CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Sector 7 #5: Frozen
Reviewed by Blackjack
"I should have some hope. Perhaps a better man would. But life continues, Sector Seven continues."
Sadly, after a brilliant first two issues, a sub-par third issue and a horrible fourth issue, the series decided to end on a mediocre note. It's filled to the brim with Ghosts of Yesterday
references and random year-adjustments that only obsessive live-action movie geeks (admittedly I fall into this category) would care about. Billy is not as boring as the previous issue, but Anne Fischer kind of borrows her persona from Margo Simmons and ms Hoover from previous issues. Jealous Nolan and evil commie Danco are rather generic, but at least they get space they deserve, unlike the redshirt army last issue.
It's not spectacular, the story is predictable, and there's not much to note here. The status quo can't possibly change, anyhow, and Billy Simmons' death-not-death doesn't give any sort of loss. As a piece of fiction it's well written, but for all the impact it is basically a reusing of the S7-related plot for Ghosts of Yesterday
, something that really someone like Barber shouldn't do. It's marginally better than last issue due to Walter Simmons being in it, but not by much. Jetfire is still good material as usual, as is Walter's realization that his obsession has pushed away all of his family and friends, but those aren't really that spectacular. Most jarring is the issues about the tunnels. Jetfire and Walter Simmons aside, the mysterious tunnels have been a constant in all five issues, even the Nazi one, but we don't get so much a conclusion to its mystery.
Shame that this issue has to end on such a low note, really. And to think it had shown such promise, too! But one thing that John Barber has always impressed me was the fact that he researched all his facts thoroughly, be it in the Transformers-verse (he really researched Ghosts of Yesterday
, that took dedication) or real life. With a little bit more connections between the five issues, it would've been much better.
Sector Seven now contains lots of personnel, kind of like how it was in the Movie Prequel issues. The notable ones are:
-Walter Simmons, from previous issues.
-William 'Billy' Simmons, introduced last issue. His amputated right hand has been replaced with a state-of-the-art mechanical hand a la Star Wars.
-Anne Fischer, Billy's girlfriend and mother of Seymour Simmons the batshit crazy Sector 7 agent we know and love in the movie.
-Philip Nolan, the red herring, would reappear in the novel Ghosts of Yesterday
, as part of the crew that finally moved Megatron to the Hoover Dam. IIRC in the novel he died in the process of a malfunction during an attack, but I can't be arsed to go back and check.
-Danco junior, the grandson of Reginald Danco the sailor we saw in Movie Prequel #2 and Sector 7 #1. A communist and the real traitor.
Megatron is still frozen in the Arctic, due to delays caused by the World Wars. The events of this issue clinches the deal that it isn't safe to leave Megatron in the Arctic since the cold won't definitely keep him there. He would finally be moved in 1969, during the events of Ghosts of Yesterday
. In which he naturally breaks free again.
Counting Sector 7 #1 and Ghosts of Yesterday, this is the third time that Megatron wakes up from his slumber.
The Arctic base was last seen in the Prequel issues for the first movie. Again, Sector 7 can use technology a little ahead of their time — Lockheed U-2 spyplanes didn't make their first flight until 1955, while the Sikorsky S-58 helicopter that Walter landed in won't be used until the end of the decade.
Billy's line about his hand being 'shock resistant' is a reference to the then-contemporary Timex watch ad featuring baseball player Micky Mantle. 'Takes a licking and keeps on ticking' was the Timex slogan as well. Danco also name-drops boxer Rocky Marciano, who also appeared in a Timex ad around that time.
Writer John Barber admits that the issue took inspiration from John Carpenter's The Thing
, especially the scene where they check their blood for an alien.
Apparently Walter Simmons chose to use his original nickname of 'Mega-Man', which he coined in the first issue (and used in some other earlier material as well) while the term 'Ice-Man' was used by the younger generation.
Danco killed Fontaine and slipped him into the roof of Nolan's cell between pages 6 and 7, before Anne arrived.
Jetfire transforms into a Lockheed U-2. Coincidentally the U-2's successor would be the SR-71 Blackbird, Jetfire's on-screen alternate mode in ROTF. Presumably the scene in Tales of the Fallen #3 where he wanders around in a desert until he got slammed by a Blackbird took place after this.
J. Robert Oppenheimer is a rather significant issue between Billy Simmons and Danco Jr. In the TF-verse, Oppenheimer have been mentioned to be affiliated with Sector 7 in issue three. In real life Oppenheimer was instrumental in the creation of the atomic bombs. During the Cold War apparently Oppenheimer was accused of alleged Communist sympathies in around 1950, and the FBI suspended Oppenheimer's security clearance in 1953. In the TF-verse apparently Billy Simmons was one of the people responsible of stripping Oppenheimer of that clearance. In both real life and the TF-verse, Oppenheimer never got back that clearance and would spend the rest of his life teaching. However, the issue notes that Oppenheimer was not really working for the Soviets, something that Billy Simmons regretted later on.
Apparently Danco Junior survived, or at least got his information out. The Russian power plant mentioned on the final page of this issue is the Obninsk Nuclear power plant, built in 27 June 1954. It was the first nuclear power plant on Earth, but apparently from the Simmons' dialogue S-7 has been toying with nuclear power elsewhere.
In the two-page spread, Megatron seems to have grown an ugly mustache.
Simmons' mother have been named Tova Simmons in various sources instead of Anne Fischer, including the credits of ROTF. Of course, there's nothing to say she didn't get a name change to cover up later...
Surely past evidence from multiple eras (they saw transformers in issues 2 and 3, respectively, even if Billy's report of Jetfire isn't believed) won't lead people to dismiss Transformers as hogwash?
The caves, just about the only thing carried over in all five issues, didn't get any closure.
Megatron is in a different position from all the other times we've seen him.
None worth quoting