Friday, November 1, 2013


The second TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE trade paperback collects issues 86 - 90. I have recently learned that the series is planned for a finite run of twenty issues, to wrap up the entire saga in #100, which will just fill two more trades after this one. Personally, as of right now I'd love to see it continue past #100 if sales warrant, but I guess we'll see what happens...

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: On Nebulos, Grimlock is held prisoner by Scorponok, who explains that his original head came online upon the death of his Headmaster self during the Unicron battle. Scorponok has isolated a gene in all Transformers, which determines whether they are "born" as Autobots or Decepticons, and he believes he can return to Cybertron and alter the gene to create a planet of Decepticons. Bribed with a new, fully functional body, plus the possibility of curing those Autobots negatively affected by Nucleon, Grimlock reluctantly agrees to help Scorponok in his plan.

On Cybertron, Soundwave makes it to Thunderwing's resting place in the Hall of Silence. Hot Rod orders the Hall destroyed per protocol in the event of an intruder, which plays into Soundeave's plot somehow.

And on Earth, Spike and Blackrock inform Optimus Prime that the remaining humans have voted the Autobots off the planet. Meanwhile, the Autobots have gathered all Megatron's now-deceased zombies in one place to disintegrate them. However, Starscream yet lives, and escapes prior to the disintegration, to sneak aboard the Ark. His entry is noticed by Galvatron.

G1 Continuity: Grimlock has flashbacks to testing Nucleon on himself in G1 #70. Scorponok mentions his former Headmaster partner, the Nebulon politician, Lord Zarak.

Body Count: All Megatron's zombies, among whom we learn are a handful of Autobots who had still been deactivated aboard the Ark, are finally completely destroyed. So much for the majority of the 1984 and '85 Decepticons...!

My Thoughts: Another bit I had forgotten about the original Marvel series was that all the Dinobots except Grimlock have normal speech patterns, making Grimlock's primitive dialogue even stranger. I believe Grimlock's speech was a mandate from Hasbro or perhaps Sunbow Animation, as -- if I recall correctly -- he had a normal way of speaking in his earliest appearances. But as the Grimlock on the much more popular cartoon was a slow-witted dullard, Bob Budiansky took the comic book character in that direction as well. And Budiansky's Grimlock was not just afflicted by a speech impediment -- he was genuinely simple-minded, as on the TV series.  It was Furman who later ret-ret-conned him to be smart again, albeit maintaining the primitive speech.

At any rate -- for whatever reason, the rest of the Dinobots were spared this change and as a result, it just reads weird. Either they should all talk like cavemen or none of them should. And since I already voiced my opinion on this previously, I'll leave it at that.

Variant "retro" cover by Guido Guidi
As far as Grimlock's story goes, I don't buy -- nor do I think the readers are expected to buy -- that he is truly aligning himself with Scorponok. But Scorponok's plan is an interesting one, so I'd like to see how this plays out. If he can truly turn all inhabitants of Cybertron into Decepticons, then Optimus Prime's group will have an interesting homecoming.

And speaking of that group -- there are some peculiar creative choices made with them on Earth. Every issue is someone's first, as they say, but apparently no one bothered to tell the Autobots. In their first scene, we see Wheeljack and Red Alert only from the back, and Smokescreen mainly in profile -- and none of them is identified by name, either in dialogue or narration, however they take care to note the name of the Autobot they're burying -- as I said, odd.

At least in the issue's final scene, Sunstreaker and Roadbuster make sure to state each other's names, even though -- again -- we only see Sunstreaker from the back, which seems an especially bizarre choice since we have already seen Roadbuster from the front in prior issues, but we haven't seen Sunstreaker at all.

Or maybe this is just my 1984 bias coming out again.

Lastly, I'm a bit irked by Optimus Prime's ordering First Aid not to repair his battle damage. He wants to wear his scars as a reminder of lost friends -- which is fine, I suppose, except that he has two gaping holes in his chest! A quick patch-job might not be the worst idea, under those circumstances.

Oh, one last thought: why did Soundwave's infiltration of the Hall of Silence take so long? For three straight issues, we got a single page of him wandering around and a single page of Hot Rod debating whether or not he should blow the place up. If that's not the very definition of "decompression", I don't know what is! The whole thing could been done and over with in a third of that time.

Final Opinion: It's another slow-paced issue, serving mainly to set up the next story arc. I'm intrigued by Scorponok's plan, and still curious to see what's up with Galvatron. And I hope Prime comes to his senses and gets his windshields replaced.

Available as part of TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE, vol. 2 from

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