CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers: All Hail Megatron #4
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek
Even now, all around us they cower in fear, crushed, defeated and praying for relief
We're now a quarter of the way through the title, so lets consider how far the plot has advanced. We've had the Decepticons enslave Earth (99.999999% of which happened off panel) and the Autobots have sat around their base feeling a bit sad for themselves. And that's it. A criminal waste of paper that could have been achieved by the end of the first issue. The fact that after three issues of pissing around in New York, the rest of the world falling doesn't even have one panel devoted to it is fairly shocking and endemic of bad story telling.
The issue itself doesn't have anything as awful as could be found in previous installments, but neither does it have anything as good as the Megatron/Starscream interaction back in #3. Wheeljack and Cliffjumper are good fun, and unlike Soundwave show how the TV characterisations can be used to good effect. The rest is just amazingly beige, almost dull. The attempt to get us excited about a traitor dies on its arse because of a complete lack of context and the human machinations have no drama. Considering the fact there was an Autobot traitor was established last issue and Bridge (still no second names for him or Sarah) taking over the survivors was an obvious development, you could pretty much skip this issue entirely and not loose anything.
If this is how the title is going to continue it won't even have that "So bad it's good" factor that made some of the more boneheaded moments in the first few issues so laughable. IDW might as well have put out 22 blank pages for all the impact this has.
Between issues, Megatron claims the Decepticons have conquered the entire planet. As Bridge's crew seem to be suffering the immediate aftereffects of Andy's death, this means they enslaved the entire world in less time than it took to take over New York. It's hard to qualify that as a goof without seeing exactly what they did though. It is possible, considering the Americancentric attitude he's displayed so far, that Megatron considers conquering the US to effectively mean ruling the world.
Though Ironhide doesn't come right out and say it, the heavy implication is he considers Mirage to be the Autobot traitor. This is a homage to the original cartoon episode Traitor
, which has in turn also been homaged just about every time Mirage has done anything whatsoever in recent Transformer
media, including the Dreamwave comics and the Robots In Disguise
cartoon. Itís worth noting though that Mirage has always been a fall guy rather than an actual traitor. Based on his lines here, it's more than likely Jazz is the real traitor.
This is the first proper appearance of Autobots in the comic since issue one. The staging of their one panel showing there means we only learn Sideswipe and Trailbreaker are missing an arm here. Something has clearly happened to change Sideswipe and Sunstreaker's antagonistic relationship since the formerís Spotlight,
as they've been joined at the hip in all appearances so far.
Andy would seem to genuinely be dead after the events of last issue.
The sequence of Wheeljack and Bumblebee racing about Cybertron is based upon the first thing we ever saw in the original cartoon. The rubber tires of their Earth modes aren't conducive to running on the metal surface though, and they don't have the facilities to change them. In two other cartoon homages, Wheeljack's ears flash in time with when he speaks and Hot Rod now looks as he did in the show.
Bumblebee talks about Kup giving advice in the present tense, the first hint he's recovered from the seemingly irreversible state he was in at the end of his Spotlight
Cybertron is now just abandoned and a bit run down rather than the uninhabitable hell hole it was previously.
The first person we see talking in the Humans hiding place looks exactly
like Andy. Between him and Dad last issue we're either being asked to believe in triplets or Guido has a limited stock in human faces.
Bumblebee and Wheeljack use seconds and hours as time measurement rather than the more usual made up ones.
As well as a physical change, Hot Rod seems to have had a lobotomy, having regressed into his TV young punk persona rather than the more world weary cynic he's been previously in IDW.
Prowl: Why is it he's afraid of you but not of me?
Prowl: I'm sure that reputation of yours has nothing to do with it.
Jazz: Like I said, tone.
Wheeljack: [Explaining his distress call]: A single spike with enough power to activate a rudimentary console light back at base for approximately one hundredth of a second.
Bumblebee: You're signaling backup with a light pulse of one hundredth of a second?
Wheeljack: It'll work.
Bumblebee: We've been out here for hours! Who in their right mind is going to stare at a tiny light on the off chance we might need backup?
[Cut to Autobot base, console lights up]