Friday, September 2, 2016


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

The Plot: Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker argue over a botched mission, then go their separate ways. Elsewhere, Megatron's forces pursue Optimus Prime deeper into Cybertron while ahead, Prime sees a vision of himself talking about the planet. As the Decepticons under Shockwave's command lay siege to Iacon, Prime battles Ravage.

At Decepticon headquarters, Megatron reveals his plan to turn Cybertron into a cosmic dreadnought to Starscream, and states that he needs the Autobot Matrix of Leadership as a power source for the massive craft. Starscream scoffs at this idea. Meanwhile, Optimus defeats Ravage, the Insecticons and the rest of Megatron's forces beneath the surface. Elsewhere, Prowl contacts Grimlock with a mission.

Beneath Cybertron's surface, Megatron catches up with Optimus Prime and challenges him, but Starscream shows up and blasts away the bridge on which the two are standing. As Starscream gloats, they plummet deeper into the planet.

Continuity Notes: The off-page encounter between Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker versus Grimlock occurred in WAR WITHIN #0, which I don't own and thus have skipped for this review series.

Optimus Prime's vision claims it is comprised of those who previously ventured into Cybertron seeking a connection with it.

Megatron's plan is clarified here for both Starscream and the readers: He did not order the Constructicons to build the turbines within the planet as last issue hinted; rather he discovered that the engines existed and had the Constructicons repair them. This fits with the work of James McDonough in WAR AND PEACE, which revealed that Shockwave had also discovered the engines and was working to repair them.

G2 References: As noted last time, Simon Furman previously explored the concept of a planet-starship with the "Warworld" in GENERATION 2 (and again later in REGENERATION ONE). Here, Megatron explicitly refers to his starship Cybertron as a "war world".

My Thoughts: Okay, this is a bit more like it. After last issue's decompressed let-down, here we have a little more meat to the story. While still not as dense as a vintage Marvel issue (or even an issue of the soon-to-begin WAR AND PEACE), it at least feels somewhat substantial as we get a few fights, some character development (mainly for Starscream and Prime), and some plot advancement as well.

One thing I really like about this series is the layers with which Furman treats the title. "The War Within" refers, on a metaphysical level, to Optimus Prime's acceptance of the mantle of Autobot leader and his struggle to determine whether or not to abandon Cybertron to the Decepticons -- but, as of this issue, Optimus and Megatron begin a literal "war within" Cybertron, having plummeted deep into the planet, where they will remain for the majority of the remainder of the series.

Of course this is all soon trashed as Dreamwave realizes that "War Within" makes for a good recognizable branding for these Furman-penned prequels, and we get two more (or one-and-a-half more) mini-series with the same title even though they have little or nothing to do with this original concept (though Furman will continue to feature scenes set "within" Cybertron in an attempt to justify the titles).

The first two issues were a bit of a let-down, but here Furman seems to be finding his groove -- and it's understandable it might take him a while after years away from comic book scripting. Hopefully from here on out, that classic Transformers feel will remain.

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