CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Regeneration One #85
Reviewed by Blackjack
”Because we are halves of a whole, you and I. Without one, there is only an incomplete other.”
It’s not the most well-written of climaxes as far as these things go, but I am
a sucker for just a standard beatdown between Optimus Prime and Megatron. I do like how we get inside the two leader’s heads on different occasions, though Megatron’s ramblings tend to feel rather repetitive. We get to see Optimus Prime’s guilt and anger over his own stupidity leaving Earth to its own devices, as well as Megatron basically channeling the Joker, going on and on about how the two of them doesn’t have meaning without the other, how their fight there is going to be the last and he’ll nuke everyone whatever the result of the fight, how he’s trying to make Optimus sink to his level… it’s generally just him being an insane maniac and I rather love the violent beatdown. The art rather shines during the Optimus/Megatron fight, and my favourite panel of the issue has to be Optimus holding a rock as lightning strikes in the background. It does feel like a rather epic final battle between two old enemies, only this time Optimus Prime puts Megatron down for good. It does feel rather out of character, especially after throwing out that rock and Megatron going to die anyway after Kup shot Ratchet, but considering all Optimus’ been through it’s not really hard to see him wanting to murder Megatron. Granted it might just be my Movie Prime fanboy speaking, but I don’t really find Optimus killing Megatron that large of a problem. It’s a nice, fitting ending to the two’s relationship, and the panel where Optimus looks forlornly over Megatron’s corpse is just nice. Granted the two may not have the same relationship as their IDW counterparts, but it’s still a rather strong image of regret over being forced to murder someone, and indeed this is the first real time Megatron has been really killed in the Marvel universe as opposed to having an 'or is it...?' near the end.
We also get two additional deaths this issue. Ratchet, reduced to a non-living prop to satisfy the conditions in #70, gets summarily executed by Kup’s pragmatism. It’s a surprisingly cold and dark turn of story for Kup, and rather sets the tone for Kup’s characterization in future Regeneration One story as basically the Autobot who will do whatever it takes for the greater good. Felt that it was rather stupid to undo Ratchet’s heroic sacrifice only for him to suffer and die tragically anyway in the end. After the cliffhanger last issue Megatron just kills Springer… like that, just a fusion blast to the head without much preamble, and I think it’s a rather poor exit for the Wrecker leader. It is a rather dramatic death, I admit, galvanizing Optimus Prime into brutal action, but I do think that it could’ve been done better – giving Springer a bit of a last stand last issue, for example, instead of the humans taking space and shooting autoguns. It does come as a bit of a surprise, though.
Don’t really care much about the Circuit Smasher end of things. It’s obvious that the moment he goes off on his solo adventure he’s going to fry poor Auntie and stop all the nukes from going off. That’s kind of painfully obvious. The Guardians and the zombie army basically take care of the other Autobots and keep them out of the action of the main characters.
We also get a lot of random one-page foreshadowings, from continuing the Hot Rod/Soundwave thing from last issue which doesn’t exactly progress, Galvatron returning, that one panel with Zero Space and the Scorponok/Grimlock plot on Nebulos.
Overall the issue feels like a rather disjointed mess other than the strong Megatron/Optimus Prime battle. Everything else from Springer to Starscream to Ratchet to the Circuit Smasher stuff to Guardian to zombies to random foreshadowings that go nowhere are juggled rather poorly in my opinion, with the Ratchet twist during the Megatron fight being rather obvious one way or another. Whatever the case though, the first arc – Megatron’s arc – manages to be somewhat readable even to the end despite being rather decompressed.
Throughout Regeneration One there is a distinct feel of Furman going through a checklist, and this arc just ticks off Megatron, Springer and Ratchet’s name off the list. The general feel of the series seems to just be revisiting random things and retconning some of the sacrifices that has come before. There’s nothing really new or engaging enough to make me feel excited, and while Optimus killing Megatron might be new as far as G1 goes, variations of the two's climatic battles have been around so much that it's not really fresh anymore. And it’s not outright bad
as of yet, there is yet something to really impress to justify dredging up Marvel comics for no good reason.
The two panels at the beginning of this issue marks first appearance of ‘Zero Space’, which initially looks like just some random thing Furman slipped inside as a mystic parallel to Galvatron cracking out of the ice, but will prove important later on. Much, much later on.
Speaking of Galvatron, the specific Galvatron here is the only one to appear in the Marvel US continuity, as an alternate-universe Galvatron abducted by Unicron to fight for him. He's more commonly known as 'Galvatron II' among fans, to distinguish him from the first Galvatron who time-traveled from the future and appeared only in the UK-exclusive comics.
Optimus Prime and Prowl both transform in this issue, showing that the adverse effects of Nucleon are indeed not universal.
Auntie’s ‘face’ is seen here, and it’s basically identical to how she (it?) looks in the UK comics.
The humans in the battlesuits are called ‘Mossof’ and ‘Daley’, and since the number of exosuits remain relatively constant they could be the surnames of any of the other three people named after the Marvel US staff, though which one exactly I wouldn’t know. Mossof and Daley themselves are named after G2 colorist Sarra Mossoff and editor Don Daley.
We see a flashback to #70 where Kup opens fire on the Ratchet-Megatron creature.
First Aid may call it ‘anti-toxin’, but what he’s spraying on Kup is pretty obviously water, which indeed is the cure to the Scraplets.
The idea of Grimlock and Scorponok having a feud where the latter tries to tempt the former, Scorponok as a head on an alien planet and managing to create a body for himself and Scorponok building an army of Headmasters all recall Furman’s original plans for Scorponok and Grimlock in the IDW comics, throughout Spotlight: Grimlock and Maximum Dinobots.
I am also pretty certain this was the first time a 'Spark Core' has been seen in the Marvel continuity, since the concept was coined during Beast Wars.
On page 2, Starscream’s wings are missing.
Hot Rod speaks to some white-and-red dude about the null field who disappears after that panel where he speaks, not letting us get a good look at his face. He could be Scattershot, but thanks to the art not really offering any clues could as likely be Vroom or really anyone who has red and white.
The exact amount of Autobots who are part of Ultra Magnus and Prowl’s team, as well as its members, vary randomly from page to page.
On page 20, “permafrost” is misspelled as “permafrost”.
If Sparks did exist in the Marvel continuity but remained unseen, it raises a lot of questions on how Optimus Prime could survive as data on a floppy disk, or how the second-year Autobot cars exist on memory crystals, and other stuff like that.