"NATURAL SELECTION, PART 2"
Writer: Simon Furman | Penciler: Andrew Wildman | Inker: Stephen Baskerville
Colorist: John-Paul Bove | Letterer: Chris Mowry | Editor: John Barber
Editor-in-Chief: Chris Ryall
All of this is unnoticed by Hot Rod, who, after a brief meeting with Grimlock, heads beneath the surface of Cybertron, where a group of Autobots have located the tunnels which should lead them to the chamber housing Primus, the Transformers' god. However, the tunnels are populated by a group of robot-devouring monsters.
On Earth, Optimus Prime chooses to remain behind despite the humans' orders, and help them rebuild. He sends Ultra Magnus and the rest of his troops back to Cybertron. Meanwhile, Galvatron follows Starscream into the Ark, and Starscream leads him to Shockwave, somehow wired into the Ark's on board systems.
G1 Continuity: Wildman draws the Autobot Headmasters' original heads somewhat off-model, which would see, to be a deliberate nod to Frank Springer, illustrator of the original HEADMASTERS limited series, who winged several of the character designs due to the overwhelming number of characters he was forced to draw. In particular, Brainstorm has a mouth, where he normally does not.
In a questionable creative decision, John-Paul Bove colors Perceptor with the garish and incorrect palate originally employed by Nel Yomtov in G1. He even replicates Yomtov's mistake of giving Perceptor a two-tone face, which resulted from the character model having a normal face while the toy had a faceplate.
We also get a glimpse of the Primus chamber, discovered by a small group of Autobots and Decepticons in G1 #60 -- and the monsters beneath Cybertron's surface showed up after the Unicron battle, circa G1 #76.
Body Count: The Headmasters kill a number of throw-away Autobots during their invasion of Cybertron. The only one I recognized was Slapdash, a Powermaster.
My Thoughts: Where is the fourth Headmaster, Chromedome? Not to mention Fortress Maximus... though perhaps Fort Max is unable to be revived since his former head, Spike, still lives. But the last time I recall seeing Chromedome in the G1 comics, he was undergoing repairs following a fight with Thunderwing. Maybe his head, Stylor, survived the Unicron battle. In any case, though, I feel this should've been paid some lip service.
|Variant "retro" cover by Guido Guidi|
Shockwave's return was telegraphed by his absence among Megatron's zombies, but I wasn't expecting to find him connected to the Ark. I now assume that he was indeed used in Megatron's invasion of Earth, just not necessarily the way I had first speculated. I can't wait to see this explained.
I have conflicted feelings about Optimus Prime in this issue. On the one hand, taking responsibility for the destruction of Earth and remaining behind, despite the humans' wishes, to help rebuild, is totally the Prime I know. But at the same time, the situation should never have come to this, because the Prime I know would also never have left Earth unmatched and unguarded for twenty years, knowing the Decepticons were still out there.
But Prime's motivations, if they weren't clear enough already, are plainly stated here to Ultra Magnus -- he believes he should still be dead, and he doesn't think he is of any further use to the Autobots. He's staying behind because his time has passed, and he wants Hot Rod to take over leadership. I don't like it, but at the same time I'm intrigued to see where this path will take him. Knowing now that this series will end with issue #100, I believe Furman must have a set plan for the character. I suspect it will end, eventually, with his death, but I hope it doesn't. I don't want to read about a world that doesn't need Optimus Prime.
Final Opinion: Not a fan of the Autobot Headmasters turning into murderers, though I guess I should've expected that from Scorponok's plan. I was kind of expecting a bloodless coup, though. Anyway, the Cybertron storyline is the main one at the moment, and I'm enjoying it. Can't wait to see Ultra Magnus return to a planet of Auto-cons (or Decepti-bots?).
Available as part of TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE, vol. 2 from Amazon.com.