I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
Dark Prelude is the last graphic novel before I begin Dark Cybertron. So many seeds have been planted, in both More Than Meets the Eye, Dark Cybertron, and this collection of Spotlights. Spotlights are pretty much what they sound like: each issue is devoted to one character. And while, yes, it's not solely on that character, it's a defining moment for that title character.
The problem is that this sounded like it was going to be directly tied into Dark Cybertron. It's not so much, and some of the stories take place long, long before this story arc, and have not much, if anything at all, to do with the storyline. Bumblebee's spotlight, for example, was all about how he became the leader of the Autobots, how he learned to take control, and take responsibility for his actions. Although he arguably already took responsibility, but he needed to show others what he was capable of, that he felt that weight of guilt, and was able to give commands and control the situation to the point where people would listen to him. It was all about him gaining that respect.
But I find it hard to believe that it'll have anything to do with Dark Cybertron. I can see how Trailcutter's story (he starts out as Trailbreaker, so I've quoted him with his original name when I do my favorite lines) might come into play, but not so much Hoist.
Thundercracker starred in his own Spotlight and made a cameo in Bee's. It felt like it connected the stories a little, especially since what Thundercracker expresses in Bee's Spotlight reflects his turning point in his own story.
Still? The timeline of this, the events, were very scattered. And it felt like they shouldn't be if they were a prelude, especially since some stories don't seem very relevant to the main event at this point. And the whole scattered thing works when you're telling separate stories, like in Spotlight volume 1-3, in which each story is self-contained. But these aren't, not with Thundercracker's two appearances, not with the title which implies a connection to a larger story. Especially not with Dark Prelude being listed under the Dark Cybertron collections here: http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Dark_Cybertron
Now, I haven't read Dark Cybertron yet. I could be wrong. I wanted to reacquaint myself with More Than Meets the Eye and reread and catch up on Robots in Disguise before I started. But the general impression that I get is that the title deceived us, and I was disappointed.
Let's add that the storylines were only okay, to good, and seeing as it's John Barber and James Roberts telling the stories, I expected more. The art was also okay, but not great. A far cry from the quality I'm used to seeing in the flagship IDW series, so, again, a letdown.
That being said, there were moments that were just laugh out loud funny in Trailcutter's story. Roberts was witty as ever, even if I ended up kind of shrugging, and going, 'okay, but what was the point?'
Anyway... let's leave on a positive note. Some of my favorite quotes coming up. And heres to hoping Dark Cybertron fares better!
Megatron: “Here’s why I keep you around, Starscream: you are a competent warrior, whose bullying and intimidation keeps those below you in check. Your venomous aspirations define you as a model Decepticon: the type of deviant that will ensure our ultimate victory.”