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Transformers: Escalation #4 (of 6)
#14 of an ongoing arc
Reviewed by Denyer


Into the second half, with everything to play for on both sides. It’s already been suggested by the writer that things will escalate further next issue, so this one has some other aspects of the plot to advance first, though that doesn’t stop there being a free-for-all amongst the ‘Bots and ‘Cons here as well. Art continues to impress, even if the mix of night/indoors scenes and arctic conditions does leave slightly less range for the colourist. Since I read this before #3, I was particularly happy to see Su’s rendition of the streamlined Hot Rod design

It’s possible the Transformers’ cover may have been blown after this battle and open use of robot modes by some in it – though that assumes any of the Russian/Brasnyan troops remain when it’s all over; if they wouldn’t be written off as crackpot; and if more of them aren’t facsimiles the Decepticons could use to wipe out any survivors. All will depend on the scale of things to come.

Whilst on the subject of facsimiles, I’m again wondering if one of the three core cast humans is already a clone – and doesn’t know it – or if the Hunter they may manage to recover will turn out to be one… Verity and Jimmy have some history together, but Hunter’d be my guess. His background story of gathering evidence about alien robots and conspiracy theories hasn’t come up recently, but was one of my first thoughts when we saw what might be cloning tubes back in Infiltration. And since we know other Transformers have been active on Earth…

The immediate future, though, promises to hold a big Prime/Megatron bust-up.


Ratchet and Ironhide are both understandably cautious; recalling the occasions the Machination has detonated scenes of crimes rather than leave pursuable evidence.

Not as much talking this issue, more shooting and bombing. The Decepticons are clearly enjoying themselves.

The Earthbound Autobot team in Brasnya try their best, and deliver a fair amount of banter whilst doing so, but the unexpected teleporting in of two airborne Decepticons has them outmatched. Prowl is prepared to risk almost certain death to obtain the target.

Prime seems calm and in control, but is taking on Megatron as an unknown quantity, powered as the Decepticon leader is with Ore-13.

Hot Rod is his usual impulsive self, though he comes across as being somewhat older.


Ratchet suggests he can freeze external pressure sensors and motion detectors, but without knowing more about what’s inside the holo readers and any mechanoid detection system would catch the Transformers easily. The ‘normal’ interior security systems can be blocked by a simple field.

Prime’s battle station and Roller are both capable of autonomous functioning. From the way Jazz says that Prime was watching his own back, it seems likely both are extensions (subroutines?) of Prime rather than considered separate.

The Autobots have clearly dealt with facsimiles on many occasions, as indicated by Ironhide’s explanation last issue and Jazz’s claim here that he can send a nerve paralysis pulse at Koska to prevent him “self-decommissioning.” Whereas Prime uses the term “cellular template” for the information they want from the clone, here Hot Rod refers to a genetic payload… perhaps the Decepticons are more superficial in their copying than exact, accelerating the process through shortcuts. Either way, the Autobots wouldn’t have records of how this genetic code differed between humans and FCs, though they may have it for facsimiles of other alien races.

As noted last issue, Blitzwing is carrying tech that allows him to turn invisible (whether to the naked eye only or to other scanning methods, currently unknown.) His tracks are still clearly visible, but the effect is sufficient to fool a casual onlooker. Though Blitzwing has the chameleon mesh, Decepticons still don't seem to make active use of the holomatter technology the Autobots have, which might explain why Runamuck and Runabout were taken in by Ratchet's avatar back in Infiltration. (The other explanation, of course, being they're really that cocky and inept.)

Not sure what letters, ads and other sundries will be included with this issue, as pre-release copies don’t have that stuff finalised. More info to be added.


Jazz: “Watchin' your own back, huh?”

Todorof: “We appear to have an American F-22 Raptor, being shot at by some kind of rally vehicle. And a police patrol car, also American... under attack from a space shuttle?”

Megatron: “Optimus Prime? It's been a long time... longer still since we met in actual combat. Right here, right now... let's finish this!”

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