Friday, November 4, 2016


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

The Plot: Shockwave and his Decepticon army attack the Fallen's disciples on the surface of Cybertron. Beneath the surface, the Fallen himself uses the life energies of Grimlock, Jetfire, Hot Spot, and Blitzwing to power a gigantic laser which burns through Cybertron's crust. Meanwhile, Swoop sends footage of the battle on the surface to Prowl, who decides to send Autobot reinforcements to join the fray. Beneath the surface, Grimlock breaks free.

Topside, the combined forces of Shockwave's group and Grimlock's team defeat the fallen's disciples. The group then descends beneath the surface. Meanwhile, Jetfire urges Grimlock to let him deal with the Fallen. Shockwave and friends find a locked door between them and the Fallen and open fire on it. Meanwhile, Grimlock frees Hot Spot and Blitzwing and escapes. Jetfire contacts Autobase and then challenges the Fallen. As they fight, the Autobots set up a containment barrier around their battlefield. The Fallen is destroyed by energy from within Cybertron.

In the battle's aftermath, the combined Transformer factions seal the entrance to the Fallen's chamber with locks keyed to each individual's group, then go their separate ways while Grimlock and Jetfire make peace.

Continuity Notes: The Fallen implies that the Transformers' dabbling with space bridges, as seen in the first issue's opening scene, is what allowed him to come to Cybertron.

Jetfire recalls his and Grimlock's time as Decepticons and mentions a "cerebro-shell incident" best left forgotten.

The Well of Allsparks, where the Fallen has set up his giant laser, is initially sealed with ancient Cybertronian hieroglyphs unrecognizable to Shockwave.

G1 References: The Fallen makes reference to "the Chaos Bringer", a nickname for Unicron dating back to the original Marvel comics.

Body Count: It's hard to be certain, but Bludgeon, Bugly, and Mindwipe all appear to be killed by Shockwave's forces.

My Thoughts: It's interesting that, even as James McDonough and Adam Patyck are implying that the Transformers' creation myth could be a lie in the ongoing GENERATION ONE series, Simon Furman seems to be going full steam ahead with that myth (which he created in the G1 days) as fact. The Fallen seems to be a herald of Unicron, and he's clearly trying to dig some path to Primus, who, Furman's original legend holds, resides within the center of Cybertron.

I think I've noted before that I feel a writer on a secondary title should always follow the lead of the core series. It just seems like common courtesy to me that, regardless of seniority (which Furman certainly has over McDonough and Patyck), the second banana should acknowledge and respect what the top dog is doing, whether he likes and/or agrees with it or not.* So, while I appreciate Furman's story, I do feel he's doing McDonough and Patyck a disservice by contradicting their ongoing narrative.

Otherwise, we have a decent -- if claustrophobic -- finale to THE DARK AGES. It's set entirely in one location, but the entire series has built to this battle, so that makes sense.

I also like that Furman has gone to great lengths to justify why this series is titled THE WAR WITHIN. The initial mini-series was about Optimus Prime's own internal struggle as he came to grips with his role as Autobot leader. Yes, he and Megatron had a long fight "within" Cybertron, but the series' title clearly came from Prime's conflict. Here, the "war within" become much more literal as we learn in this final issue that the Fallen plans to ignite a war within Cybertron itself by awakening Primus and summoning Unicron.

I look forward to seeing how Furman will justify this title yet again in the truncated WAR WITHIN: THE AGE OF WRATH. But before we get there, next time we'll take a look at a McDonough/Patyck Cybertronian prequel in MICROMASTERS #1.

* As an example of this, I would point at most of Chris Claremont's returns to the X-Men since the turn of the century. Here was a venerable writer who had made the X-Men what they were, but by this point he was no longer the main shepherd of the characters, and he wrote accordingly. Though he did his own thing and took certain characters in directions of his choosing, he also often took cues from other writers and followed their leads -- for better or worse.


  1. "Jetfire recalls his and Grimlock's time as Decepticons and mentions a "cerebro-shell incident" best left forgotten."
    I remember back in the day wondering if this might be the cause of Grimlock's odd speech pattern, like Jetfire attempted some sort of check-up on him and damaged whatever part of his programming/brains that controlled his speech

    1. Makes sense to me. Now I'm trying to think if Grimlock's "speech impediment" was ever explained in any core continuity. Obviously in Sunbow, all the Dinobots spoke that way. I recall in Marvel, they all had normal speech patterns at first, but Grimlock later gained the primitive speech somewhere around the twenties, presumably to bring his comic book persona in line with the more widely known cartoon. I don't think this was ever explained in the U.S. comics, though Furman might have touched on it in a U.K. story.

      More recently, I believe Grimlock had normal speech in IDW, at lest when I stopped reading circa the MAXIMUM DINOBOTS mini-series. I don't know if things have changed since then, but it wouldn't surprise me if IDW also switched to the more recognizable primitive style at some point.