Friday, August 26, 2016


Story: Simon Furman | Pencils: Don Figueroa | Inks: Elaine To
Colors: Rob Ruffalo | Letters: Dreamer Design | Pre-Press: Kell-O-Graphics
President/Art Director: Pat Lee | VP/Editor-in-Chief: Roger Lee

The Plot: Megatron holds court with his followers while the Autobots prepare to evacuate Cybertron under orders from Optimus Prime. Later, Megatron has the Constructicons begin work in turning Cybertron into a "cosmic dreadnought". He orders one of the planet's turbines activated, which destroys Orbital Torus State Kaon.

Optimus Prime realizes the destructive blast originated from within the planet and heads underground in search of Megatron, but he is ambushed by the Insecticons instead. Meanwhile, with Prime away, Shockwave leads an all-out Decepticon assault on Iacon.

Continuity Notes: Megatron's past as a gladiator is teased, though he insinuates that all Decepticons fought in underground arenas at one time.

Prime realizes Megatron's scheme when he recalls one of his would-be assassins last issue bragging that "...the seeds of destruction have already been sown under your very feet" -- hence the gigantic engines beneath Cybertron's surface.

G1 References: Laserbeak is drawn in his Cybertronian character model from the G1 pilot episode, "More Than Meets the Eye". Indeed, though I didn't note it last time, all the characters depicted with Cybertronian modes in the original animation have those same modes here (Wheeljack, Bumblebee, Starscream, etc.) -- though Figueroa has designed new robot forms for them to match these alternate vehicle modes.

G2 References: Simon Furman seems somewhat obsessed with planet-ships. In Marvel's GENERATION 2 series, Decepticon commander Bludgeon cruised around the galaxy with his forces in a "Warworld". Here, Megatron plans to convert Cybertron into, as noted above, a "cosmic dreadnought". Furman also revisted the Warworld in REGENERATION ONE at IDW.

Body Count: The Decepticons destroy a city with no survivors left behind.

My Thoughts: WAR WITHIN may be Simon Furman's first dalliance with decompression, a concept he would pick up again over at IDW when rebooting the Transformers a few years later. It is not something he does well. I'm generally no fan of decompression under any circumstances, but here it's particularly glaring. Nothing happens this issue. The Decepticons stand around talking, the Autobots stand around talking, then something blows up and we have a cliffhanger. The Furman who had worked on Marvel's TRANSFORMERS series years earlier could've done all this in about ten pages of a regular issue.

So since there's little in the way of story to discuss here, let's talk about Don Figueroa's Cybertronian Transformers. I recall liking them at the time these issues came out. I appreciate that he kept the Sunbow Animation modes for characters who had them, and I was glad to see that he'd corrected the cartoon's oversight of having, say, Jazz change from a Cybertronian hovercar into a robot with clearly defined Porsche parts all over his body.

And while I still appreciate this in theory, I find that -- for me, at lest -- these designs haven't aged all that well. The main problem is that everyone is too big and bulky. This works for characters like Megatron and Grimlock, but not for others. Optimus Prime looks as wide as he is tall in robot form, compared with his traditionally more humanoid-proportioned appearance. And then there are Autobots like Brawn, who should be short and squat, but who here looks tall and lanky for some reason.

So Figueroa gets points for effort but not execution. So far WAR WITHIN doesn't blow me away in terms of either story or art.

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