Whatever criticism the Transformers franchise has garnered, one character fans always seem to have an affinity for is Bumblebee. Which is why Paramount recognized there was an opening to make a spinoff with the beloved Autobot detailing his early days on Earth.
As with the preceding films, IDW Comics is documenting the journey before these movies begin, so the Bumblebee prequel series gives us insight into what he did before Optimus Prime and Co. came to the planet. As it cleverly works in previous retcons from director Michael Bay, the book follows what we saw in Transformers: The Last Knight, which indicated 'Bee has been serving humanity for decades.
This prequel story, though, adds another dimension to the robot, painting him in a brand-new light. As it turns out, Bee was once a British spy.
In The Last Knight, we saw him fighting for the Allies in World War II, confirming the Autobots had a secretive, heroic history trying to safeguard mankind. John Barber's story fills in the gap between Bumblebee's duty back then and Travis Knight's movie, which is set in the '80s. Peeling the curtain back, Barber dives into 'Bee as a spy, partnering a James Bond ripoff known as David Reeve (aka Agent Omega Zero) in the '60s, fighting terrorists and meeting the Beatles in his downtime.
Things quickly go awry as Bumblebee and David are tasked with finding out the identity of a mole in the Queen's Secret Service, someone who's aiding the Decepticons and wreaking havoc worldwide. Using the codename "Goldwheels," Bumblebee and David investigate the infiltration which eventually destroys one of their bases, the Maundy Gregory Studio, leaving them on the run with fellow agent Diana Lux. Seeing as HQ doesn't know if any one of them could be the mole, they're cut loose as agents until the truth can be uncovered.
Further complications arise on this particular mission when 'Bee confronts a former Autobot, Diabla, who was actually a Decepticon informant, taking orders from Wildrider in what's clearly an early move to destabilize Earth for the arrival of Megatron. What's worse is they find out (with some aid from the film franchise's American covert ops team, Sector Seven) Decepticons can now disguise themselves as humans, making the hunt for the mole, even tougher. Bumblebee further points out, apart from the spy drama, Decepticons could be in several different countries, in high-level positions of power laying the groundwork for a dark future and, well, invasion.
Apart from giving us more of 'Bee's background, this nostalgic trip offers us fun insight into his personality, too -- something we didn't get much of since his voice-box was damaged in 2007's Transformers, leaving him 'speaking' via songs and quotes from his radio.
While Bay's 2007 flick never really set in stone how long Bumblebee was on Earth, all the prequel materials from IDW have established that he arrived only a few years prior to the events of this first film, and not decades before as The Last Knight retconned. Now, as we pick up this continuity change from that last movie, via 'Bee's spy activities here in the '60s, we can safely assume his previous exploits where he was a relative newbie to the planet aren't in canon anymore.
Another interesting development is this comic informs the first time we heard the franchise-favorite 'bot speak with his real voice on screen, choosing to stay with Sam Witwicky in Transformers, something he did with a British accent.
Now we know why. It seems he was indeed channeling his past escapades in Britain, and it's a point Knight will hopefully address in his movie when it comes to exactly how and why 'Bee lost his voice in the battle to protect Earth.