This whole miniseries is certainly something of an oddity. I didn't pick up that it was meant to be a "kid-targetted" book when it was first released, and definitely the content doesn't seem to suggest that it's meant to be in any way. I just figured that they were focussing on the character of Bumblebee and elevating his role in the comics because of his prominence in the films. Which I didn't actually mind so much, since I'd always been a fan of the original G1 take on Bumblebee, so I was kind of happy that they were going on this route here.
Unfortunately the story itself isn't one that really grabbed me. The ongoing already has the Autobots in some sort of conflict and tension with human military forces that didn't trust them, and there's just more of the same here. And it's a story that's been played out so often in earlier Transformers media that we didn't need it again here.
As you say, there is some commentary that could have been done, and the idea of them being forced into an alliance that turns out to be a trap is one that could have had some legs. But it feels a little missed here.
On the art front, whilst I'm generally critical of editorial not ensuring that the artists stuck to the character model, I don't mind it so much here since the G1 character model for 'Bee suits him better for this story. More so, in fact, than the model that Figueroa's using on the ongoing, which is so close to the up-coming story-point body upgrade that 'Bee's about to get (spoilers, sorry) that I've actually mistaken the two. Figueroa should've stuck with Su's model, given an upgrade was in the works anyway. But I'm also assuming that he wouldn't have known that, since I'm fairly certain that editorial wouldn't have passed that snippet on...
This issue also possibly answers the question of what Thundercracker was doing with the Decepticons in the last issue, given where he ends up. Presumably no-one told them that Skywarp was to be doing his own thing in this series, and that that was meant to be him in the background in the previous ongoing, so they just changed it to Thundercracker during colouring. Maybe someone was paying attention? You can hope.
So this is certainly not a terrible issue, just not good enough to reignite interest given what's come before. There'd better be some groundbreaking, attention-grabbing young punk on the creative side in the near future, otherwise I think people might give up on Transformers comics in general...
I still think this mini-series is one of the most poorly-written things IDW ever published. Art is poor, characterization is poor, and some of the plot points are just absurd. At a time when I was buying everything Transformers that they published, I gave up on Bumblebee after the second issue. I never read the end of the series until I got the collected volume years later.
Stuart Webb. Who knows everything about nothing and not a lot about that.
Action Force/G.I. Joe