CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers #17: Revenge of the Decepticons Part 4: Burning Chrome
Reviewed by Blackjack
“I see you haven’t changed.”
Oh dear, as with the other conclusions to his prior work, the conclusion again sees a steep drop in quality. Although not as bad as the first two arcs in the Ongoing, there are lots of things that make you just go 'what the eff'. Like Megatron coming up with all the convoluted plan of being able to control anti-Transformer humans using his mini Megatron guns. Does he have them attack Skywatch, or attack the Autobots? No, he had to go something akin to the cartoon and enact a convulted plan for the humans to fire at the Autobots and force Optimus to decide to rescue the Autobots or interfere. The psychological edge is there, sure, and Megatron is just pulling the humans' strings, but couldn't it be done more eloquently? Still, it's a better and more realistic plot than International Incident, I'll give you that. Megatron is also a great big ham, and had some great lines.
Makes you wonder, isn't it, why they bothered to have all the fuss to make Bumblebee leader when Optimus Prime is the one giving all the orders? Optimus Prime also has his moments, and shooting Soundwave (which is a great big idiot ball on the Decepticons' part) is badass. But badassery doesn't save the fact that if Megatron could get his mind around such a complicated plan, why would he leave Soundwave around to chance? What, he can't hold Magnus hostage himself? And why didn't Megatron kill Ultra Magnus or Prowl or some other Autobots as retaliation to Optimus Prime shooting Soundwave? Sure, he doesn't want to kill Optimus Prime for some ridiculous reason of wanting him to be broken, which, to be honest, sounds like something out of an old Bond movie, but come on. And it's as if they're going to let Soundwave die anyway. Can't even keep a relative nobody like Sunstreaker dead, much less Soundwave. No, Soundwave's 'death' isn't well played or scripted at all, and the whole bit of Megatron's master plan is a mess.
Art's great, though. Alex Milne does need a house style to make his drawings good, or else he does all crazy and goes 'Megatron Origin' where everyone looks like they're in Dull Surprise mode. There's a fair bit of those Dull Surprise moments here, but not noticeable. Nice improvement. That Brawn-Thundercracker-Starscream pages need some work, though. Speaking of that, it's nice for that particular plot point to be pointed out and recognized instead of shoved aside like how Costa has been handling the Ongoing, shoving aside the Decepticon Army for half a year before re-introducing them. Even though it's only two pages and mindlessly dull... Spike and company are also mind-bogglingly dull, with those first three pages another example of Costa's favoured random human moments. The officer is reasonably well-scripted, and Bumblebee's speech at the end is nicely done, as is Jazz leaping in to burn the poor sod. Many people might've said that it's out of character, but I say this is an improvement over the strictly-white morality that the Ongoing Autobots have, what with Prowl and Optimus and Thundercracker being human loving hippies. Jazz takes it back to the grey morality we saw in the Furmanverse series, something that they did right. Optimus Prime killing the driver of the Machination truck has always been one of my favourite scenes in Escalation. Doesn't help the fact that this would mean that we'll still be dealing with humans in the next arc, which can only elicit a long, pained groan from me. Not necessarily bad, just... a little rough. Let's hope Costa can improve again, although to be fair this is a great leap from International Bloody Incidents.
Cliffjumper, Jazz and Jetfire are back in their Don Figueroa-designed bodies instead of their cartoon character models seen during the International Incident arc. We also get to see Jetfire’s new refurbished alternate mode designed by Don.
Optimus says ‘Autobots assemble’, seemingly a reference to ‘Avengers, Assemble’ of the Marvel comics’ Avengers team. Probably because Spike steals the ‘roll out’ line from him a couple of scenes later.
Spike Witwicky has a sister. Apparently.
Apparently Soundwave was the one controlling the signals sent to the humans, instead of Megatron. Although why they didn’t make use of facsimiles or backup transmitters is an idiot ball for them.
Soundwave gets shot through the head, but he still can speak. Right now I’m betting on either Soundwave will survive in a couple of issues (or even if he dies, in a couple of months in Transformers: Soundwave! Soundwave saves Nebulon from the Swarm with help from Trypticon and the Fallen!) or will be rebuilt in a new body resembling the Movieverse or Animated incarnations.
Megatron cradling a dying (maybe dead) Soundwave to safety is a visual homage to the scene in the 1986 Transformers Movie where Soundwave cradled the dying Megatron away to safety into Astrotrain, with the roles reversed.
The way Jazz kills the human cop with a flamethrower is eerily familiar to how Jazz uses his flamethrower to stop Sparkplug Witwicky from leaving the Autobot base in the fourth issue of the original Transformers comic series by Marvel, although this one is kills the human instead of just stopping him (and giving him a heart attack).
Wheeljack says that they have ‘five minutes’ left. How can a Cybertronian know about human analogy when we are but a bunch of half-sentient monkeys without any culture?
Last issue (and indeed prior to their crash), Spike and the other Skywatch guys are shown coming out of the Panama Canal in their crash suits. Here the flashback has them stuck inside Optimus Prime’s trailer while they travel underwater.
Red Alert is with Optimus Prime’s crew, when during the International Incident arc he was playing the straight man to Bluestreak and Brawn in the desert Skywatch bunker.
On the subject of Red Alert, his helmet now follows his cartoon model’s red colouration, although in all his previous appearances they have always been black like the toy.
Wheeljack is conspicuously absent from Optimus Prime’s crew, the only one who fought in Korea to disappear. Red Alert apparently replaces him.
Why didn’t, Brawn, you know, kill Starscream? Or at least incapacitate him enough so he won’t escape?
Page 11, Optimus’ midriff is coloured blue instead of red or gray.
The first panel of page 12 starts with Megatron starting with his sentence with a ‘or you can send your soldiers’ and so on. It seems like either someone goofed up and forgot to put a speech balloon on the left side of the panel, or the ‘or’ is an extra word that needed to be deleted.
Blurr, Tracks and Windcharger were present with Ultra Magnus’ convoy but they are missing from the damaged Autobots in the playground here. Of course Megatron could’ve held them hostage but that seems unlikely. Pennington is missing as well, but considering Megatron’s dialogue earlier, he might have been killed. Then again, Schwalbe is alive, so Pennington might be off-screen.
Campologno is mis-spelt as Campolongo. Not that anyone cares.
Schwalbe’s brown outfit from previous issues is miscoloured blue like the police officers around him. It begs to raise the question why Megatron didn’t kill Schwalbe when the rest of the Skywatch Agents are nowhere to be seen, presumably killed if Megatron’s earlier dialogue is to be believed.
Page twenty, Gears’ face is missing, and Hoist’s leg is completely gray.
Also, Jazz alternates between two slightly different colour schemes—a solid white body with a blue visor when coloured by Andrew Dalhouse (like all his previous ongoing-era appearances), or a slightly more silver body and a gray visor when coloured by Romulo Fajardo. Looks like Romulo likes Jazz’s movieverse incarnation more, no?
The preview for the next issue gives the title as ‘The Demolished Man’… which is the title for issue fourteen. Of course, they could
reuse the title, but still…
Megatron: “But fear not—I am not going to kill you. I am going to destroy you. I promise you, when this is over, you will know the difference.”
Megatron: “Do you see the city behind me, Prime?”
Optimus Prime: “Of course. Is that what you’re here for? To destroy it in front of me?”
Megatron: “Don’t be an idiot, Prime. You’d only attempt to stop me and I’d probably accidentally kill you. And I can’t have you dead yet.”
Megatron: “Ha ha! Prime! You really are so predictable. I’ve missed you.”
Optimus Prime: “Is this how it always has to be, Megatron? We meet, you make empty pronouncements and threats, then we start punching each other? Has our situation not evolved from beyond this?”
Optimus Prime: “Spike, Campologno, you need to get in there and find them.”
Megatron: “Good. Send your pets off to tame their wild brothers.”
Megatron: “I lose one soldier… but you’ll lose everything.”
Jazz: “These kinds of special missions are what I’m trained for. Low-impact extractions. Minimum casualties—”
Prowl: “No casualties! We are not going in yet!”
Bumblebee: “My friends here… they could have killed every one of you. Easily. Just stomped through. But we… we are here to protect, too. And there is strength in that. To act unselfishly. I know you have that strength too, officer. It’s why you put on the uniform.”