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Transformers: Infiltration #5 (of 6)
#5 of an ongoing arc
Reviewed by Denyer

Issue Review

Well, none of my predictions from last issue happened yet. What we do get is Megatron tearing through the troops he views as traitors, providing enough distraction for the Autobots on the scene to escape. This issue is the quickest read to date, sharing some material with the previous one and there are also a fair number of silent or wordless action panels, as the base collapses and the humans struggle not to be sucked in. Hunter's "why do I feel like we're abandoning her?" raises the uncertainty factor a little, but a lot more impact would have been made if one of them actually hadn't made it out after all that fight to do so.

Visually there are some highlights, the colouring improving noticeably on many panels, particularly the flattened Ratchet the issue opens with. Verity in the cavernous chamber with Megatron is a cinematic moment, and each of the humans gets quite a 'definitive' frame shot herein (Verity top middle panel, page 5; Hunter on page 7; Jimmy two pages later.) If you aren't reading it in time with the helpfully supplied sound effects, though, I suspect this will come off flatter than it could. On the other hand, the scenes with Megatron breaking out of the wreckage and blasts being exchanged before Megatron picks up Blitwing with his gun-barrel and beats him half to death... yeah, plenty of cool factor. Skywarp doesn't even get chance to let fire a warning shot or finish his explanation before being eviscerated.

None of which can take away from the fact this is essentially a bridge issue, slightly more-so than the previous extended sequence running between issues #1 and #2... we know Megatron is gunning for Starscream next, and that we can expect similar trashings for any of the other Earth-bound Decepticons who risk crossing him... unless they can take down The Big Meg (Ironhide's pet name for him, not mine.) Blitzwing is presumably not juiced when he takes on the 'Con leader, meaning a fighting chance may be there.

Sooo... plenty of human interest, but #6 will presumably have to switch tack if it's to wrap enough things up for this introductory story arc to feel as if it establishes the new status quo on Earth. And what will that be? Will Optimus Prime come himself?[*] Will he simply be seen on a monitor dispatching a second wave of Autobots to keep tabs on Megatron and to contain (or kill) him if necessary? I know what I'd do, but there's a reason I'm not Autobot leader, which isn't just that this is fiction...

[*] Sorry, bad Star TV dub in-joke.

At the moment, there's a lot riding on Infiltration being able to attain a little more closure than would otherwise be expected, since the ongoing series is taking a three-month break whilst Stormbringer (a related but tangent mini-series, set mainly on Cybertron) takes place. Furman doesn't have a stellar track record with endings, so the fact that this is expected to open new questions at the same time as settling some should stand him in better stead than the mini-series he was brought in for by Dreamwave, where the call was for building to a big event in each. Fingers crossed it's going to be fab. And maybe legs, too — the sound of over twenty thousand geeks engaged in the pissing contest we call fandom could put any writer who was listening off his stroke...

Character Development

Ratchet has a deadpan sense of humour, and may outrank Bumblebee judging by the way he takes command.

Despite his decision last issue to treat the humans as expendable if necessary, Bumblebee views rescuing them (and their data, to be fair) as more important than going after Skywarp and Blitzwing.

Jimmy has more practicality and common sense than would be apparent from earlier issues, realising that Hunter needs to get up top so that they aren't rushed to pull two extra people up when the bunker collapses. He's also rather a smitten kitten where Verity's concerned, it seems. "Special"? Sure thing, bub.

Faced with Megatron, Verity is struck dumb. Megatron reciprocates by ignoring the insignificant human germ. He also isn't talkative as he makes short work of the two Decepticons who've inadvertently been trying to bury him.

Starscream gloats as he looks forward to an infusement of the super-fuel made from "ore-13" and the news that the second Decepticon bunker is sat atop a motherlode of the substance.

Skywarp enjoys the mindless destruction of the bunker, and is too dumb to realise worrying about Starscream's plan would be sensible. Blitzwing, meanwhile, views their actions as akin to ceasing to be Decepticons... whether he means they've cast aside deception, rebelled against a founder of the faction, or something more physiological is unclear.

Prowl turns to Ironhide as security advisor, whose tone remains casual but offers a grim prognosis.

Other Details

Ratchet says "Evidence throughout the command bunker of modified delivery capsules" — this seems to be in reference to the pods the military man's corpse was found in last issue, rather than the Energon system. His folded limbs are visible inside the back of his ambulance mode. He sends Bumblebee to the humans' rescue, possibly because his weight would hasten the collapse and/or he's simply too badly damaged to do anything but sit in vehicle mode. Speaking of which, either Blitzwing was loaded for demolition rather than combat or Ratchet's armouring is incredibly sturdy.

Again, where did the humans get retail variety camcorders from? Is Hunter mysteriously rich, or do the Autobots have hidden Swiss bank accounts? Star Trek replicators?

Megatron is in his Cybertronian mode, apparently a tank of some variety. His construction allows him to shrug off a close-range blast from Blitzwing's tank cannon (however, Ratchet also took a direct hit and survived.)

The issue also contains an ad for Alternators Optimus Prime, three pages of preview for Stormbringer, lineart preview for next issue of Megatron blowing a hole in someone, ads for 'Uncle Primus' posters and Evolutions: Hearts of Steel, plus the de rigeur cover checklist.

Quotes of Note

Blitzwing: "What we did here. Well, it deserves to be buried. I dunno, we... stopped being Decepticons, I guess."

Megatron: "How quickly they forget."

Ironhide: "There's us... stuck in the middle!"

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