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Old 2014-08-03, 09:00 PM   #1
Blackjack
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Default Comic Review: Regeneration One #98 [uploaded]

Transformers Regeneration One #98: The War to End All Wars, Part 3
Written by: Simon Furman
Pencils by: Guido Guidi
Inks by: Stephen Baskerville
Colours by: John-Paul Bove
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Edited by: John Barber

Synopsis: The Hub: A massive Autobot fleet emerges and mounts an attack on one of the outer fringes of the Hub Network. A ground team led by Ultra Magnus finds the planet deserted. Jetfire speculates that Jhiaxus has been exaggerating the scale of the Hub Network, with each world being sparsely manned. Directed by Nightbeat, who devised a plan based on the probe they launched earlier, two teams on shuttles attempt to sever a weak point to set off a chain reaction to shut the Hub down.

Earth: Optimus Prime and the human leaders gather to meet the delegates from Nebulos, with Circuit Smasher showing up late. However, instead of a Nebulan delegation, Fortress Maximus appears through the Space Bridge, and beats Optimus Prime down. Circuit Smasher, frozen with shock, is abducted by Fortress Maximus, stating that ‘one will become all’, before vanishing through the Space Bridge while the other humans watch helplessly.

The Hub: As the strike teams move into position, Kup expresses concern over the operation being too easy, fearing that Jhiaxus may have anticipated their move. This proves true – as the weak point is severed, no effect is observed. Jhiaxus then has the entire forces of his Cybertronian Empire launch an attack on the Autobot fleet, too fast for them to counterattack. The Autobot ships, including the one Rodimus is in, are all taken down. Ultra Magnus’ group attempts to make a run for a rail transit system connecting the various Hub worlds and disappear. Kup contacts someone with orders to ‘initiate meltdown scenario’. As Magnus’ group races through the surface of the planet, Hound is killed by the forces. They attempt to split up to draw attention, but the Cybertronians’ numbers are so overwhelming that the group cannot progress any further. Jhiaxus directly contacts Rodimus Prime and offers him to surrender, or have all his troops be killed. Watching scenes of Autobots dying all around him, Rodimus reluctantly surrenders.

The Ark: The Underbase-possessed Starscream arrives on another Hub world, using his power to manipulate the minds of onlookers. When inquired by Shockwave, the Underbase identifies itself as ‘the fourth seeking the fifth’. Wanting Shockwave’s assistance, the Underbase separates Shockwave from the Ark and repairs his body.

Primus Chamber: as the Unicron cultists deliver Galvatron’s unconscious form to their master, their lives are drained by their master… who appear to be Primus himself, crackling with green energy, proclaiming that soon the distinctions between order, chaos, good and evil will soon be moot.

Featured Characters: Cybertronian Soldiers (killed), Jetfire, Rodimus Prime, Blurr, Blaster, Bumblebee, Kup, Hound (killed), Ultra Magnus, Nightbeat, Scattershot, Blades, Groove, Wheeljack, Powerglide, Jazz, Sky High, Skids, Getaway, Beachcomber, Jhiaxus, G.B. Blackrock, Gordon Kent, Linda Chang, Optimus Prime, Circuit Smasher, Fortress Maximus, Fastlane, Chromedome, Underbase-Starscream, Shockwave, Unicron Cultists (killed), Galvatron, Primus Head

Review:

”Expurgate.”

On one hand, it’s a decent enough issue, just showing the Autobots mounting a huge attack on the Hub only to sorely underestimate Jhiaxus and be completely outsmarted and massacred. The visuals by Guidi and Baskerville certainly make the image of the Autobot fleet dropping out of lightspeed and bombing the shit out of the Hub world an impressive one. And when the Cybertronians (because my brain already has it written that way, Jhiaxus’ forces will henceforth be referred to as Cybertronians like the G2 comic) pull off the same massive armada it likewise looks pretty impressive. However, the Autobots’ assault takes too long to set up and with the ominous visage of Jhiaxus shown to us on page 5 we know it’s not going to work, and it just beats around the bush with the explanation of the plan and speculations and all that. The shots of the Autobots getting massacred are pretty effective, and we get a confirmed death in Hound. The rest… Chromedome, Fastlane, that other shuttle, Jazz and his smoking chest… there are a lot of implied deaths, but no real confirmed ones. And considering how this is the third-last issues, it’s kind of annoying that Furman chickens out on giving us some dramatic deaths with Jazz or Wheeljack or Skids or whatever, but no. They just crash-land. Seeing someone more than Hound (who doesn’t get to do anything in this entire series until this point) die would certainly drive the point home more neatly. Either way it just takes too long just to show the Autobots’ confidence crushed, and so little happens I was surprised the issue was over with Rodimus’ surrender.

And while I do like the Cybertronian Empire side of things, the rest of the issue bullshits around two extremely tiresome plots. Five pages is devoted to the Fortress Maximus side of things. And while it was funny to see Spike, after all his bluster, gets shocked into idiocy at the sight of Fort Max, it’s again a scene that takes too long. Fort Max already blew a hole through Optimus Prime’s chest, do we need another page to show him beating Optimus Prime again? Do we need a page to see Spike’s wife whose name I had to look up kneel down on the ground with a constipated expression? No, we don’t.

Underbase, possessing Starscream’s body (there’s karmic justice in there somewhere) takes an entire page to recap all the Underbase stuff to Shockwave, which we already know, then takes another page to reformat Shockwave into being whole. I guess if they didn’t take two pages this issue won’t meet its page quota? Whatever, it’s not like these two will be able to contribute anything at all to the plot. Starscream and Shockwave are these two clowns that keep showing up, keep stealing screentime, I keep waiting for them to do something cool… and then one of them gets possessed by a plot device randomly and the other is just going around asking recaps.

The cliffhanger at the end seems to imply that Primus is the true villain, sending the Unicron acolytes to kidnap Galvatron and possibly orchestrating events like four visions, Jhiaxus, Evil Maximus and all that stuff, and I think it would be an awesome subversion to the multiversal singularity stuff and the ‘Primus is gone’ stuff if Primus is indeed the Last Boss of the Marvel comics, if the Transformers do have to surpass their creator as that final conflict, mirroring how Unicron was sort of the last boss in the original comics… but no, it’s just that damned Anti-Matrix possessing Primus’s head. So what I thought was a cool twist ended up being that thing I don’t care about from the past issues.

This issue is just so slow. Like, Infiltration-level slow. Except Infiltration has the excuse as an opening chapter, whereas this is the third last issue of a saga. Why can’t we shorten this entire issue? The entire thing could be squeezed into six or seven pages, with the Shockwave stuff or Fort Max happening in place of the bullshit Starscream/Shockwave conversations from before. It’s just so jarring when I reached the final page with the creepy Primus face. Was that it? So little happened here, and there isn’t even any nice little nods or whatever. It took like ten minutes to review this issue and type everything out. It's not even terrible, it's just so blah.

(1.5 out of 5)

Notes:
First Marvel comics appearance for Fastlane.

Rodimus at one point refers to Jhiaxus’ forces as ‘second generation Cybertronians’, which, of course, is one of their names in Generation 2.

Ultra Magnus does a ‘roll out’, whereas Kup misquotes the late Springer’s infamous line: ‘I’ve got better things to do today than die.’ Of course Springer never got to say that particular sentence, but apparently it’s a catchphrase in-universe as well.

The possessed Fortress Maximus and Primus Head do a sinister variation of ‘Til all are one’ into ‘One will be all’. The green mist shown in Primus’ face has been seen since Regeneration One #95, as well as around Grimlock when he screamed at the Demons. It’s not until now that the green mist is something more sinister than just background.

It’s implied that those on board Lancer 1 (Scattershot, Blades, Groove, Wheeljack, Powerglide) all perished, though Wheeljack will later show up in #100, while Scattershot does so only to die again.

Goofs:
On two panels on the same page, Chromedome’s eyes turn from a visor to two individual ones.

Fortress Maximus is drawn in his upgraded, larger body which he was upgraded into after becoming a Headmaster. The pre-Headmaster head (which the Nebulans are working to restore a body for) should correspond to Fortress Maximus’ original, smaller body.
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2014-08-05 at 07:31 AM.
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