Friday, September 16, 2016

TRANSFORMERS: THE WAR WITHIN #5

Story: Simon Furman | Pencils: Don Figueroa | Inks: Elaine To
Colors: Rob Ruffalo | Letters: Dreamer Design | Graphic Design: Kevin Lee
Pre-Press: Kell-O-Graphics | President/Art Director: Pat Lee | VP/Editor-in-Chief: Roger Lee

The Plot: Grimlock and his team descend beneath Cybetron's surface. Meanwhile, Shockwave's forces breach Iacon's defenses. Upon finding the Decepticons working on Cybertron's engines, Grimlock leaves to find Prime on his own while Kup, Ironhide, and Wheeljack remain to stop Starscream. Elsewhere, Optimus Prime and Megatron find themselves as phantom observers of the future, where the Autobot/Decepticon war has moved to another planet.

Starscream explains his plot to reroute power from Cybetron's engines, shedding the planet's skin and remaking the world in his own image. Meanwhile, the Constructicons stumble across Kup and company. Prime and Megatron continue their fight in the Matrix, but are transported again to a different place and time. Grimlock continues his search for Optimus while Kup and the others fight the Constructicons. Prime and Megatron return to present day Cybertron, where Grimlock somehow pulls Prime away from Megatron to a different location. He then tells Prime the only way to defeat Megatron is to kill him.

Then, as Shockwave overwhelms the remaining Autobots in Iacon, Starscream activates the "mechaforming" process.

Continuity Notes: Kup implies that Grimlock used to be a Decepticon in the early days of the civil war.

G1 References: Shockwave breaching Iacon seems like it might be a tribute to Megatron's assault on Autobot City in TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE, but it's hard to tell for sure.

The scene set on Earth, though, is definitely an homage to the original series' pilot episode, "More Than Meets the Eye" (or possibly, given Simon Furman's involvement, its Marvel U.K. adaptation, "Decepticon Dam-Busters!"), featuring Optimus and Megatron dueling atop a dam with an energy axe and energy morning star, respecively, while Bumblebee and Hound arrive at the dam control area below.

The second environment to which the Matrix transports the dueling Transformers is presumably the planet Nebulos, as the panel set there features Headmasters Fortress Maximus and Highbrow and Targetmaster Hot Rod.

My Thoughts: As I noted when I covered REGENERATION ONE some time back, Simon Furman really likes Grimlock. A lot. Grimlock seems to be his favorite character in the TRANSFORMERS mythos. I just don't get it.

Not to rehash old complaints, but I've stated before that I prefer Grimlock and the other Dinobots to be big, lumbering simpletons. Not necessarily idiots -- the Dinobots of the early G1 cartoons, while a bit dim, were generally portrayed as fairly cunning as well -- but just not... this, either. Furman's Grimlock here is perhaps my least-liked version in his long handling of the character. Not only is he incredibly smart and aggressive, he's also apparently a good strategic commander (he has the likes of Ironhide and Kup, two veteran Autobot warhorses, under his direct command) and he spouts off wise platitudes and advice to whichever Autobots are around to listen.

Plus this issue gives us the origin of "Me, Grimock -- badass," a phrase which is so antithetical to the version of the character I like that I can't even begin to explain what I find wrong with it. Grimlock is not a badass! He's not smart; he's not a good strategist. He's a big blunt instrument to be employed when the Autobots need some added power to fight Devastator or Trypticon or something.

And for Pete's sake, he was built on Earth; he didn't exist on Cybertron during the civil war in the first place.

Okay, maybe I did rehash an old rant. Sorry. Sunbow forever!

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