Friday, October 28, 2016


Writer: Simon Furman | Pencils: Andrew Wildman | Inks: Erik Sander
Additional Inks: Rob Armstrong | Colors: Alan Wang & Ramil Sunga | Letters: Ben Lee

The Plot: Grimlock is defeated by the Fallen, then he and Jetfire are carted away by the villain and his disciples, but Shockwave, playing possum, observes their departure. Later, Prowl receives a call from Swoop indicating that Grimlock and the others are all missing and there are signs of a battle in the spot where they were to meet. Prowl suggests that both groups work together to find their missing teammates, then the Fallen attacks Autobase's holding cells.

Meanwhile, the Protectobots mull over their recent battle with Trypticon. Bludgeon, Mindwipe, and Bugly attack and defeat them, taking Hot Spot prisoner. Back at Autobase, the Fallen cuts through a trio of Autobot guards and frees Blitzwing from incarceration.

Later, Jetfire awakens to find himself, along with Grimlock, Blitzwing, and Hot Spot, shackled to a large machine which the Fallen indicates will take their lives as part of some unknown war effort.

Continuity Notes: Jetfire deduces that the Fallen hails from Cybertron's distant past, sometime before the "Golden Age". The Fallen scoffs at this term and declares that Cybertron has now entered a Dark Age.

Prowl refers to Blitzwing as an experiment and we later learn that he was created (or modified) by Shockwave.

It's stated by the Protectobots that whatever process rendered Devastator a simpleton was supposedly overcome when Defensor was created, yet the group was just as feral during their battle with Trypticon.

The Fallen calls the conflict for which he plans to sacrifice Jetfire and the others "...a war... of the gods!"

G1 References: Prowl refers to the Constructicons and the Protectobots as "Special Teams", a term which originated in Marvel U.K.'s TRANSFORMERS comics.

My Thoughts: It occurs to me that I've been going on and on about the decompression and the artwork that I haven't really spoken much to the story of THE DARK AGES. I noted last time that Furman has expanded the cast and scope of the thing, and that's greatly appreciated. But beyond that, despite the ridiculous decompression, this tale is actually very well plotted. The Fallen provides a nice hook; who is he? What is he? What is his mysterious plan for Cybertron? How do Jetfire, Grimlock, Hot Spot, and Blitzwing specifically all fit into it? What outside force is influencing the various Transformer factions and is it related to the Fallen? It's an interesting and very ominous mystery, and I hope it pays off in the final chapter (I did read this when it first came out, but never again since and I don't really remember it at all).

So kudos to Furman for coming up with an engrossing original story. There have been many "prequel" tales of the Transformers on Cybertron prior to the departure of the Ark over the years, but for whatever reason they rarely hold my interest. I tend to prefer the Transformers on Earth (or occasionally on Cybertron) in the modern day. But THE DARK AGES is a very well-crafted story of that long-lost era and I find myself almost thinking this set-up -- the splintered factions running around the planet in the absence of Optimus Prime and Megatron, dealing with the mystery of their world's origins -- could even make for an interesting ongoing series.

But there's only one issue of DARK AGES left -- though we have more Cybertronian hijinks to follow in MICROMASTERS -- so I'll savor it while I can even as I continue to believe this whole thing could have been a two-parter back in the old Marvel days.

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