Mairghread Scott Brings Windblade Soaring Back, Just in Time for “Transformers: Combiner Wars” [Interview]
Last year saw the debut of a fan-chosen new character to the IDW Transformers Universe, as Windblade came to comics courtesy of writer Mairghread Scott and artist Sarah Stone. The four-issue mini series Transformers: Windblade saw the character living on Cybertron, where she worked alongside her ally Chromia against the scheming of Cybertron's ruler Starscream to try and keep the planet in one piece.
Following the success of that miniseries, Windblade will be back later this year -- but she won't be alone. She's going to be an integral part of the six-part event crossover 'Combiner Wars,' starting in March, which sees the arrival of the Combiners. Combiners are groups of Transformers that can assemble together into giant, hulking great new machines, and these new Transformers could threaten the very existence of everyone Windblade knows.
Giant planet-threatening robots? That's the sort of thing ComicsAlliance can really get behind. So to get a better look at what "Combiner Wars" means for Windblade - and the Transformers in general - ComicsAlliance spoke with Scott about her plans for the storyline.
ComicsAlliance: Windblade returns as the first part of the big Transformers crossover story, “Combiner Wars." First of all – what are the Combiner Wars? Who is involved in the event?
Mairghread Scott: "Combiner Wars" is a six-issue event crossing over the books Transformers (written by John Barber) and Transformers: Windblade (written by me). "Combiner Wars" is also an epic, political and actual battle over the future of Cybertron as Starscream (ruler of the entire planet) tries to establish the largest empire Cybertron has ever seen - and pretty much everyone from Optimus to Ironhide tries to stop him.
Sarah Stone and Livio Ramondelli bring some really eye popping art that fans of Transformers are going to love and non-fans are going to be blown away by. A great jumping-on point for the series, we've tried to make "Combiner Wars" the sort of summer blockbuster that delivers on story as well as visuals. Secrets will be revealed! Giant robots will beat each other into the ground! If you've never given us a try before, now is the time.
CA: The big event of "Combiner Wars," then, is the arrival of the Combiners to the Transformers Universe – which allows bots to combine with one another and form, y’know, massive robots. What does their appearance mean for the Transformers characters in general?
MS: Combiners are the A-bombs of the Transformer world, but they are A-bombs with their own thoughts and feelings. Whoever can gain the loyalty of Combiners will be unstoppable -- for as long as they can hold it.
CA: How have you found co-writing the story with John Barber? Has it changed the way you approach your writing at all?
MS: John has been a great writing partner. He has a hilarious sense of irony that comes through on every page. You can feel Optimus' frustration that some 'Bots just... won't... LISTEN! You get these delicious little character beats and it's really forced me to up my game in that department. Between my punching and his talking, we make a nice team.
CA: The first Windblade story was quite self-contained, with the book focusing on her, Chromia, and Starscream. Are you looking forward to the chance to bounce her off a bigger story and cast of characters?
MS: Everything about "Combiner Wars" is bigger: more people, more places, more everything. It's been fun because Windblade's no longer just reacting to other people. She's up-to-speed now and her actions are starting to push back on a whole host of other characters. You see the ripples of Windblade, Optimus, and Starscream throughout the book.
CA: Working with Sarah Stone again, how has your collaboration changed and grown since the first miniseries? Do you find you can both experiment a lot more, now you’re more used to how each other works?
MS: I definitely feel like I have a better sense of how to write for Sarah's art, but we have a whole new set of challenges in this story and we're trying to push the envelope as hard as ever. That great sense of movement in Windblade is now going to go up against this tremendous sense of scale as characters the size of office buildings fight against, and among, characters that don't want to be squished.
Even with giant robots, Sarah's art never loses its "humanity." Her characters are bright and expressive in a way that keeps reminding you that these are people. And we put those people through the wringer, which makes for even more good art.
The other artist on the event is Livio, and where Sarah excels at making Transformers more human, Livio really pushes their more alien aspects. They're big and statuesque. When Livio draws Cybertron, there's no question you're on an alien world where things operate on a bigger, grander scale. Both of them together form a dynamic I think readers are really going to enjoy.
CA: How does Windblade find herself pulled into "Combiner Wars"?
MS: Windblade isn't from Cybertron. She's from a colony called Caminus that left Cybertron millions of years ago and coming back has been a serious culture shock for her. The Autobot/Decepticon war, Starscream ruling the planet - these are all things Windblade has had to process in a very short amount of time, because she doesn't have the luxury of time. Caminus is in bad shape; its resources have dried up and it desperately needs Cybertron's help.
CA: So if her homeworld has now been found, does that mean we might be seeing family? Do… bots even have families?
MS: Transformers don't have families in the way we think of families, but they have close friends and business associates and people they don't like -- all kinds of different relationships. The 'Bots we meet on Caminus will have a range of reactions to seeing Windblade again and meeting Cybertronians. Some of them will change the history of both planets forever.
At the start of "Combiner Wars" Windblade is finally able to offer help -- but that means partnering with Starscream, the worst person on the planet. Windblade will have to enlist help from Optimus Prime, Wheeljack, Ironhide, Chromia, and a host of other 'Bots to make sure she saves her homeworld without costing Camiens their freedom.
CA: At the end of the first Windblade miniseries, we found out that Chromia, Windblade’s closest friend, did something pretty shocking, and perhaps unforgivable. Are the two speaking?
MS: Windblade and Chromia are at a very difficult place. They're friends and it is so easy to just go back to being friends which is why Windblade has been trying to keep her at arm's length. I think it's obvious they can't go back to how things were, but they haven't yet figured out if they can build something new together.
CA: And then, of course, there's Starscream. How is she handling him?
MS: Starscream challenges Windblade's view that good people do good. Because he's a really terrible person, that could still do good in the world. Windblade has a tiger by the tail when it comes to Starscream. This is going to end badly -- the only questions now are how much good she can do before that happens and how many people will die when it does.
CA: Those two aside, are there any characters in particular you’re looking forward to getting your hands on?
MS: I'm really excited about Issue #1 of Transformers: Windblade, where you get to meet the rulers of Caminus, who are going to shake up a lot of people's expectations. I also can't wait for Transformers: Windblade #3 (the finale of "Combiner Wars") because I finally get to introduce a character I've been dying to write for the last half a decade. People are going to freak out. Genuinely...freak...out.
CA: What plans do you have for her going forward? Is it right to say that the book will be continuing onwards as a series, even after "Combiner Wars" wraps up?
MS: It is absolutely right to say. Transformers: Windblade will not only continue after "Combiner Wars," it will be dealing with the events of "Combiner Wars" for a long time. As far as plans go, I have way more plans than I should, for a lot of characters.
Almost none of them are nice though.
Combiner Wars starts with the opening salvo in Transformers #39 this March before Transformers: Windblade #1 starts the event proper later the same month.