Transformers Spotlight: Hot Rod
Simon Furman (story)
Nick Roche and Liam Shalldo (artwork)
Available On: IDW Publishing App, iVerse
Swear that I don’t intend to start each and every column with some weird, embarrassing confession…so what does it say about me that it’s often the case…? Ah well, I suppose one more time couldn’t hurt, right?
Okay, so when I was a kid, I asked my parents if I could have a dog, because as you know, all kids are supposed to have dogs during their childhoods—if they want to develop on a normal emotional level anyway. But pretty sure this was a very common request from me, always garnering the same, familiar response, “No, because we’ll end up taking care of it for you.” My mother had some personal experience with this, as she once successfully convinced her parents that only a dog would make her life complete. And naturally, the dog soon became my grandmother’s dog, and any chance I ever had of owning one was extinguished long before I was even born. So what was my parents’ reasonable compromise, you ask? What was the pet that they actually did allow me to get, without fearing that it would eventually become their pet?
A box turtle, that’s what. More specifically, a box turtle that I named after Hot Rod, my favorite Transformer of all time.
No, I didn’t recognize the apparent irony in calling a turtle Hot Rod, but because of this I’ve always had a soft spot for the character, so when scrolling through IDW’s digital comics catalog, I couldn’t help but take a long, hard look at the Transformers spotlight issue featuring Hot Rod. And since I’ve already ordered the first trade of the new ongoing by Mike Costa (as I’ve heard great things about him in general, and GI Joe: Cobra is quite awesome), it wasn’t too difficult to plunk down two bucks for this and start working up an appetite for the main series. And if the rest of the Transformers Spotlight series are anything like this one, I’ll be picking up quite a few more down the line.
Don’t remember if this was an aspect of the character in the original cartoon, but I LOVED seeing Hot Rod as this fearless, daredevil, mission impossible-tech operative, who only takes on an assignment if someone claims that it can’t be done. Portraying him as the “Mr. Miracle” of the Autobots is a great fit, and writer Simon Furman does a good job of cutting between his present infiltration of a max security Decepticon prison, and a previous covert assault which ended in disaster. Naturally, the two narratives are connected, and Furman works in a couple of final twists that greatly effect both stories, while leaving the door wide open for future ones. Most importantly, this story accomplishes what you want from any great one-shot, it makes you want to read more adventures about this character…which I’m assuming is a sentiment that will also extend to those that didn’t name their turtles after him.
Nick Roche’s art is another highlight, but the colors from Shalldo really shine on the iPad—the shot on page two of Hot Rod falling through a planet’s atmosphere, flanked by burning asteroids is a classic image. Looking forward to the first trade of Costa’s run even more now, and if I love it, that series is a great candidate to be picked up monthly on a digital basis. Which I’m finding is a great option to have with a limited budget and limited shelf space. More on all this in the coming weeks and months.