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Transformers: Escalation #3 (of 6)
#13 of an ongoing arc
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek


As with El Jira last issue Brasnya is a fictional country based on real world politics — in this case Chechnya.

Megatron's shrinking is due to "mass displacement", a long-standing fan theory (though the term "subspace" is never used here.) Shrinking whilst transforming causes lots of electrical discharge and nearby Transformers are advised to stand well back. It would seem that Megatron needs to both be carried and fired by a someone whilst in this mode — it's not entirely clear though, as Megs may well just be enjoying ordering his facsimile slave about, so the oddness of this won't be listed as goof for now.

In this mode he is "the Galaxy's greatest living weapon!" and even at pint size his gun fires a energy signature the Autobots can recognise.

Optimus states he hasn't seen mass displacement for a long time and that Megatron can only be achieving it now thanks to the Super Energon — the implication being that the fuel substitutes the Transformers have been using since leaving Cybertron don't provide enough of a kick to manage it.

Another long-standing Transformers mystery is solved here as well: "Where does Optimus Primes trailer go when he transforms?". When the Autobots beam down, his trailer is transported a few seconds latter, so presumably when he doesn't need it he just has it sent back to base the same way. The command deck, though only seen from a distance, seems to be the same as the original toy.

Prowl seems to take the summoning of reinforcements as a personal slight on his leadership, and vents his frustration on Ironhide for speaking up in the briefing about Sunstreaker.

Jimmy is enough of an expert on cars to recognise the alloy the decoy is made of on sight.

Blitzwing is capable of cloaking himself when required. He feels compelled to ask Megatron permission to shoot at Optimus, even though the latter must be number one on the Decepticon kill list. This also won't be listed under goofs as Blitzwing is probably being overeager to stay in Megs' good books following Infiltration.

The Autobots can use a intact [and note he says "intact" rather than "alive"] facsimile’s cellular template as an access point to all the faux humans on Earth. Though it's not mentioned, they've presumably tried this on the Machination corpse from last issue and found he was a real human... or, since Prime doesn't say how intact it has to be, the guy may have been too badly damaged in the crash. [Active neural tissue required? -Ed]

Nightbeat was summoned to Earth in his Spotlight issue, and though he doesn't know it he's a brainwashed mole for the mechanoids he met on Gorlam Prime.

As usual the first five pages of the issue were previewed online.


Why does Megatron feel compelled to explain his entire plan to the facsimile? He's little more than a drone who does whatever he's told, so why would he care?

The abandoning of Sunstreaker seems very forced — do they really want him spilling his guts on all he knows to a unidentified foe whilst being tortured? It just seems a way to give the humans something edgy to do whilst everyone else gets on with the plot.

The Russian soldier describes Blitzwing as "Soviet armor", when he probably means Brasnyan [whilst the Brasnyan's would almost certainly be using ex-Russian tanks, referring to them as such does make it sound as he thinks the Russkies are fighting themselves. The British Navy has just sold several of it older ships to foreign countries but I doubt they'll ever be described as "English ships!" by anyone fighting them...]

As with James Bond taking his invisible car to Iceland in Die Another Day you have to wonder why Blitzwing is bothering with the cloak when his tracks are still clearly visible in the snow.

So, ignoring for the moment the possibility he can't fire himself in gun mode, you have to question what value Megatron sees in mass substitution when he can't even stand near his own troops when he transforms? And even if he can somehow fly about unaided, he's hardly going to be able to keep up with the jets and tanks, is he? All old problems of course, but at least in the original comic/cartoon Megatron had no choice in his alt-mode... here he's acting like it's the bee's knees.

Issue Review

As we reach the halfway stage Escalation is setting up the final pieces for the end game in exceptional style. Megatron's plan is logical and well thought-out for a change, as is Optimus' counter plan. Both Furman and Su are at the top of their game here, with only the Sunstreaker sub plot seeming out of place, though hopefully that will come more into focus in the next few issues. All in all, unless they really drop the ball in the second half, Escalation is going to be an absolute blinder.

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