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.
It’s been too long since I had the opportunity to sit down and read this book. I only read through three chapters, but they’re telling chapters about Alex Irvine‘s success writing these characters and failures at keeping in tune with Transformers lore.
The biggest failure is in the line about how a theoretical battle at Iacon, a potential final fight between Autobot forces and Dark Energon-powered Decepticons, would make the current siege “look as trivial as an argument over how many Minicons could dance on the head of a Defensor”. We’ve already discussed that he doesn’t understand what a Minicon is but here he continues to mess up Combiners. Defensor isn’t a generic name for Autobot Combiners. Defensor is made up of ONE particular Autobot special team, the Protectobots. If I come off as a fanboy nitpicker, tough. Defensor is a character, an individual (granted one made of the minds of five other characters) and deserves better, as does Devastator.
The end result is that the Combiner concept becomes too ordinary, less special if there are too many. While there have been many “Combiner” teams over the years, they’re a special case, but in this story they seem so typical that there are “Defensor” and “Devastator” units, rather than combined robots who take the name. I just feel it waters down the whole thing.
This group shows the effects of Dark Energon and their side effect. Dark Energon can boost a Transformer’s powers and strength, but it burns up quicker than regular Energon and Shockwave’s tests seem to show an addiction (that’s how I read it) to Dark Energon. Megatron can even feel a hunger for it.
However, the most telling part of this may be that even before he takes the Dark Energon, Megatron is a rank bastard, especially to Starscream. Starscream is taking notice and his reactions seem to tell me he’d make a better leader (although maybe not as effective–I’m talking about for the troops) than Megatron. Megatron is already on a power trip when he takes the Dark Energon sample, and afterwards he’s even thinking that even if he has to absorb it from his own troops he will not run out. He’s already an addict, but seeing as he’s after power anyway it makes sense that he would be addicted so quickly.
Starscream, on the other hand, seems to be thinking ahead, not really seeking to take Megatron’s power (compared to the Starscream we usually see) but dedicated to the cause. That’s where I see his loyalty, to the cause instead of to Megatron himself. If I’m right, then I do like that aspect of Starscream above any previous version (except for the animated version of Transformers Armada–as the only character with any depth in that train wreck of an anime, he too was loyal to the mission but also to Megatron, and where did that get him?) and a good reason not only for his quest for leadership (beyond a quest for power inherent in most Decepticons anyway) but why Megatron keeps him around instead of vaporizing him.
Finally on the game front, Irvine appears to be setting up Starscream’s mission in the War For Cybertron game. This appears to be an expanded version of the cut scene that leads to the mission to go into the depths of Cybertron to activate the power source. Again, events and ideas are wrong. Here we’re told Dark Energon is created by, if I understand this right, “infecting” normal Energon with Dark Energon. I’m not sure if that’s in keeping with the game or not, but that’s not the way I pictured it; instead my thought was Dark Energon existed alongside Energon as an opposite number substance. I could be wrong, but Irvine’s track record in game adaptation hasn’t been the best thus far.
Overall, I’m still enjoying the book, and I’m hoping to get through it soon, because there are far more books in my collection left to go through.