Spotlight: Cliffjumper - IDW - Comic

Incase anyone missed it, this is Cliffjumper, Jumping off a Cliff. Awesome.

Spotlight: Cliffjumper is great, but it could have been amazing. The story is a bit predictable, but the over all quality of the art and writing give it an edge. Unfortunately, IDW’s Achilles’ heel rears it’s ugly head here, as function defeats form. It’s still a solid comic, but there was potential for more.

The art and colors, by Robby Musso and Joana Lafuente respectively, are a joy. I love looking at this comic. Cliffjumper looks awesome, the purple kids are totally compelling, and the Decepticon “redshirts” are distinct and have personality. You’ll want to turn each colorful vibrant page just to see the next one.

The story is a classic stranded soldier in a peaceful land deal, complete with orphans on a farm. It’s not original, but it is well done. Cliffjumper has never been more real, Tipton and McCarthy skillfully handle the exposition, and the dialog is authentic, informative, and at times heart rending.

As Cliffjumper nears the farm, the orphan girl, Kita, tells him he is safe there. He protests knowingly that he is not and she touches him and repeats forcefully, “You are safe here.”

It’s a fantastic moment. It attaches you to Kita, and grants you this amazing perspective into Cliffjumper. You can feel how this soldier can’t even remember the last time he was really safe, and how he feels about these creatures who can’t even comprehend the level of danger he’s put them in.

So the art and writing are amazing, what could possibly be wrong? It’s what this book is missing. About 2 pages by my reckoning.

From the opening page the only question is will both of the kids get killed or just one, or will the ‘Cons go ball bearings to the wall and nuke the planet? With out spoiling to much, one of these unfortunate events does occur, and Cliffjumper, portrayed as a total badass, gives the perpetrators a whuppin… but we don’t get to see it.

The great Cliffjumper smack down this issue promises is entirely implied. Sure he violently mugs a few cons in the woods, but the post emotional wounding vengeance is left entirely to the imagination. With this writing and art team that is positively a crime.

This is not an uncommon problem in the Spotlight series. This story needed more space. Where this space was cut from was the emotional pay-off of the tragedy. No full battle or blow by blow was called for, but a few panels of Cliffjumper skid plate kicking, some ‘Cons running for their lives, and an angry line or two would have made this book.

After what the Decepticons do, you want some thing really bad to happen to them, and it does. However we don’t get to participate in it. What is lost is satisfaction and catharsis.

Over all, a good comic, but you’ll notice what’s missing.

DateJune 17th 2009  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  

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