Friday, October 7, 2016


Writer: Simon Furman | Pencils: Andrew Wildman | Inks: Erik Sander
Colors: Espen Grundetjern, Rob Ruffalo & Ramil Sunga | Letters: Benjamin Lee
President: Pat Lee | VP/Editor-in-Chief: Roger Lee
Creative Director: James McDonough | Project Manager: Derek Choo-Wing

The Plot: The Fallen leads Bludgeon, Bugly, and Mindwipe into the Well of All Sparks beneath Cybertron. Meanwhile, Springer and the Wreckers come into conflict with Devastator. Elsewhere, the Protectobots learn of Devastator's appearance. Springer is separated from his unit and encounters the villainous Ratbat.

Beneath Cybertron, Bludgeon and the others make plans involving Grimlock. Above, the Wreckers are joined in their battle against Devastator by the Protectobots in their combined form of Defensor. Springer escapes from Ratbat while, at Autobase beneath Iacon, Jetfire returns to find the place deserted.

Continuity Notes: The Fallen gives Bludgeon a vision of some apocalyptic racial memory residing within all Transformers.

It's implied that, as the very first Transformer combiner, Devastator is imperfect, being kind of dumb in his united form.

Ratbat leads a faction of Transformers called the Ultracons, which includes the Constructicons and the "deluxe" Insecticions, Venom, Barrage, Chop Shop, and Ransack (at least I assume Barrage is a member; the other three are pictured in this issue but he isn't).

G1 References: The Wreckers are, of course, a unit of elite Autobot warriors created by Simon Furman in the original Marvel U.K. TRANSFORMERS comics. The group here consists of Springer, Broadside, Top Spin, Twin Twist, Roadbuster, and Whirl.

My Thoughts: Well, at least this issue feels a little more substantial than the first one -- which is odd, in a way. Issue 1 had a ton of jumping around, cutting between multiple scenes focusing on myriad characters. This installment, on the other hand, focuses pretty much exclusively on the Fallen and his disciples, and the Wrecker/Ultracon/Protectobot battle, with only a short two-page scene for Jetfire at the end.

But somehow I feel like there's more story here. The issue still breezes by in a scant few minutes, but things feel more substantial as we get a better idea of what's been happening on Cybertron lately, and the politics of the various groups. In particular, it's notable that, per Protectobot leader Hot Spot, no combiner team had declared for any of the warring factions until the Constructicons hitched up with Ratbat. This development forces the Protectobots to choose their side as well.

Though perhaps Furman wanted the first issue to be confusing, throwing readers as it does into a status quo we've never seen before; a version of the Transformer war where there are multiple sides rather than just two. If that was his intention then it worked, but usually when that storytelling device is utilized, something is done to let the reader understand that they're reading an intentionally confusing chapter, and that things will be fully explained later on.

Lastly, a quick note on Jetfire: He appears on the Don Figueroa-illustrated cover to issue 1, though he's wearing his battle mask. He shows up here without the mask, in a dramatic full-page splash apparently designed to leave readers scratching their heads over who this guy is. He looks nothing like the Jetfire we know, being drawn in his Cybertronian mode, and without the mask shown on issue 1's cover, he's completely unrecognizable.

There was some pre-press about this series which mentioned Jetfire's appearance, so I'm pretty sure I knew at the time who this was supposed to be, but that doesn't excuse such sloppy storytelling. Don't cater your comic to the hardcore fans who already know what it's about! Explain things to make it appealing to new and casual fans as well!

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