Friday, October 14, 2016


Writer: Simon Furman | Pencils: Andrew Wildman | Inks: Erik Sander
Colors: Espen Grundetjern, Rob Ruffalo & Ramil Sunga | Letters: Benjamin Lee
President: Pat Lee | VP/Editor-in-Chief: Roger Lee
Creative Director: James McDonough | Project Manager: Derek Choo-Wing

The Plot: Springer fights Ratbat while Defensor and Devastator duke it out as well. At Autobase beneath Iacon, Jetfire converses with Trailbreaker and Bluestreak. Meanwhile, Prowl leads a unit to investigate the Decepticons' new mobile base, which reveals itself as a gigantic Transformer called Trypticon.

Devastator and Defensor continue their duel while the Wreckers prepare to retreat. Meanwhile, Jetfire begins analyzing data on the various factions' movements. The fight between Defensor and Devastator is joined by Springer. Jetfire contacts Shockwave and the pair prepare to meet to discuss Jetfire's findings.

Separated into their individual components, the Protectobots rig a trap which stuns and dismantles Devastator as he's about to finish Springer. In the aftermath, the Constructicons are captured. Elsewhere, Grimlock views a distress signal from Prowl and footage of the communication between Jetfire and Shockwave.

Continuity Notes: Springer and Ratbat debate the "Crisis Intervention Accord", which apparently prohibited the various combiner teams from participating in the multi-faction war.

Jetfire reveals that he discovered Trypticon in the first place and wonders why Prowl didn't invite him along to investigate. He also determines that the various Transformer factions are being manipulated by some outside force, a revelation which piques Shockwave's interest.

G1 References: We learn that Jetfire was once a Decepticon, in keeping with his G1 animation and comic book backstory.

My Thoughts: Before I get into the story, let's talk Ratbat. I admit that, despite my overall Sunbow Animation leanings, he's a character I like better in the G1 comics than in the cartoons -- in the TV show he's just another growling animal-bot for Soundwave to "eject", but in the comics as portrayed by Bob Budiansky, he's an ambitious schemer who also has the seemingly mundane job of being a fuel auditor for the Decepticons, which I've always found kind of funny.

But no matter his personality, I like him as a diminutive bat creature. In the TV series his size and alternate mode fit perfectly with the rest of Soundwave's minion. In the comics, the fact that this little cassette holds such sway within the Decepticon army is really cool. But in WAR WITHIN, Ratbat is presented as a bipedal robot about Springer's height, with a vaguely bat-like head, who has a winged alternate mode. He's really not rat-like and he's barely bat-like. His name makes no sense and he looks nothing like the Ratbat of old, something especially egregious when compared with most of the other WAR WITHIN designs, which plainly evoke the original characters upon whom they're based.

As for the story -- I like a lot of what Simon Furman has done over the years to flesh out Cyberton, giving it a system of government, breaking it down into territories and city-states; this is cool stuff. He seems influenced in some way by ancient Rome, what with giving the Transformers a ruling senate and equipping the planet with gladiatorial pits, as well tossing a few vaguely Romanesque names into the mix (part of this issue's action takes place on the "Praetorus Wharf", for example).

I'm less a fan of the idea that all the various Transformer factions would have had some summit where they agreed on "rules of war" for their conflict, such as the banning of combiner teams from the battlefield. I could see the Autobot factions perhaps doing this, but the idea that Ratbat, Starscream, etc. came to break bread with Grimlock, Prowl, and the rest, and they actually sat down and hammered out an accord before going to battle -- well, it just feels wrong. I understand that, historically, rules of engagement are a thing -- the Geneva Convention and so forth -- but I can't just buy this sort of civilized discourse from the Transformers for whatever reason.

(Though this is not the last we'll see of this sort of thing in Dreamwave's continuity -- MICROMASTERS, from the writing team of James McDonough and Adam Patyk, will visit the idea of Autobots and Decepticons working together on a more efficient way to conduct their war.)

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