Friday, October 30, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Pat Lee | Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia | Layout Assists: Ferd Poblete | Letters: Ben Lee
Colors: Espen Grundetjern, Alan Wang, Rob Ruffolo, Ramil Sunga & Pat Lee

The Plot: In the Vector Sigma chamber, Shockwave explains to Optimus Prime that 7.9 million years ago, after the Autobots and Decepticons led by Prime and Megatron departed Cybertron, the entire planet and all Transformers on it went into hibernation. Then, three thousand years ago, Shockwave awakened and set about reactivating the others and taking control of the planet. Meanwhile, Ultra Magnus slowly makes his way toward the chamber.

Outside, the Autobots and Decepticons fight while the ruling Autobot council debates whether to join the action. Meanwhile, Starscream, Soundwave, Rumble, Frenzy, Skywarp, and Thundercracker haul a quintet of deactivated Decepticons to the Autobot shuttle Sky Linx and attempt to leave the planet, but Sky Lynx has plans of his own.

Shockwave continues his story, claiming responsibility for the destruction of Ark II as a way to delay the Transformers' return to Cybertron, thus buying him more time to prepare his forces to invade Earth. Outside, the battle rages on as Grimlock joins the fray, followed in short order by the Autobot council.

Meanwhile, Shockwave declares that some secret knowledge about the history of the Transformer race lies buried on Earth and he intends to find it. But Ultra Magnus, sans his exterior armor, shows up and together he and Prime defeat Shockwave, sending him plummeting into a seemingly bottomless pit. Grimlock saves the pair and they exit Shockwave's citadel.

In deep space, Megatron's drifting body is found by a strange robot in a starship.

Continuity Notes: When Shockwave flashes back to the Transformers' deactivation, the characters are all in their Cybetronian modes, established in Dreamwave's WAR WITHIN mini-series by Simon Furman and Don Figueroa.

Shockwave's claim that he destroyed Ark II is a ret-con, as it was stated in "Prime Directive" that the deed was done by General Hallo. But I suppose it's possible Shockwave somehow controlled Hallo. He explains here that he has been well aware of Earth and its connection with the Transformers for some time, and we will learn in the ongoing series that he has agents on Earth with the ability to mind-control humans.

Shockwave also reveals that Cybertron is actually a massive starship, and he's managed to get some of its engines working again, explaining Perceptor's findings that it recently left its orbit. He also divulges that his research has uncovered the Transformers' original purpose: the Decepticons are conquerors, meant to go out into the galaxy and colonize it, while the Autobots are defenders, mean to remain behind on those colonies and safeguard them. He also implies that the Transformers' long-held belief they were programmed by a god named Primus may not be entirely true, and that the answer to this riddle lies on Earth.

The strange mustachioed robot who discovers Megatron drifting through space is Wreck-Gar, leader of the Junkions.

Body Count: Shockwave apparently perishes at the story's climax.

G1 References: Starscream refers to his five stolen Decepticons as " own personal brigade if you will." This is a reference to the original series episode "Starscream's Brigade", which introduced the Combaticons.

During the big fight, Blitzwing says to Hot Rod, "Nice move, Autobrat! But what comes up... Must come dow[n.]", mirroring his classic line in TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE, "Come on down, Autobrat!" -- also spoken to Hot Rod.

When Ultra Magnus dramatically appears to rescue Optimus Prime, he's lost all his armor and is now a white version of Prime. This is a callback to the Ultra Magnus toy, which featured a repaint of Optimus Prime that plugged into a much larger shell to form a big robot. This issue is the first time the resemblance was acknowledged in any continuity. Previously, Magnus's "inner robot" was never seen and he was usually shown to transform without such a component existing.

BEAST WARS References: The five Transformers stolen by Starscream are referred to as "protoforms", a term originating in the BEAST WARS TV series.

My Thoughts: There is a lot going on in this issue. Most of Shockwave's scenes are just big walls of text as he explains his plans. It's a bit much to wade through, and it would've been nice to have this stuff dropped in throughout the series rather than dumped all at once in the final issue, but putting that aside, I like a lot of what Mick is doing here. He's engaging in some admirable world-building with his version of the Transformers, and it's great to see. Most intriguing is the mystery of just how Earth and Cybertron are linked, and what secret of the Transformer race is hidden here on our little blue orb.

I also really like that at some point Mick ditched the conceit that this was a limited series. This is still the final issue, 6 of 6, but think about all the apparently dropped plots: Scourge. Jazz's group on Earth. Starscream's escape from Cybertron. At some point Mick must have become aware that an ongoing series would start soon, so rather than wrap up all his plot threads, he's essentially just treated these six issues as the first six installments of the ongoing. I like it.

What I don't like, however, is the artwork. I'm surprised how quickly it went wrong. Just a couple issues back I was praising Pat Lee for not having lost his touch yet. But suddenly all the bad I remember about his stuff is on display. His Transformers have become big and bulbous, and the storytelling -- somewhat questionable all along -- has become downright unintelligible. Though that last part might also be related to the coloring, which has become so dark that you can barely tell what's happening.

But this is Lee's last issue. Next, we'll move along to the ongoing series. Mick stays on board as writer, but is joined by the stellar Don Figueroa on pencils. It won't last long, but it'll be a fun ride.

* Due to working in Dreamwave's editorial department, writer James McDonough scripted his first several TRANSFORMERS comics under the pseudonym "Brad Mick". My reviews will use the Brad Mick name until the point where McDonough is officially credited by his real name.


  1. To be honest, for me this is where the Dreamwave G1 series went tits up.
    I already thought the constant fanwank and nudging references to the cartoon, were bad enough. But with this issue Dreamwave's solution to every mystery and dangling subplot, becomes Shockwave did it.

    Ark II explosion ? Shockwave did it.
    Truple changers ? Shockwave did it.
    The great shutdown ? Shockwave did it.
    Sennd Scourge to earth ? Shockwave did it.
    Micromasters ? Shockwave did it.

    well you get the idea, it's a Shockwave ex machina.

    Figueroa is a superior artist compared to Lee, no doubt about that.
    But his story telling is suspect at times.

    1. As a fan of the original comic book Shockwave -- the conniving schemer who constantly wanted to usurp Megatron's power -- and as a fan of characters like Mister Sinister -- behind the scenes masterminds who are retroactively inserted into every little event as string-pullers -- I actually didn't mind the revelations about Shockwave here. It's ludicrous, yes, but I liked it anyway.

    2. at one point it becomes implausible though.

      Anyway, I have caved in and bought the ps3 version of Devastation and sunk about 3 hours in it. ( and I'm half way through already it seems. )

      First the bad things.
      The game is very short, 6 hours on average.
      I'm fine with that, because my version was 30, if I bought the 49,99 version for the ps4 I'd be less pleased.

      The backgrounds and the game play it self is very monotonous.
      Course the game play is solid and it being just 6 hours or so doesn't hurt much in that regard.
      But you will be zipping across the same backgrounds more often then you'd like.

      ...There is platforming ...with dissapearing platforms, thankfully its so far just one section but i hate platforming.

      The game play is well odd the Autobots jump around as if they are weightless and its just odd to see them do that.
      Even Grimlock is fast instead of lumbering.
      But its hilarious to see him run and just plough through everything.

      Now the biggest problems.
      Only 5 autobots to choose from, and a random bunch at that.
      Optimus Prime, okay.
      Bumblebee, he has to be in there, I suppose. Not my favorite.
      Grimlock, but no other Dinobots ?!
      And then totally out of left field, Wheeljack and Sideswipe.

      No Ratchet, no Ironhide. ( I don't like Ironhide, but he is a stalwart. )
      No Prowl or Jazz or even Smokescreen. ( I ma fan of Smokescreen ..why are you looking at me like that ? )

      The cast is just very tiny and very random.
      Most of my time is spend playing as Sideswipe.

      And NO original music ! Nothing, not even from the 86 movie.
      It looks perfect, it looks like an interactive episode of the cartoon, but the immersion is ruined, ..well badly damaged, by no original music.

      Having said that, it is the original cartoon in video game form.
      Everybody sounds as much as possible the same as they have always been.
      Optimus Prime is heroic, Megatron is a cackeling loon.
      The plot is implausible and silly and all over the place, in short like the cartoon
      The good guys are good.
      The bad guys evil.
      The voice work is solid.
      The game play is solid too.
      And it has the original transformation sound too each and everytime.

      The cartoon may not be my favorite iteration of G1, but I am still a Transformers fan in general and of G1 in particular and this game hits all the right notes.

      And I am absolutely certain that you will love it.
      And for the going price of 30 bucks it's hard not to love. ( the ps4 version with a price tag of 50 is harder to love. Maybe if they include the full first season of the G1 cartoon, it wil be a better deal because I doubt there is a huge difference between the ps3 and 4 versions. )

    3. Thanks for the rundown on the game. I don't have a PS4 either, so I'll probably also pick up the PS3 version. Didn't realize it was only 30 bucks, but I'm glad to hear it!

      I suspected, based on gameplay videos I saw, that the game would be somewhat repetitive. Still, I think the look and the voices will hold my interest.

      I'm with you on the random inclusion of Wheeljack and Sideswipe as playable characters. I get the other three; they're G1 mainstays, but -- much as Wheeljack is one of my favorite Autobots -- I feel like the final two should've been Ironhide and Jazz, if we're going off of the most prominent characters from the G1 cartoon series.

      But at the same time, while they found a decent soundalike for Wheeljack to cover for the late Chris Latta, I suspect getting somebody to imitate Scatman Crothers as Jazz would've been a difficult task. So maybe instead of Jazz, the final two should've been Ironhide and Prowl. Heck, that's one less voice actor to pay, since Peter Cullen played both Prime and Ironhide!


      That's odd its 30 where I live but I'm from Europe.
      But even then, it shouldn't be $ 49,99 new.
      If you don't mind used its $ 35,95 then, which is more closer to what its actually worth.

      I agree that the other two characters should either be Ironhide and Jazz.
      Or Ironhide and Prowl.
      Especially because Cullen played Prime and Ironhide
      and Micheal Bell played Prowl and Sideswipe.

      But speaking of Jazz, Jazz's voice actor in Fall Of Cybertron and he sounded remarkably close to Scattman Crothers.

      All this makes the character choices even more mystifying. We could have had at least 10 Autobots
      Optimus Prime ( Cullen)
      Bumblebee ( Gilzevan)
      Wheeljack ( Scott Whyte )
      Grimlock (Berger )
      Sideswipe ( Bell)
      Prowl ( Bell)
      Ironhide ( Cullen)
      Jazz ( Baker or Whyte)
      and First Aid.

      Or even Jetfire, he was voiced by Gregg Berger.
      Maybe we will get all those in part 2, if there is a part 2.

      but stil its a decent gaem for what it is

    5. Hmm, is First Aid in the game in some capacity? I could see why if he is -- he was also played by Michael Bell in the cartoon, so that's another easy casting choice. And finding a Don Messick soundalike to play Ratchet could be difficult; he had a very cool and distinctive voice.

    6. No sadly First Aid isn't.
      I was just throwing names around they could have used to expand the cast.
      Especially with Cullen and Bell around, they already have Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Prowl, Sideswipe and First Aid.

      It might be difficult to find a soundalike for Ratchet, but Troy Baker sounded a lot like Scatman Crothers in Fall Of Cybertron, and Starscream sounds kinda like Latta. So it's possible.
      Difficult, but possible.

    7. True. Actually I liked the voice they used for Ratchet in the Bay movies, Robert Foxworth. He didn't sound like Don Messick, but I thought his voice fit the character. Though for the G1 iteration of the character, I'd want him to go a little less gruff with his performance.