Friday, December 15, 2017


Written by Tim Seeley | Pencils by Joe Ng, James Raiz, & Alex Milne
Inks by Rob Ross, M3th, & Alan Tam | Letters by Brian Crowley
Colors by Kevin Yan, Rob Ruffalo, & Tom Liu | Edits by Mike Sullivan

The Plot: Optimus Prime battles Serpentor, who suffers confusing bouts of pain from the back of his neck. Meanwhile, Hot Rod leads a combined Autobot/G.I. Joe assault on Serpentor's fortress. Inside, Hawk, Grimlock, and the rest search for Optimus Prime. Elsewhere, Optimus is defeated by Serpentor's right-hand men, Motormaster and Razorclaw. Serpentor opens the Matrix of Leadership within Prime.

Outside, the battle continues while within, Serpentor is transformed into a full-size Decepticon -- but the Matrix has seemingly changed him, removing his warlike nature -- until his body is remotely hijacked by Cobra Commander from Earth. Hawk and company burst in and attack, and Hawk grabs the Matrix after Arcee rips off Serpentor's chestplate. Serpentor is deactivated while, outside, the Autobots and Joes rout the Decepticons. On Earth, Cobra Commander is rendered apparently catatonic.

Later, peace has returned to Cybertron. The Autobots mourn Bumblebee while Hawk comes to terms with his new Matrix-enhanced consciousness.

Continuity Notes: The pain from Serpentor's neck comes from a device planted there by Zartan in issue 1, which subsequently allows Cobra Commander to take control of the robot.

The final page gives us glimpses of threats yet to come, including Doctor Mindbender and Cobra-La, the villains of the next mini-series, as well as latter day Joe characters Sergeant Savage and Iron Klaw, plus city-scale Transformers Trypticon and Metroplex, hinting at a possible fifth series which was likely aborted by Devil's Due losing the G.I. Joe license.

G1 References: None.

G.I. References: Mentioned above, Sergeant Savage and Iron Klaw were characters from Hasbro's attempts to modernize the G.I. Joe line in the mid-nineties with larger action figures and new continuity. The revamped line was called "Sergeant Savage and his Screaming Eagles", and was supplanted soon after by "G.I. Joe Extreme". Neither lasted very long.

My Thoughts: Hot Rod is still leading things in Prime's absence, despite the huge presence of Ultra Magnus among his forces. But more importantly... Cobra Commander is able to hijack Serpentor's body with a little gadget planted by Zartan... from across the galaxy?? Presumably the device was created using some of the Transformer technology floating around on Earth for the past few years, because otherwise I don't know how this could be possible. Either way, it comes off as lazy on Seeley's part.

Plus, I still question the inclusion of Cobra Commander here in the first place. It seems to me an all-out battle royale between the Autobots, Joes, and Serpentor would've been more than enough to close out this series.

One criticism with the script, too: near the end, after Arcee exposes the Matrix within Serpentor's chest, Hawk asks the injured Optimus Prime for an assist, and Prime hurls the unarmed Hawk, "fastball special" style, at Serpentor. As soon as he reaches his target, Hawk grabs for the Matrix and Prime shouts, "HAWK! NO! IT'S TOO MUCH FOR A HUMAN!"

...What did he think Hawk was going to do?? Punch the twenty foot tall robot in the face?

Also, I don't know which of our intrepid pencilers drew the final few pages of this issue, but it looks mostly awful. Characters' faces appear amateurishly rendered for the most part, and and the figures seem off a lot of the time, too. That said, there is a really nice visual gag when Doctor Knox tries to wake the catatonic Cobra Commander right near the end.

Criticisms aside, overall this is a fun conclusion to what is probably the strongest of the three crossovers thus far. And it's fascinating to watch the evolution of these things, too -- each one gets progressively more outrageous. The initial mini-series feels very long ago and very small and down-to-earth compared with this stuff!

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