Transformers Spotlight: Ultra Magnus
IDW Publishing (January, 2007)
WRITER: Simon Furman
ARTIST: Robby Musso
COLORIST: Kieran Oats
LETTERER: Neil Uyetake
EDITORS: Chris Ryall & Dan Taylor
In this continuity Ultra Magnus is an enforcer of something called the Tyrest Accord, and arrests Swindle for the Decepticons despite being an Autobot. However, Swindle bargains for information to a Decepticon criminal Ultra Magnus really wants to get his grappling units on, Scorponok! Ultra Magnus journeys to Nebulos to capture Scorponok, who is using the Zarak Consortium’s chairman, Mo Zarak, to merge alien and Cybertronian technology as well as the organics themselves. (Although once he’s done Scorponok will take the tech and destroy the planet, which is why Ultra Magnus wants him so badly.) Ultra Magnus attempts to apprehend the criminal but he manages to escape, with the planet unscathed. Later he arrests Swindle again, who looks to bargain again.
The art is pretty good, and I like the concept but there are a number of conceptual issues. For one it looks like Furman is giving nods to the origin of the Headmaster technology, even though he’s going to be messing that up in the next miniseries. Why does Zarak suddenly have a first name? He and the other Nebulan characters in the franchise never had one before. There’s also the big problem with this story, and many of the Spotlight comics have this problem: when does it happen in the timeline? The last time we saw Nebulos it was just before a Decepticon infiltration unit saw Thunderwing coming to nuke the place. If this doesn’t take place before Stormbringer it doesn’t make sense. And what of the Decepticon infiltration unit? Were they unaware Scorponok was involved?
There’s also the question of the Tyrest Accord. What is it? Apparently it has something to do with the limiting of sharing of Cybertronian tech to offworlders but I had to look up more. Why is Ultra Magnus arresting a Decepticon to turn over to other Decepticons if the Autobots are still at war with the Decepticons? That’s what I had to look up. Later stories go more into into what the Accord is but explain it to us now so we know what’s going on besides “don’t give our tech to anyone”. Although Scorponok’s MO is to take the tech with him when he frags the place so it’s not like he’s going to leave it behind.
I can’t remember if this is important to what will be coming up in the main miniseries coming up or not. So I’m not sure if I can recommend this or not. Frankly, outside of making Ultra Magnus look like a bad#$% I’m just not invested in this story because there are too many questions. I’m holding on to this issue more in case I do need it as these reviews continue.