CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Sector 7 #4: Weapon
Reviewed by Blackjack
"You took what I am and corrupted it!"
Unbelievably dull, for something that should’ve been interesting on paper. Does anyone think the redshirt crew other than Billy Simmons would get out safely? And the art is decidedly sub-par, nowhere near the mood set by the past three issues. On the top side we see the return of batty Walter Simmons, now obsessed by the Transformers. Or trying to find out more about them, that is. Jetfire’s little return, and his seeming change of heart, is… well, okay somewhat to explain why he ‘changed sides to the Autobots’ in Revenge of the Fallen, with his bad memories filling in the plot holes. That bit of rage when he saw the Panzer-Giganten (stupid name) and got all disgusted at the humans using their own kind as such is well done, though.
However, everything else is dull. None of the characters, not even the Kid, who has his share of pages, were as eye-catching as any of the secondary humans from past Sector Seven stories. The whole Nazi makes Transformers that has very little impact on the future thing is kind of crap as well. Plus, those magic laser guns. If Nazis had these transforming power suits and lasers, why haven’t they won the war already before Walter got around to calling Billy and the rest of the team? Humans laying their hands on real transformers isn’t really feasible. It’s unrealistic for the Nazis not to try to hide their reverse-engineered data elsewhere is unreasonable as well. The whole chase scene between the airdrop to Jetfire’s arrival is just simply so dull and uninteresting. And if the caves would be a plot thread next issue, then I shudder at what it would become. It’s really very predictable, banal and unoriginal, something that’s quite a shame considering the great output that Sector Seven had given us so far. What a wasted potential… we could have had a great issue featuring Ransack, but no, we get this. Boo.
This issue was originally promoted with a different cover featuring Jetfire, which was changed into a far more generic cover featuring tanks and whatnot.
Since this is Sector Seven, the team sent to disable the Nazis had seven members:
-William ‘Billy’ Simmons, the son of Margaret Simmons, our heroine last issue. Margo had apparently died prior to this issue. As of this issue, Billy's right hand has been amputated.
-Horwitz, hand-to-hand combat master. Presumably died during the plane crash.
-Corliss, covert infiltrations. The joker of the group. Died during the crash.
-Sergeant Donavan, heavy ordnance, field commander. Injured by the blowback from the bazooka. Killed by the Nazis offscreen.
-Garcia, machinegunner. Died during the plane crash.
-Lupton the Kid, sniper. The guy who survived the longest and became Billy’s speaking partner. Was finally killed by the Nazi Transformer.
-Newcombe, codebreaker and intelligence officer. Run down by the Nazi Transformer.
Margaret Simmons began a romance with Roy Thompson some time between issues three and four, since the two had a photo side by side on the first panel. This is confirmed by Barber at the end of issue continuity notes. Billy Simmons would then could be presumed to be the father of Seymour Simmons, the guy from the movies. See goofs, though.
In the movie itself, Tom Banachek tells Sam (and us) that Megatron was moved into the Hoover Dam in 1934. However, apparently in 1934 the Hoover Dam isn’t completed yet, so John Barber handwaved Banachek’s dialogue as a lie, and instead followed the timeline presented by the Movie Prequel and the Ghosts of Yesterday novel: preparations were made to move Megatron in 1935 (Movie Prequel #3), and the real moving happened in 1969 (Ghosts of yesterday). Barber cites the outbreak of the World Wars to be the reason for this lengthy delay.
Walter Simmons refers to the N.B.E. as ‘Non Biological Entity’ instead of ‘Non Biological Extraterrestrial’. It is a deliberate usage of the variant, since Walter was not sure that the creature is an alien robot. Thus the two variants of N.B.E. became interchangeable down the years.
The ‘Fulton Recovery’ mentioned in page seven is real. In real life it is called Surface To Air Recovery System (STARS), developed by Robert Fulton Jr. in the ‘50s. Sector Seven, being who they are, are able to use what is presumably the prototypes of STARS.
The tank-robots are based on German Panzer tanks (duh) interspliced with American and British design elements. The Panzer-Giganten doesn’t seem to be able to transform, though.
The tank-robot pilots’ oft-repeated dialogue, ‘Totet Mich’, apparently is ‘kill me’. Creepy.
Barber justifies using energy weapons because the guns are massive, something that is more realistic for humans to reverse-engineer.
Sector Seven is using the Surface To Air Recovery System (STARS) nearly a decade before the CIA started using it in real-life. Here, it is merely known as "Fulton Recovery", after its creator, Robert Edison Fulton, Jr.
Neuschwanstein Castle is a real place, though it wasn't destroyed by a giant robot in real life. According to Barber, the week he wrote this issue Neuschwanstein Castle was coincidentally made into a cake in the show ‘Ace of Cakes’.
Jetfire had been last seen teleporting after being exposed to the AllSpark in issue #2. He had apparently been captured by the Nazis some time prior to the events of this issue. We last saw Walter Simmons in #2 as well, though he was mentioned in #3.
Jetfire flashes back to his rebellion against the Fallen from Tales of the Fallen #3, with the dialogue lifted directly from that issue.
Right after his little flashback, Jetfire very nearly says 'perhaps there is more to you...' fill in the blanks, yes?
The cave system that the Nazis have mapped is probably the same one that is previously seen in the first two issues with wacky organic creatures, in which Jetfire spent a decade crawling around in.
Who is that transformer on the photograph page two? On context it is supposed to be Jetfire, but it doesn’t look anything like Jetfire. Its head kind of resembles Starscream, but the body is all wrong and Starscream shouldn’t be here in this period anyway.
Hard to believe that the Nazis didn’t copy the blueprints for the Panzerbots and the laser weapons elsewhere. Harder to believe that the laser weapons weren’t utilized in multiple fronts.
How could the Nazi capture Jetfire anyway? Even Sector Seven needed so long to set up the cryogenic systems for Megatron.
In the ROTF novelization, Seymour Simmons’ father is named Felix. Sod it, the novels are crap anyway.
How could Billy miss Jetfire laying in the room?
While it is true that Billy had no way to apprehend Jetfire (and he would decidedly be reluctant to do so to someone who had helped him) surely the report would count to an N.B.E. status, even though there is no hard evidence?
A P38 Fighter Jet is decidedly smaller than Jetfire’s mass, considering the other alternate modes he had scanned over the years (a battleship in issue one, and an SR71 Blackbird in ROTF).
Jetfire’s scale relative to Billy also jumps all over the place. At times he’s only triple Billy’s size, and in times three humans fit in his hand.
Walter Simmons: You don't have to call me sir.
Billy Simmons: What should I call you?
Walter Simmons: 'Grandfather' always had a ring to it, Billy.
Nazi controller: Toten sie mich...
The Kid: Simmons- what's he saying? Do you think he... volunteered for... for that?
Billy Simmons: I don't care, kid. That's one Nazi down.
Jetfire: Mixing my body with the fleshlings'- removing our individuality, our freedom! Reducing what we are- to a WEAPON! And that is the greatest abomination possible.
Jetfire: How can you do this, fleshling... to yourselves? Even at our worst... we would never treat our own kind like this...
Jetfire: You value your own life so little that you'd give it up so easily?
Billy Simmons: No, sir- I value my life, but I value freedom from these monsters a whole lot more.