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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
Club/Con
(2001-now)
Titan Books
(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
Manga
Other Books
and Titles

CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers Spotlight: Megatron
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

” I slumber for three. Tiny. Years. And when I wake up, this is all I have left. Say it again. Say that I have no idea what it's like to see a lifetime's work destroyed and made mockery of. ”

Like the other spotlight issues in this series, very few happens here. Basically all this issue can be summed up in ‘Megatron beats Starscream up in his new body, and rallies his troops back into shape’, which takes place inbetween one of the more problematic arcs of Costa’s run. However, where many other spotlights merely just expound and normally lack in meat, this issue is the other way around. In essence, this does what pack-in comics are expected to do… bill Metroplex for a little, promote some plot threads which could be followed up in the modern ongoings, and have the character monologue. But where the likes of Thundercracker and Bumblebee simply ramble about things we have heard a million times before, we never have really gotten into Megatron’s head, despite him being the big bad of the main series. The closest we have is the ‘Chaos Theory’ two parter, where it was more from Optimus Prime’s point of view, and the rivalry and mutual grudging respect between the two of them.

This issue, however, deals with an issue which is so iconic to the G1 mythos, yet has been explored so little: why Megatron keeps his treacherous lieutenant Starscream around. Other than a few panels in the Generation Two comic, this has never been explored until the tail end of Season Two of Transformers: Prime, as well as this issue. Both plays on Starscream’s ambitions and the reasons of Megatron keeping him around very, very well, and the dynamic between the two certainly has gotten far more interesting than merely portraying Megatron as an idiot leader. Nick Roche delivers an extremely excellent script, in which every verbal abuse and put-down said by Megatron hits home and explores how extremely abusive, manipulative yet effective Megatron is, whilst exploring a lot behind Starscream’s own guilt and motivations. Spotlight issues have generally been hit and miss, mostly used as a way to seed plotlines or generally being throwaway stories. It is really seldom that a spotlight issue would really hit home and explore what exactly ticks behind the character’s head… but this is a spotlight issue which succeeds not only with Megatron, but with Starscream as well.

I really like the extremely efficient style of Nick Roche’s storytelling, how every panel is not wasted. I like how Megatron checks off parts of his body in the beginning and later closes with checking off the aspects of his army. The exposition of the current situation of the Decepticons was worked in seamlessly into Megatron’s verbal abuse into Starscream, and said verbal abuse is truly well-delivered, working pretty well with the dynamic between the two. This, in essence, spotlights the relationship between the two main Decepticons very well. The art really works well too, and I really like how Starscream is very much sick of this abusive and unhealthy relationship. A working relationship, not the other kind.

It’s not perfect, and the main fault is that it takes place in the Costa run, which, as impartial as I might try to be, is not one that’s exactly popular amongst the readers. It does manage to deliver well and promote the toy (after reading this story I have an urge to buy the stealth bomber Megatron toy to go with my own Starscream figure even though I’ve never really cared for Megatron’s Costa-era body), though, and it’s a story which I highly recommend, despite its rather unsubtle parallels to domestic abuse.

Notes

This takes place during Mike Costa’s ongoing series, specifically falling in after Megatron’s return in his new body in issue 13, and this issue deals with Megatron’s return from the Decepticons’ (well, mostly Starscream’s) point of view, which is mostly glossed over in the ongoing. Megatron also alludes to the Matrix being taken from Starscream (issue 13) and the preparation of weapons caches which will take place in the ‘Revenge of the Decepticon’ arc.

Like all other spotlight issues in this series, Spotlight: Megatron would later be included as a pack-in comic for the Generations Megatron toy based on the Costa-era stealth bomber body.

Megatron’s new stealth bomber body is retconned to have been derived from Metroplex (something the Decepticons have been hunting, as established in Spotlight Orion Pax and Spotlight Thundercracker), which explains Megatron’s ability to space bridge and plugs up some of the plot holes from the Costa ongoing. It is not yet revealed how the Decepticons had obtained Metroplex’s space bridge technology, but we can presume it happened prior to the events of Spotlight Metroplex, where he flew through space instead of teleporting away.

Megatron’s rarely-seen ability to link up interdimensionally to a black hole is mentioned here, which is rarely used in fiction outside two more obscure Marvel UK stories. It was also mentioned in the James Roberts-penned ‘Chaos Theory’, where it’s dismissed by Ratchet and Perceptor as being an unrealistic rumour. Shockwave confirms that Megatron actually does have one.

We see Soundwave’s blackmailing tendencies and Megatron notes him to be sneaky and having his own agenda, something which, outside of Marvel UK stories and toy bios, has only officially come into place in Soundwave’s first appearance in the IDW continuity (Spotlight Soundwave), until it was supplanted by the stoic loyalist of the cartoon in all subsequent IDW appearances.

As mentioned in the ‘Prelude to Chaos’ series, Megatron had been destroyed and rebuilt into new bodies multiple times.

The blue cassette makes an appearance. While all other issues identify the blue cassette as Frenzy, the Costa run inexplicably switches the colours. Going by that, the blue cassette here would be Rumble.

All the Decepticons wantonly slaughtered by Hot Rod in ongoing #13, namely Razorclaw, Shrapnel and Acid Storm, whose fates were all left ambiguous, are all shown to be alive, albeit very beat-up.

Goofs

Skywarp should have been on Earth, having been seemingly captured (or at least incapacitated) by Skywatch at the end of the Bumblebee miniseries and only rejoined the Decepticons after the Decepticons assaulted Skywatch, which takes place after this issue chronologically. It could be some miscoloured Seeker, but his dialogue specifically references his teleportation power.

 
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