Friday, September 29, 2017


Written by Josh Blaylock
Pencils by Mike S. Miller | Inks by Cory Hamscher & Armando Durruthy
Letters by Dreamer Design | Colors by Lynx Studio with HI FI Colour Design
Edits by Mark Powers

The Plot: The reactivated Autobots and Decepticons resume their civil war on Cobra Island. Cobra Commander frees Megatron from his gun mode, and the Decepticon leader challenges Optimus Prime.

Meanwhile, G.I. Joe, Wheeljack, and Bumblebee prepare to head for the island to join the fight, but Hawk is stopped by a pair of generals who order him to stand down so the U.S. can drop a nuclear bomb instead. Hawk is ordered to deactivate Bumblebee and Wheeljack and fly them Area 51 rather than Cobra Island. Hawk initially carries out his orders, shocking the two Transformers with a device provided by his superiors, but Wheeljack remains barely conscious and warns that the nuke would blow up all the energon Cobra has accumulated and plunge Earth into a nuclear winter.

Back on Cobra Island, Storm Shadow rescues Cobra Commander from Autobots Gears and Brawn, while the Baroness saves Destro and Zartan from Rumble. Meanwhile, at Megatron's command, Soundwave orders the Consructicons to spare Doctor Mindbender, and then tells them to protect the energy satellite control module.

At the Pentagon, a group of mysterious generals confers and learns that Hawk has defied orders and is flying G.I. Joe, Wheeljack, and Bumblebee to Cobra Island.

Continuity Notes: More of a continuity glitch: the generals refer to Hawk as "Colonel Abernathy", then a moment later promise him a promotion for capturing Wheeljack and Bumbelbee. On the very next page they call him "General", though it's not emphasized in any way that implies he's just received that actual title. Later in the issue, he's still called "colonel" by his subordinates.

G1 References: Like Wheeljack, Bumblebee, and Soundwave, Megatron has his classic robot mode during his fight with Optimus Prime.

Ratchet's helmet is red, a nod to his appearance in the Generation One Marvel comics (it was white in the cartoons).

G.I. References: The shady generals giving orders to Hawk would seem to be the Jugglers, a cabal of generals from Larry Hama's original Marvel run who, if I recall correctly, factored heavily into the ongoing Devil's Due series as well.

Body Count: I can't ever seem to make it through a Transformers review series without bringing back this category! Though in this case it applies to a human, not a robot: As he attempts to escape Cobra Island aboard Thundercracker, Major Bludd is apparently squashed to death when the Decepticon transforms to robot mode.

My Thoughts: A few issues back I praised Josh Blaylock's handling of the G.I. Joe characters, noting that they "sounded" pretty much spot-on with their animated counterparts. This has held mostly true through the series to date, aside from a few "off" lines here and there. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the Transformers. Some of them are fine, mind you -- Megatron sounds pretty good, as does Optimus Prime. But Blaylock writes Soundwave with a bunch of ellipses punctuating his sentences, which sounds nothing like his animated self. Yeah, Soundwave had a stilted speech pattern in the Sunbow days, but it wasn't slow or plodding. He talked at a (mostly) normal, albeit electronically modulated, speed.

Blaylock also has difficulty with Ironhide's down-homey southern accent, and he makes Wheeljack sound a bit too... smart, I guess, as he explains Cybertronian technology to the Joes. I mean, Wheeljack is smart, but Chris Latta's characterization of his voice didn't usually underplayed that intelligence.

Now it's possible Blaylock wasn't aiming for total Sunbow fidelity when he wrote this stuff, but considering how many of his Joes' characterizations found their inspiration in the TV series, it's hard to imagine that's the case. And, since I love to be an obnoxious Sunbow fanboy now and then, I'll add: Why wouldn't you want your Transformers to sound like the best iteration of the G1 characters??

(I'll try to get back to talking about the actual story next week!)

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