story may not seem worth the money for $3.99, I hope to see more of these stories and maybe even a trade collecting these tales. This is a perfect title for any hardcore Transformers fan, but casual readers may not see the worth and may want to invest their money in other Transformers titles.



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