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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
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(2002-2004)
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DREAMWAVE TRANSFORMERS COMIC ISSUE GUIDES

Armada #11-18

|#11|#12|#13|#14|#15|#16|#17|#18|

#11

[cover]
Cover: James Raiz
Cover Date: May 2003
Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Guido Guidi
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: David Cheung, Shaun Curtis & Rob Ruffolo
Letters: Dreamer Design
Later Reprinted In: Transformers Armada Vol. 2 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Megatron drills into the Moonbase, deactivating the defences so Cyclonus can attack. Meanwhile, Optimus, along with Simulacrum projections of Alexis and Carlos, sets off for the Moon. The Mini-Cons have dispatched a flight of satellite mines, one of which contains Rad. Mirage and Sparkplug coerce the Astro Squad into trying to recall it, but they are unable to. Meanwhile, Megatron is trapped in the base by Leader-1, who then turns the base's defences against the Decepticon, also attacking Cyclonus. Sky Blast is able to tow the mine containing Rad to Optimus' shuttle. Dualor recovers, and knocks out Leader-1, giving Megatron chance to recapture his Mini-Con, and take the Destruction team as well. The Decepticon leader begins to tear the base apart, and the remaining Mini-Cons evacuate to Earth.

Notes: Rad's parents work at the Cosmoscope Research Center, in Lincoln, Nebraska. At the end of the issue, the Destruction team and Leader-1 come under control of Megatron, with all the other Mini-Cons bar Skyblast escaping to Earth via the base's capsules.

Errors: Isn't it lucky that Optimus twice makes unlikely decisions that save Rad without his knowledge, firstly by sitting there and just watching the satellite defences, and secondly by letting Skyblast fly a mine into his ship! If Optimus needs troops, why doesn't he withdraw Red Alert and Hot Shot from the 'Con base [surely Rad's life has priority over keeping his base a secret?], or dig out Scavenger and Smokescreen? Alpha-Alpha-Zero-One as a security code is like setting the combination on a safe to 1-2-3-4. If there's easy access to escape pods on the Moonbase, why haven't the likes of Mirage deserted long ago?

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron, Cyclonus, Optimus Prime.

Mini-Cons featured [in rough order of appearance]: Sparkplug, Mirage, Downshift, Dirtboss, Dune Runner, Ransack, Iceberg, Oval, Backtrack, Leader-1, Astroscope, Payload, Skyblast, Dualor, Buzzsaw, Drillbit, Wreckage, Longarm.

Notable Others: Alexis, Carlos [both as Simulacrums], Rad. Rad's parents are also seen.

Review: Well, what do you know? A Dreamwave story arc that falls apart come the conclusion. The whole thing is written as if it would be read once, at great speed, with little thought as to credibility. The first page is dire, and the lacings of bad humour [e.g. Cyclonus] really don't help cover up the fact that lots of the events of the issue happen for little reason other than plot expediency, most jarringly Optimus' astonishing sixth sense when attacking the Moonbase. Very, very disappointing.

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#12

[cover]
Cover: Guido Guidi
Cover Date: June 2003
Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Guido Guidi
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: David Cheung
Letters: Paul Villafuerte
Later Reprinted In: Transformers Armada Vol. 3 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Smokescreen and Scavenger are observing a new Decepticon rocket base in Death Valley. Prime wants to move in, but Sparkplug is lobbying for them to find the remaining Mini-Cons instead. At the Decepticons' base, Megatron is unable to access the power of the Destruction team. Instead Dualor cuts a deal - full power in exchange for a say in the Decepticons' affairs. Megatron agrees, and volunteers Cyclonus as a guinea pig. Meanwhile, in Alaska, the Mini-Con Adventure Team are investigating an escape pod buried in the ice when they are surprised by Thrust. Back at Autobase Earth, the Mini-Cons are growing restless, so Prime offers them the Autobots' full resources to locate their missing comrades. Back in Alaska, Thrust captures the Adventure Team, but is interrupted by the arrival of a super-powered Cyclonus. Meanwhile, Megatron has launched the rocket, a new satellite which orbits Earth, and is now aimed at Alaska.

Notes: Smokescreen and Scavenger were switched to the Death Valley observation post at some point before #6. Skywarp, Sideways and Wheeljack at least have arrived on Earth at some point since, though why Megatron chose to recall Thrust when Skywarp's standing around the desert doing nothing is beyond me.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Smokescreen, Scavenger, Skywarp [first appearance], Sideways [first appearance], Wheeljack [first appearance], Optimus Prime, Red Alert, Megatron, Cyclonus, Starscream, Thrust, Laserbeak.

Mini-Cons featured [in rough order of appearance]: Inferno [first appearance], Backtrack, Oval [first appearance], Spiral [first appearance], Comettor [first appearance], Sparkplug, Astroscope, Dualor, Drillbit, Buzzsaw, Ransack, Dune Runner, Iceberg, Rook, Payload, Incinerator, Mirage, Jolt, High Wire, Sureshock.

Review:A nicely presented build-up, though it somehow feels somewhat inconsequential, repetitive and tired. It's really the same old hunt-for-the-Mini-Con run-around given a new setting, with yet another dose of prioritising affirming the alliance for Optimus. All this and a super-weapon thrown in... There's not even some saving characterisation. It's a nice enough read, and Guidi's art is great, boosted by some superlative colour work in the arctic setting, but it just feels very average.

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#13

[cover]
Cover: Guido Guidi
Cover Date: July 2003
Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Guido Guidi
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: David Cheung, Espen Grundetjern, Stuart Ng, Susan Luo, Shaun Curtis & Gary Yeung
Letters: Paul Villafuerte
Later Reprinted In: Transformers Armada Vol. 3 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Cyclonus is driven to overload by the Destruction Team, and takes out Thrust before causing an avalanche. Megatron, meanwhile, prepares to aim his new satellite weapon at the arriving Autobots. Once in Alaska, the Autobots find the knocked-out Adventure Team, and begin to mount a recovery of the escape pod. Megatron then begins bombarding them. To add to this, the enraged Cyclonus attacks also. Optimus is able to take him out by asking Sparkplug to bypass his safety interlocks when they Powerlink. Meanwhile, he sends Skyblast into space, where the Mini-Con destroys Megatron's satellite. The Autobots recover the pod, only for Prime to suddenly disappear. He reappears on a destroyed Cybertron. At the same moment, the Mini-Con Over-Run arrives in California, with a warning for Optimus Prime.

Notes: The Destruction team seem to purposefully overpower Cyclonus.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Cyclonus, Thrust, Starscream, Megatron, Optimus Prime, Hot Shot, Red Alert.

Mini-Cons featured [in rough order of appearance]: Iceberg, Sparkplug, Jolt, Longarm, Mirage, Dirtboss, Downshift, Astroscope, Skyblast, Payload, Dune Runner, Over-Run [first appearance].

Review: Bah, more speed-written, contrived nonsense. From four Dreamwave plot arcs, that's three times now Furman has done a complete cop-out in the concluding issue. There's no convenient actions as in #11, Skyblast just flies up and shoots Megatron's super weapon down. Wow. I mean, did Megatron totally not see that one coming? Is Skyblast shooting stuff going to be Furman's answer to anything? Sadly, the two preludes for "Worlds Collide" show the real truth - Dreamwave have just been pissing around until a big sales boost comes along. Pathetic.

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#14 - "Worlds Collide, 1 of 4"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa
Cover Date: August 2003
Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: David Cheung, Espen Grundetjern & Rob Ruffolo
Letters: Paul Villafuerte
Later Reprinted In: Transformers Armada Vol. 3 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: After Optimus Prime's disappearance, the Autobots take the Spacebridge from Alaska to Autobase Earth. There, a near-dead, different Optimus Prime has appeared. Meanwhile, Over-Run has reached San Francisco, and decides to uplink in the hope the Autobots will find him. Meanwhile, a group of Decepticons jump to Earth. Back at Autobase, Astroscope theorises they have an alternate Optimus Prime on their hands. The newcomer stutters that chaos is coming, before dying. At the Decepticons' Silver Ridge base, the Spacebridge is off-line, and Megatron orders Starscream and Demolisher to fix it. He believes the Autobots have cut them off, to begin a siege. Hot Shot informs Jetfire of their problems, but the Cybertronian Commander can't shed any further light. Hot Shot then sets out to check out an anomalous Spacebridge reading in California. There they find a Transdimensional vessel, empty. The team receives Overrun's signal, and heads for San Francisco. They are followed by Starscream, Demolisher and Thrust. Both groups reach Over-Run at the same time, but are jumped by an alternate universe visitor - Galvatron. It turns out Over-Run has a Matrix, and Galvatron wants it. Mirage is able to cloak Over-Run, and Galvatron withdraws. Meanwhile, Optimus is stuck on a destroyed Cybertron. He runs into a deranged Spinister, who babbles that something is coming to eat their world.

Notes: The Destruction team are in the Punishment Cube after their disobedience in #12-13. Ooooh, kinky. Cyclonus appears to be undergoing repairs following the damage he received in #13. Scavenger and Smokescreen have returned to Autobase Earth.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Hot Shot, Smokescreen, Red Alert, Optimus Prime [an alternate universe version that dies], Galvatron [AU], Bludgeon [AU], Scourge [AU], Thunderwing [AU], Dirge [AU], Scavenger, Megatron, Demolisher, Starscream, Cyclonus, Jetfire, Blurr, Side Swipe, Laserbeak, Thrust, Optimus Prime, Spinister [AU].

Mini-Cons featured [in rough order of appearance]: Spiral, Sparkplug, Longarm, Ransack, Over-Run, Astroscope, Payload, Skyblast, Leader-1, Mirage, Jolt.

Review: A nice step up. The best Transformers comic for some considerable time, though Furman's still having fun opening up plot threads, and the big question is how well he's going to be able to bring the arc to some sort of conclusion without making a complete pig's ear of it, a la the last two Armada storylines, and TF:WW. Figueroa's art is generally very accomplished, though some frames still seem like pictures with the borders sliced off. He works much better with preordained character designs that his own imaginative, but sometimes clumsy, ones. That said, it's a shame Galvatron reverts to his bland "cartoon" design inside, as the render on the cover is cracking. There's a lot going on, and it's a very good start, let's just hope it can all be brought together at the end for once...

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#15 - "Worlds Collide, 2 of 4"

[cover]
Cover: Guido Guidi
Cover Date: September 2003
Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: David Cheung, Espen Grundetjern, Alan Wang, Stuart Ng, Susan Luo & Rob Ruffolo
Letters: Paul Villafuerte
Later Reprinted In: Transformers Armada Vol. 3 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Galvatron's team have secured the Decepticon HQ on Cybertron, initiating Phase 2 of their plan by activating all the Spacebridge portals. At Autobase Earth, the Autobots continue to search for Prime. Red Alert reports Over-Run's vessel is missing. It's been captured by Megatron. The Decepticons are examining it when Leader-1 receives a transmission that the Autobots are missing Prime. On the alternate Cybertron, Prime questions Spinister about the state of Cybertron, when the planet-eater arrives, and the ground begins to tear. On the Cybertron Autobase back in the main universe, Jetfire notices the Spacebridge activity caused by Galvatron, and readies an assault team to sort it out. At the Decepticon HQ, Thunderwing, Dirge and Scourge leave for Earth, with Bludgeon guarding the portal. Back on Earth, Sparkplug takes a small team of Mini-Cons to break into the Decepticons' Silver Ridge base and recover Over-Run's ship. Moments afterwards, the Decepticons hit the Autobase. Scavenger is knocked out by Demolisher, Smokescreen is gunned down by Megatron and Starscream blows up Red Alert. The Mini-Cons break into the Silver Ridge base just as Scourge, Dirge and Thunderwing arrive. Back at Autobase, Hot Shot orders Skyblast and Payload to continue probing for Prime while he tries to hold Megatron up. The Decepticon leader takes him out with ease, but then comes face to face with Galvatron.

Notes: The Mini-Cons previously broke into the Silver Ridge base in #6, if you were wondering about that asterisk. Ten-to-one Jetfire's assault team will consist entirely of himself, Blurr and Sideswipe. That seems to be Cybertron's population these days... 12-1 that despite the need for them Megatron has, Skywarp, Sideways and Wheeljack won't show, and Thrust will flit in and out for no apparent reason.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Scourge [Alternate universe version], Thunderwing [AU], Bludgeon [AU], Dirge [AU], Hot Shot, Red Alert, Megatron, Demolisher, Starscream, Optimus Prime, Spinister [AU], Blurr, Jetfire, Cyclonus, Smokescreen, Scavenger, Galvatron [AU].

Mini-Cons featured [in rough order of appearance]: Over-Run, Astroscope, Skyblast, Payload, Sparkplug, Leader-1, High Wire, Comettor, Jolt, Longarm, Mirage.

Notable Others: A nice POV shot from Unicron. Just in case you thought the world-devourer was Galactus...

Review: A pretty good action issue. There are a few niggles, such as why bother composing Galvy's team of the likes of Bludgeon and Thunderwing if they're just going to act like drones, or Red Alert expounding on how deep he's in it instead of leaping out the way of the missiles, but generally it's rather good. Figueroa's art is mounted in a much more pleasing way, and there are no telltale signs it's going to self-destruct yet. The only other problem is that there'll probably be another issue of Prime being noble and Spinister being nuts on the alternate Cybertron so they can show Unicron on the last page of #16... But overall it builds on the solid job done with #14. Recommended reading.

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#16 - "Worlds Collide, 3 of 4"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa
Cover Date: October 2003
Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: David Cheung, Espen Grundetjern, Rob Ruffolo & Shaun Curtis
Letters: Paul Villafuerte
Later Reprinted In: Transformers Armada Vol. 3 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Megatron and Galvatron continue to battle, while Sky Blast and Payload continue to search for Prime. On Cybertron, Jetfire's team search the decimated Decepticon base, while in the Earth Decepticon HQ Sparkplug's team try to work out what to do with Galvatron's allies. In order to stop Galvatron, the Air Defence Team form the Star Saber, and allow Megatron to use them. Meanwhile, Bludgeon attacks Jetfire's Autobots. The Land Military Team arrive at the Earth Autobase, just in time to see Megatron kill Galvatron.

Notes: Dropshot is based on an unused 1987 Triplechanger prototype.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Scavenger [knocked out], Red Alert [knocked out], Starscream [knocked out], Megatron, Galvatron [AU], Jetfire, Overload [first appearance], Side Swipe, Rhinox [first appearance], Blurr, Dropshot [first appearance, killed by Bludgeon], Bludgeon [AU], Scourge [AU], Thunderwing [AU], Dirge [AU], Thrust, Optimus Prime, Spinister [AU].

Mini-Cons featured [in rough order of appearance]: Sky Blast, Payload, Sparkplug, Over-Run, High Wire, Astroscope, Sonar, Runway, Jetstorm, Knock-Out, Bonecrusher, Wreckage.

Review: Interesting stuff, though you have to question how long Unicron's appearance is to be dragged out when everyone knows it's him, why cannon fodder such as Dropshot is constructed when we have just 3 issues to go [why not Airrazor, or Terrorsaur, or Hoist?] and whether the Air Defence Team would really see Megatron as a better alternative than Galvatron [why not wait till they're both drained?]. Still, it looks great, and the scenes with Bludgeon are well-executed, as is the Megatron/Galvatron battle. The trouble is, these two parts cover up that there isn't a lot else happening, which leaves some worry considering both Dreamwave and Furman's recent problems with conclusions.

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#17 - "Worlds Collide, 4 of 4"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa
Cover Date: November 2003
Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To & Rob Armstrong
Colours: David Cheung, Eric Burns & Rob Ruffolo
Letters: Ben Lee
Later Reprinted In: Transformers Armada Vol. 3 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Sparkplug's team find Over-Run's null reality pod. Meanwhile, on the parallel Cybertron, Spinister is lost to Unicron, who then speaks to Prime, warning him that his world is next. At the Master Spacebridge Nexus, Jetfire's team prepares to destroy it in order to stop the random activity from warping the fabric of space. Meanwhile, the Land Military Team attack Megatron, freeing the Air Defence Team. Just then, Payload finds Optimus, and Sparkplug, Over-Run and Comettor dive in after him. Meanwhile, the Autobots at the Nexus are about to be defeated by Galvatron's accomplices, when Jetfire orders his troops to flee, setting the charges himself. Just as they're about to blow, he takes a chance, leaping through one of the portals and arriving with Prime at the same time as the Mini-Cons. Over-Run gives Optimus a Mini-Con Matrix that upgrades both him and Jetfire. They combine into a larger robot, and fire on Unicron before Over-Run gets them back to their Cybertron. There, Optimus begins to plan the battle against Unicron.

Notes: Optimus Prime and Jetfire's new colours are based on their Powerlinx repaints. Their combined mode is named in the toyline and on TV as Jetfire Convoy, though thankfully they won't bother in the comic, as it's a diabolical title.

Errors: In #15, Megatron shot Smokescreen in the face, from a few feet away, and he's only in critical condition? Oh dear. Comettor's"Exploration, new frontiers... it's what I do" piece is a little amusing, considering as his life so far can be summed up as: lived in a village on Cybertron, captured by Decepticons, escaped, crashed into the moon, lived there until moving to Earth. He's hardly James bloody Kirk, is he?

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Spinister [AU, devoured by Unicron], Optimus Prime, Blurr, Sideswipe, Jetfire, Rhinox, Overload, Scourge [AU, blown up], Dirge [AU, blown up], Thrust, Thunderwing [AU, blown up], Megatron, Bludgeon [AU, blown up], Red Alert. The space bridge portals also show glimpses of the 'Beast Wars' universe [showing Tigatron and Rattrap], the 'Robots in Disguise' universe [Optimus Prime and Prowl - yeh, it could be 'Car Robots', does it actually matter?], the 'Beast Machines' universe [yeh, the same one as the BW one, I know - anyway, we see Tankor], and the Japanese Beast Wars Universe [we see Big Convoy from 'Beast Wars Neo'].

Mini-Cons featured [in rough order of appearance]: Over-Run, Sparkplug, Comettor, Mirage, High Wire, Astroscope, Bonecrusher, Knock-Out, Wreckage, Sonar, Runway, Jetstorm, Payload.

Notable Others: Unicron.

Review: Furman's best conclusion for Dreamwave thus far, but not perfect. That said, the Matrix has been a plot device since inception, so to pick on an alternate universe version for being just that is a little unfair. The biggest annoyance really is the cop-out with at least the Autobots suffering no fatalities from what at the time was pictured to be a rather brutal assault... I would expect the Decepticons made it through as well as I can't see, however much I'd like to, Starscream getting an off-panel death with hardly any treachery to date. It does suffer slightly from the Dreamwave mindset of "conclusions don't conclude anything, just roll on into the next arc", but it's entertainingly done, with Jetfire finally getting some more character work and there are some fine action scenes, well rendered by Figueroa, who has refined the raw talent shown in The War Within into considerable skill.

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#18

[cover]
Cover: Guido Guidi
Cover Date: December 2003
Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Guido Guidi
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: David Cheung, Jong-Im Lee, Elliot Kravchik & Sigmund Torre
Letters: Ben Lee
Later Reprinted In: Transformers Armada Vol. 3 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Optimus has gathered the Mini-Cons and forged an alliance with Megatron in order to prepare for the coming of Unicron. They head off to Cybertron, and the Chaos Bringer duly appears. The Autobots and Decepticons keep Unicron off-balance, allowing the Mini-Cons to link and open the Matrix. Unicron is destroyed, while Hot Shot, Red Alert and Scavenger jump Megatron, knocking him into Unicron. Afterwards everyone celebrates.

Notes: Sparkplug and Comettor have also adopted their Powerlinx schemes. Where exactly most of the Mini-Cons, and half the Transformers, have been isn't explained. Smokescreen was injured in #15, while Megatron was damaged by Galvatron in #16.

Errors: Unicron has no link with his heralds? Megatron, after stating he'll wait until the others are exhausted before striking a deal, then sets off to do just that straight away.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime, Rhinox [absorbed into Unicron], Starscream, Cyclonus, Thrust, Demolisher, Megatron [absorbed into Unicron], Red Alert, Hot Shot, Smokescreen, Scavenger, Jetfire, Overload, Blurr, Sideswipe, Tidal Wave [first appearance], Wheeljack, Sideways, Laserbeak, Airrazor [first appearance, absorbed into Unicron], Terrorsaur [first appearance, absorbed into Unicron], Cheetor [first appearance, absorbed into Unicron], Skywarp.

Mini-Cons featured [in rough order of appearance]: Firebot [first appearance], Prowl [first appearance], Runway, Jetstorm, Sonar, Wind Sheer [first appearance], Bonecrusher, Wreckage, Grindor, Sureshock, Makeshift, Incinerator, Rook, Crosswise, Iceberg, Spiral, Oval, Astroscope, Payload, Skyblast, High Wire, Mirage, Downshift, Dirtboss, Ransack, Dune Runner, Backtrack, Nightbeat [first appearance], Dirtboss, Rollbar, Longarm, Liftor, Jolt, Inferno, Sparkplug, Over-Run, Refute [first appearance], Swindle, Blackout, Crumplezone, Leader-1, Comettor.

Notable Others: Rad, Alexis, Carlos, Unicron.

Review: An insultingly rushed mess. The story itself isn't bad, there's just not enough of it, and yet at the same time there's too much going on. It's Dreamwave's Transformers ethos summed up, with drama pre-empted by the needless building to the next plot arc, in this case leaving some "suspense" for Energon by not revealing Unicron etc. It's almost as if no-one at the company has the guts to tell Furman he's written a dire, trite script. There's no need for the silly, overlong opening stand-off sequence in a comic that has so much to do in just 22 pages. Would it really have killed them to up the page count? The battle itself is pathetic, a collection of that other DW staple, the pointless crowd scene for people to go "Oooh, Tidal Wave!", with no sense of the big picture. And then there's just another Matrix easy resolution. Surely whatever Furman's added to the original TF:TM plot device has been totally outweighed by its abuse in Dreamwave's output alone? It's another worthless throwaway, rendered anticlimactic by simply being the set-up for Energon. A cheap, shoddy end for a series which, while never really reaching astonishing heights, surely deserved better.

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