Transformers: Escalation #2
IDW Publishing (December, 2006)
WRITER: Simon Furman
ARTIST: E. J. Su
COLORIST: Zac Atkinson
LETTERER: Neil Uyetake
EDITORS: Chris Ryall & Dan Taylor
Ironhide is ordered back to the Ark with Verity and Jimmy to keep them safe, worried that the attack was caused by the Facsimile Avatars the Decepticons use during Phase 2, strategically placed sleeper agents implanted with the memories of the original human they’re replacing. (Verity may have seen the remains of one of the replaced humans back in the Decepticon base back in Infiltration.) Jazz and Wheeljack head to the police compound holding Sunstreaker’s remains, and finds the same human group taking them. After a brief battle the truck escapes with Sunstreaker, only to run into Optimus Prime…literally. Back at base, they determine it isn’t really Sunstreaker, meaning he and Hunter may yet live. Meanwhile, the Decepticons are beginning Phase 2.
What they got right: It’s odd to see Megatron using a stealth conquest method more in line with Starscream (or rather Starscream’s tech spec since Furman likes to use an exaggerated version of the G1 cartoon’s take on Starscream), but it is actually a good plan. Increase tensions, start World War III, and let the humans cause most of the damage, then sweep in and polish off the remainders and take the resources. I’d say “nice nod” with the reporter named “Arcee Arthur”, but since Furman will eventually give us, and ruin, the actual Arcee, I’m not as amused as I want to be.
What they got wrong: The allegory for his POV of the Iraq war (going on at the time) are very obvious. He has the Senator working with a general to keep things destabilized in this fictional conflict for the benefit of his energy-based backers (which is actually a Decepticon trick, but still…) and now that same Senator is the Republican candidate for President rather than simply a frontrunner with no confirmed political ties. In other words Simon Furman has a Republican senator actually being a sleeper agent for the Decepticons and as a conservative I’m not too happy about that. Also I still don’t care about the evil human army subplot because I know where it’s going and I don’t like where it’s going.
Recommendation: I’m still have problems with the story personally but I can’t say it’s bad. It might be worth looking at, but I still need to read the whole thing again.