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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
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DREAMWAVE TRANSFORMERS COMIC ISSUE GUIDES

Generation One - Volume 2 - "War and Peace"

|Preview|#1|#2|#3|#4|#5|#6|

Preview

[cover]
Cover: Pat Lee

Cover Date: February 2003
Script: Chris Sarracini
Pencils: Pat Lee
Inks: Rob Armstrong
Colours: Espen Grundetjern
Letters: Dreamer Design

Synopsis: In the Gulf of Alaska, a fishing trawler's crew are discussing their catch when they run into hundreds of dead fish floating in the sea. On inspecting a dead whale, they find an Autobot symbol on some metal embedded in the carcass. Meanwhile, Optimus Prime has a vision of an oncoming storm while talking to Spike. Back in Alaska, Coast Guard Divers find an Autobot shuttle under the sea.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime.

Notable Others: Spike.

Production Notes: This Preview was only available in Dreamwave's Transformers - The Prime Directive trade paperback, which also included all of Volume 1.

Review: Hmmm... interesting, but ultimately rendered little more than an oddity for now given what appears to be a total rewrite of the second series. Only Prime's vision gets an offhand reference in the series proper, though the vagueness of his foreboding mood can be related to "War & Peace". However, the significance of the Autobot insignia among the dead sea life, or the shuttle, have yet to be touched upon, though it makes an interesting possible reference for the ongoing series. The scripting's the usual steady preview fare, with little Transformers focus, but it does hold the interest, and Pat Lee's art isn't too bad. Apart from Prime... All that said, you'll miss nothing not reading it, and buying the TPB for it alone isn't a wise course unless you're a mad completist.

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#1 - "New World Order"

[cover]
[cover]
Decepticon Cover:
Pat Lee
Autobot Cover:
Pat Lee
Cover Date: April 2003
Script: Brad Mick
Pencils: Pat Lee
Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia
Colours: Espen Grundetjern, Alan Wang & Rob Ruffolo
Letters: Dreamer Design
Later Reprinted In: Transformers - War and Peace.

Synopsis: A year after their reawakening, the Autobots and Decepticons find themselves drawn to a mysterious beacon. As they battle, Scourge emerges from a pod and announces the war between Autobots and Decepticons is over, and Cybertron is unified. Before he can elaborate, Shockwave appears and guns him down. The new arrival declares he is leader of Cybertron, and the Earth-based Autobots and Decepticons are prisoners of war who should surrender at once, his claim backed up by five Triple Changers. Megatron shoots Shockwave, and the former gives the order to attack. Blitzwing takes down Megatron, but is then taken out by Grimlock, while Shockwave takes out Megatron. The Autobots retreat, and Shockwave offers the Decepticons a choice - to join him, or die. The decide to sign up. The Autobots regroup, and Prime leads part of the force back to base at the Ark, with Prowl remaining with a recce team. Back at Shockwave's shuttle, the Decepticons are prepared for stasis as the shuttle leaves, but Starscream is able to break free. Back at the Ark, the Autobots argue over their course of action, joined by Grimlock. Meanwhile, Prowl's team is ambushed by more Cybertronians, and then meets Ultra Magnus, also working for the unified Cybertron. In the Cybertronian ship en route to the planet, Starscream dumps Megatron's body out of an airlock, and then guns him down, leaving his body floating in space.

Notes: Prowl, Ironhide, Hound, Ratchet and Bluestreak have been repaired since the first mini, as has presumably Wheeljack. Cybertronians seen are the fugitive Scourge, leader Shockwave, Blitzwing, Sandstorm, Broadside, Astrotrain, Octane, Dirge, Thrust, Ramjet and Ultra Magnus. Grimlock has rejoined the Decepticons in between the series. Cliffjumper is mentioned, but not seen.

Errors: Blitzwing is seen with the deactivated Decepticons back in #5 of the first mini, so why is he with the Cybertronians here? On page 10, Huffer seems incredibly concerned about Megatron. On page 12, Gears' wheels on his shoulders are red instead of black. Wheeljack's also in the background twice on page 10, and again on page 13 but he died in the last issue of the first mini. Would Ratchet really say "noggin"? Does Grimlock have some sort of teleporting device? He comes out of nowhere to take out Blitzwing, gets away from the first battle seemingly without fuss and then just wanders into the Ark. The latter is a big problem - Grimlock's a Decepticon-symbol wearing traitor now, none of the "free agent" stuff from the end of the last mini, and firstly he can just walk into the Autobot HQ, and secondly the Autobots react like he's the local hussy or something, rather than something of a Judas. Trailbreaker could've at least clonked him with an "I" bar again or something. Why does no-one notice when Starscream gets out of suspended animation? Why does Shockwave bother making Rumble and Frenzy guard Megatron? For a start, he can't trust them they've only just joined up to save their own hides. And even if he can, what use are they going to be against Megatron?

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, Prowl, Mirage, Thundercracker, Sideswipe, Ironhide, Skywarp, Scourge, Bumblebee, Shockwave, Blitzwing, Octane, Sandstorm, Astrotrain, Broadside, Sunstreaker, Grimlock, Ratchet, Huffer, Brawn, Trailbreaker, Hound, Jazz, Soundwave, Frenzy, Rumble, Ravage, Gears, Prowl, Wheeljack, Ultra Magnus, Bluestreak, Thrust, Dirge, Ramjet.

Production Notes: Both regular covers were gatefold, and folded out to combine into one battle scene, with the Autobots and Decepticons back-to-back and Cybertronians on either side.

Review: Hmmm... very mixed. It's certainly an improvement over the first series, though not quite the classic lots of online reviews are currently claiming it to be. The pacing's better, quicker certainly, though there's an awful lot going on, and some of it's quite rushed - Scourge, for instance, is forgotten about once his purpose is served, and Grimlock seems to exist outside of the rules of script-writing. Pat Lee's art is the weakest link, everyone looks fake, as if they're inflated, and some of the layouts are very difficult to follow - the anticlockwise panels on the page 2/3 splash being prime offender. The scripting's okay, but very clichéd - and Bluestreak's speech is very Furman-lite. Also, the main plot is painfully predictable. It's enjoyable enough, but hardly complex or classic.

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#2 - "Brothers' Burden"

[cover]
[cover]
Decepticon Cover:
Pat Lee
Autobot Cover:
Pat Lee
Cover Date: May 2003
Script: Brad Mick
Pencils: Pat Lee
Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia
Colours: Espen Grundetjern & Alan Wang
Letters: Paul Villafuerte
Later Reprinted In: Transformers - War and Peace.

Synopsis: Ultra Magnus and his team are attacking the Ark. Back in space, Shockwave punishes Starscream for escaping as the Decepticons arrive on Cybertron. Meanwhile, Prime splits the Autobots, a token few surrendering to Magnus while Jazz leads a team to get to the bottom of what's going on. On the Cybertronian shuttle, Prime meets up with Prowl's captured team. Elsewhere, Grimlock sets off to revive the other Dinobots. Back on Cybertron, Starscream ambushes Shockwave's new lieutenant, Soundwave, while Shockwave tells Magnus the Autobots will be deactivated when they arrive on Cybertron.

Notes: Prowl, Cliffjumper, Hound, Mirage and Trailbreaker were captured by Magnus last issue, though Trailbreaker was injured by Thrust. The other Dinobots are in a Decepticon shuttle in the arctic, dormant for some reason in a Decepticon shuttle. Megatron knew they were there. The team of Autobots left free consists of Jazz, Ratchet, Brawn, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Wheeljack and Windcharger.

Errors: It's still not explained how Starscream got out of stasis. Prime knows Prowl's team have been captured before Magnus even says anything about it. How does Magnus just let seven Autobots run for it? It's not much of a siege if you only watch the front door. Quite how Grimlock makes it away, and then to the Arctic under his own steam, isn't shown as that would require skill. On page 11, Soundwave's carrying his shoulder launcher in his hand. Prime says to Blitzwing "Didn't you learn your lesson the last time you attacked me from behind!". That'd be when he knocked you down and would have shot you in the face without Grimlock's Magic Plot Device Abilities, then, Op?

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Ramjet, Ultra Magnus, Grimlock, Optimus Prime, Jazz, Starscream, Shockwave, Soundwave, Topspin, Twin Twist, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Gears, Ratchet, Thrust, Dirge, Blitzwing, Bluestreak, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Brawn, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, Windcharger, Perceptor, Sky Lynx, Cliffjumper, Prowl, Hound, Mirage, Sludge, Swoop, Snarl, Slag, Astrotrain, Ravage, Reflector. Some Mini-Spies are also seen.

Review: Still very choppy. There's lots going on, but it's difficult to get much interest as lots of it doesn't seem to be coming together. Two of the main characters, Grimlock and Starscream, are shockingly written. Grimlock seems to exist outside of the narrative, just generally acting cool and doing literally whatever he likes, physically impossible or not. Starscream, meanwhile, is a tacky caricature of his already tacky caricature in the cartoon. Please, when is someone going to think of a Starscream plotline that isn't "Starscream has a treacherous agenda"? If no-one can think of a new one, leave him out. We've seen it all before too many times - one of the few positive aspects of Dreamwave's first series was the portrayal of Starscream as skilled labour, rather than giving him the same old plot and lines as ever to placate his simpering fans. Aside from that, it's not especially bad, though much like Lazarus, it's painfully obvious where this is going - there's some catch as to how Cybertron is at piece. Lee's art is surprisingly competent for the large part, though his faces seem to be getting more identikit by the page. His emotions are still also very stilted, so the Prime/Magnus confrontation fizzles out somewhat. And if Brad Mick is a gestalt entity, he's definitely got Chris Sarracini's sense of humour - the jokes are diabolical. It's readable, but again it really isn't living up to the accolades awarded to it.

[image][image][image][image][image][image][image][image][image][image]

#3 - "Cold War"

[cover]
[cover]
Decepticon Cover:
Pat Lee
Autobot Cover:
Pat Lee
Cover Date: June 2003
Script: Brad Mick
Pencils: Pat Lee
Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia
Colours: Espen Grundetjern & Alan Wang
Letters: Paul Villafuerte
Later Reprinted In: Transformers - War and Peace.

Synopsis: It is revealed how in the past Shockwave and Scourge were amongst those who massacred the Sharkticons. Back in the here and now, Shockwave is taking valuable data from Alpha Trion, one-time saviour of the Transformers. Back on Earth, Jazz' team search for Scourge, unaware that he has been captured by the human military. The Dinobots have taken their shuttle to Cybertron, where they crash, and are spotted by a group of Autobots, while Shockwave sends Octane to investigate. Shockwave then sends Frenzy and Rumble on an important mission, while trying to brainwash the other Autobots into hating Prime by playing images of the battle in San Francisco the year before. Octane finds the Dinobots, but they kill him and steal his transport, while Frenzy and Rumble finish reviving the Stunticons, before being pressganged by Starscream. Meanwhile, Perceptor lobbies the Cybertronian Council to investigate Shockwave's modifications to the Transformers, when the news of the Stunticons' escape reaches them. Magnus leads a team to stop them. The Dinobots then launch an attack on Iacon, as Sandstorm and Broadside free Prime's team. Sandstorm takes Prime underground, but is shot by Runabout. Runabout is then killed by a Sharkticon, which then leaps on Prime.

Notes: The whole Scourge/Alpha Trion/what exactly Shockwave's up to thing is unclear at the moment. Scourge is captured by humans. Octane's transport looks a lot like one of Sixshot's modes, but it doesn't appear to be him. The Council at Iacon Central Hall consists of Skids, Red Alert, Inferno and Grapple.

Errors: Why is Jazz talking like Sammy Davis Jr? Did someone really think that sounded good? How the Hell is Red Alert part of the Council on Cybertron when he was on Earth in the last series? Pat's idiosyncrasies with crotches and just general character design means Magnus appears to have a penis on page 17. On page 20, in the bottom frame, there's a caption which doesn't follow on from anything.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Scourge, Alpha Trion, Jazz, Windcharger, Brawn, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Swoop, Snarl, Sludge, Grimlock, Slag, Hot Rod, Blurr, Springer, Soundwave, Rumble, Frenzy, Topspin, Ultra Magnus, Optimus Prime, Prowl, Gears, Swerve, Seaspray, Tracks, Pipes, Tailgate, Smokescreen, Beachcomber, Warpath, Octane [killed by Slag], Downshift, Overdrive, Starscream, Perceptor, Skids, Red Alert, Inferno, Grapple, Whirl, Roadbuster, Blitzwing, Ironhide, Broadside, Sandstorm [killed by Runabout], Runabout [killed by Gnaw], Gnaw.

Review: After a middling but promising start, the series is now going off the rails. There's way too much going on here - whatever happens at the start with the Sharkticons, the mystery of Scourge, Alpha Trion, the Stunticons, Starscream's tedious pantomime villain behaviour, the Dinobots, the injection of two fresh bunches of Autobots, the ramifications of Shockwave's modifications. The last DW mini didn't look like it was going to self-destruct until #5, so it can't be good that this one's looking like a Hell of a mess by #3. It really doesn't feel like the writer/s are actually planning ahead, just picking up a cool idea and jamming it in, then forgetting about it. Lee's art takes a turn for the worse, with big bulgy figures [the small renderings of Autobots watching the San Francisco video are abysmal], and there's still more lashings of lame comedy. Grimlock smacks his head on the monitor. Titter. Jokey non-reference to alteration of your own, 9-issue old continuity. Har-har. And by now the constant references [sorry, they're called "Easter Eggs" now - a bloody stupid name for a bloody stupid idea enjoyed by bloody stupid people] to other Transformers media is getting irritating - why would Jazz get a "J Name" of Meister?; what's the point of Hot Rod's mimicking of the arrival of the shuttle in TF:TM?; isn't it a staggering coincidence the council are all year 2 Autobot cars? Ooooh, it must be a classic story as in one frame Magnus uses the word "wreck" with a bunch of guys who were Wreckers in an entirely different continuity! Oh look, the smelting pools. That completely redeems this poor, speed-written nonsense. But, then, on the plus side, Starscream's only in one frame, and while he is being treacherous in it, at least that's a lot less two-dimensional Traitor for your money.

[image][image][image][image][image][image][image][image][image][image]

#4 - "Passive Aggression"

[cover]
[cover]
Decepticon Cover:
Pat Lee
Autobot Cover:
Pat Lee
Cover Date: July 2003
Script: Brad Mick
Pencils: Pat Lee
Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia
Layout Assists: Ferd Poblete
Colours: Espen Grundetjern, Alan Wang & Gary Yeung
Letters: Ben Lee
Later Reprinted In: Transformers - War and Peace.

Synopsis: Menasor is tearing up bits of Quadrant Epsilon, but Magnus goads the Stunticons to buy time to take him down. Meanwhile, Broadside takes the Autobots to meet other members of the resistance. Prime, meanwhile, is in the hands of a different Autobot group, having been saved by Gnaw. Meanwhile, Shockwave has activated the Sentinels to deal with the Dinobots, while a returning Magnus takes out Grimlock. The Autobot resistance, though, have worked out that Shockwave is conditioning the Transformers to be more violent, preparing them for war.

Notes: There are at least two Autobot resistance groups. The Omnibots are destroyed by Menasor. Grimlock and Shockwave have fought by the Smelting Pools before. It's possible that Roadbuster and Whirl were also killed by Menasor, but the whole thing is, in usual Pat Lee style, so muddy and confusing that they might not have been at all...

Errors: Why did Sandstorm take Prime underground in the previous issue? So he could be kidnapped and meet up with Hot Rod & co. methinks. How is Menasor such a danger if you can talk him down in a few minutes? The rubsign thing is incredibly stupid. If Shockwave's signal is triggering violent tendencies, how come Cybertron was peaceful? If Magnus is doubting Shockwave, why does he blow Grimlock up?

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Menasor, Defensor, Downshift, Camshaft, Overdrive, Roadbuster, Whirl, Ultra Magnus, Twin Twist, Topspin, Ramjet, Slag, Sludge, Snarl, Grimlock, Shockwave, Blitzwing, Gears, Ironhide, Bluestreak, Bumblebee, Mirage, Broadside, Prowl, Hound, Smokescreen, Defcon, Optimus Prime, Gnaw, Wheelie, Blurr, Hot Rod, Kup, Swoop, Arcee, Blaster, Springer.

Review: It still reads like a bad fanfic. Magnus' takedown of Menasor is nicely done, but it apes Prime's charge on Devastator in the first series, and as such feels very much like a moment designed for fanboys to mark as k3wl. There are too many characters flitting in and out. Very little of the grand plot seems to be touched upon, though the whole thing's so muddy and episodic that it could just be hard to tell. Hot Rod is both very badly drawn and abysmally characterised.

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#5 - "Countdown to Extinction"

[cover]
[cover]
Decepticon Cover:
Pat Lee
Autobot Cover:
Pat Lee
Cover Date: August 2003
Script: Brad Mick
Pencils: Pat Lee
Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia
Layout Assists: Ferd Poblete
Colours: Espen Grundetjern, Pat Lee, Alan Wang, Rob Ruffolo, Ramil Sunga & Gary Yeung
Letters: Ben Lee
Later Reprinted In: Transformers - War and Peace.

Synopsis: Prime gathers the Autobot resistance and attacks Iacon. Meanwhile, Magnus orders the Dinobots to be repaired. Shockwave then guns Magnus down, while Starscream and Soundwave continue their plotting. Prime confronts Shockwave, but the Decepticon gets the Matrix, accessing its knowledge and summoning Unicron.

Notes: Starscream kills Reflector, and gives Soundwave Ratbat, who was held in Epsilon. No idea why Shockwave summons Unicron, or even if he meant to...

Errors: Why is Broadside at some random resistance base needing to be notified when he travelled with Prowl & co?

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Ironhide, Thrust, Dirge, Huffer, Smokescreen, Prowl, Blaster, Eject, Ramhorn, Steeljaw, Springer, Arcee, Kup, Hot Rod, Gnaw, Blurr, Tracks, Broadside, Cosmos, Beachcomber, Seaspray, Powerglide, Ultra Magnus, Grimlock, Perceptor, Swoop, Shockwave, Reflector, Soundwave, Ratbat, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Springer, Gears.

Review: This issue's a bit better, but with so much going on you get the same depressing feeling as with #5 of the first series - there's no way it's all going to come together. Still, the action's quite good, although some of the missed action [Shockwave removing the Matrix, Ironhide getting caught by the Omega Sentinel] makes it feel rather jumpy. The worst sequence is, of course, featuring Starscream. Dreamwave's attempts to make him seem villainous still seem to consist of making him babble on about how much fun violence is, and he's one element that could have been culled from the series, and the space given over to developing some of the plot developments. The killing of Reflector is another all-too-obvious "let's make this look sooo cool" sequence. But overall it's better than the last couple of issues, albeit with the regular failings of too much reliance on older material, indistinct artwork and poor dialogue.

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#6 - "Revelation"

[cover]
[cover]
Autobot Cover:
Pat Lee
Decepticon Cover:
Pat Lee
Cover Date: September 2003
Script: Brad Mick
Pencils: Pat Lee
Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia
Layout Assists: Ferd Poblete
Colours: Espen Grundetjern, Alan Wang, Rob Ruffolo, Ramil Sunga & Pat Lee
Letters: Ben Lee
Later Reprinted In: Transformers - War and Peace.

Synopsis: Shockwave explains to Prime how he turned Cybertron from a war-drained world into a peaceful, living planet, then let the Autobot Council take over to appease many Autobots, while keeping power. Meanwhile, Starscream is leaving the planet with some stolen protoforms. However, the choose Sky Lynx as their transport and are out of control. Shockwave continues to tell Prime his plans, how he has designs on Earth, destroyed the Ark II and summoned them to Alaska. He has also reactivated the planet's engines, and is set to use it to take Earth. Just then, Magnus turns up, having shed his damaged exo-armour, and shoots Shockwave. Shockwave blasts off Magnus' arm. Prime saves him, knocking him down a deep pit, before Grimlock arrives. The Autobots have won, but ponder what exactly caused Shokcwave to come up with the complicated plot. Meanwhile, Megatron's body has been found by Wreck-Gar.

Notes: Cybertron shut down to evolve when too much energy was used, taking the planet's inhabitants with it. Shockwave reactivated the Transformers, around 1,000 B.C, and reprogrammed them to work to the same end. The Matrix is a key to Vector Sigma, which has recorded all the experiences of the Transformers. Oh, and Prime and Magnus are brothers...

Errors: How did Shockwave explain the change to Earth modes to the Cybertronians? Why didn't the likes of Cosmos listen to him? Why does Shockwave keep a giant abyss in the middle of the floor?

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Cliffjumper, Hot Rod, Dirge, Mirage, Skids, Inferno, Frenzy, Rumble, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Soundwave, Sky Lynx, Gears, Arcee, Blitzwing, Astrotrain, Grimlock, Perceptor, Tracks, Defensor, Twin Twist, Grapple, Red Alert, Bumblebee, Thrust, Bluestreak. Cybertron mode Octane, Tracks, Divebomb, Red Alert, Grapple and Skids are seen in flashbacks.

Review: Aside from the pathetic Prime/ Magnus brothers revelation [I would sue, seeing as I actually wrote a story based on that premise when I was 5, but no doubt everyone else did too] and the fact the whole mini's downgraded to being a prelude for the ongoing series, this actually isn't too bad. Shockwave slips into a pretty risible sub-Bond villain exposition mode, but the ideas on show are actually quite good and original, even if his agenda's rather opaque. But the action's quite good, especially the three-way fight scene, and it's good to see that the Autobots care so much for Prime when he's spent half-a-dozen issues blundering around clueless. The "too many plots" angle is nicely covered by simply dropping some, such as the action on Earth, knowing they can be picked up in the ongoing. Overall, "War and Peace" is something of an odd beast, with lots of good little bits and more consistency that its predecessor, but with much too much going on [there's easily a year's worth of storylines in this] which suggests Dreamwave still hasn't got the discipline, and too many nods to fans, making it feel like it's not really a story in its own right.

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