Friday, November 11, 2016


Writers: James "Brad Mick" McDonough & Adam Patyk | Pencils: Rob Ruffalo
Inks: Erik Sander | Colors: David Cheung | Letters: Ben Lee

The Plot: Autobot and Decepticon Micromasters do battle, resulting in the death of an Autobot named Crunch. This leads the Autobot Hot Rod Patrol to desert and head for their former home, Little Iacon. Meanwhile the Decepticon Sports Car Patrol deserts as well, and the two groups cross paths in the Wastelands, where they're attacked by a squad of Insecticons.

Continuity Notes: Though not explained in the story itself, this issue features a column by McDonough and Patyk describing the origins of the Micromasters in this continuity: they were a group of tiny, energy efficient Transformers created as a joint Autobot/Decepticon experiment with the intention of each side taking a number of Micromasters to fight for them once they had matured. What neither side counted on was the Micromasters "growing up" together in Little Iacon and becoming friends before separating for the two sides of the war.

This story takes place following the departure of Optimus Prime's and Megatron's respective crews for Earth. The Autobots are led by Fortress Maximus and Ultra Magnus, while Shockwave, Scorponok, and Ratbat are seen in command of three separate Decepticon factions in a setup similar to Simon Furman's WAR WITHIN: THE DARK AGE.

A Micromaster crew led by Countdown returns to Cybertron, having left some time earlier with Jetfire and Omega Supreme in search of the Ark. They reveal that the two larger Autobots split from the group to follow a lead, which would ultimately result in their appearance in the ongoing GENERATION ONE series.

We learn that the Decepticons are spreading across the galaxy, conquering numerous worlds. On one such planet, Countdown and crew battled Micromasters led by Skystalker near a chamber featuring a combined Autobot/Decepticon emblem on its door -- something McDonough revealed beneath Cybertron in the WAR AND PEACE mini-series too.

G1 References: Not particularly noteworthy but perhaps worth mentioning, all of the non-Micromaster Autobots seen in this issue aside from Fortress Maximus are, or have been, Wreckers in most continuities: Ultra Magnus, Roadbuster, Topspin, and Twin Twist.

The Micromasters are ambushed on the final page by the so-called "Deluxe" Insecticons: Venom, Ransack, Chop Shop and Barrage.

Body Count: As noted above, Micromaster Crunch dies in battle.

My Thoughts: MICROMASTERS is pretty much the only Dreamwave G1 continuity series I didn't read when these stories were first released. I did pick it up and check it out eventually, making this my second reading (as opposed to most of the other Dreamwave stuff I've covered, which has been a third reading). I'm still not sure what I think of it. Partly it's due to the artwork: Rob Ruffalo does a fine job of it, but all the Micromasters just look so generic that it's really hard to tell which is which.

The writing's not necessarily blameless here either, though. The concept of Micromasters as explained by McDonough and Patyk, described above, is actually really cool. These guys are supposed to be newly created Transformers, essentially kids/young adults who grew up together and now find themselves on opposite sides of a bloody civil war. It's a great idea for a new way to approach the Transformers conflict. But the problem is that the writers are apparently cramming all of the Micromaster characters into this thing from the get-go. It appears that perhaps the Hot Rod and Sports Car Patrols will be our POV characters, but that doesn't excuse the fact that the cast here is just too large and hard to discern from one another.

But then, I was never a big fan of the Micromasters as a kid. Perhaps if I had been, I might've been able to better tell them apart here. But they came along at the tail end of G1, and while I was still a Transformers fan, that fandom was narrowing its scope to the point it would eventually reach, the point it's been at now for several years: I like Transformers, but I specifically like the earliest years of the franchise -- 1984 and 1985. Everything after feels extraneous to me.

Still McDonough and Patyk are in their typical excellent mythology-building mode, and it's great to see appearances by Ultra Magnus, Fortress Maximus (in his Dreamwave debut outside of a one-panel fantasy sequence from the first WAR WITHIN), and Shockwave -- who has a pretty great "classic Shockwave" moment where he suggests that if the Decepticon Micromasters are displeased with their treatment within the ranks of his army, they should fill out and file a complaint form.

Oh, and there's an Autobot Micromaster named Big Daddy.

Big. Daddy.

I'll let that sink in until next week: There is, in all earnestness, a Transformer named Big Daddy.

No comments:

Post a Comment