Friday, October 16, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Pat Lee | Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia | Layout Assists: Ferd Poblete
Colors: Espen Grundetjern, Alan Wang, & Gary Yeung | Letters: Ben Lee

The Plot: The Stunticons, united as Menasor, rampage through Cybertron's Quadrant Epsilon. Ultra Magnus and his team eventually take them out. Meanwhile, the Dinobots lay siege to Iacon and Grimlock corners Shockwave and Blitzwing. Elsewhere, the escaped Autobots are introduced to Smokescreen, a member of the Autobot resistance, who takes Prowl and Ironhide to meet other resistance members.

Meanwhile, Optimus Prime comes around in a different resistance cell's headquarters, where he meets some of its members, including Hot Rod. In Iacon, the Dinobots are defeated one by one by Ultra Magnus. Back at resistance HQ, Optimus Prime is introduced to the rest of Hot Rod's cell. Soon Smokescreen arrives with Springer, Prowl, and Ironhide, and reports that Shockwave has released the city's sentinel robots.

Continuity Notes: Ultra Magnus directly refers to Optimus Prime as his brother in the story's opening pages. After the fight, Ultra Magnus's men find a blaster belonging to Rumble or Frenzy in the detention center wreckage.

The late Runabout's partner, Runamuck, is seen imprisoned in Hot Rod's resistance HQ, having been captured after Runabout was killed.

Blaster, a member of Hot Rod's cell, explains that Shockwave is sending out subtle signals designed to make all Transformers on Cybertron more aggressive for some unknown reason.

Body Count: The Omnibots, an obscure Autobot sub-group, are seen killed by Menasor during the initial battle.

G1 References: Smokescreen identifies himself by rubbing a black sigil on his chest, which changes to reveal an Autobot emblem -- a callback to the "rub symbols" most Transformers had for several years of the original toyline.

As Smokescreen leads Prowl and Ironhide through some one-time slave tunnels, the Autobot bounty hunter Devcon, a character unique to the original cartoon series, is seen slumped on the ground.

Hot Rod's resistance cell consists of most of the core cast of TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE -- Hot Rod, Kup, Blurr, Arcee, Blaster, Springer, and Wheelie -- as well as a renegade Sharkticon named Gnaw (the same Sharkticon that saved Optimus Prime by killing Runabout last issue).

The sentinel robots were known in the G1 cartoons as Guardian Robots, where they protected Iacon in the episode "War Dawn". Autobot Defense Base Omega Supreme would turn out to be one of these robots.

BEAST WARS References: Smokescreen notes that the tunnels contain enough radiation that a Transformer could go into voluntary stasis lock if down there for too long. Stasis lock was the BEAST WARS equivalent of a coma or, I suppose, putting your computer into "sleep" mode.

My Thoughts: Okay, we're getting into a little bit of filler territory now. The fight between Ultra Magnus and Menasor is great; nicely choreographed and beautifully colored. In fact all the artwork here is quite nice -- Pat Lee (or his ghosts) hasn't lost a step yet and this may be his strongest issue to date (though I really don't like the way he draws Hot Rod's head and in general I'm getting tired of his overly toy-influenced designs).

But after that initial battle ends, the issue becomes about moving characters around for indiscernible reasons. Last issue, Broadside and Sandstorm broke the Autobots out of Shockwave's prison but insisted that Optimus Prime needed to go one way while the rest of the group went the other. Presumably the reason was to take them to different destinations. But this issue, Prime wakes up among Hot Rod's crew, while Broadside takes Prowl's group to meet Smokescreen, who takes Prowl and Ironhide to meet Springer, who takes them all to meet... Hot Rod's crew??

I suppose it's possible Sandstorm was originally taking Prime someplace else, but there's no hint of that in the story. So instead we wind up with an unfortunately decompressed issue, which is even more of a letdown after the wonderfully cram-packed issues we've received up to this point. Hopefully things will get back on track next time.

* Due to working in Dreamwave's editorial department, writer James McDonough scripted his first several TRANSFORMERS comics under the pseudonym "Brad Mick". My reviews will use the Brad Mick name until the point where McDonough is officially credited by his real name.


  1. To be honest, as far as I am concerned, this issue is nothing but padding.
    From the perfunctory Ultra Magnus takes down a gestalt scene. to the round about way of getting everybody to meet everybody. It just screams padding.

    Lee's muddled bloated art and poor story telling skills, don't really help much either.

    It's as if Mick had a perfectly serviceable five parter and then was told by management to expand it to six parter for, "the trade, dont cher know" ? And came up with this exercise in padding.

    The only thing I can say is that Ultimate Spiderman used to be even worse.

    1. Yes, he's clearly stretching to fill the six-issue mini here. But I believe the pacing gets back to a reasonable level with the next issue. Then, of course, it goes down the tubes again with the Sunstorm arc in the ongoing. It seems Mick was best at shorter stories.