War Within: The Dark Ages #5

Publisher: Dreamwave
Release date: February 2004
Cover variants: Regular cover
Price: $2.95
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Andrew Wildman (pencils) Erik Sander (inks)
Rating: Art / Story


By Ian Arrowsmith

The Fallen invades Autobase and spells trouble for anyone in his way.

Well the repercussions from last issue's meeting of Shockwave, Jetfire and the suspicious Grimlock are still being played out, as Grimlock gets thrown back again to a hard impact. It is not over in one motion, as unfortunately a large pile of rubble crashes to the floor. The Fallen ticks off Bludgeon for failing to put down Grimlock, and causing him to break concealment and deal with matters personally. Jetfire and Grimlock are to be transported to another location, he says... before Grimlock abruptly bursts into life - perhaps they had him confused with someone soft like Optimus Prime? Spurred on by the Fallen's earlier comments Bludgeon transforms into tank mode, but his attacked is thwarted by a piece of rubble landing heavily on his gun barrel. Grimlock makes clear his is with Jetfire and he will be "right with" the traitor when he has dealt with the others.

The Fallen tells Grimlock that he doesn't have a clue what is really going on, but Jetfire has an inkling. Grimlock tries to lash out at the Fallen, but it doesn't work anyway, his hand comes away sparking from the punch, then the Fallen unleashes himself upon Grimlock, short circuiting him. Jetfire asks The Fallen if he is from the time before the Golden age, and recorded history? He replies that Jetfire knows little of the world around him (or below) and he can get ready for the dawn of the Dark Age! With that the Fallen carries Jetfire and Grimlock away, and offers Bludgeon a chance to redeem himself. The Disciples are to find and secure the 'third' Transformer needed for the unbinding while The Fallen will acquire the fourth. Meanwhile Shockwave's eye flickers into life, revealing that he wasn't as deactivated as he appeared.

In Iacon the Autobots are back from their run in with Trypticon. Prowl laments the seemingly vicious circle of escalation that they are embroiled in. Skids is in the repair shop being attended to by Ratchet repairing, but where is Jetfire? A message comes from Swoop of the Lightning Strike Coalition revealing Jetfire's location, and why Grimlock decided to follow him to the neutral territories. There is no sign of any of them now, says Swoop. Prowl asks Hound to find some answers, but he probably wont have time to get them... as an intruder alarm signals that Autobase is under attack! Jazz, Sunstreaker and Mirage race to Level Zero where they confront The Fallen and are told t get out of the way or die. He fries each Autobot in turn and then busts open a prison cell, ordering Blitzwing to get to his feet and come with him. Bumblebee (a few levels up in the control centre) throws a containment field around them. The Fallen simply explodes it and causes Bumblebee's console to blow up, allowing him to get away with his prize.

Over at the high council pavilions, the Protectobots are looking over the combiner process, and trying to work out why they suffered a collective loss of intelligence when they combined into Defensor. But the group is tired and some downtime is suggested. Unfortunately it is not to be, as Bludgeon slices his way in and the Disciples use brute force and hypnosis to defeat the Protectobots. Hotspot's fateful decision not to order everyone to combine proves costly, and the others are taken down and he becomes Bludgeon's prisoner. Shortly after, Jetfire awakens to find himself strapped down in a large chamber with Hotspot, Grimlock and Blitzwing alongside him. The unbinding has begun, the seal of Primus will be broken and chaos will follow.



Out of all the Dark Ages issues, this has to be one of the most eventful; this is the issue where everything seems to be coming together. Unlike some of the earlier issues in this volume where we have numerous scene changes so we can see all the different plotlines beginning, in this issue we have a couple of scene changes to show all the plotlines coming together. It reads very well. Now its all coming together I'm not so confused. I am glad that despite this there are obviously a few shocks left for us in the next issue. We still don't know what exactly The Fallen is trying to achieve and Shockwave has mysteriously disappeared as well. I'm sure we will see what's been happening to him sometime.

Wildman's art in this issue is also the best I have reviewed for this series in my opinion. He seems to have got the right mix between his style and the Dreamwave house style in this issue. What he can do is with a few extra lines here and there make the Transformers much more emotive. Now I know they are supposed to be robots but to be honest I think it would just look silly if you had a really annoyed Transformer that was stuck with the same unemotional face because he was unable to convey any of his feelings. I hope at some point they get him back to do something else because he is actually getting quite good in his role.

I was quite annoyed about how pathetic the Protectobots were portrayed. I mean theres five of them! Surely they could've had some impact on Bugly, Mindwipe and Bludgeon. I know they were "tired" and all from trying to master their combination process but still I would've thought they could've lasted a bit longer against the Fallen's trio. Never mind a minor gripe really. One small point to make about Blitzwing's appearance, this is his first official War Within type debut, despite the fact that he has appeared in Volume 1 in a slightly different guise, this time his appearance is properly scripted and for a reason, not just because he could fill some space as a fighter. Of course I say this with the benefit of hindsight.

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