Release date: September 2002
Cover variants: Autobot, Menasor
Writer: Chris Sarracini
Artwork: Pat Lee (pencils) Rob Armstrong (inks)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Hostile humans are the last thing the Autobots need when they are up to their necks in cyber virus.
As a nuclear missile is readied for launch at a secret location in the Pacific Islands, the President arrives at the Pentagon for crisis talks with his generals. He wants to know what they are doing about the San Francisco situation and is told that F1 jets are on standby for his okay. Then word comes through about the nuclear launch sequence being activated, and the president screams down the phone to abort - but is too late!
In Canada the Autobots are trying to destroy Megatron's cyber-forming virus when a fleet of tanks arrives and opens fire on them. Shells are flying everywhere and the virus feeds on the explosions and grows even faster. While in San Francisco Megatron is still trying to convince Prime to abandon the humans and throw his lot in with the Decepticons. After all the evil that mankind has committed they are surely not worth sacrificing Autobot lives for. Prime replies that he is aware of what humans are like, but there are so many others that risk themselves to save others (cue frames with the emergency services and hero civilians in action) and they do it through their own choosing, not programming. Then to illustrate the point a few fire fighters drive their engines off a severed overpass (bailing out at the last minute) and bring them crashing down on to the Decepticons. The distraction gives Prime an opportunity to free his Autobots from their bonds and the battle is rejoined.
At the Pentagon Spike confronts General Hallo with the truth: he has found out that the general was responsible for the Ark II disaster and all those lost lives. Hallo draws his gun and tells Spike that whatever he knows no longer matters. A nuke has been launched and he'll probably be tried and executed for it anyway so what does he care about Ark II? Meanwhile the assault by the Canadian tanks has come to an abrupt end as the soldiers realise that everything around them is being turned into metal. Tanks get consumed and so do the drivers but Wheeljack thinks he knows how to stop the virus. Back at the Pentagon Hallo sticks a gun in Spike's back and tells him how everything that has transpired has been for the good of America. Spike doesn't buy it and then the President comes in with armed guards and the secret service and orders Hallo to surrender. He tries to fire and is cut down in a hail of bullets.
The Autobots and Decepticons fight amongst the rubble of San Francisco until Soundwave informs them that his radar has detected an incoming nuke. Megatron laughs and the Aerialbots combine into Superion and take off. As Prime contemplates the great sacrifices that are demanded by war, Wheeljack plugs into a transmitting station and uses the last of his energy to direct a satellite in orbit to blast the virus to dust. He collapses exhausted - and Superion flies head-on into the nuke, exploding it in the sky! A tidal wave results, and hours later Optimus comes back on line to find Spike standing over him. Once again the Autobots have saved earth but at a cost. The Decepticons have fled and abandoned their new ally Grimlock, but although Prime offers him a chance to rejoin the Autobots, the Dinobot decides he must go away and think about it. As we see Jazz cradling the deactivated Wheeljack we are told that things will never be the same again.
So there we have it: Dreamwave's first miniseries. The art made an instant impact but as the issues went by I became accustomed to it and this is when a good story became all the more important. I don't believe it was the best Transformers story I have ever read, and in fact it was a little slow at times. But overall not a bad first effort and probably just enough to keep the fans coming back. What many won't have liked is Dreamwave appearing to kill off Superion and Wheeljack. I can imagine fans being shocked and saying "They can't do that!". Comics being what they are, both characters should be back, and in fact we know that Wheeljack had no lasting damage because he turned up in G1 volume II.
General Hallo's motivations interested me. He thought he was doing his patriotic duty by seeking to consolidate America's military superiority. People can find it distasteful but they owe their very safety and security to such methods. My regret is that we couldn't have seen insights into his mind in earlier issues, which would have made the character more intriguing and built suspense. In fact come to think of it I don't think I saw a single thought bubble during the six issues. Dreamwave believe in them as a way of storytelling it seems. The series ends with some questions unanswered, namely are Wheeljack and Superion dead, what happened to the Decepticons, and does Grimlock rejoin the Autobots? Roll on volume II.