War Within: The Dark Ages #4
Release date: January 2004
Cover variants: Regular cover
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Andrew Wildman (pencils) Erik Sander (inks)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Shockwave meets Jetfire in secret, but little does he know that a trap has been set for both of them.
Prowl's Autobot faction is in a fierce fight with Trypticon, the Decepticon's new mobile battle base who is loyal to Shockwave. Brave warriors are getting blown up all over the place and it quickly becomes clear that they cannot stop this giant lizard by standing and shooting. It is time to transform and offer moving targets. Skids (or it could be Blurr) gets laser blasted as he passes through a tunnel and Trypticon leaps on to the roof, bringing the building crashing down.
Elsewhere the Lightning Strike Coalition (LSC) (or Dinobots as they will eventually be known) is heading for the neutral territories to execute the traitor Jetfire. Grimlock intercepted a transmission between the scientist and Shockwave, which confirmed his long standing suspicions. The other Lightning Strikers are less than enthused with the mission, and desperately want to answer Prowl's distress call and pit their abilities against Trypticon. It is agreed that they will go and Grimlock will attend to matters alone.
At the rendezvous point, Jetfire and Shockwave discuss their theories that a threat is loose on Cybertron. Shockwave hands over a disk which should help Jetfire correlate events and follow the trail to those responsible for stirring up events. Suddenly a volley of enemy fire takes down the one eyed Decepticon, and The Fallen's disciples Bludegon, Bugly and Mindwipe enter the fray. Shockwave and Jetfire fight back but Bugly's paralysing sting and Mindwipe's mind control abilities put paid to any resistance. The disciples lead the brainwashed Jetfire to their waiting transporter, slightly puzzled as to why Grimlock didn't turn up swinging his energo sword (especially after Bludgeon routed the transmission between Shockwave and Jetfire to LSC headquarters. Little do they know that Grimlock is above, watching events unfold. He radioed to Trypticon telling him to retreat and come to Shockwave's aid, and now leaps into battle with the disciples, putting all three down. Jetfire regains his mind and attempts to tell Grimlock about a force at work called The Fallen, they must put aside their differences and work against this common threat. Grimlock disagrees: he still has an execution to carry out!
Meanwhile reinforcements have arrived to take on Trypticon. Trailbreaker puts his force field-generating ability to good use and Hound creates illusions to draw enemy fire. The would-be Dinobots are in action too, but just as things are getting tasty, Trypticon gets the message that his master needs help and he transforms to vehicle mode and drives off. Jetfire and Grimlock battle, the latter being unable to see sense, and Jetfire ends up wounded on the ground. Grimlock swings back his sword. only for someone to grab hold of it. He turns and finds himself confronted by the hulking form of The Fallen, who is taking matters into his own hands.
I am not sure that the reasons for Shockwave and Jetfire's suspicions are properly explained. So there are a few battles going on simultaneously, it is hardly conclusive evidence of a malevolent force at work. Have these guys never heard of coincidence? And what is on the disk that Shockwave brings to the meeting? I wondered at first if it was the same one that Prime cast into space at the end of the first volume, although it probably isn't. Mindwipe's 'bat plane' mode looks cool, and I really like the way that Bugly's paralysing sting is used this issue. He has no insect shell at this point, so there has to be some reason for him being named Bugly. Obviously it is because of his abilities. It is also a treat to see other Transformers displaying their unique talents, such as Trailbreaker, Hound and Mindwipe.
The battle with Trypticon was good, although I think Marvel did it a lot better in the King of the Hill story (see 1987 reviews). I am glad to see The Fallen finally getting off his butt and doing something, so maybe now we'll see what he is capable of, and perhaps learn more of his insidious plan. Oh, and in case you were wondering what the strategic importance of Jetfire and Grimlock is to The Fallen, these are two of the four needed to start the unbinding.