Similar to last month’s issue on Orion Pax. This month there is another focus with Transformers Spotlight: Thundercracker. These spotlight issues do strongly rely on their choice of character to focus on, but utilizing a secondary character such as Thundercracker actually appears to be more of a benefit at times.
First, the official description from IDW:
In the dark days of the war for Cybertron, THUNDERCRACKER had a special mission—one never revealed before! Now, as he faces off against BUMBLEBEE for the first time, the fate of METROPLEX—and an entire civilization—is at stake!
As a one-shot, this issue strongly relies on both its story and its character. For the former, the plot is more engaging than previous issues. Showing a small group of Decepticons looking for Metroplex is certainly interesting enough, even if the issue fails to answer many of the questions it raises, such as what they intend to do with Metroplex. This, however, is all raised by Thundercracker, which leads to my second point; character.
There are a few reasons why characters like Thundercracker have more depth than the likes of Optimus/Orion. As the Autobot leader, hes stuck as the ‘ultimate good guy’ for most of the franchise. A lesser used character like Thundercracker has no constraints, and the writing is free to explore the grey area between the two sides; something that is taken advantage of here.
The writing uses more subtlety to defer differences between Autobots and Decepticons; its not just a simple matter of good robots vs bad robots. Near the beginning, Thundercracker ponders that the Decepticons didn’t even know the name of the civilization they just destroyed. Later on, the Autobots casually mention the name in passing amongst themselves; subtle references from the writers that make clear distinctions. Again, this is something made more possible through characters such as Thundercracker who aren’t strictly aligned with their respective faction.
Overall, however, this issue is still one for the long time fans. Its implications on the current storyline is questionable, if at all, but it sheds some light on an old character, as well as another glimpse into older times in the franchise’s storyline. As one-shot stories go, its definitely worth a read through.