With last week’s Mini-Con article over at The Clutter Reports, I thought for this month’s Free Comic Inside I’d take a look at what the Mini-Cons are up to. Plus I said in the last one I would be going back to this series. Hey, I remembered! This is when Dreamwave was still making minicomics for Hasbro, which would continue into the Energon toys before Dreamwave crashed. There is one good thing this round: no more trying to fit three translations of the same sentence into the word balloons.
No, this time it’s all one language, and luckily for me I got the English one. Let’s see what happens this time.
Transformers Armada vol 3
CREATED BY: Dreamwave
WRITER: Chris Sarracini
ARTIST: Guido Guidi
COLORISTS: Shaun Curtis, Gary Yeung, & Rob Ruffolo
COVER COLORIST: Ramil Sunga
(geez, even in a mini-comic they can’t have just one colorist)
LETTERING: Dreamer Design
The Air Defense Team opens our story by finding and destroying a Decepticon satellite station. Apparently the mini-comic versions were less interested in Energon and Mini-Cons than they were satellite dishes. Guess nobody wants to miss the latest episode of As The Kitchen Sinks, and I think I lost some G1 nerd cred having to look that reference up but give me credit for at least remembering it existed to look up. Anyway, as they smash the Decepticons dish they see the Batsignal…I mean the Mini-Con symbol in the night sky. It’s a clear night so I’m not sure what it’s projecting against. At least Gotham City has perpetual cloud/smog cover.
They somehow determine the signal is coming from Sparkplug, Optimus’s Mini-Con partner and in the Dreamwave comics the guy in charge of the Autobot teamed Mini-Cons. They call Optimus Prime but while he urges them to wait until they get there the Air Defense Team is convinced they need to go nownownow and zoom off. And then Sparkplug shows up right next to Optimus, having been in a repair room all day. And yes, it is in fact a trap. The Air Defense Team is met by Galvatron, Megatron’s powered-up form, which is really just Megatron but primarily purple instead of primarily green. Frankly he looks better in green. This isn’t explained in the mini-comic but with the other media I don’t think it needs to be.
Once he grabs the Air Assault Team they suddenly turn into their Air Assault Team colors. I’ve never understood this. I know in-universe (or possibly in-multiverse at this point) the Star Saber is supposed to be the most powerful weapon in the universe and while molds were reused quite often for the Mini-Cons having a second Saber would be hard to explain. Actually no it isn’t. The Dark Star Saber is the negative to the Star Saber’s positive. The Air Assault Team could be the dark reflection of the Air Defense Team, and quite happy to serve Megatron/Galvatron in destroying stuff. Instead, and my memory is a bit foggy here, it was explained that if the Decepticons controlled them they became the Air Assault Team while if the Autobots did they were back to being the Air Defense Team or something, but it was never really shown in the show or comics so your guess is as good as mine.
Optimus Prime and Jetfire arrive at that moment, combine into their combined mode (a possible example for the Spark Of Combination Autobots of Energon since Jetfire formed the “pants” and Optimus the “shirt”) and quite easily defeats Galvatron, making the problem rather moot. Jetfire and Optimus scold the Air Defense Team for running off without thinking and the story kind of ends.
It seems like each consecutive mini-comic only slightly improved from the last. By not having to fit three of the same sentence in different languages the dialog improved thanks to having more space on the panel. And that’s all you get. The action ends quick, and could have benefited from another page or two to demonstrate what the Star Saber, Dark or otherwise, can actually do. Also, despite my earlier defense, having a line of dialog like “It’s Megatron!” “I go by Galvatron now!” wouldn’t have hurt. Saraccini is still having trouble writing a thrilling adventure in the few pages he’s allowed. It doesn’t help that half the book is a flip book catalog of other Armada toys then currently available. Overall unless you’re into the novelty it’s not one you really need to track down since I’m not even sure these are canon to the Dreamwave comics or the anime.