Friday, November 29, 2013


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

The Plot: The Autobots retake their headquarters, but not before missiles are launched at Ultra Magnus's ship. Grimlock and the Dinobots confront Scorponok, whose plan is thwarted thanks to the revelation that Perceptor has been in on Grimlock's plan all along, only playing at being a Decepticon. In their climactic battle, Grimlock and Scorponok plummet to their apparent deaths.

Beneath Cybertron's surface, Hot Rod takes the Sword and Covenant of Primus, sparing the lives of the proto-Transformer creatures, and departs their tunnels, vowing to return.

On Earth, Shockwave restores Starscream's cognitive functions, and together they plot to take control of the Ark from Galvatron. The ship takes off just as Optimus Prime arrives. Spotting Galvatron standing on the Ark's bridge, Optimus wonders if Megatron has somehow cheated death once again.

G1 Continuity: Really nothing of note this issue. I assume that the further we get from issue #80, the nods to events long past will fade away.

Body Count: Scorponok throws one of his own men down a bottomless pit for looking at him the wrong way. In a very disturbing moment, Autobot Targetmaster Crosshairs executes Decepticon Clone Pounce to get his brother, Wingspan, to give up a code to stop the missile launch. And in the issue's finale, Grimlock and Scorponok apparently perish while locked in mortal combat.

My Thoughts: I'm not sad to see Grimlock go. As I've noted before, Furman's Grimlock is not my preferred version to begin with, and as Grimlock himself notes in the issue, he's really gone too far this time. A noble death is about the best he can hope for, as even taking into account his saving Cybertron from Scorponok's plan, his role in starting the coup in the first place would likely lead to exile or court martial or whatever it is the Autobots do with traitors.

That said, I enjoyed the twist that Perceptor had been play-acting all along, a revelation that genuinely took me surprise. I never doubted Grimlock had turned him, mainly because that's just the sort of thing Furman's "ends justify the means" Grimlock would do. So that was a nice little twist.

Variant "retro" cover by Guido Guidi
I have to note that Hot Rod looks very Rodimus Prime-ish on the issue's splash page. A preview of an upcoming metamorphosis? I would guess so.

One small note is that I was displeased with Furman's use of Hound in this issue, where he appears as the co-pilot of Ultra Magnus's ship. Don't get me wrong -- I love Hound. He's one of my favorites. But in G1, Hound loved Earth. He felt more at home there than on Cybertron. His cavalier attitude here, making small talk about a "warm Cybertronian welcome" following the Autobots' "none-too-social sojourn to Earth," rings incredibly false. If I were prone to hyperbole, I might even declare it a total betrayal of his character. But at the very least, I didn't like it.

Overall, this felt like an uneven story arc. Scorponok's invasion of Cybertron seems like something that should have been drawn out a bit longer. It was supposedly a big deal, but it never really felt like one, mainly because so few Autobots were involved in the story. Just in general, Cybertron, which should be the most populous it's been in years, feels very empty in this series.

But this issue did have some terrific artwork by Wildman and Baskerville, especially in the final Grimlock/Scorponok fight, where their work is complemented by amazing colors from Bove and/or Stayte. The light and shadow created by Scorponok's CNA machine look outstanding.

I loved the final scene, too. The haunted look on Optimus Prime's face -- as he looks up at the departing Ark and spies a figure he believes to be Megatron -- made the issue for me. Now Prime is stranded on Earth, believing his arch-foe has escaped. That page alone makes me eager to see what will happen next.

Final Opinion: Like I just said, even though this story arc was a bit of a letdown, I'm champing at the bit for the next installment. The main Scorponok story didn't do a lot for me, but the sub-plots -- Hot Rod, Bludgeon and Soundwave, Galvatron and the Ark, and Optimus Prime, kept my interest throughout. Again -- this is the way to write a serialized comic book. Even if your main story doesn't capture every reader's imagination, there should be enough going on in the background to bring them back anyway. It's a style you just don't see anymore in mainstream comics.

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

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