Friday, September 27, 2013


Writer: Simon Furman | Penciler: Andrew Wildman | Inker: Stephen Baskerville
Colorist: John-Paul Bove | Letterer: Chris Mowry | Editor: John Barber
Editor-in-Chief: Chris Ryall

The Plot: The Wreckers thwart a scheme by Soundwave to martyr several of his "Neo-Decepticon" followers. Later, Soundwave is approached by Decepticon commander Bludgeon for aid in avenging his forces' defeat on Klo two decades ago. Meanwhile, fed up with Optimus Prime's recent pacifist ways, Kup leads the Wreckers away from Cybertron to travel to all planets touched by the Autobot-Decepticon war and deal with any remaining Decepticon threats. But when the group reaches Earth, they find it in ruins, apparently at the hands of Megatron -- who promptly blows their ship out of the sky.

G1 Continuity: Kup mentions Nucleon, the energy that turned several Transformers into "Action Masters" -- non-transforming Transformers -- near the end of the Marvel series. Notably, Kup also indicates that the Nucleon may have left some of those Transformers mentally unstable as well. Additionally, Kup's team is carried to Earth by Berko and his Cosmic Carnival, introduced in TRANSFORMERS #44. Besides that, Bludgeon brings up the planet Klo, from the final G1 issue.

Body Count: At Soundwave's order, four of his own men are martyred: Terradive, Afterburner, Eagle Eye, and Windrazor. I'm uncertain if these are pre-existing characters or if they were created by Furman for this story. Later, we learn that Earth has been razed to a barren wasteland by Megatron.

My Thoughts: If I didn't know he lived here, I'd think Simon Furman really wanted to see Earth destroyed. In Marvel's TRANSFORMERS: GENERATION 2 comic (pretty clearly now out of continuity due to developments in this new series), the Decepticons laid waste to the planet to draw the Autobots' attention, and later the entire West Coast of the U.S. (where I happen to live, so thanks very much, Mr. Furman) crumbled into the Pacific Ocean. Now, we find that Megatron has pretty much obliterated the entire surface of the planet!

To be honest, I'm a little upset with this turn of events. One of the things I love about Transformers is the human factor. I was not a huge fan of Bob Budiansky's more human-centric stories when I was younger, but as I grew up I learned to appreciate them a lot more. I love Furman's space opera as well, but the idea that the Autobots and Decepticons can now never return to being "robots in disguise" on Earth bothers me.

Plus there's now the overtone that if Optimus Prime had not crashed the Ark on Earth in the first place all those years ago, this would never have happened. It adds an element of irresponsibility to Prime's backstory that troubles me. I don't want him to be infallible, but I don't want him to be indirectly responsible for the total genicide of the human race, either!

Beyond that, there is also a huge case of "defeat from the jaws of victory" in this development. The G1 series ended with Fortress Maximus, the last remaining Autobot, defeating Galvatron to save the planet. And this was after Ratchet sacrificed his life and the Ark to kill Megatron, Starscream, and Shockwave. Granted, most of those situations were undone once already in GENERATION TWO, but not on the sort of tragic scale we're seeing here.

Variant "retro" cover by Guido Guidi
But what it comes down to in the end is that I'm extremely uncomfortable with huge human casualties in Transformers stories. I know that "realistically" such things would have to happen, but I don't like it. I prefer my Transformers saga to play out with minimal collateral damage, so that when something bad does happen -- one building destroyed, one bystander accidentally killed -- it has meaning. I don't like being desensitized to it, and that's exactly what Furman is doing here. Once you destroy Earth, what's next? Blow up the sun?

(I should note that I had similar issues with the early Dreamwave comics, and with the Michael Bay movies, for the same reason -- so much collateral damage that it eventually means nothing to the reader/viewer.)

Other quick thoughts: As hinted above, I don't like this version of Optimus Prime. But then, I get the impression I'm not supposed to. Kup is constantly at odds with Prime in this story over his new pacifistic nature, and -- so far at least -- Kup's being presented as correct. It's impossible not to side with Kup, especially since Prime apparently never even bothered to keep an eye on any planets the Decepticons might return to, thus allowing Megatron to run rampant on Earth.

Also, in the scene where Bludgeon contacts Soundwave, we can clearly see the silhouette of Thunderwing in the background. I'm curious to see where Furman goes with this, as Thunderwing was one of my favorite post-Megatron Decepticon leaders in the original series (and there were a surprising number of them). He was killed off -- twice -- near the end of the original run, so I'm intrigued to learn how Furman will bring him back here.

And lastly, I'm not a fan -- at all -- of story arcs where each chapter has the same title but with "Part 1", "Part 2", etc. amended after. Let's get creative and give every issue its own unique title, why don't we?

Final Opinion: The tempered enthusiasm I felt after reading issue 80.5 has been dulled considerably by the Earth's fate and the wussification of Optimus Prime. Nonetheless, I'm still on board to see where the story goes next. I'll tell you right now that a big thing to keep my interest would be the addition of some 1984 era Autobots, my favorite characters. So far we're mainly following TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE cast members. Where are Jazz, Prowl, Bumblebee, Ironhide, etc.? Those are the Autobots I want to see!

Available as part of TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE, vol. 1 from


  1. It's funny - one of the things I hate in Transformers stories is the human element (I find it terribly boring when we could be reading about giant transforming robots), yet I was also uncomfortable with Earth's fate in this, pretty much for all the other reasons you mentioned.

    Basically, it's just too big a change. Do what you want to other planets, but Earth should remain on some level "real" relative to our world, otherwise, as you say, the whole "robots in disguise" thing becomes pointless. Once Earth has been razed to the point itss unrecognizable as such, events may as well be happening on some random alien world.

    Ditto also on the level of collateral damage in the Bay films. I get that it's more realistic, but then I feel like, to keep that going, the world of the subsequent films should be drastically different than ours. A city gets banged up by giant robots in the first one - fine, but realistically, that's going to have a huge impact on the society, economy, culture, etc. of that world going forward, yet in the subsequent films, everything is still the same as it is in our world (and I know the sequels pay lip service to the idea that the Transformers were covered up by the government, but I just don't see how that's possible).

    One of the things I like about the Marvel films is that, after a big city-wide alien invasion in Avengers, subsequent films (and SHIELD) acknowledge that the world is different now as a result.

    Anyways, I'm off on a tangent now...

    So far we're mainly following TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE cast members. Where are Jazz, Prowl, Bumblebee, Ironhide, etc.?

    I've never been certain where the movie continuity fits relative to the comics, so this may be a moot point, but if Kup, Hot Rod, etc. are around, shouldn't that mean most of the '84 'bots are dead (killed by Megatron in the opening of the film)?

  2. Originally in the U.S. comics, the cartoon series and movie were a totally different continuity. But in the U.K., Furman ran with the movie as the definitive future of the comics. It really doesn't make much sense, as a lot of square pegs would need to be hammered into round holes to make it all fit.

    When Furman came over to the U.S. series, he continued to draw on the movie as inspiration, but it became an alternate future instead, which makes much more sense. So the G1 comic book continuity is very much its own thing, and no one's death there would have any effect on anything in the current comics.

    I've also recently learned that REGENERATION ONE does not count the U.K. continuity either -- it's going strictly off of what we saw in the original Marvel U.S. comics, and nothing more. Furman has said there are nods to the U.K. stories, but the stories themselves are now no longer considered canon.