CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers: Escalation #4 (of 6)
#14 of an ongoing arc
Reviewed by Denyer
Into the second half, with everything to play for on both
sides. It’s already been suggested by the writer that things will escalate
so this one has some other aspects of the plot to advance first, though that
doesn’t stop there being a free-for-all amongst the ‘Bots and ‘Cons here as
well. Art continues to impress, even if the mix of night/indoors scenes and
arctic conditions does leave slightly less range for the colourist. Since I
read this before #3, I was particularly happy to see Su’s rendition of the
streamlined Hot Rod design
It’s possible the Transformers’ cover may have been blown
after this battle and open use of robot modes by some in it – though that
assumes any of the Russian/Brasnyan troops remain when it’s all over; if they
wouldn’t be written off as crackpot; and if more of them aren’t facsimiles the
Decepticons could use to wipe out any survivors. All will depend on the scale
of things to come.
Whilst on the subject of facsimiles, I’m again wondering if
one of the three core cast humans is already a clone – and doesn’t know it – or
if the Hunter they may manage to recover will turn out to be one… Verity and
Jimmy have some history together, but Hunter’d be my guess. His
background story of gathering evidence about alien robots and conspiracy
theories hasn’t come up recently, but was one of my first thoughts when we saw
what might be cloning tubes back in Infiltration. And since we know other
Transformers have been active on Earth…
The immediate future, though, promises to hold a big
Ratchet and Ironhide are both understandably cautious;
recalling the occasions the Machination has detonated scenes of crimes rather
than leave pursuable evidence.
Not as much talking this issue, more shooting and bombing.
The Decepticons are clearly enjoying themselves.
The Earthbound Autobot team in Brasnya try their best, and
deliver a fair amount of banter whilst doing so, but the unexpected teleporting
in of two airborne Decepticons has them outmatched. Prowl is prepared to risk
almost certain death to obtain the target.
Prime seems calm and in control, but is taking on Megatron
as an unknown quantity, powered as the Decepticon leader is with Ore-13.
Hot Rod is his usual impulsive self, though he comes across
as being somewhat older.
Ratchet suggests he can freeze external pressure sensors and
motion detectors, but without knowing more about what’s inside the holo readers
and any mechanoid detection system would catch the Transformers easily. The
‘normal’ interior security systems can be blocked by a simple field.
Prime’s battle station and Roller are both capable of
autonomous functioning. From the way Jazz says that Prime was watching his own
back, it seems likely both are extensions (subroutines?) of Prime rather than
The Autobots have clearly dealt with facsimiles on many occasions, as indicated
by Ironhide’s explanation last issue and Jazz’s claim here that he can send a
nerve paralysis pulse at Koska to prevent him “self-decommissioning.” Whereas
Prime uses the term “cellular template” for the information they want from the
clone, here Hot Rod refers to a genetic payload… perhaps the Decepticons are
more superficial in their copying than exact, accelerating the process through
shortcuts. Either way, the Autobots wouldn’t have records of how this genetic
code differed between humans and FCs, though they may have it for
facsimiles of other alien races.
As noted last issue, Blitzwing is carrying tech that allows
him to turn invisible (whether to the naked eye only or to other scanning
methods, currently unknown.) His tracks are still clearly visible, but the
effect is sufficient to fool a casual onlooker. Though Blitzwing has the
chameleon mesh, Decepticons still don't seem to make active use of the
holomatter technology the Autobots have, which might explain why Runamuck and
Runabout were taken in by Ratchet's avatar back in Infiltration. (The other
explanation, of course, being they're really that cocky and inept.)
Not sure what letters, ads and other sundries will be
included with this issue, as pre-release copies don’t have that stuff
finalised. More info to be added.
QUOTES OF NOTE
Jazz: “Watchin' your own back, huh?”
Todorof: “We appear to have an American F-22 Raptor, being
shot at by some kind of rally vehicle. And a police patrol car, also
American... under attack from a space shuttle?”
Megatron: “Optimus Prime? It's been a long time... longer
still since we met in actual combat. Right here, right now... let's finish