CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers: Escalation #2 (of 6)
#12 of an ongoing arc
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek
According to Ironhide, if that had been Sunstreaker there would have been no chance of him surviving. We've seen Transformers recover from far worse in previous continuities, suggesting they're either not as tough here or they don't have the resources to effect repairs.
El Jira is a fictional place, though it's predicament is obviously based on the current situation in Iraq.
Skywarp had to spend some time in a CR chamber to recover from his wounds inflicted by Megatron in Infiltration
#6. He implies that something rather awful has happened to Starscream.
Megatron now has a Earth handgun alt-mode, aaking him the first IDW Transformer to have to deal with the thorny issue of giant robots shrinking down to a small size in defiance of all logic. He doesn't do it here though, and it's as yet unclear if any attempt to rationalise this will be made (such as the fan subspace theory), or if as with every example of people shrinking in science fiction the physics will just be ignored.
According to procedure Megatron should just install a new unit commander to replace Starscream and then return to headquarters — however, he likes his new design so much he decides to stay on and have some fun.
The facsimile avatars are standard Decepticon kit, and come complete with the source's memories. Often they don't even know they're not the original. The Decepticons normally keep the original human on ice in case the copy fails and they need to make a new one. The corpse Verity found in the original Decepticon base in Inflitration
was one such human that had been left behind in the move.
Though the Machination weaponry is clearly very advanced, Transformers can withstand it given enough warning (unlike Sunstreaker last issue.)
Optimus Prime seems willing to cause the death of a human in order to retrieve Sunstreaker, though he may not be aware of how frail Earthlings are. Or perhaps he thought any sensible top secret agent would be careful to look where he's going whilst driving...
Verity seems much more affected by Hunter's death than Jimmy; stirring hormones, perhaps?
In-jokes this issue include Optimus referring to Sunstreaker's body as being "More than meets the eye..." and a news reporter being called Arcee Arthur.
This issue sees the letters page being handed over from Chris Ryall (in the guise of Chrischarger) to fellow editor Dan Taylor (in the guise of Shockdan.) Once again Nick Roach provides the art. Ryall still gets to be represented in comic form though, thanks to being featured in the advert for the CSI mini-series Dying In The Gutter
(Which is about murder at a comic convention, with a bunch of real comic creators as suspects. If Ryall does turn out to be the one that done it, his editorship of this title may well be cut short by a stint in the big house...)
The first five pages were previewed online by IDW.
What sort of secret agent is the guy in charge of the Machination retrieval team? Knowing there are hostile giant robots in the area he decides not to concentrate on the road ahead and instead looks behind him cracking gags about explosions — resulting in him not seeing the giant stationary red robot he crashes into (shades of Bumblebee's death in the most recent Devils Due Transformers/GI Joe crossover.) One also has to wonder why Prime wouldn't try harder to capture him alive as the poor guy could answer a lot of the questions he poses at the end of the issue.
If Megatron really wants to make the world think America attacked the Power Plant, why not have Skywarp and Thundercracker adopt USAF markings for the mission?
Megatron acts as if the only reason he has for staying on Earth is to have some fun with his new alt-mode. Why adopt it in the first place if he planned to leave straight away? And isn't the super-Energon enough of a reason to stay in personal control of the mission?
This is the strongest main comic issue IDW have put out to date: the action, plot and character development are all balanced perfectly to make a great read. It's great to see Furman finally bring the restored form he's shown on the Spotlight
comic into the "...tion" titles.
Highlights include Jazz's wounded pride at getting shown up by humans, Ironhide's very real anger at Sunstreaker's seeming death and Prime's fascinated expression in his eyes as he watches the human die (even if the logic of that scene is a bit dodgy.)
Another asset is that the political aspect, which could so easily be a "War is bad, M'kay" style rant, is kept very much in check and serves the story rather than dominating it. A fantastic 22 pages that shows the Transformers
comic is in very safe hands.