Friday, December 18, 2015


Writers: James "Brad Mick" McDonough & Adam Patyk | Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To | Colors: Espen Grundetjern | Letters: Ben Lee

The Plot: Deep beneath the Earth's surface, as Sunstorm sinks into a pool of glowing liquid, Starscream prepares to execute Bumblebee. Meanwhile, on Cybertron, Prowl holds a meeting of several Autobots and they debate returning to Earth. Ultimately the decision is reached to do so. And back on Earth, Warpath and Bumper, along with the still-unconscious Jazz and the rest, are driven into the desert aboard a human truck, which descends underground via a concealed elevator. Elsewhere, Omega Supreme and Cliffjumper worry over their friends.

Back underground, Sunstorm rises once more and attacks Starscream, then grabs Bumblebee and prepares to kill him. But his body has a reaction to the liquid in which he was submerged and he begins to disintegrate. Jetfire comes around and enters the fray, causing Sunstorm to retreat back to the surface and into the sky. Jetfire appeals to the friendship he once shared with Starscream, then pursues Sunstorm. Starscream picks up the unconscious Bumblebee and returns to the surface.

Meanwhile, high in the sky, Jetfire realizes Sunstorm is on the verge of self-destructing. While Starscream deposits Bumblebee on a beach somewhere and departs, Jetfire pushes Sunstorm out of the atmosphere, where both are enveloped in a massive explosion.

On Earth, Bumblebee observes Jetfire's demise, salutes, and abandons his blaster on the beach as he walks away.

Continuity Notes: The group of Autobots in Prowl's meeting are all ex-Ark crewmembers. It's noted that the Autobots have already begun to fortify Cybertron's two moons, and want to do the same on Earth.

Sunstorm attempts to kill Bumblebee while ranting that "the Oracle has favored [Bumblebee] while betraying [Sunstorm]!" He also states that he can see "...radiance deep within [Bumblebee]."

G1 References: During the meeting, it's noted that Mirage was once Cybertronian nobility, a tidbit from his original toy's bio which was rarely, if ever, touched upon in previous TRANSFORMERS fiction (it's also stated here that his estate was divvied up by Shockwave while the Ark was lost on Earth.

Body Count: As noted above, Sunstorm and Jetfire both apparently perish in battle above the Earth's atmosphere.

My Thoughts: The story arc that wouldn't end finally does, and naturally it raises more questions than it answers. While we learned quite a bit about Sunstorm's origins last issue, we're still mostly in the dark as to his motives. He's babbled about leading the Transformes to heaven, but after his contact with the strange liquid this issue, the hints in speech seem to indicate that this destiny will actually belong to Bumblebee. Then he dies.

We have no answers about the subterranean cavern either; only that it's not a natural part of Earth and that it required someone who had been "touched" by Megatron to access. So did Megatron put it there? If so, when? Before the Ark crashed on Earth millions of years ago? In theory Megatron didn't know our planet existed back then, so it seems unlikely. And the impending cancellation of the series means we'll never receive an answer.

So, a quick theory: It was known at the time these issues came out that Dreamwave intended to integrate the continuity of the BEAST WARS TV series into their ongoing comics, beginning with a BEAST WARS miniseries which never saw publication. For those unaware, BEAST WARS told the story of two warring groups of Transformes from the distant future who were hurled back in time and fought each other on Earth during the time the Ark lay dormant. And part of the plot of the series involved the BEAST WARS version of Megatron (a different character with the same name, taken to honor the previous Decepticon leader) absorbing the spark of the original Megatron into his body.

Thus it seems likely this underground cavern was found or created by BEAST WARS Megatron, and sealed by him as well, so that only someone else who had touched Megatron's spark could open it. I wouldn't be surprised if this is what the aborted BEAST WARS miniseries would have revealed. (Though how, exactly, Starscream would have been "touched" by Megatron remains unknown.)

Overall this arc has been a bit too supernatural for me, and obviously it ran way, way too long. The entire story could've been told in no more (and probably less) than four issues. But we got some great artwork and some wonderful dialogue; reading the scene featuring Prowl's meeting gave me the clearest impression of the original G1 cartoon voices so far (though the coloring was very distracting with a couple sets each of red and yellow optics -- all Autobots have blue eyes, darn it!). I think my main gripe besides the supernatural angle is that the story focused almost solely on Bumblebee, Jetfire, and Starscream, with nearly all other characters sidelined. I tend to view TRANSFORMERS as an ensemble piece, and placing such a narrow focus on such a tiny group of characters feels like a disservice to the franchise.


  1. I think I groused enough about what I didn't like about this series, but I will do it all over again !
    I dislike the boring tedious length.
    The focus on characters I cant stand . (Starscream and Sunstorm)
    But above all, I can't stand that how 13 issues in, ( issue 0 and v2 included ) we still have zero anwsers.
    Nothing, nothing what so ever, not even an allusion to an awnser. And even more galling we will never get any awnsers and it's only 4 issues before v3 folds. Instead of spending time on this dreary boring story line that grinds to a halt and goes nowhere, we could have gotten some awnsers.
    But instead we got a tpb friendly 6 part story arc, with blocky art with questionable story telling techniques and far too many nudge, nudge wink ,wink references.

    Questionable because at times it's hard to see what exactly is going on, on the pages such as the first fight between Sunstorm and Jetfire in issue 3.
    What exactly is going on there ? Jetfire does ...something and Sunstorm smashes into something.
    Figuroa is a great artist but in 2003 his story telling abilities were still a bit so so, but much much better then Pat Lee. ( Then again even Liefeld is better then Lee. )

    The next two issues aren't much cop either, throwing up more mysteries without resolving any of the current ones.

    1. I don't really mind the lack of answers yet. Some of my favorite Marvel comics stretched out their mysteries forever before resolving them. My only complaint on that front is that we never received the answers due to cancellation.

      I agree with you that some of Figueroa's art is difficult to follow, but I don't think it's all that bad. That first Jetfire/Sunstorm fight was pretty bad, though. I think I commented on it when I covered that issue.

    2. Those Marvel series never ran the risk of cancellation though. ( just rebooting )
      No, the worst thing is that Mick not even alludes to a solution and wastes time with issues 7 and 8. A story which could be completed in a single issue not spread over 2.
      But I will grouse about that when we get there.
      In the mean time, I hope to finish up Infiltration issues 5 and 6.
      Issue 4 is almost done.

    3. I'll pop on over to Focused Totality this week to see what's new!

      As for TRANSFORMERS, I actually like issues 7 and 8. I don't think they're too decompressed, and I enjoy the story. But as you said, we can cover that when we get there. #7 will go up this Friday.