[caption] "I AM thinking positively. I'm positive I'm lost!"[/caption]
Transformers Spotlight #2: Nightbeat
IDW Publishing (October, 2006)
WRITER: Simon Furman
ARTIST: MD Bright
COLORIST: John Rauch
SELECTED COVER COLORIST: Josh Burcham
LETTERING: Sulaco Studios
EDITORS: Chris Ryall & Dan Taylor
Nightbeat is an Autobot who loves a good mystery, and he has access to a huge one: the disappearance of the first Ark-class ship, lost on a scouting mission. However, when he meets with his contact he finds him dying and the flight recorder from Ark-1 he had found missing. Nightbeat follows back to where it was found, a planet called Gorlan Prime, only to find it's a trap. He does hear a few words like "dead universe" but it doesn't matter because he's brainwashed and pre-programmed for some future event. Back on his ship with no memory of what happened, he receives a summons to come to Earth, while unnoticed on his computer is proof he went to Gorlan Prime, a message update he transmitted to himself before getting caught.
What they got right: Furman can set up a good mystery (like in the "Matrix Quest" storyline back in the Marvel days--it's the follow-up he had problems with), and this has the makings of a good one. The art is pretty good.
What they got wrong: Too bad this is another example of Furman having too many story ideas going on at once, just hidden a bit due to being a separate title from the main series. This was set-up for a later story arc, the "Dead Universe" storyline. Meanwhile he's still setting up his own take on the Transformers, which includes evil Micromasters and some goo-like portal beneath the planet. He just can't finish one story at a time, and the Spotlight issues are just another source for his "drug".
Recommendation: It's is important to later events in the IDW TFU and an interesting story to begin with. It's worth checking out.