Friday, December 23, 2016


Writer: Simon Furman | Pencils: Joe Ng | Inks: Tracy Ho & Erik Sander
Additional Inks: Ferd Poblete | Colors: Rob Ruffalo & Eric Burns | Letters: Ben Lee

The Plot: At Autobot resistance headquarters, Percetptor gathers the Turbomasters and explains that he plans to locate the missing Optimus Prime. Meanwhile, Nightbeat and his group inspect their captured air warrior clone, but it comes back to life and attacks them. Elsewhere, Perceptor describes his plan to locate Prime.

Meanwhile, Shockwave berates Rumble and Frenzy over apparently disrupting his analysis of the clones, then leaves them to finish cataloguing all known Autobot casualties. But as they reach Grimlock's name on the list, something behind them explodes, leaving a face-shaped mark in the wall.

Nightbeat and friends continue to wage a losing battled against their clone opponent until it inexplicably stops fighting and shuts down once more. Blaster and Perceptor discuss strategy while the Turbomasters play a game of high-speed hide-and-seek. But when Turbomaster Flash returns to Perceptor's briefing chamber, where a space bridge portal is open to facilitate the search for Optimus, he somehow drives through and winds up in another location.

Continuity Notes: The story opens with news anchor Slamdance recapping Starscream's slaughter of the Transformer high council in issue 1.

The Autobot resistance is operating out of Iacon, which seems kind of foolhardy, given that was always the Autobots' headquarters.

We learn that Optimus Prime and Megatron were believed killed in the space bridge accident that claimed them circa THE DARK AGES #1, which is why no one search for them until now. But, with Megatron back, Perceptor believes Optimus Prime is out there someplace as well. And, just before Flash vanishes through the space bridge portal, a readout on Perceptor's monitor indicates that he may have been located.

G1 References: Perceptor's search for Prime in "infraspace", the realm between space bridge loci, echoes Nightbeat's search for Megatron and Ratchet in "sub-space" circa one of Simon Furman's earliest story arcs in the American Marvel TRANSFORMERS comic. The parallel is oddly sticks out even more due to Nightbeat's inclusion in this story (albeit as part of a different plotline).

The location where Flash winds up is pretty clearly the planet Quintessa as seen in the G1 animation.

Body Count: It appears Getaway is killed, but he wakes up again later. Meanwhile, Rumble and Frenzy list off the names of a few dead Autobots, all of whom I believe are creations of Furman for this scene: Galactica, Geronimo, Gizmo, and Glasnost. (Why do Transformers on Cybertron millions of years ago have Native American and Russian words/names?)

My Thoughts: It's really a shame this is the final issue of AGE OF WRATH, because it's easily the WAR WITHIN series I've enjoyed the most. For the most part I like the artwork of Joe Ng quite a bit, and I appreciate seeing characters such as Blaster and Perceptor in the spotlight. Additionally, this series makes liberal use of some of the later Powermaster and Headmaster characters, notably Nightbeat and Getaway. I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a major Sunbow fan, and that the original cartoon series is my preferred TRANSFORMERS continuity. But I collected the toys and read the comics all the way up to the end of G1, and I have levels of appreciation for many things that came after the TV show went off the air.

In particular, Getaway was one of only two Powermaster toys I ever owned, so it's nice to see him represented here -- while Nightbeat was one of my favorite characters from late in the Marvel series, thanks to Furman's characterization of him as the Autobots' hard-boiled detective (G1 #62, "Bird of Prey!", is one of my all-time favorite TRANSFORMERS stories in any continuity). So it's great to see him here, playing detective once more and fighting the rogue air clone, in a role I can only assume would have increased as AGE OF WRATH continued.

Beyond all that, this WAR WITHIN has the strongest story of any installment so far -- at least up to this point. Things could certainly have gone downhill with three issues left, but as of this point the mystery of Megatron's clones, the tease of Quintessa, and the impending return of Optimus Prime are far more interesting than Prime's never-ending battle with Megatron and uninspiring internal struggle in THE WAR WITHIN, or the pseudo-mystical nonsense and unresolved mystery of the Fallen in THE DARK AGES.

The conclusion of AGE OF WRATH is known to some extent, however -- solicits have existed for years, and more recently Simon Furman has sold his scripts for issues 4 and 5 and plot outline for issue 6 at conventions and on eBay, and all that information has made its way, in summary, to the Transformers Wiki. So next week, we'll take a look at the unpublished remaining issues of AGE OF WRATH -- stuff I've never read before -- and see if it looks like Furman would have stuck the landing.

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