Transformers Armada #3
Release date: October 2002
Number of covers: One
Cover price: $2.95
Writer: Chris Sarracini
Artwork: James Raiz (pencils) Rob Armstrong/Erik Sander (inks) Alan Wang (colours)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Rad, Alexis, Carlos, Sid, Grindor, High Wire, Sureshock
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
The Mini-Con's fun with their new human friends looks set to come to a rather abrupt end!
Armada Cybertron was a peaceful world until the Decepticons unleashed civil war. Enhanced by a fusion with their Mini-con slaves, they pummelled Optimus Prime and the heroic Autobots and laid waste to cities. Prime's only hope was to obtain Mini-con power for his own side, but it was not be, as the race of small Transformers boarded a ship and fled Cybertron forever.
The Mini-cons' jubilation at escaping Megatron's clutches had been short lived, for their ship was ill-prepared for deep space travel. A piece of space debris collided with one of the engines and cut through it like a bullet. Crippled, the ship drifted helplessly until it impacted with Earth's moon and broke in two. The section that was thrown clear, continued on to Earth where it crashed in a wooded region that would later become part of the United States. It was buried by mud, rock and plant life for a near eternity.
A million years pass, and mankind becomes the dominant life on the planet. A huge city rises around the submerged Mini-con ship as all aboard lay offline.
A human child, named Alexis knocks on a basement door, and is prompted for the 'password' by her friend Rad, who is playing at secret agents. After more role play and general silliness, we are introduced to the third member of the group, Carlos, who has been working on 'project supernova'.
The children have created a vehicle from wood and cardboard, and have attached a couple of dozen balloons to it in the hopes of making it fly. The wheel it under the cover of a sheet to the steepest hill in the neighbourhood and duly launch it. For the briefest of moments the contraption flies, but then their nemesis, Sid, and his sidekick, destroy the balloons with a catapault and it drops like a stone. A furious rad, crawls into a hole to retrieve his helmet and tumbles in bashing his head on a computer, which starts to reactivate a whole network of systems in the cavern. A beam punches through the cave ceiling and into space, reaching as far as Cybertron.
Top-side, Carlos and Alexis contemplate running away, and then Rad emerges being carried by four reanimated Mini-cons. Having made friends, the kids decide to stash the robots away in Rad's garage rather than reporting the find to their parents or the police. The Mini-cons use the opportunity to repair themselves and take on new Earthen alt-modes, and they build a proper 'project supernova' flying machine. Soon enough the gang take to the skies and are having a brilliant time.
On Cybertron, the Mini-con homing signal has been intercepted by both the Autobots and Decepticons who immediately prepare to teleport to Earth. Both sides want to recruit the small Transformers to their respective factions, and when Megatron materialises behind the supernova vehicle on Earth its clear he's not taking no for an answer!
After the solid start in the opening issues I find myself sadly disappointed by this instalment. The fact that it marks the introduction of Rad, Carlos and Alexis, is no small coincidence. Suddenly we've gone from a story about the battle for a planet between good and evil, to a bunch of kids playing children's games and having a laugh with their new Mini-con pals. While issues #1 and #2 were pitched in such a way as to appeal to children and adults, this one gives the impression that it's firmly aimed at kids. As such I believe it will have turned off a lot of older readers. That is a shame because it started well, with the recap about the stricken Mini-con ship and the crash landing on Earth. I was hoping for so much more.
Consider in G1 (both comic and cartoon) when the Autobots and Decepticons awake from their four million year slumber and discover present day Earth. Their first priority is to establish a source of fuel and this defines their early encounters as the Autobots strive to stop the Decepticons from plundering their newly adopted world. Here it's like the Mini-cons have no cares at all (other than the general aim of finding their lost comrades), and are happy to hang out in Rad's garage and build a flying toy for their new buddies. I rather like the new twist about it being the Mini-cons who crash on Earth rather than the main 'bot and 'con factions but it could have been done so much better.
Also, I cannot believe that in a million years Rad is the first person to stumble upon the buried ship. It's not like its hidden in the middle of nowhere. There's a whole neighbourhood on top of it and a rather conspicuous cave entrance that should have caught somebody's curiosity.
I'm none too keen on Raiz's drawings of the human kids either. The faces are very similar and Alexis is dressed like a middle aged woman. That said, I did like the juxtaposition of the Autobots and Decepticons as they each reacted to receiving the Mini-con homing signal, and come to the same conclusion for different reasons, that they must go to Earth.