Friday, September 23, 2016


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

The Plot: As Iacon crumbles thanks to the mechaforming process, Optimus Prime hunts Megatron beneath Cybertron's surface. Meanwhile, Kup, Ironhide, and Wheeljack battle Starscream's forces in the mechaforming control room. Shockwave orders a Decepticon retreat from Iacon and the Autobots follow suit.

Optimus defeats Megatron while Grimlock arrives to aid Kup and company. Scrapper attempts to deactivate the mechaforming, but Starscream holds him back. Optimus Prime appears and rallies the Autobots. Together they force Starscream into retreat and destroy the Cybertronian engine conducting the mechaforming. However the damage is done and Iacon is destroyed.

Reunited with the rest of the Autobots, Optimus Prime rescinds his order to evacuate the planet, telling the Autobots they must stay and fight as an underground guerilla force. Meanwhile, Megatron finds Soundwave beneath the surface and together they head back topside. Later, Optimus tells Grimlock that he was given the combined knowledge of all previous Primes the day he was anointed, but he has chosen to ignore that information and make his own way as the new Autobot commander.

Continuity Notes: Iacon is destroyed this issue. It will have been rebuilt by the time of the upcoming MICROMASTERS mini-series.

G1 References: As in the GENERATION ONE ongoing series, also drawn by Don Figueroa, Bumblebee is seen here removing a battle mask which resembles the face of his original toy. As well, at one point we see Wheeljack with his toy face during a fight.

BEAST WARS References: The accumulated knowledge of the previous Primes supplied to Optimus comes in the form of a golden disk. It's unclear if this is meant to be the same such disk as seen in BEAST WARS, but knowing Furman's involvement with that series, it seems likely.

(Also, doesn't the Matrix already contain the accumulated wisdom of all previous Autobot leaders? At least according to the G1 cartoon series, anyway...)

My Thoughts: And thus concludes THE WAR WITHIN, Simon Furman's Dreamwave debut. I have to admit, much as I was perturbed by the decompression throughout the entire thing, this final issue does go a ways toward making up for that problem. We have a cool Prime vs. Megatron fight, and we see Optimus Prime in action as the real Optimus Prime for the first time.

That said, I find Prime's evolution over the course of the story to be a little hard to swallow. Remember, issues 2 through 5 all seem to take place in the span of one day as Prime and Megatron duel beneath Cybertron while Shockwave leads an assault on Iacon. In that time, Prime went from being an uncertain, somewhat meek former archivist ordering the evacuation of Cybertron, to the inspiring leader of the Autobots with a pretty decent grasp of tactical combat. Yes, he was exposed to the Matrix, and yes, where the Matrix is concerned all bets tend to be off, but even so -- there's really no dialogue or anything clarifying this arc. It just sort of... happens.

(That said, this is exactly what I was wishing for last issue -- that Optimus could just magically become Optimus as in the original cartoon. The difference is that, in order to buy into Furman's concept of making it a natural evolution, one has to allow time for that evolution to take place -- which clearly isn't the case here.)

At the time WAR WITHIN started, Dreamwave was finishing up the initial GENERATION ONE mini-series. I've long remembered this story as really good, and I was surprised to find it kind of lacking. In retrospect, I believe I liked it a lot at the time since the only other new G1 material out there was the abysmal series by Chris Sarrachini and Pat Lee. However, without that for contrast, WAR WITHIN is actually pretty weak.

Will Furman's expeditions into Cybertron's ancient past improve with his second WAR WITHIN mini-series, THE DARK AGES? Let's find out starting next week.

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