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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
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CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Megatron: Origin #4
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

If you'd have asked me four months ago what a secret origin of the Decepticons (and that's what this is, ignore the Megatron title...) would be like, "Dull" wouldn't have been high on the list, but that's what this arc, and especially this issue, has ultimately been.

Everything in the closing stages has been just too predictable; Starscream's double bluff (yawn), Megatron's fight with Sentinel Prime (Yawn- Dreamwave and Marvel did his death in just one panel and made it more exciting), Ratbat getting his comeuppance (snooze), a battle featuring lots of toy based characters where only especially created generics die (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ).

On the plus side, Megatron actually gets whole sentences to speak for the first time, but it's too little too late. I'm still no wiser as to what the hell his motives are as the through line from "Disgruntled miner" to "Ultimate Evil" only makes sense if you're Maggie Thatcher. The most telling part of the poor characterisation of Megatron is the way the introduction of his gun is handled. It's clearly supposed to be a "Indiana Jones putting on the hat for the first time" style moment, but lacks the sense that the character you know has arrived you get from The Last Crusade. Instead the message seems to be that Megatron's character is he has a big gun.

Milne does a little better on the art this time (with a little help from a new colourist), but the fight sequences still make no sense. How does Megatron get the upper hand from Prime with just a poke? What does Soundwave do to Ratbat? It's moved up from awful to slightly less than functional, which is damning with faint praise indeed.

So, in conclusion, we have a comic that the fan base seems desperate to ignore, that reads badly, and has so little plot it's hard to imagine it was ever six issues long. Whilst not the worst thing IDW have done to date, it's the most wasted potential by far (after all, no one expected the Animated Movie or New Avengers crossover to be any good, and they weren't disappointed). Letís just hope it gets quietly forgotten...

Notes

Starscream's killing of the Kaon council is seemingly based on his massacre of the Iacon Council in Dreamwave's The War Within: The Dark Ages. Though his betrayal here was all a cunning plan, his dismissive description of Megatron as a "cretin" at one point suggests he's already beginning to fall out of love with ol' bucket head.

One of the council guards is based on the Decepticon Lord Straxus from the Marvel comic (it's been a good year for Straxus in-jokes, a Time Lord of that name appeared in the BBC7 Doctor Who radio play Human Resources as well).

With the addition of his fusion cannon and the loss of his gladiatorial markings Megatron takes on the Cybertronian mode from Stormbringer.

Exactly what happens to Ratbat isn't entirely clear, but it seems as if Soundwave puts his spark in a new body. In Devastation, present day Ratbat still seems to have a personality of sorts and Soundwave claims to be preserving a resource - which in Ratbat's case would be his mind - so it's probably safe to assume his intellect survives on some level. Ratbat also reveals he was behind the automation of the mines that started the whole thing off.

Sentinel Prime's alt mode was first seen in characters designs included as an extra feature in Spotlight: Optimus Prime. His apex armour is so called for the name given to the Japanese God Bomber toy when it was re-issued with Power Master Prime in the United States.

Prime's apparent death at Megatron's hands is taken from the original War Within comic. His last words seem to give Megatron the inspiration for the Decepticon name.

[Despite appearances to the contrary and Prowl not confirming the direct question, Sentinel Prime has been confirmed by the author to be alive at the end of #4. -Ed]

Trailbreaker and Hound seem to take pretty bad hits, but as they show up in the present day it can be assumed they survive.

Around the time of this issue's publication Simon Furman directly addressed the issue of Fem-Bots (more of which appear here) in his blog. Whilst stressing the title is part of IDW's main continuity he admitted they had been a surprise to him, but that the forthcoming Spotlight: Arcee will explain everything.

Goofs

Starscream is allowed to take his guns into the council meeting. And even though Soundwave would seem to be blocking communications why can't the guards outside hear the explosions and screams (as the ones down in the cells can)?

Why is there a prison right under the Council Chambers anyway? If America caught a bunch of its most wanted terrorists would they be banged up in the White House cellar?

Sentinel Prime is winning the fight with Megatron until Megs suddenly... pokes him in the neck hard. Who needs a fusion cannon when you can just poke?

 
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