Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Transformers Thunderous Thirty #23 - Bluestreak

It's a bit hard to properly talk about Bluestreak's character without also getting into the long-standing oddity of his name (long-time readers know all this already, of course). Put bluntly, the character has no blue on him whatsoever. Bluestreak's introduction in the Marvel Comic explains his name thusly: "Nice to hear how you got your name, Mirage. Now, I got mine, Blue Streak (sic) by being as fast as a blue streak -- whatever that is. Some wise guys even said I talk a blue streak -- whatever that is. Anyway, here I am."

As I explained back in June, no official Transformers toy (either by Hasbro or its Japanese counterparts) has ever featured Bluestreak in the blue color scheme from which the character seems to get his name (the above-stated reason notwithstanding)*. This has led to tremendous confusion among fans who swear they remember seeing a toy of this coloration when they were kids. Indeed, this is largely why Hasbro took to calling the character "Silverstreak" in years when the name "Bluestreak" was unavailable to them for trademark reasons.

Whether it explains his name or not, Bluestreak certainly does talk a lot, and writer Bob Budiansky uses this quirk to give Bluestreak some ironic character depth. Bluestreak talks so much to hide his pain at having witnessed his home town being destroyed by the Decepticons (the original toy's Tech Specs aren't entirely clear about Bluestreak's having witnessed the event, but the extended bio upon which these were based, which appeared in the Transformers Universe comic, spells this out. Indeed, that bio points out that Bluestreak was the sole survivor of that incident). This helps Bluestreak to become a very conflicted character, having tremendous power at his disposal as a warrior, but despising war having seen first-hand what it can do. However glib Bluestreak sounds as he jabbers away about something that seems meaningless, one can be assured that he will never see his role in the ongoing battle against the Decepticons in such a glib manner.

*While I've heard the expression "talking a blue streak" used in the way Bluestreak describes here, I have to confess I'm not sure if the term actually existed before 1984. Urban Dictionary was no help whatsoever on this. I assume that Bob Budiansky didn't just make the term up out of nowhere, but would appreciate any pre-1984 confirmation anyone is able to share. By the way, before someone points out this toy as being blue, I don't count that toy as being of the G1 character, apparent-but-vague-intentions notwithstanding.

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