Friday, December 4, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Don Figueroa | Inks: Elaine To
Colors: Espen Grundetjern & Rob Ruffalo | Letters: Ben Lee

The Plot: On Cybertron, millions of years ago, Megatron admonishes Starscream for acting without permission, and asserts his dominance as the Decepticons' leader. Then, in the present, Starscream is attacked by the Autobot battle station, Omega Supreme. Starscream deactivates the energy siphon the Autobots planted on Sunstorm, and Sunstorm challenges Omega.

On Cybertron, Prowl researches the supercomputer Vector Sigma and discusses the next day's important meeting with Ultra Magnus. Meanwhile, on Earth, Warpath and Bumper pull Jazz, Wheeljack, Sideswipe, and Sunstreaker from a lake in Oregon, then are confronted by the Earth Defense Command.

In Alaska, Jetfire, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, and Brawn return to the Orion following their fight with Sunstorm, to find the crew all disabled. Meanwhile, Sunstorm and Omega Supreme fight, with Omega apparently victorious. But when Omega raises his protective face shield to inspect his downed foe, Sunstorm attacks again.

Continuity Notes: Starscream's flashback to open the issue features Megatron, Soundwave, and Starscream in their Cybertronian character designs as created by Don Figueroa for the first WAR WITHIN miniseries. During the scene, Megatron punishes Starscream for killing Cybertron's Council of Ancients -- "The clandestine group of elitists who have manipulated our every move since the dawn of Cybetron's creation" -- without Megatron's approval.

As noted above, the off-camera Transformer who attacked Starscream and Sunstorm last issue was Omega Supreme.

Prowl's internal monologue reveals that Vector Sigma's computer code is composed of hard light constructs far beyond any known Cybertronian technology.

This issue was part of Dreamwave's "Megatron Month" event; an odd choice considering Megatron was completely sidelined at this point in the ongoing series. But to make up for that we get the opening flashback, a variant Megatron cover, a Megatron backup story (see below), and Megatron answers the letters page correspondence.

G1 References: Continuing Mick's devotion to the original cartoon series' speaking patterns, all of Omega Supreme's dialogue is structured to reflect his lines in that show ("Escape: Impossible;" "Resilience: Impressive;" "Vision: Obscured;" etc.). Meanwhile, Warpath's eccentric habit of tossing random onomatopoeias into his sentences is preserved as well ("Blam! Bumper! About time you came back up;" "It's time we show these half-pints a little zig-zag-zow!" I can't reiterate enough how much I love this.

The Earth Defense Command was an organization established in the G1 cartoon series' third season, set in the (then) far-flung future of 2006. The EDF commander here is Marissa Fairborne, a character from season 3. The cartoon's writers intended Marissa to be the daughter of G.I. Joe's Flint (real name: Dashiell Faireborn). It's unclear whether Mick misspelled Marissa's last name here on purpose to distance her from the JOE connection, or if he just didn't do his research.

My Thoughts: This Sunstorm story is running way too long at this point; especially since the majority of this issue is a gratuitous fight between Sunstorm and Omega Supreme, and we get no advancement whatsoever of his arc. It's just more pseudo-religious babbling as he fights Omega for several splash pages.

As I noted previously, Mick seems to be "decompressing" more and more with each passing issue, barring a minor exception here and there. I don't think this story is bad, and I love that Mick is really working up a cohesive mythology for the Transformers which apparently ties together conflicting elements from past incarnations such as the Quintessons and Vector Sigma, as well as some of Simon Furman's contributions to the Dreamwave canon from WAR WITHIN. Specifically, I believe the Council of Ancients were created by Furman, though I'm unsure if the scene following their demise is based upon an event from WAR WITHIN or if Mick has created it from whole cloth.

Anyway, based on the interminable nature of this opening story arc, I can perhaps see why fans aren't as fond of this series as I was at the time. I'll withhold final judgment until I finish the full run, but at the moment the cracks, which I didn't see when I read it on a monthly basis a decade-plus back, are beginning to show. While there's plenty of plot and backstory to be found in Mick's ideas, he draws things out too long and the issues often become more style over substance. And while I absolutely love the style more than any other TRANSFORMERS comic before or since, the substance is sorely missed.

Note: This issue also includes a short story spotlighting Megatron entitled "Runnin With the Devil". I will review it separately in a couple weeks, along with another Megatron story from the TRANSFORMERS SUMMER SPECIAL.

* 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. This is as far as I am concerned where Dreamwave V3 goes tits up.
    This is the point where the storyline should have, ended but instead it just goes on and on and on and on. ( Just like this comment. )
    Even worse is that sunstorm was effectively defeated and then set free again, facilitating another 3 issues of pointless retreading.
    The fact that Omega Supreme is stupid enough to remove his visor and that he cant take Sunstorm out, but Jetfire later on succeeds in apparently destroying Sunstorm, ( 2 issues too late ) doesn't really help matters much either.

    You may have noticed that Focused Totality lost it's focus and ground to a halt.
    Life invariably, as it always does, gets in the way and I had to go on a hiatus.
    But i'm currently busy working on new reviews, which will be up shortly.
    I don't plan to close out the year with out a good supply of reviews and making some sort of headway in to the series.

    1. Yes, the business about Sunstorm being beaten multiple times throughout this storyline is what bugs me most. Though I don't mind that Omega Supreme is unable to defeat Sunstorm but Jetfire pulls it off, as Jetfire sacrifices his life to do so.

      I did notice that you seemed to drop out of sight recently. I caught up on Focused Totality last week but was surprised you hadn't added anything more. I look forward to your next update! I understand how hard it is to get a good queue of posts set up.

    2. It mostly bugs me, because I dispise Sunstorm, and having Omega Supreme destroy him, would have ended this dreary storyline 2 issues faster. But I digress.

      I have uploaded a new review, of a totally new ( deranged) series. As if I don't have enough to do.
      Thankfully this series is only a 5 issue mini series.