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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
Club/Con
(2001-now)
Titan Books
(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
Manga
Other Books
and Titles

DREAMWAVE TRANSFORMERS COMIC ISSUE GUIDES

Generation One - Volume 3 - ongoing

|#0|#1|#2|#3|#4|#5|#6|#7|#8|#9|#10|

#0

[cover]
[cover]
Regular Cover:
Pat Lee
Incentive Cover:
Don Figueroa

Cover Date: December 2003 Cover Price: $2.95

Script: Brad Mick
Art: Pat Lee, Don Figueroa & Joe Ng
Inks: Elaine To, Rob Armstrong & Erik Sander
Colours: Espen Grundetjern, Rob Ruffolo, David Cheung, Jong-Im Lee, Elliot Kravchil & Sigmund Torre
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis: Unicron has been awakened by Shockwave, and destroys Lithone before heading to Earth. During his last period of activity, Unicron created a wave of heralds, now spread across the universe. One of these was Scourge, who reactivated Shockwave. Shockwave betrayed Scourge, who is now in the possession of Earth's authorities, as are the remains of Devastator and Superion. While the Autobots on Earth and Cybertron regroup, the Quintessons observe the situation. Meanwhile, on Junk, Wreck-Gar is building an army for Megatron.

Notes: Optimus Prime gunned down Devastator in Vol. 1 #5. Superion was obliterated in Vol. 1 #6. Prime left Jazz & co. behind in Vol. 2 #2. Prime and Magnus were damaged battling Shockwave in Vol. 2 #6. The jets with Megatron are generic Seeker clones. Knowing Mick's ongoing desire to reproduce all of TF:TM at some point or another, I'm assuming that's Kranix talking to Arbulus.

Errors: That nuke left quite a bit of Superion behind, didn't it? Actually, combined with the more optimistic flashback of the impact, would seem to hint at them ret-conning Superion's death. Being hit in the face with a nuke isn't fatal, kids... Amateurish hacks. Along the same lines, Devastator's face seems a lot better than last time.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Cyclonus [flashback], Scourge [flashback], Shockwave [flashback], Jazz, Sunstreaker, Wheeljack, Brawn, Windcharger, Ratchet, Sideswipe, Prowl,Ultra Magnus, Optimus Prime, Perceptor, Smokescreen, Springer, Kup, Ironhide, Broadside [flashback], Astrotrain [flashback], Blitzwing [flashback], Superion [flashback], Megatron. The body of Devastator and Superion's head are both seen, as are a whole load of Sweeps, and the Seeker clones.

Notable Others: Arbulus, Kranix, Unicron, Wreck-Gar. Plus some Quintessons, Sharkticons, those guards and wavy tentacle bloke.

Review: It's an interesting read, but it's also very, very frustrating. If the more original plot points from this were added to "War & Peace", with some of the more execrable "Easter egg" scenes removed, the series might have been so much better... There's a total lack of Mick's diabolical take on Starscream, which is good, but for every move made to declutter the mess he made of Dreamwave's G1 continuity across just six issues, there's more elements piled into the broad plot. While Dreamwave's current motif of jamming Unicron's planet mode mystically into anywhere it'll fit and then some is probably unavoidable, do we really need the bloody Quintessons and yet another indistinct, self-styled suspenseful plot cul-de-sac? The art's mixed, though it does confirm anyone can draw Transformers better than Lee. Hopefully he'll be rotated off the main book before long, and left to contrive hundreds of variant covers, or employ his only serious talent of keeping an eye on his bank balance. Irritatingly, this is along the same lines as "War & Peace" - there are lots of good bits, lots of bad bits, but an unerring sense that it's running so fast and with so much being piled on as fuel that it's just going to combust.

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#1 - "Night of the Combaticons"

[cover]
[cover]
Regular Cover:
Don Figueroa
Variant Cover:
Don Figueroa

Cover Date: January 2004 Cover Price: $2.95

Script: Brad Mick
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: Espen Grundetjern & Rob Ruffolo
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis: With the help of Bruticus, Starscream has rounded up most of Jazz' Autobots on Earth, though Ratchet and Brawn remain at large. Meanwhile, Runabout and Runamuck are looting on Cybertron when they're attacked by Sunstorm. Back on Earth, Starscream and Bruticus attack the Ark, and free Soundwave, Skywarp and Thundercracker, who were sent in earlier to draw out the Autobots. Brawn does manage to contact Bumblebee, bringing a shuttle of supplies from Cybertron, and warn him, however. They manage to destroy the Ark, but are captured by Starscream. Above the planet, Sunstorm arrives, witnessed by Bumblebee's team.

Notes: How Starscream's team arrived on Earth, and what happened to Sky Lynx is yet to be explained. The Combaticons are clearly the result of the protoforms taken in Vol. 2 #6, though where their bodies came from is unexplained. Runamuck has been freed since Vol. 2 #4. The chap killed by Runamuck is a Mini-Spy. This is Sunstorm's first appearance anywhere, ditto for Bumper. Brawn has a removable battle mask [like Bumblebee in "The War Within"], which actually looks very cool - close to his toy face. Bumblebee's shuttle, named the Orion, is modelled on Galaxy Shuttle from the Victory TV show. Optimus Prime is currently off-line, but recovering. Along with Sunstorm in Shockwave's incubation chambers are Diaclone Powered Convoy [the mould that was later reused for Ultra Magnus] and the Microchange MicroscopeRobo [later Perceptor].

Errors: Runabout's excuse for his resurrection is incredibly lame.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Starscream, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, Jazz, Bruticus, Windcharger, Wheeljack, Sunstreaker, Ratchet, Brawn, Runamuck, Runabout [killed by Sunstorm], Skywarp, Soundwave, Thundercracker, Cliffjumper, Bumblebee, Powerglide, Seaspray, Bumper, Cosmos, Brawl [flashback], Onslaught [flashback], Vortex.

Review: Very enjoyable. Mick slims down to a couple of central plot points and a few central characters, and delivers easily the best G1 issue Dreamwave have managed so far. There are a few niggles - he's still intent on constant referencing, mainly of TF:TM, Sunstorm's a little too close to The Fallen at this stage, and the Runabout thing is irritating. But there's some well-choreographed action, some sparkling character-work for Ratchet, Brawn and a surprisingly tolerable Starscream, some genuinely interesting plot development [the fresh character of Sunstorm means we'll get to really see what Mick can do when he doesn't feel bound by existing text], all enhanced by the detailed, but above all crisp and clear, artwork from Figueroa. If the ongoing can maintain this standard, it might actually be a worthy opponent for Marvel's work.

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#2 - "Black Sunshine"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa

Cover Date: February 2004 Cover Price: $2.95

Script: Brad Mick
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: Espen Grundetjern & Rob Ruffolo
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis: In Oregon, Sunstorm tries to persuade Starscream of his divine credentials, but Starscream and his troops attack. Bruticus is taken down by the Orion, which is promptly disabled by Sunstorm. Starscream escapes, and is followed by Sunstorm. Back on Cybertron, Ironhide and Prowl are training new recruits while Optimus Prime recovers. Magnus is already back online, and receives news that Runabout and Runamuck have been found at the source of an energy anomaly. On Earth, Sunstorm has tracked Starscream to the Nemesis. Bumblebee's team meets up with Ratchet and Brawn, and head back to the Orion to plan their search for Jazz and the others. However, Starscream turns up, with Jetfire in tow.

Notes: The new recruits are Hubcap, Swerve, Outback, Tailgate and Pipes. Red Alert's also in the training room, but unless there's another ret-con to the poor guy's Dreamwave life so far, he's probably just supervising or something. It's unclear how long Jetfire's been in stasis on the Nemesis. The Powerdashers are seen in an official TF story for the first time ever, and as described in the More Than Meets the Eye profile series, are just maintenance droids. The Combaticons' bodies were built from abandoned vehicles at a military testing zone. Sunstorm has been "at one with the Oracle". Sky Lynx' exact fate isn't mentioned. Ultra Magnus has been repaired, including his armour, since the second series.

Errors: Streetwise claims Runabout was "knocked off-line". He had his head incinerated. I smell a ret-con... When Bumblebee, Cliffjumper and Ratchet shout at Brawn to "give it a rest, already", one of the tails of the speech bubble looks like it's pointing at Brawn himself rather than Cliffjumper.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Thundercracker, Skywarp, Starscream, Soundwave, Rumble, Sunstorm, Blast Off, Swindle, Onslaught, Vortex, Brawl, Bruticus, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Powerglide, Seaspray, Cosmos, Prowl, Ironhide, Hubcap, Swerve, Outback, Tailgate, Pipes, Red Alert, Hoist, Optimus Prime [off-line], Ultra Magnus, Streetwise, Groove, Hot Spot, First Aid, Runamuck [off-line], Blades, Jetfire, Brawn, Ratchet, Sky Lynx [flashback], Wheeljack [flashback].

Review: Not quite as jump-for-joy fun as #1, but nevertheless a damn fine read. The characterisation crackles, though while Brawn's just as I'd expect him to be, he is pretty irritating. Sunstorm's still a bit pompous, and a bit like The Fallen, but he holds the attention well. Mick also, if I'm not mistaken, avoids quoting TF:TM for a whole issue. More of that, please, Brad. Figueroa's art is a little more variable than of late, with some background characters a little ill-defined, but he delivers the punches for the action sequences. What's most enjoyable, though, is that the story is progressing logically, and elements are being introduced with much more care and style than "War & Peace".

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#3 - "Skyfire"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa

Cover Date: March 2004 Cover Price: $2.95

Script: Brad Mick
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: Espen Grundetjern & Rob Ruffolo
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis: Jetfire is able to knock Sunstorm out long enough to escape, and take Starscream to the Autobot force on the Orion. There they debate Sunstorm's origin. Back on Cybertron, the Autobot population is in unrest concerning the battle in Iacon, causing low morale in Prowl, Ironhide and Kup. On Earth, the Autobots have formed an uneasy alliance with Starscream's band of Decepticons. Jetfire and Ratchet have deduced that Sunstorm is a clone of Starscream, and prepare a decoy. The Minibots then tackle the threat to give them time. Jetfire bails them out, and manages to attach an inhibitor to Sunstorm, but loses him. He catches up with the others in Alaska, weakened but still powerful. However, Jetfire has reactivated Omega Supreme.

Notes: Jetfire has interstellar armour, a useful device for when they want to use both the Valkyrie and Marvel character models, which also protects him from radiation. Bumblebee still has his battle mask. The Autobots follow the Covenant of Primus - the Decepticons, it would seem, do not. Clones are immune to each other's energy emissions.

Among the Autobots seen in the New Iacon Central Hall are Shouki, Getsuei, Kaen and Yukikaze [Trainbots, from the 1987 Japanese Headmasters series and toyline], Wingwaver [part of Multiforce from the Japanese Victory line], plus the Generation 2 characters Rapido and Windbreaker. It's the first time any of them have turned up in an official Western Transformers comic. The beverage Prowl and Ironhide enjoy has Kremzeek from the US TV series on the label. As Jetfire locks onto Sunstorm, there are some Japanese-style characters that actually read "More Than Meets the Eye Cliffjumper Red Alert" backwards.

Errors: Why the Hell do the Autobots agree to recharging the Decepticons? They have Starscream in the palm of their hand... why not just set Brawn on him till he squeals?

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Sunstorm, Jetfire, Starscream, Ratchet, Brawn, Bumblebee, Prowl, Ironhide, Ultra Magnus [flashback], Kup, Shouki [flashback], Rapido [flashback], Getsuei [flashback], Windbreaker [flashback], Yukikaze [flashback], Wingwaver [flashback], Kaen [flashback], Skywarp, Soundwave, Thundercracker, Brawl, Onslaught, Vortex, Cliffjumper, Bumper, Warpath.

Review: Something of a mixed bag. The plot isn't really advanced much, and the two big fight sequences with Sunstorm fall rather flat. Mick is more restrained than he has been previously, though, with regard to referencing the franchise's past, and this is really beginning to take the shape of a series of its own, rather than a big long in-joke. Prowl's brief scenes are an absolute joy, and Bumblebee is superbly written. Mick also puts rather a good spin on Jetfire, even if he's possibly a little too on-the-pulse considering what seems to have happened to him. However, it's with the villains that things aren't well. Sunstorm's too repetitive, and Starscream's regressed to his "War and Peace" treachery for the sake of treachery persona. Still, aside from a huge frame of info-dump from Jetfire, the pacing's pretty good, and Figueroa hits all the right notes once again with the artwork. Dreamwave just start needing to convert good set-ups into good stories.

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#4 - "The Omega Effect" & "Runnin' with the Devil"

[cover] [cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa
Incentive Cover: Pat Lee

Cover Date: April 2004 Cover Price: $2.95

"The Omega Effect"
Script:
Brad Mick
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: Espen Grundetjern
Letters: Ben Lee
"Runnin' with the Devil"
Script:
Brad Mick
Pencils: James Raiz
Inks: Erik Sander
Colours: Elliot Kravchik
Letters: Ben Lee

"The Omega Effect"

Synopsis: Starscream and Sunstorm battle Omega Supreme, and the former is soon knocked out, but not before he's disabled the inhibitor the Autobots placed on Sunstorm. On Cybertron, Prowl is struggling to make headway into what exactly happened in Epsilon Quadrant. Elsewhere on Earth, Warpath and Bumper recover Jazz and his unit from a lake, but are apprehended by Marissa Faireborn and the Earth Defense Force. Jetfire and the others get back to the Orion, only to find their comrades off-line, Starscream having escaped. Meanwhile, Omega seems to have knocked out Sunstorm, but leaves himself undefended.

Notes: The flashback is set some time after War Within: The Dark Ages. The explosion in Epsilon Quadrant, and Starscream disposing of Jazz' team, both happened in #1.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron [flashback], Soundwave [flashback], Starscream, Sunstorm, Omega Supreme, Prowl, Ultra Magnus, Warpath, Jazz [deactivated], Windcharger [deactivated], Wheeljack [deactivated], Sideswipe [deactivated], Sunstreaker [deactivated], Bumper, Brawn, Cliffjumper, Jetfire, Bumblebee, Beachcomber [deactivated], Powerglide [deactivated], Seaspray [deactivated], Cosmos [deactivated], Ratchet.

Notable Others: Marissa Faireborn.

Review: It's beginning to run out of steam a little. The ever-decreasing number of active Autobots on Earth is beginning to feel rather forced, and once again the fight scenes lack that certain something - it might be the rigid structure of a six-issue arc, though - we know nothing's going to stop Sunstorm until #6, so it lacks much suspense. Figueroa carries a lot of it off, and Mick's characterisation continues to improve - the flashback is the first readable Starscream sequence he's written, and Prowl once again seems well-rounded and believable. One criticism is that Jetfire's possibly filling too many roles - de-facto leader, scientist, medic, tactician, fighter - which means the other characters tend to be fighting for scraps.

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"Runnin' with the Devil"

Synopsis: Megatron has been repaired by Wreck-Gar on the Junkion's ship. He convinces Wreck-Gar to repair some of the Decepticons on Junk as robots, claiming to be righting wrongs in the universe. However, Megatron is plotting his revenge on Starscream, and kills the Junkion.

Notes: Megatron was thrown out into space by Starscream in Vol. 2 #1, and found by Wreck-Gar in Vol. 3 #0. Junkions are a mix of Autobots and Decepticons. Megatron now has three reactivated clone Seeker-style soldiers.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron.

Notable Others: Wreck-Gar [killed by Megatron].

Review: Nicely done, and the best character work Megatron's had for years. It's slight, and a little predictable, but well written. Best of all, though, is James Raiz' art, enhancing the dark mood and aided by moody colouring from Kravchik. A nice idea, and hopefully there'll be a few more back-ups like this.

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#5 - "Original Sin"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa

Cover Date: May 2004 Cover Price: $2.95

Script:
Brad Mick & Adam Patyk
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: Espen Grundetjern
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis: Omega Supreme has been knocked out by Sunstorm, and Jetfire, Cliffjumper and Bumblebee discuss what to do next. Jetfire reveals he and Omega were searching for the Ark when Scourge attacked them, and Jetfire was able to trap the Decepticon in a stasis pod, before they were both buried in ice. Meanwhile, Omega has come back online. Cliffjumper stays with him, while Jetfire and Bumblebee set off after Sunstorm. Back on Cybertron, Prowl and Perceptor discuss the possible purpose of the clone lab in Epsilon. On Earth, Jetfire and Bumblebee come across Sunstorm and Starscream attempting to open a large Autobot chamber, the entrance of which is buried off the Gulf of Alaska. It blasts a hole in the ground, and the Decepticons enter, with the Autobots following. A battle ensues, and Sunstorm captures Bumblebee. Jetfire pins Starscream and tries to bargain with Sunstorm. However, Starscream throws everybody by shooting Sunstorm, then Jetfire and Bumblebee. He kicks Sunstorm into the pit at the bottom of the chamber and leaves.

Notes: Bumblebee never got round to finishing reading the Covenant of Primus, and doesn't necessarily belief in Primus himself. Jetfire and Omega's mission was codenamed Operation: Containment, and was one of the last Autobot space missions, designed to locate Optimus Prime and the Ark. They were jumped by Scourge, who was eventually buried under ice with Jetfire - it would seem to be where Scourge was before he was reactivated and resurfaced in Vol. 2 #1. It would seem the main ship crashed with Omega onboard, and that was where he was before cropping up in #3. The clone labs were discovered in #1. The underground facilities being in the Gulf of Alaska will probably link up with the shuttle shown in the Vol. 2 Preview.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Jetfire, Omega Supreme, Scourge [flashback], Prowl, Perceptor, Mirage, Hound, Bluestreak, Huffer, Gears, Ironhide, Trailbreaker, Starscream, Sunstorm.

Review: Much better than the last issue. Jetfire's still muscling a little too much of the action, and Mick seems to be inverting his War & Peace ethos, by constantly paring down the cast. However, Bumblebee gets some superb character work, and the plot picks up speed - if the plot does tie in with the stunted storyline of the Volume 2 Preview, that will be a masterstroke. Even Starscream's treachery is played fairly well, and Don Figueroa continues to set the benchmark with lush, crisp, moody artwork.

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#6 - "Atonement"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa

Cover Date: June 2004 Cover Price: $2.95

Script:
James "Brad Mick" McDonough & Adam Patyk
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: Espen Grundetjern
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis: Starscream claims the smelting pool in Alaska is "prehistoric", much to Bumblebee's surprise. On Cybertron, Prowl is taking stock of the situation, and announces that a permanent defence force will be established on Earth. Meanwhile, the EDC have added Jazz, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Windcharger and Wheeljack to their haul, and take them to an underground bunker. Back underground, Starscream has deduced the Autobot technology predates their own arrival, and may be linked to Sunstorm. Just then, though, Sunstorm returns from the pool. He takes out Starscream and assaults Bumblebee. However, he then starts to disintegrate. He flies off. Jetfire comes round, realises what is happening, and sets off after Sunstorm. Starscream has a rare pang of conscience, and flies Bumblebee to safety, before heading off. Jetfire and Sunstorm fight in the stratosphere, as Jetfire realises his destruction with cause huge damage to Earth. He fires up his boosters and drags him into space, where Sunstorm detonates, seemingly destroying Jetfire too.

Notes: This is the first time Volt and Electro have been seen in an official TF comic, and the first appearance of Blacker, Laster and Braver in a Western TF comic. Mirage's estate was divided up by Shockwave during the owner's absence. Bumper and Warpath were captured by the EDF in #4.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Sunstorm, Jetfire, Starscream, Bumblebee, Blacker [first appearance], Volt [first appearance], Electro [first appearance], Laster [first appearance], Braver [first appearance], Mirage, Ironhide, Prowl, Huffer, Bluestreak, Gears, Trailbreaker, Warpath, Bumper, Jazz, Windcharger, Wheeljack, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Omega Supreme, Cliffjumper.

Review: While the vague religious undertones are overplayed, this is a fine conclusion, with a cracking pace. Mick actually writes decently for Starscream, and Jetfire's superb value, really building on the almost savant nature of the character displayed in War Within: The Dark Ages. There's a superb denouement, blessed with stunning visuals from Figueroa [notably the rapidly decaying Sunstorm], with the poignant last page capping DW's best G1 story yet. The only slight complaint is that it's a little too ambiguous whether Starscream really is splitting, or heading to Jetfire's aid, whereas knowing one way or another would have been nice. The only other qualifier is that we have to hope DW are going to leave Jetfire dead...

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#7 - "Infestation"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa

Cover Date: August 2004 Cover Price: $2.95

Script:
James "Brad Mick" McDonough & Adam Patyk
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: Espen Grundetjern, Jong-Im Lee
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis: A military unit has disappeared in the town of San Desto, on the Mexican border. They were investigating a Cybertronian energy signature. Commander Marissa Faireborn, at the Earth Defense base in Area 51, explains this to Jazz, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker. They agree to take a tour of the facility, and meet up with the rest of the Autobots captured by the EDC - Bumper and Warpath, and Windcharger and Wheeljack, who are still undergoing repairs. Meanwhile, Starscream heads back to his base, where Soundwave, Rumble and Frenzy are acting strangely - Starscream demands to know why. Meanwhile, the Autobots agree to help out with San Desto, having heard more from Faireborn, though Wheeljack and Windcharger aren't ready. Jazz assigns Warpath to stay behind and keep an eye on them. They drop into the city with a unit of EDC troops. The force begins sweeps through the deserted town. However, Bumper's team are attacked by something. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker head in, and also disappear. Before they can follow, Jazz and the remainder of the EDC troops are suddenly surrounded by Insecticon clones.

Notes: Jazz, Wheeljack, Windcharger, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were knocked out by Bruticus in #1. They were recovered from a lake by Bumper and Warpath in #4, and all of them were promptly captured by the EDC. They were transported to the Area 51 base in #6. Scourge is in the same base - he was knocked offline by Shockwave in Vol. 2 #1, and has been in the custody of the US military since Vol 2. #3. Jazz knew Marissa's grandfather, Nathaniel, and working with him after the Autobots first arrived on Earth. Bumper and Warpath were both cadets when the Ark left Cybertron, and haven't met most of its' crew since.

The Nightbird movie, "Enter the Nightbird", is a reference to the android from the Season 2 episode of the same name, who's also the star. Jazz calling Marissa "GIJane" may be a sidelong reference to the character being the daughter of GIJoe member Dashielle Flint in the cartoon.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Jazz, Windcharger [offline], Wheeljack [offline], Warpath, Bumper, Starscream, Rumble, Frenzy, Soundwave, Scourge [offline]. The actual Insecticons are in there somewhere - that's probably Bombshell himself at the start, while one of them talks [assuming that DW are keeping up the cartoon's idea of only having the original trio capable of speech], but who actually appears can't really be called.

Notable Others: Marissa Fairborne.

Review: Terribly disappointing... the cover, and brief but distinctive glimpse of Bombshell, make what's happened to San Desto rather obvious, undermining a script pitched for suspense. It doesn't help that the characterisation's a step backwards - Jazz is a rather bland good guy, Bumper a feckless rookie and Sunstreaker an arrogant bastard, and that's pretty much it. It's not terribly interesting, and the characters' introspection fails to add depth. The plot itself is a bit weak, and humans, on this evidence, are a notable weakness of Figueroa - more attention seems to have gone into Marissa's impressive bosom than in keeping her face looking the same from frame to frame...

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#8 - "Extermination"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa

Cover Date: September 2004 Cover Price: $2.95

Script:
James "Brad Mick" McDonough & Adam Patyk
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: Espen Grundetjern
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis: Jazz and Marissa are seperated from the rest of their unit, and opt to head after Sideswipe and Sunstreaker. The latter duo have discovered a massive nest of Insecticon larvae. Bumper, meanwhile, has been captured by Bombshell, who is working for Shockwave. He overhears the Insecticon's plan, and is able to free himself. Elsewhere, in Ohio, Spike receives a visit from Bumblebee, who says he's quitting the Autobots. Back in San Desto, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker are taken out by Shrapnel. Meanwhile, Marissa and Jazz exchange what intelligence they have on the Insecticons before stumlbing across the larvae. Jazz begins incinerating it. Meanwhile, Bumper frees Sunstreaker and Sideswipe. The pair rejoin Jazz, while Bumper rounds up two of Faireborne's troopers. Sunstreaker eliminates Kickback, and Sideswipe drops a building on Shrapnel. Bombshell sets the town's controlled population, but Bumper disrupts his control, ending the Insecticons' operation.

Notes: The Insecticon Clones do not have transforming abilities, and have an organic element. That's most likely Carly who's married to Spike. Bumblebee's quitting following Jetfire's sacrifice in #6. The EDC seem to have named the Insecticons, which makes sense. They originally came to Earth to find the Ark, but were knocked out by Grimlock, who was on a similar mission. The Autobots believed them dead. At some point since then they've adapted Earth forms for themselves, and have kept their location for "about "48 thousand" vorns [around 400,000 years]. Shrapnel led them on Cybertron, but now Bombshell is in command. They're currently working for Shockwave, who clearly escaped following the events of Generation 1 Vol. 2 #6, and is instigating the second stage of his plan to conquer Earth.

Errors: A number of speech bubbles are transparent throughout the issue. There's no correlation between who's speaking or even the type of speech, so it's clearly just a mess-up. The "TR8R1" plate in the final panel ruins any remaining subtlety.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Jazz, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Shockwave, Hubcap, Bombshell, Bumblebee, Shrapnel, Kickback, Grimlock [flashback].

Notable Others: Marissa Fairborne.

Review: While the whole idea that the San Desto plot has been manipulated simply to plant one of Bombshell's cerebro shells on Bumper is great, this comic by and large isn't. Sunstreaker's characterisation is forced and unimaginative, while Jazz once again feels plain and uninteresting. Bumper's almost-certainly controlled behaviour removes the best character of the quartet, though Sideswipe's moderately well done. There are lots of opportunities missed here, such as the inter-Insecticon rivalry, which are touched upon but never really converted. Also, making a story which hasn't been published part of the backstory isn't helpful, and neither is bringing Shockwave back into the mix when there are already far too many Decepticon plots on the boil [surely Starscream's unit and the coming return of Megatron means there's enough threats brewing?]. His reappearance even loses any shock value, as the cover to #9 was published online months ago... Marissa's a dire character, and I for one wouldn't be moved to tears if the EDC didn't appear again. It's nice that DW feel a two-issue arc has purpose, and to have something of a break from their normal, bombastic "Earth/Cybertron will be destroyed!" storylines, but much like Armada #12-13, they need to learn to make them decent to make it work.

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#9 - "Lost and Found"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa

Cover Date: October 2004 Cover Price: $2.95

Script:
James McDonough & Adam Patyk
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: Espen Grundetjern
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis: At Shockwave's secret base in the Cybertronian wastelands, a damaged robot is spotted. He sends Blitzwing and Astrotrain out to intercept. They recognise it as an old clone, and destroy it. However, they're jumped by Razorclaw. Meanwhile, Megatron gets inside the base, and attacks. Back at Iacon, Hot Rod and Kup train together. Hot Rod was due to meet up with Arcee to see the shuttle launch to Earth, but she's already gone with Springer. The Quintessons are also watching the launch, insinuating Arcee is part of their plan to claim the Matrix. On Earth itself, Jazz' team finally leave Area 51. Elsewhere, Bumblebee and Spike are out for a drive, and save a woman from a mugger. Back on Cybertron, Megatron disables Shockwave and tkes control of his troops, bar Blitzwing, who's believed destroyed. Megatron reveals his plan to take over Earth.

Notes: Blitzwing, Astrotrain, Dirge, Ramjet and Thrust were all under Shockwave's command on Cybertron. Blitzwing recognises one of Megatron's clones as being from the "Age of Internment" - considering the visual likeness, this is most probably something to do with War Within - The Age of Wrath. There are details in the [never-published] Datatracks 2004 comic, apparently. Megatron received the droids in #4, and recruited the Predacons in the Summer Special. Bumblebee walked out on the other Autobots in #6. #2 in Don Figueroa's series of "Spot the Japanese Exclusive Disguised as an Autobot Shuttle" is Sonic Bomber.

Errors: More transparent speech bubbles. Tell you want, DW, give me a free issue and I'll be your proof-reader. Yeh, there are typos on this site. Am I an allegedly professional company? No. Am I charging you three, ahem, "bucks" for the privilege of wincing at them? Have I decided to not pay two of the key members of my writing staff for no apparent reason? Times must be tough at Dreamwave, what with the ever-dropping sales of Transformers comics, their only output anyone with half a brain buys.

As Blitzwing calls in with Shockwave, his turret is grey. DW have revised Razorclaw's colour scheme since his return in the Summer Special - this one doesn't look as good. If the Earth scene Hot Rod and Kup are fighting in is a simulation, why stupid Decepticon targets on springs? Why not proper droids or something? I mean, what's the point beyond a half-arsed Rebirth reference? Seeing as I'm in a pretty combative mood right now, I suppose it's as good a time as any to ask why Kup's got a new body... In the Marvel comic it was his Cybertronian mode, and in the cartoon it was either that, or a contemporary Earth design. It's neither of those, as he has a different Cybertronian mode in War Within, and the DW series is set in the present day, so it's not an Earth mode either. So it's just because he looked like that in the old stuff, right?

What the Hell has happened to Spike?

That deserved a line to itself. Not just his latest random change of mind [remember Volume 1 ended with him understanding and admiring Optimus Prime? Well, his random bastard switch has been flipped to fit the story... come to think of it, maybe Mad Brick and Adam don't deserve money seeing as they're largely just recycling old stuff... I kid, guys, I really truly sympathise with you]. Anyway, it's more that he's started looking like Ryu from Streetfighter. I mean, with digital technology can't Don do all the comic bar the humans, and someone who can draw humans can do the humans, and DW can just MS Paint it or something? C'mon, guys, I know some children who'll do it for football stickers. Also, as Inflatable Dalek pointed out on the TF Archive discussion board, would mecha anime be that big on a world which has been the battleground for a high-profile alien robot war [Operation Liberty, San Francisco, etc.]? It'd be like contemporary Americans being really into terrorism cartoons or something. And even if they were, would Spike of all people be into that sort of thing?

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Astrotrain, Blitzwing [destroyed by Razorclaw], Shockwave, Razorclaw, Megatron, Hot Rod, Kup, Springer, Arcee, Mirage, Bluestreak, Gears, Huffer, Prowl, Ironhide, Hound, Jazz, Bumper, Warpath, Wheeljack, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Windcharger, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Tantrum, Divebomb, Headstrong, Rampage, Dirge, Thrust, Ramjet. Plus a few of those Air Warrior clone things.

Notable Others: Some Quintessons, Marissa Fairborne, Spike.

Review: Christ, this thing's so fragmented... the closest thing to a central plot, the Decepticon leadership struggle, isn't bad. Megatron's return is well-handled, with Figueroa nailing a great model for him, and the way Shockwave's written is very interesting - especially the bits with Blitzwing. The rest of it, though... we have a pointless "Danger Room" sequence with Hot Rod and Kup, shackled with the return of a half-arsed love triangle between Hot Rod, Arcee and Springer. We have the Quintessons laughing like idiots and claiming everything's part of their big plan. We have a totally pointless Spike/Bumblebee sequence [and, in case I haven't emphasised enough, Spike is drawn abysmally... he's about the only thing Pat Lee drew well in Volume 1, so that's at least one thing to look forward to from the new team]. There's some "characterisation" for Huffer, but someone needs to explain to DW's writing staff that it's not actually characterisation if it was put on the back of their toy 20 years ago. And there's more of Marissa and Jazz. Maybe Chris coming in and junking all McDonyk's subplots won't be a bad thing? Maybe mass decluttering is what this book needs? It's either that or it goes weekly so we have a chance of them going anywhere in the next year or so...

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#10 - "The Route of All Evil"

[cover]
Cover: Don Figueroa

Cover Date: December 2004 Cover Price: $2.95

Script:
James McDonough & Adam Patyk
Pencils: Don Figueroa
Inks: Elaine To
Colours: Espen Grundetjern & Rob Ruffolo
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis: Starscream has regathered the Combaticons, and pits them against the captured Sky Lynx. They lose, and just then Predaking shows up. Starscream calls Soundwave at the base for back-up, but Megatron is already there. Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, Marissa receives a dressing down from a shady Colonel Witwicky, and agrees to reactivate Project Centurion, an exo-suit based on reverse engineering from Transformer technology. In Alaska's wilderness, Ratchet's team meet up with Prowl's squad from Cybertron, where foundation work is beginning on a new Autobot City. Elsewhere, the Combaticons form Bruticus, and battles Predaking, while Starscream escapes. Bruticus loses, but Starscream's got back to base. There, Soundwave guns him down, having been working for Megatron all along. Megatron himself reveals how, as a gladiator, he entered a forbidden zone on Cybertron. He discovered truths about his ancestors, and the council attempted to kill him. He survived, and this strengthed his position with the disenchanted on Cybertron, hence forming the Decepticons. He and Starscream then begin to question Shockwave about Sunstorm. At the Cyberton Autobase, Ultra Magnus is carrying out his part of Prowl's plans, laying foundations for fortifying one of Cybertron's moons. Tension continues to grow between Hot Rod and Springer over Arcee, much to the delight of the Quintessons. Their extraction team - made up of female Autobots - is now ready for the next stage of their plan.

Notes: There's been a considerable period of time since #9, as Megatron has arrived on Earth, and Prowl has made a significant start on Autobot City. Sky Lynx was captured by Starscream following Vol. 2 #6. Colonel Witwicky would appear to be Buster - Spike said he'd joined the military in #9. The Centurion Project is a nod to the robot invention of Professor Morris that first appeared in UK #74. Omega Supreme [and, probably, Cliffjumper] presumably met up with Prowl's team when they arrived back on Earth. The gladiatorial opponent shown in the flashback is the Tonka Gobot Cy-Kill - subtle, Don. The statues of ancestors that Megatron found are based on the Japanese characters Dai Atlas [from Transformers Zone] and Deathsaurus [from Transformers Victory]. Starscream destroyed the Council in War Within Vol. 3 #1. Large areas of ancient Cybertron were declared off-limits by the Council. The shadowy figure who finds Blitzwing's head is Sixshot. The Quintessons' robot is Elita-1.

Errors: I think those trucks on the Autobot City panel are a miscoloured Gears and Huffer. Springer leaves the briefing with Arcee before hearing his orders from Magnus.

Transformers Featured [in rough order of appearance]: Onslaught, Brawl, Swindle, Blast Off, Vortex, Starscream, Sky Lynx, Predaking, Soundwave, Rumble, Frenzy, Megatron, Warpath, Windcharger, Wheeljack, Bumper, Jazz, Ratchet, Brawn, Prowl, Omega Supreme, Cosmos, Gears, Huffer, Hound, Grapple, Hoist, Red Alert, Shockwave, Skywarp [flashback], Thundercracker [flashback], Sanrl, Sludge, Swoop, Grimlock, Slag, Kup, Wheelie, Gnaw, Springer, Arcee, Hot Rod, Twin Twist, Topspin, Ultra Magnus, Elita-1 [first appearance]. There's also what's left of Blitzwing, and Sixshot's shadow if you want to count that.

Notable Others: Buster Witwicky, Marissa Faireborn, some Quintessons.

Review: Another fragmented issue, going nowhere fast. However, the fragments are a bit better than last issue - Spike's nowhere to be seen, and at least Marissa isn't just mooning over Jazz. DW's Starscream has long been due the mother of all kickings since Vol. 2, so it's great to see him to get one at last. However, I can't help feeling that devoting all of #9 to the Decepticon leadership, and maybe this issue to the next stage on Earth, would have read a little better. It's McDonough/Patyk's big failing, that of incessantly opening new plot threads, and solving nothing.

DW's apparent liquidation means this is likely to be the last [official] issue of both this series, and this continuity, and while these circumstances would never produce a clean finish for any series, thanks to the writers, we're left with dozens of questions... It has to be asked when exactly they were going to start actually bringing things to a head. It's really a shame that the last four issues have undone the good that #1-6 did.

With Mick and Patyk leaving the company shortly after this issue was released, and new writer Chris Sarracini set to start for #11, it's unclear how much of their plans, which included the full comic debut of the female Autobots in #11 and the return of Optimus Prime in #12, would have been implemented. Sarracini said in interviews his direction would cover the Transformers' origins [which were touched upon by McDonough & Patyk] and Unicron

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