Transformers Spotlight: Wheelie
IDW Publishing (June, 2008)
WRITER: Simon Furman
ARTIST/COLORIST/CO-STORY: Klaus Scherwinski
COLOR ASSIST: Josh Burcham
LETTERER: Jimmy Betancourt
EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton
Wheelie was hoping to prove himself during a scouting mission, but thanks to ship error he didn’t make it to the mission. Instead he crashed on a near-dead world, fighting to survive the monsters that live there as well as stay energized. This seems to be a popular place to crash. The Reflector trio crashed here, one of them killed in the crash. Another alien, a shapeshifter named Varta, crashed here and they decide to torture him. Wheelie ends up saving him and learns he repaired his ship, but it needs power, which Wheelie can supply. However, the other Reflectors steal the ship, which Wheelie rigged to explode to take them out. Eventually the two friends appear to be rescued.
What they got right: Furman decides to come up with a reason for Wheelie’s talking in rhyme from the cartoon. It’s because Varta’s people also speak in rhyme and Wheelie just got used to speaking that way over time to communicate with him. Later writers remembered this story and we will learn later that they were rescued by fellow Autobots in a later story and would also travel with Optimus Prime after he returned to being Orion Pax. It’s a long story.
What they got wrong: The first half of the tale is disjointed. It keeps going back and forth from Wheelie in the present to the past, explaining stuff that would have been better shown in the proper order. Wheelie’s monologues stay in non-rhyming, which I guess means he still thinks straight but is used to speaking in rhyme, so I can only assume the narration comes from his internal datatrax or something. I also hope you didn’t like Reflector because they’re all dead. Finally there’s the last page, a cave painting depicting the Quintessons. Was this intended to be yet another plot point Furman was trying to introduce? (Like we don’t have enough in this point in continuity.) Because nothing came of it before his run ended, the scene itself serves no other purpose whatsoever, and it really didn’t need to be there.
Recommendation: This gets a mild recommendation. It could have been better but the first half is a mess and I can only follow the second half, which is good. It’s also not necessary to follow what’s coming up in this continuity so it’s not a must-own, which is too bad. I see the makings of a good story.