Writer: Simon Furman | Pencils: Joe Ng | Inks: Tracy Ho
Issue 5 Solicit: HE'S BACK! Optimus Prime, right? Well... maybe. But then again... maybe not! Blaster's desperate bid to free the enslaved Autobots lies in ruins, his and his entire team's lives are Megatron's to take at his will. But in their darkest hour, a hero returns to the fray, a force too powerful to be contained even by death's dark dominion. Prepare to be shocked senseless all over again!
Issue 6 Solicit: Last Stand! Finally... the battle you've been waiting for! Optimus Prime returns to take on his archenemy Megatron. But is Prime the 'bot he was? Scarred mentally and physically by his nightmarish exile, Prime plainly may not be up to the job! But if he can't beat Megatron and stop the rise of his second-generation clone army ... who can?
Continuity Notes: According to more detailed summaries of issues 5 and 6, Perceptor would have learned that Megatron's clones were powered by the same energy which runs through all Transformers.
It would have been revealed in issue 5 that Megatron was in league with the Quintessons (a startling revelation which, as I noted previously, would have been robbed of all its surprise thanks to the spoiler cover on issue 1).
Grimlock would have been reincarnated in the body of one of Megatron's aerospace clones, and it would have been revealed in issue 5 that he had some ancient connection to the very first Transformers, and his spark was kept alive by the Transformers' god, Primus, since all the Primes were out of the picture at this point -- which explains why the Fallen considered his spark special in THE DARK AGES. (Does this sound like bad fan fiction to anyone else?)
In issue 6, Primus would have re-energized Optimus Prime and the Quintessons would have later determined that whatever they wanted lay not just in Cybertron's core -- which is why they had Megatron mining it with his Autobot slave labor -- but also within Prime himself. This would likely have tied in with the Quintessons' plot to capture Optimus in the aborted GENERATION ONE ongoing.
Flash would have alerted all Transformers that Megatron was in league with the Quintessons, turning the Decepticons against him to end the story.
Body Count: After passing the revelation about Megatron along to the rest of his people, Flash would have perished, presumably at the hands of the Sharkticons.
My Thoughts: Based on the above, it sounds like Furman would have lost me somewhat in the second half of AGE OF WRATH, but I still see shades of the best of his three WAR WITHIN series here. For me, a big part of why it's the best is the tie-in with the then-ongoing GENERATION ONE series. As I noted in my coverage of issue 2, up until AGE OF WRATH, it almost felt like Furman and James McDonough & Adam Patyk were writing about two separate TRANSFORMERS continuities despite Dreamwave's claims to the contrary.
That said, as noted above, the Grimlock shenanigans in AGE OF WRATH would've been way too much to take. It's apparently not enough for Furman to make him the coolest, strongest, smartest Autobot of all, but apparently he needs to be special too, with a direct lineage to the original Transformers and an indestructible spark granted him by the Transformers' god. I will seriously never understand why Furman heaps all this stuff of Grimlock, of all characters. Optimus Prime, I'd understand. Ultra Magnus, I'd understand. Heck, even Hot Rod or Springer or Blaster! But I just can't buy Grimlock as the end-all, be-all greatest Transformer who ever lived.
Plus, I'm not exactly thrilled with the appearance/influence of Primus in these unpublished issues. One of the things I liked about the GENERATION ONE ongoing is that McDonough and Patyk were moving the Transformers away from Furman's ill-conceived creation myth origin and in a direction which seemed to favor the Sunbow idea that, being robots, they were built by the Quintessons. I just find that origin a lot cleaner than Furman's mystical nonsense. For me, the Transformers work best without magic or mythology.
Nonetheless, THE AGE OF WRATH would have been a fine installment in the WAR WITHIN saga, and it's really a shame Dreamwave's collapse cut it short.