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Transformers: Escalation #5 (of 6)
#15 of an ongoing arc
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek


Though he isn't named the successful test subject is almost certainly Hunter. The unnamed Decepticon refers to a test "transformation", backing up the theory that this is a adaptation of the Headmasters process seen in Spotlight: Ultra Magnus, with said Decepticon being Scorponok (he certainly has the head antenna.) A Decepticon who's nothing but a head was previously featured in the Marvel UK strips written by Furman around issue 100, in the shape of Lord Straxus.

Megatron's strength and stamina is greatly increased by the Ore 13. He's also a lot more cocky and arrogant, according to Prime.

Megatron describes Roller as a "drone", and unlike in the original comic Prime doesn't seem to be mentally linked to the little fellah — he doesn't appear to feel any symbiotic pain when Megatron buries it under rock. [Then again, he is pretty wrecked himself by that stage. -Ed]

Skywarp makes a reference to reinforcements at one point, suggesting more Decepticons will be joining the fray soon.

Shockwave and the Dynobots were buried several million years ago, and then uncovered in the present day, in the one-eyed monster's Spotlight. The dig at Eureka was one of the things on Hunter's computer screen in the flashback in Infiltration issue 1. Skywatch made their debut digging up Laserbeak from the rubble at Mt. St. Helens in Spotlight: Soundwave. The main speaking role here may well be the same Joshua Red we saw there, but that's as yet unconfirmed (if it is him he hasn't aged much in twenty years).

In-jokes this month are a bit thin on the ground, but Megatron claiming his bare hands will suffice to crush Prime is a reference to one of his most famous lines in the 1986 theatrical film. The last line from the Skywatch agent about their work being in "The National Interest" refers to the title of a Furman-written Marvel UK arc that ran from issues #74-77. Characters in that story use the phrase in a similar context throughout the story.


It's a shame the faux shop doesn't have a similar device to that seen in Ultra Magnus that destroys simulcrums. Considering they've got access to so much advanced technology, this seems an oversight on the Machinations part.

Prowl's claim about the geo-political situation being resolved seems rather naive... surely without any clue as to who the robots are each side will just blame each other? Or at the very least file reports on these robot invaders with American vehicle alt-modes that will piss off their respective governments and have them blaming the USA (especially as Hot Rod runs down the Russian general at one point.)

Skywatch are so secret and stealthy they wear nicely inconspicuous black suits in the middle of the desert. You'd have thought the men in black would have adopted a different dress code since The X-Files. No wonder Hunter finds it so easy to track their movements.

Issue Review

As you can probably tell from the slight synopsis, this is effectively a big fight issue between Prime and Megatron. It's a well-drawn and written confrontation that avoids cliché (no dramatic last words for Prime) but it does mean that the other plot points don't move very much, nothing happens in the human sub-plot at all, though at least Prowl finally catches the facsimile after two issues of chasing him.

The most interesting stuff comes at the beginning and end with the two interludes introducing new players into the game: the mystery presented by the Machination is potentially the most interesting thing IDW have done.

So, an action issue, but still entertaining and hopefully the conclusion will regain some of the momentum of the previous few instalments.

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