CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers: The Reign of Starscream #4
Reviewed by Blackjack
The pace is quickening again. This issue has a rather early release, which might account for the rushed feel of Milne's art, and towards the Autobot base portion of the comic the art really suffers. Milne's tendency to redesign the Energon/Cybertron line repaints to resemble movie Transformers come off well, in my opion. Most of the time. I couldn't even recognize Signal Flare, Strongarm, Armorhide and Skyblast until they were referred to by name, and Elita-One's face is best not spoken of. Still, a good effort, although things are starting to unwind. The plot is not really the best, but it is serviceable 13:53 14/11/2010. Monologues, except for two pages for Starscream and Arcee, disappear entirely, making this feel like an ongoing issue instead of a Spotlight. Also, Starscream is slowly reverting to his G1 self... but that's explained by being power-headed. Not a bad read.
Dreadwing can teleport, like his bio suggests. Arcee has back thrusters. Payload has a different head design, resembling the toy (a large optic surrounded by three smaller ones) instead of a single optic like the drones. He also has slightly different colouring.
Starscream drinks Kremzeek cola. The drink also appeared in Dreamwave's Generation One ongoing, so it must be popular.
In Starscream's vision, the sculpture of Megatron in Trypticon is replaced with his face. Such ego. Starscream also fantasizes of destroying earth and Optimus Prime. Where have we seen this before?
More alternate modes appear this issue. Dreadwing has an alternate mode which is distinctly different from Thundercracker's, resembling Megatron's. Wingblade and Skyblast's alternate modes also make an appearance. In an effort to differentiate between Strongarm and Crosshairs, Alex Milne draws Strongarm with a hole in the face. The TPB's bio for him says that Strongarm refuses to fix the damage to his face because the wound was created when his team was destroyed because of an oversight on his part. He wears it as a reminder of the troops he failed, which follows Animated Ratchet and G1 Gunrunner on that count.
A hint of foreshadowing: the Drone killed by Arcee says "Intruder detected. Notifying Master Dr-". It's either Master Drone or Master Dreadwing, but Mowry confirms it's the latter.
On page 11, numerous bits of foreshadowing can be seen. First is Dreadwing's dialogue, which hints at... something. On the first panel is Wreckage in the Sector Seven base. This was confirmed in issue 2 and 3.
Crankcase's vocal processor is ripped out by Starscream, in a similar way to what happened to Bumblebee.
So... why didn't Starscream kill Arcee last issue?
Dreadwing says that the ones who know about the cube are Starscream, Stockade, himself and 'the unlucky workers' (presumably the drones and captured Autobots). But later, Thundercracker and Ramjet seem to know all about it.
It's very convenient for Arcee to drop in on the Autobots just as they're preparing to attack Starscream's base.
Dropkick appears on the cover but not in the issue.
Warpath: "I swear if you touch me again I'll-"
Stockade: "You'll do what? Autobot drudge..." (beats Warpath up) "you'll do WHAT?!"
Starscream (monologue): "This planet has waited for a leader like me to restore her power, her glory, and her strength. I shall soon be her champion. Let all who wish to serve me do so without hesitation. And let those who wish to oppose me, well... let them try."
Arcee: (monologue) "There's no place like home, but this is not good at all. Maybe I should have stayed on the red planet."