Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were a reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
Unskippable, the show at the Escapist.com, recently turned their MST3K style antics towards the opening and first cutscene for War For Cybertron and while watching it, I realized something. So I went back the actual intro.
Note that Megatron is talking about bringing order. Yet, as we’ve seen in the novel so far, he is trying to break down order to establish chaos. That makes me wonder…could Megatron simply be trying to put someone else in the ruling caste, namely himself, and is messing with everyone’s head? Including our friend Orion Pax? Or did Irvine just miss this part? Let’s dive again into Transformers: Exodus and see what happens. It’s time for Optimus and Megatron to meet faceplate to faceplate.
More geographic name dropping, and yes I will keep harping on that. At least this time the Sonic Canyons and Badlands are a proper part of the description, especially the Badlands. Kaon has been recognized as Decepticon territory in the comics long enough that naming Megatron’s territory that also makes perfect sense.
Orion seems to be a bit bolder, if not a bit naive, in this chapter. He seems to know exactly what he wants to see out of this new movement, but doesn’t quite realize that Megatron is planning something more violent. He actually thinks he can talk Megs down from combat. It is definitely in keeping with most Optimus Primes in the various continuities. (Not so much in the Bay movies, where in the second one we see Optimus going straight for the head and bearing a “take no prisoners” attitude. Fans haven’t been pleased with that depiction.)
We also see the origin of the Autobot name, meaning that the days of “Cybertronians” starting out as all Autobots prior to the coming of the Decepticon movement are pretty much nonexistent. Too bad, but of course Megatron has his own name. We all know what it is.
That’s one thing I do like going into the next chapter. Irvine knows that WE know what’s about to happen on a general level, but he’s not simply playing to that. Everything is opening as if the reader is experiencing the world of the Transformers for the first time. Remember Tim Burton’s Batman movie? We all know that’s Bruce Wayne and that he is Batman, but he approached it from the point of view that it was your first trip into Gotham City and it worked.
Perhaps Orion isn’t so naive, at least deep down. Part of his seems to think that Megatron was behind the series of attacks, and is wonder just what his plans actually are. He’s having a harder time convincing himself that he and Megatron have the same goals, or at least are looking to use the same methods.
Irvine is going back and forth in this chapter between the scenes of destruction and the conversations between Megatron and Orion or either and the council. I wonder if Megatron isn’t playing part of the game for Orion’s benefit. Perhaps he sees a rather strong will, or at least that Orion can help him access the inaccessible easier than Shockwave could hack into wherever they need to hack into, like the communications link.
Individually, both scenes set up the way things are, and Irvine does a good job with his descriptions at the scenes of carnage. Even the scene with Gauntlet is an interesting way to simply say “Minicons blew up the base”, adding the personal touch. (The same goes for the roller coaster.) I wonder what Orion and Alpha will discuss in the next chapter. You have been reading along, right? Because here comes the last chapter for this post.
This is one of those times where I’m still wondering if Irvine isn’t trying to make Megatron’s point. Now we have gladiatorial matches in Iacon, too? And Jazz, Orion’s friend, is in the audience? Why? I can see that Megatron is doing what he can to undermine Orion’s faith in the castes overall, to really get him to his side. That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised later to find out that it wasn’t a set-up, that they found out who Orion’s friend was and setup a phony gladiatorial match. Holograms may even be involved.
Before that, though, I like the scene with Alpha Trion and Orion discussing where things have come, and just where the ball actually started rolling. It’s a good scene and the question of free will shows itself as the theme of the book, if we hadn’t already figured it out.
I do find it interesting that Hydrau, who seem to be a well-seasoned competitor, is appalled at the destruction at Altihex. Maybe it’s the scale or something, but the scene does show one thing Orion didn’t realize and I hadn’t even thought of it. Orion has been doing all this the way he know how, data analysis. It has all been data to him, and maybe that revelation is what he needs to make that final step to the warrior we all need.
With the Iacon gladiatorial pits, we find that once again Irvine isn’t showing Cybertronian society to be worth protecting, and now even Jazz is one of the minor “bad guys”. Megatron knowing how to twist the insurgencies (considering is isn’t actually behind it as is lying to everyone) to his favor is calculating in his own right, and I wonder if he will actually morn anyone, based on previous Megatrons.
Things are definitely getting interesting in this story, so outside of personal disagreements about Cybertronian society, I am into this story. Not enough to not stop here, but it’s been a long day and I have other things to attend to. Next time, we survey the damage and see how Megatron will spin it to his end.