Bumblebee’s ’60s adventures continues!  Will he make it out alive?  (Yes, we’ve seen the movies.)  Your Major Spoilers review of Transformers: Bumblebee Movie Prequel #4 awaits!

TRANSFORMERS: BUMBLEBEE MOVIE PREQUEL #4

Writer: John Barber
Artist: Andrew Griffith
Colorist: Priscilla Tramontano
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte
Publisher: IDW Publishing 
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 3, 2018

Previously in Transformers: Bumblebee: In 1960s England, Bumblebee and his super-spy allies infiltrate the Decepticons’ clandestine island headquarters.  Is it a trap?  Of course it’s a trap.  But in the high-stakes game of counterintelligence, who’s trapping who?

COLD WAR TRANSFORMERS

This issue picks up right in the middle of a firefight, as a group of Decepticons who have been framing foreign powers in the hopes of setting off a nuclear war.  Bumblebee and a couple of human secret agents have been working to save the world, but ‘Bee has a pretty complicated situation, as his crush Diabla (a Decepticon femme fatale) is on the other side.  Sort of.  She’s also a double agent for a competing agency, and then things get complicated.  Bumblebee has a couple of new alt-modes, one of which is a James Bond-style underwater mode, there’s a Mrs. Peel leather catsuit lady, and a nuclear missile comes into play, but maaaan, there’s a lot going on here.  The world is saved, barely, but Bumblebee loses the lady and gains a lifelong hatred of Blitzwing, trailing him throughout the years as time slowly catches up with the present.  The final page is ridiculously confusing to me, but seems to imply that revenge is a dish best served cold.

THIS ART IS ALL OVER THE PLACE

The real issue for me in this comic is the sheer number of characters in play, leading to a long sequence at the beginning of the book wherein characters address one another, ’80s Marvel-style, to clarify who is who.  Adding to my discontent is the art, which does quiet well with the giant robots and their chunky technological bits, but is much less consistent in the matter of humans.  The faces of Agents Reeve and Lux are unnerving to look at, looking swollen and inconsistent from panel to panel, which is more and more bothersome as the comic goes on.  Adding in the cavalcade of characters, and it makes for an issue that I found very hard to follow, even when the action sequences between robots were interesting.  There’s also a plot point where the humans are floating around a tire with a very heavy-looking mag wheel that clearly wouldn’t actually be able to float, making for a difficult suspension of belief.

BOTTOM LINE: A LITTLE CONFUSING

In short, while I don’t know much about the upcoming Bumblebee solo movie other than John Cena is in it, this issue isn’t really successful for me.  The idea of transforming robots working alongside undercover agents is a good one, and bits and pieces of this issue had moments that were clever, but a weak art job combined with a really confusing plot leaving Transformers: Bumblebee Movie Prequel #4 with a disappointing 2 out of 5 stars overall.  I appreciate a focus on making the Transformers look good, but we also need to be able to render the humans and their world, especially if they’re going to be such a large part of the story.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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