CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers #29: Police Action, Part 3: A Second Chance At Eden
Reviewed by Blackjack
It ended in fire.
A glorious way to end Costa's run. While undoubtedly Mike Costa had made a lot of dangling plot threads, arguably he had wrapped up all of his own mess, leaving the new writers to pick up, free of most baggage concerning Earth or Skywatch. It really is ironic that one of the final arcs that Mike Costa wrote is the only good arc ending that he writes. I mean, out of all the story arcs in the ongoing, this arc is the only one that gives any resolution. Costa has actually given some justification for pursuing the Scrapper murder all along--it broke the alliance terms. While it sounds silly and I can see where Spike is coming from, it's a justifiable reason. Now if only Prowl had mentioned it from the start... Likewise, while Swindle being the mastermind behind everything does seem a little odd, it's not that far-fetched. Plot threads seeded from the 'For All Mankind', 'International Incident' and 'Revenge of the Decepticons' arcs are all tied up pretty neatly. North Korea, Ben Simpson, the arms race, where Skywatch got the exo-suits, general Allenby, Jazz's situation with the Autobots, Skywatch itself... heck, even the Aequitas data slug from LSOTW makes a cameo here. it's not a pretty journey to get here, but it's a decent conclusion.
The script here is probably the best that Mike Costa has written so far, with excellent character moments. Jazz taking matters into his own hands and dissolving the Skywatch alliance with the pompous general is very well done, and he just being sick of the humans using them is a nice development from his being kept out of the loop after cooking that police. Ben Simpson being a facsimile... it's a very nice call-out to the Furman days, and I like the offhand dialogue that justifies the lack of facsimiles during the AHM and Costa eras. As before, Pennington, Ultra Magnus and Streetwise are still well-written. I particularly like how Ultra Magnus gives a short speech about how the humans' bureaucracy won't get them anywhere while Ben Simpson is actively harming them, and Streetwise goes 'sweet'. Very effective scripting. Prowl, however, is excellently written, with his exchange with Spike being rather effective. His little moral debate with himself is pretty believable, how Spike basically tells him that Prowl does the same thing that Spike himself does. While it completely contradicts what Prowl did in the first twelve or so issues of the ongoing, it's a great improvement and frankly I'm happy to pretend Costa's hippie Prowl never existed.
The most controversial thing here is Spike. I'm not sure whether Mike Costa planned Spike to be the big bad mastermind with Swindle, and made him an unlikeable dick from the start (which, if that's what he did, is pretty stupid), or just did it because of the extremely negative fan backlash. While I'm inclined to believe it's the latter, the tie-up here is so well done that on one glance it does seem that yes, you believe that Spike and Swindle have been working from the beginning. I mean, Swindle escaped in the first arc, seemingly setting him up for this role. While there are some problems with this revelation, it ties up some of the arc and thankfully gets evil Spike out of our way. (Of course, there are still some loose ends, like the Chinese Predacons, Onslaught and Vortex still at large, why the Autobots don't go after the other Decepticons etc etc but that's nitpicking)
It's not the perfect conclusion, but it's far more satisfying than the end to AHM or the -ions. Let's just hope all the D-Void crap could be tied up as neatly as this as well.
This issue is named after Peter F. Hamilton's science fiction anthology 'A Second Chance at Eden'.
The Aequitas data slug from Last Stand of the Wreckers makes several appearances on Prowl's desk.
Ben Simpson is revealed to be a Decepticon facsimile. Facsimiles, lest we forget, are a central plot device in the Furman-penned IDW stories which are largely ignored by Shane McCarthy and Mike Costa in subsequent titles. Bumblebee's dialogue explains the lack of facsimiles as the technology being difficult to acquire in recent times.
As predicted, Swindle was the one responsible for the Combaticons being in North Korea.
Swindle gives the timeframe of the events of 'Chaos' as happening one year after the Autobots' first encounter with Menasor. Scrapper's death was also stated as happening one year ago.
Swindle reveals that Skywatch was able to create their advanced exo-suits in such a short time due to Spike's dealing with him.
Ultra Magnus and Swindle's history, from 'Spotlight: Ultra Magnus' and the first arc of the ongoing, is brought up again.
Omega's pain was a distraction enough for Spike and Jazz respectively to leave the base. Omega Supreme's pain is probably caused by his rocket module being trashed by the destruction of Kimia, Megatron breaking free and being lobbed around by the Deceptigod in space.
Henderson (not-Epps) and Campologno (spiky-hair) make their reappearances this issue after several issues missing from action. The Skywatch troops have all-new Kevlar-esque black body armour and targeting reticules.
The recap section has Ben Simpson parsed as 'Ben Simmons'.
Not much of a goof but a quibble. It's really stupid for Prowl to leave Spike alone with the Aequitas data slug so nearby, isn't it? Even if Spike doesn't know what it is or probably couldn't lift it, what if he damages the all-important data slug? What if Spike made Ironfist's sacrifice moot by destroying the data slug? Unthinkable.
Again, the story is solicitised as 'the Last Story on Earth'.