CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers: All Hail Megatron #7
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek
Those old fans of the Marvel UK comic (as all right thinking people are of course) will remember that in order to open the strip with a strong visual hook we'd often have a flash forward to the first action scene, and after a couple of pages we'd reach a lull where the lead character would start a thought bubble with "I can't believe how I got here from..." style dialogue before cutting back to the start of the story/the resolution of the previous issues cliff-hanger for another page or so before returning to the present to take us to the next cliff-hanger (Target:2006
has a few very good examples of this). All Hail Megatron
has turned out to be following this structure exactly, with the twist being that rather than a handful of pages the flash-forward lasted six issues.
This is actually a staggering achievement in that the more issues of AHM there are, the less pages I wind up feeling they should have taken. We're now at the point where the entire first 7 issues feels like the first half of an 11-page Marvel UK strip. At this rate we'll be into minus figures by issue 12.
The flashback did have some nice stuff in it, though the continuity references did feel very forced, but my thoughts on that and the dammed if you do dammed if you don't problem with regards to continuity IDW have given themselves through the mishandling of this series is something I'll touch more on in talking about issue 8. But, the ambush seemed completely stupid and despite rereading the relevant pages a dozen times I’m still not sure what Prime does to the Space Bridge. I'm surprised this is a new invention considering Scorponok had a long distance one potentially decades ago. Has it taken this long to catch up? Deluge was great though, nicely similar to Flame from the old UK comic.
As for the rest of the issue, it was once again mostly meh
with sitting around on Cybertron being replaced by driving about on Cybertron to little effect. Due to a comic book shop error, I got this issue late at the same time as issue 8, meaning I know Sunstreaker’s final fate already. But even without that him being the traitor is made blatantly obvious here with him suddenly getting lines after 6 issues of being a none speaking extra and virtually goading Ironhide into attacking Mirage. Interestingly enough his attitude comes across very like Jazz’ in the early issues. A change of plan somewhere along the line?
The issue only really came alive in the last few pages with Mirage coming across well with just a few lines. Though it's hard to shake the feeling McCarthy beat him up because he's a pacifist rather than a cool muther ****er with a big gun. Conversely this is why I liked him.
E.J. handling the art chores for the flashbacks is in theory a nice touch, but in practice he’s done such a good job of meshing with the style of the comic it’s almost impossible to tell someone else drew those pages.
This is a comic in desperate freefall where the complete absence of any plot progression makes the announcement of a spin off series to deal with plot threads that are being ignored here almost obscene. Awful.
Continuity! Lots and lots of continuity. For the first time the series tries to address the seemingly insurmountable gulf between this and the Furman written stories supposedly set before it. In short:
The Decepticons had stopped using facsimiles (though no explanation is given as to why), Cybertron has no recovered enough to be habitable (though no explanation has been given as to why) even though all the Transformers on the planet still feel great pain at all times (though there’s been no hint of this to date), the Swarm and Spacebridge technology were new inventions of the Decepticons, Sunstreaker and Sideswipe are still antagonistic with one another tying into the formers Spotlight
(it’s hard not to read the “We need you to stop following me around” line as acknowledgement of fan complaints of them being joined at the hip up till now). We also get full confirmation that Sunstreaker is no longer a Headmaster and he and Hunter parted on bad terms.
In terms of continuity internal to just All Hail Megatron,
we also get full details on the Autobots defeat, exactly what happened to Prime and how the Autobots became aware of a traitor.
All of the appearances by the Decepticons and Earth (not to mention Optimus Prime) take place in flashback, but there’s no indication however when these occur within the “One Year” gap between the Furman stuff and the start of All Hail Megatron
Also only appearing in flashback is Hound, who hasn’t been seen with the Autobots since issue 1. Did something happen to him in the interim?
Cliffjumper carries a big gun in homage to the opening episode of the original cartoon.
To emphasise the connection to their previous arcs E.J. Su, the main artist on the Furman material, draws all the flashbacks.
Perhaps unsurprisingly considering all of the above around the time this issue was released a four issue follow up series, All Hail Megatron: Coda
was announced that will be partially concerned with dealing with the year long time jump.
The only thing of any real note in the present day sections is that there are “lamp posts” on Cybertron designed to look like Soundwave’s Cybertronian mode in the cartoon.
The Swarm, the deadly three thousand strong army of death the Autobots spend the whole issue running away from are cunningly kept at bay by Megatron in the opening flashback by him keeping the door shut.
Jazz describes the ambush as being a “massacre” despite no one actually dying. Come to that, why don’t the Decepticons take the Autobots alive for an elaborate Doctor Evil death trap rather than just… killing them?
Between arriving on Cybertron and the start of the series, Cliffjumper has painted some chequered flags on his arm.
The Soundwave lamppost doesn’t really match with anything architecturally on Cybertron. In fact it looks like nothing less than Soundwave with his arms folded up (Hmmmmmm).
Ironhide goes all of five feet away from the others to beat up Mirage. Why does no one hear this?
Deluge: This was a stroke of genius. I’m- well- it’s upsetting I didn’t think of this myself actually. Heh heh.
Jazz: [On the Decepticon ambush] They were strong, unified. They had a purpose I hadn’t seen in… forever.
Ironhide: Too far?! The guy sells us out and I haven’t done a thing! Taking it - I haven’t taken it far enough!