Friday, November 3, 2017


Written by Dan Jolley | Pencils by E.J. Su, Tim Seeley, Emiliano Santalucia, & Guido Guidi
Inks by Andrew Pepoy & Sean Parsons | Letters by Dreamer Design
Colors by Jeremy Roberts & Val Staples | Edits by Mark Powers

The Plot: Barbecue, Spirit, Doctor Mindbender, Tomax, and Xamot are attacked by Decepticon Sweeps in the post-apocalyptic wasetland, but the Dreadnoks, now more cyborg than human, rescue them. Buzzer, Torch, and Ripper take the humans to the leader of their resistance, Duke (also now a cyborg). Duke explains that the Decepticons invaded Earth in 2014 and have ruled ever since -- but two years ago an Autobot appeared who joined the rebels' cause. Realizing this is the Transformer they came to find, the Joe/Cobra team leaves Duke to search for him. Torch joins their quest in hopes that returning the Autobot to the past will erase his history from existence.

Back in the present, Shockwave and Cyclonus discuss the imminent failure of the force field protecting the remaining Autobots and Joes from an all-out Decepticon assault. In the future, the Joes and Cobras are led by Torch across the wasteland to find their quarry, Ratchet. Now hardened by his fight against the Decepticons, Ratchet agrees to discuss returning to the past if the Joe/Cobra group will help him rescue a group of human slaves from a nearby factory. Their mission is a success, but Ratchet refuses to leave the timeline. Barbecue forces him back to the past, but as soon as the group materializes on Cybertron, Ratchet is shot in the back by Shockwave. The force field has failed and the Autobots have been defeated.

Continuity Notes: Oddly, a Decepticon appears on the issue's cover who has never, to my knowledge, existed in any continuity or as a toy. At first I thought maybe he was a Japanese character, but that seems not to be the case.

Tomax and Xamot reveal that they have been modified by Cybertronian technology and display it more than once by way of crippling energy blasts in battle against the Decepticons.

G1 References: It's probably not intentional, but this issue brings to mind a classic G1 comic book story, "Rhythms of Darkness!", which featured a ragtag band of Autobots and humans fighting against Earth's Decepticon conquerors in an alternate timeline.

In this continuity, it seems that Cyclonus is not reformatted by Unicron, existing at the same time as Skywarp, Thundercracker, and the Insecticons (any of which could be him per TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE).

G.I. References: When Xamot is killed (spoiler alert; see below), Tomax feels his pain per the Cobra twins' original cartoon and comic book characterization.

Body Count: Shockwave disintegrates Xamot when he and his brother attempt to use their Cybertronian augmentations against him.

My Thoughts: A nice recovery from the prior installment, I suppose. Post-apocalyptic futures have been done to death, of course, especially in TRANSFORMERS but also in the G.I. JOE episode "Worlds Without End" -- but the comic is allowed to go a bit further than a 1980s animated cartoon, so we have full-on cyborg Duke and Dreadnoks. A "hardened" Ratchet also feels like an overdone trope, but I'm actually hard-pressed to think of many such instances of the top of my head. Maybe it just seems like something that should have happened because it's so obvious.

Artistically, there's something cool about this one that's hard to pin down. The IDW reprints I'm reading don't list individual issue credits, hence my including the exact same pencilers and inkers for every issue of these series, but some quick research indicates that this installment featured layouts from Tim Seeley, pencils from Emiliano Santalucia and Guido Guidi, and inks from Andrew Pepoy and Sean Parsons. Now, someone among that group has done something -- I suspect probably one of the inkers -- to make certain shots of the Transformer characters, especially Shockwave, look similar to their depictions in the Marvel U.K. TRANSFORMERS comics. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what they did, but it's just a general sense you get from the artwork, that some of this stuff would've fit right in with those eighties tales from across the pond. Anyway, whatever it is, I like it.

Lastly, since I have a little space left, I'll note a quick pet peeve that keeps popping up throughout the series (and which I think started in the prior series under Josh Blaylock): everyone, including the Transformers themselves, refers to the alien robots as "Cybertronians". Now I know they're from Cybertron, so that is probably the correct technical term -- but in most continuities they -- and everyone else -- refer to themselves as Transformers. Their technology is Cybertronian, but they are Transformers. Maybe Blaylock and Jolley did this intentionally -- maybe they thought it was silly for these beings to be called Transformers in-universe. I don't know. All I can say is that for whatever reason, it really sticks in my craw every time I see a Transformer referred to as a Cybertronian.

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