CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers: The Reign of Starscream #5
Reviewed by Blackjack
And 'Reign of Starscream' ends with this. The art really has a rushed feeling, and at times background characters are actually block-coloured into silhouettes. The quality of the art really breaks down from Issue 4. That's not to mention the numerous unanswered questions. Why did the Allspark fail? Was it Dreadwing's sabotage? How many Autobots survived the explosion? Did any of them die? Did Stockade, Payload and Swindle survive? Stuff like that.
And we began with Starscream being the sole surviving Decepticon on Earth. Now the status quo is returned -- Starscream is again the sole surviving Con on Earth (other than Barricade and possibly Scorpy). We have came around to where we started. It's probably to do with Revenge of the Fallen coming, but it still feels tired, like almost nothing happened in the series other than a whole lotta deaths. Moreover, the fake Allspark fails. No giant explosion, no Mutant Allspark creatures... it just fails. Hell, Mowry's original script of the Allspark giving life to Trypticon and Stars stopping him would be a better read than this. All this issue succeeds in doing is to kill off lots of characters; it doesn't seem to be worth five issues. The anticlimax -- Strongarm deactivating all the drone units off-panel
-- is another serious boo. Starscream, TC and the Autobots slaying of all those drones seem pointless. While issues One to Four set up the story excellently, it ultimately goes from a nice read to pure shit in the end; Mowry did a good job with the monologues, and that's worth the money. But the art and seemingly rushed conclusion really isn't good. I just hope the next arc (Alliance/Defiance) will be better.
Deaths in this issue are numerous. Here's a list: Elita-One, Signal Flare, Warpath, Grindcore and Crankcase are killed by the Allspark experiment. 'Vortex' is sniped by Autobots. Ramjet is killed by Crosshairs. Divebomb and Dreadwing are killed by Starscream. Stockade and Payload (and Swindle, if he's in the crowd) are presumably killed along with the drones during Trypticon's collapse.
Chris Mowry says that Starscream's speech to the crowds in page four is inspired by Scar from Disney's the Lion King.
The generic Decepticon who says, "Up there, a sni-" before being blasted by Arcee is named Vortex in the script. He's also nicknamed 'Snitchotron' by Mowry. No, really.
The 'big ride' which Thundercracker mentioned in his dialogue with Ramjet (when Ramjet shows his true colours) refers to them going to find the Allspark.
Ramjet's death -- his head being lopped off -- is inspired by IDW G1 Megatron playing with his universe's Ramjet's decapacitated head in Spotlight: Ramjet. So Ramjet lost his head yet again. Dreadwing's death is also similar to that of IDW Ramjet in that Starscream rips out his spark core while he is still talking.
Dreadwing's line "I still func-" and Starscream's subsequent "Wanna bet?" before killing Dreadwing is a reference, yet again, this time to Megatron and Starscream from the original movie. Brad Mick has a role in this, I tell you. How many times does that line have to be copied? I mean, not that it's not a good line, but whatever happened to "I've got better things to do tonight than die"?
Stockade and Thundercracker are the only ones who remain loyal to Screamer. This jives with Stockade's bio saying he's loyal to the top Decepticon in command. However, Stockade is last seen grappling with Payload. It's unknown if any of them survived.
Divebomb's giant gun arm in the toy is replaced by a standard arm.
The bluish planet in the final panel is
Earth. It looks black-lit because of it blocking the Sun's light, as Screamer views it from Mars.
Okay, so how come the Decepticons don't have scanners that can detect the Autobots?
Starscream is a real idiot if he entrusts Dreadwing solely
with the legions of drones. He gets betrayed. How ironic.
While issue one confused galaxies and solar systems, Starscream keeps in line with Optimus' opening monologue in the Movie, saying he has allies "scattered over the galaxy", which, considering what happened, would only be Thundercracker, Stockade (if he survives) and Barricade. And others soon to appear in subsequent comics.
So why didn't Arcee snipe Starscream before he could kill Elita and the others? Surely with that much firepower, they could take out Starscream and a few others before escaping.
Strongarm, Armorhide and Breakaway are completely missing at the final scenes where the Autobot escape. Skyblast, while also not seen, might've flown away quite easily. In fact, Breakaway and Strongarm ain't seen anymore after they depart with Wingblade. (well, it's hard to tell with the art...) However, since the Autobots didn't mourn anyone, it can only be presumed they survived.
The drones are deactivated. Off-screen. It would've made a better read if at least a panel is shown in which Strongarm's team destroying a mother console or somesuch, but no.
Oh, and Dreadwing can teleport
. He showed it in issue 4. It should've made killing Screamer easier.
Ramjet: "Autobot scrap! You come out of hiding only to die. That's not using your h - " (just before losing his own
Ramjet: "Haha! I did it! Talk about cutting it close! Wait, where in the name of the Allpark am I? Who cares? I'm alive! I still func — "
Starscream: "Wanna bet?"