Hey all, Judge here bringing you a review of the latest one-shot Transformers Spotlight from IDW Publishing. This particular spotlight focuses on the Autobot Hoist. On a side note, make sure to check out Silverwolf’s review of the Megatron spotlight.
Transformers Spotlight: Hoist is written by James Roberts, writer of Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. It’s set between issues #5 and #6 of More Than Meets the Eye. The art was done by Agustin Padilla (Transformers: Rage of the Dinobots and More Than Meets the Eye #16). I don’t have much to say about the art other than it was great (I’m not the greatest art critic). The opening panels of the Decepticon Tarn chasing Hoist were, however, particularly well done and really grabbed my attention. Now to the story.
I want to go ahead and get this out of the way: Roberts does a wonderful job highlighting the personality of one of the lesser known Autobots in Transformers lore. From a post on the Transformers Facebook fanpage, Roberts was asked what stood out about Hoist as a character. He answered,
Truthfully? What stood out for me, going back and re-reading previous stories that he’s been in (and there aren’t many, and I’m afraid I didn’t seek out the G1 TV episodes), is that nothing much stands out! He’s the archetypal “background ’bot”–competent, pleasant, hardworking, straightforward. But that’s not a bad thing when you’re settling down to write a SPOTLIGHT about someone. It gives you more of a canvas. Having said that, I sort of made his vanilla-ness a plot point in itself. I deliberately put him with three characters (excluding Bob [the Insecticon] for a moment–sorry, Bob) who are larger-than-life, and let the story play out from there. If I’ve done by job properly, Hoist will be a more fully-rounded character by Page 22.
And boy did Roberts succeed, as I emphatically stated already. Having those “larger-than-life” characters around Hoist was a great idea. Let’s take Swerve for example. Having this chatterbox constantly talk, talk, talk would normally drive people crazy, yet Hoist continues his work regardless. He’s hardworking indeed. I should note that I really enjoyed the humor in this issue, which was largely due to Swerve’s non stop talking.
In one panel, Sunstreaker, another one of the companions in this issue, gets fed up with Swerve’s mouth and tells him to go bother Hoist. Swerve replies that he doesn’t want to because “he’s got nothing to work with.” He goes on to say that if someone were to ask him what Hoist was like, he’d say he was green. That’s it.
Hoist overhears this and replies the reason why Swerve can’t get a handle on him is because he’s “an ordinary person.” He’s normal. That panel was one of my favorites. We then get a look into Hoist’s background as Swerve proceeds to ask him if he’s had any near-death experiences. What follows is an extremely humorous situation: Hoist says he doesn’t want to talk about it, Swerve says no problem, four panels of Swerve fighting the urge to speak with each panel featuring a funny facial expression and percentage (96%, 97%, 98%, 99%), and finally Swerve asking what happened (with 100% written above his head).
Hoist’s experience involves him being the sole survivor in a crash. Why is this important? (SPOILER ALERT.) As the story goes on, we the readers learn the threats on the planet Deimus where Hoist, Swerve, Sunstreaker, Sunstreaker’s pet Insecticon Bob, and Perceptor (the third “larger-than-life” companion) have crash landed are tangible fears created by a “Phobia Shield” on the planet.
So the menacing Tarn, a combiner composed of Megatron, Overlord, Sixshot, and Shockwave, and the mighty Metroplex are nothing more than the worst fears of the various characters. Hoist knocks them all out to prevent any more fears from manifesting. The last panel is Hoist talking to himself, saying how there is no one else around, good or bad, and that this is his worst fear.
Hoist, while he may be “normal,” still needs companions, despite how flawed he may find them to be. It’s a terrible thing to be alone, and I believe this is what Roberts intended for us readers to learn about this ordinary Autobot. So in closing, if you already haven’t figured it out yet, I greatly enjoyed this one-shot spotlight, and hope to see more spotlights of other characters we may not know much about in the future.
–Fantastic characterization of Hoist; we get a deeper understanding of the Autobot by the end
–The humor of Swerve’s dialogue
–Great art, especially the first few panels
–While it’s not necessary to have read any More Than Meets the Eye, it could help to understand the setting; however, I really wouldn’t say this is a con but rather a suggestion
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