So where were we? Earth is protected by Energon shields. Optimus is still bopping around Unicron blasting stuff, and Kicker is a moron who gets himself captured because he’s a moron. Alpha Q sent the Four Horsemen to attack another Energon-enriched planet that the factions weren’t paying attention to. Traitor Avalon is the only one who knows Over-Run knows there is a traitor but not who it is and through unexplained reasons has nudged the ghostly spark-sucking Starscream to take him down, while Starscream also desires draining the core of Cybertron. So what did Furman have in mind next in this arc before Dreamwave fell apart?
Pencils: Alex Milne
Inks: Elaine To
Colors: Jong-Im Lee
Once again, the link in the title is part 1 and the link in the subtitle is part 2.
The story starts with a flashback of when Over-Run went to the UT Transformers universe to deliver the Mini-Con Matrix to help fight Unicron back in Transformers Armada, possibly to remind the readers that it existed considering it was just a McGuffin to end the comic so they could transition to the next toyline in the “Unicron Trilogy” (Armada, Energon, and Cybertron). Back to the present it’s in pieces and Starscream’s Energon ghost is still insane. The Omnicons finally arrive but their Energon powers are just more energy for Ghostscream and he snags them in Energon bubbles with plans to make Arcee and Signal Flare into a snack. And he still plans to eat the core of Cybertron because he’s madder than G1 Galvatron at this point, and in Japanese cartoons Galvatron once planned to use Earth to turn himself into a new Unicron. You have to BE the crazy train to outdo that, but from how I’m reading this you almost expect it to be Starscream’s alt mode instead of a new jet form.
Meanwhile, Alpha Quintesson has a mission for the Four Horsemen, who are apparently homesick for Unicron and are planning to slag AQ’s orders and head back to Unicron, because Unicron is their boss. Unicron is also currently unconscious and there is no reason for them to return so they’re just being little brats. Instead, AQ sends them to AlterEnergy’s Mars base, where Carlos is using the sensors that SHOULD be keeping an eye out for Decepticons to find Kicker. Rad feels responsible for the moron because he was kidnapped on Kicker’s watch. I remind you Kicker snuck out of the base because he was tired of tests and practically walked right into Demolishor’s hands, because he is a moron. So apparently is Rad since, even though the shield does block the Space Bridges they still like to hedge their bets. Maybe Kicker’s contagious?
Oh, and Rad’s travelling with this series’ version of Grimlock and Swoop, because of course Simon Furman is going to have Grimlock in a comic when he’s available to him. Fun fact: the toys weren’t originally created for the Energon line, and could combine into a large robot. It’s not as impressive as it sounds. Trust me, I own them because it’s the only version of G1 Swoop I was able to get. Animated Swoop never got to be mine.
Back on Cybertron Skyblast frees his fellow Omnicons while Energon storms all over the place. Starscream decides to give chase rather than watch his master plan because he’s nuttier than a peanut plantation. He’s about to have a smorgasbord but can’t let those two M&Ms get away. Starscream would make a terrible food critic.
So what’s Megatron been up to? He has a secret base, a new ally named Shockblast (because Hasbro didn’t have the Shockwave license even though this isn’t G1 Shockwave so “Shockblast” works for me), and Mirage on his side now. How? Beats me. Last we saw the former Tidal Wave he was still part of Scorponok’s gang so you’d think he’d be working for Doom-Blast. Maybe the Decepticons Scorpy brought with him didn’t stick around? At any rate this leads to what would have been a good moment properly done, as we see Megatron’s enslavement by Unicron and Alpha Quintesson had a huge impact on him. I know being embedded in the side of a robot’s guts and tortured would affect me.
Back with the Omnicons, they use the same mindlink they used to stop Snowcat some time ago on Starscream. When Starscream tries to drain them they start draining him. Apparently Starscream CAN become solid, which he uses to escape. However, Over-Run is dead. We knew slag-all about Over-Run so outside of the fact that now nobody knows there’s a traitor planning to sacrifice Cybertron to Unicron (which of course makes Avalon happy, being said traitor) it’s hard to be sad about this. Were we ever given a reason to care about this Mini-Con?
At this point we are so far from what had been created before Pat Lee imploded (or his company but I know which really deserved implosion) that there are no more covers to play with. While it’s possible more art was made for the other issues (I believe Furman’s blog even contained some for #31) there is nothing here but the outline.
Things are going from bad to worse. Avalon launches the first stage device that will open a portal to an alternate reality army of Quintessons. So wait, does Alpha Quintesson come from a different dimension? In this version Unicron was a dimension-hopping Cybertron-eater so it makes some form of sense, although why the Quints would be dimension-hopping conquerors now I couldn’t say. However, Earth’s shield needs to be taken down so that’s when the Four Horsemen attack the Mars base. I’m assuming we’ll find out why because I’m pretty sure the shield control is on Earth, where Ironhide was constructing it while Scorponok and Megatron were having their battle.
Megatron sees this and his unique “time-out” allowed him some insight into Alpha Q’s mind. Plus living with Starscream, which Furman modeled after the version he writes–a variant of the G1 cartoon that exaggerates his personality–rather than the only interesting character in the Armada cartoon, has given him some insight into treachery. He knows Alpha Q isn’t working in Unicron’s best interest and that somehow it may be worse for the Transformers than if he was. He warns his comrades on Cybertron to be careful (may want to warn the Earth group too if there’s anyone left there).
Avalon sends one of Ironhide’s old seismic shockwave warheads to some other location as part of his continued plan, which alerts his fellow councilbot, Leviticus to something being up. Rather than warn anyone lest the council be embarrassed, he goes to check it out himself. Is anybody intelligent except the Quintesson faction in this? And we have FOUR factions right now really. You have the usual Autobots and Decepticons, the Terrorcons serving Unicron, which includes the Four Horsemen, and the Quintessons. Simon has mastered making multiple events at the same time mean something (which he will completely lose when IDW brings him in for Re-Generation One) but having way too many groups vying for control replaces that. I know the show had a third column while the toys still had the two, but now we have four. Five if you count AlterEnergy and the rest of the human race, who are working with the Autobots while the Quintessons are planning to betray the Unicron faction. What is this, the New 52?
Where’s Optimus Prime during all this? He realizes that for whatever reason Nervissa was the real target while Earth was a diversion for the Autobots. I hope we get an explanation as to why, unless it’s just the Energon thing. Nerivssa isn’t even an important planet in this franchise. The Transformers Wiki only has two paragraphs and one was to note it was briefly mentioned in the All-Spark Almanac. I guess it was just an Energon-ridden planet to be gutted without Transformer defenses. At any rate, Optimus needs to get work to the Autobots somehow.
And now we start seeing the plan come together. If Jetfire lowers the shield on Earth to send reinforcements (Earth being closer to Mars I guess, but does that matter when you have an interstellar portal?) Demolishor can escape with Kicker, and of course Avalon needs to set off something on Earth as well. So Carlos and whomever is with them have to hold on while Rad gets more reinforcements to rescue Kicker. And they aren’t doing too well. Prowl, one of my favorites from the Energon line, gets taken out because Furman hates me. Oh, making Bumblebee evolve was just a trick. Remember, it was Bumblebee that helped introduce the concept of Primus.
Back on Cybertron, Avalon defeats Leviticus because going alone was a bad idea, plus Avalon is better at transforming. I wonder what Avalon and Leviticus would have transformed into? But then Wheeljack, under Megatron’s orders because this isn’t the same Wheeljack from G1, takes Avalon down. The traitor has just enough time to send his device through the portal to Unicron, which Optimus didn’t expect to see in front of him, while Demolishor waits for the shield to drop to send Kicker out of our…I mean, to Alpha Q.
I have to admit, things are really ramping up in this story. Next week we’ll see the conclusion that would have been. Will Starscream do more crazy things? Will the shield be dropped to help the Mars base before they can rescue Kicker? The final two issues will be looked at next week. See you there.