Transformers Ongoing: Issue #2
Title: Black Sunshine
Release date: February 2004
Cover variants: regular (Don Figueroa)
Writer: Brad Mick
Artwork: Don Figueroa (pencils) Elaine To (inks)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Ian Arrowsmith
Sunstorm offers the Decepticons salvation but he is way too weird for their liking!
Starscream orders the Decepticons to open fire, but nothing they do has any effect on the mysterious Sunstorm. The newcomer speaks in philosophical tones as he questions the motive of this attack, and cryptically reveals himself as "the one anointed to carry forth the light". The light whose searing heat shall purge the earth of all its flaws! Starscream can do without Sunstorm's gift of salvation and calls in the reserves, commanding the battle weary Combaticons to form Bruticus. But the giant doesn't even get to swing a punch before he is floored by a powerful blast - the source of which, is revealed moments later by Bumblebee's band of Autobots arriving on the scene abroad the Orion. Sunstorm attacks these 'meddling fools' and discharges enough energy to short circuit the shuttle and send it crashing to Earth. Starscream is impressed by this display, but his first thought is self preservation and he will ignore the calls for help from the fallen Bruticus.
At the Autobase training facility in Cybertron's capital city, Iacon, Prowl and Ironhide struggle to get the Autobots battle ready. Following the collapse of Shockwave's rule, the old rivalries may resurface and they need to be a match for the Decepticons. The duo check on Optimus Prime who recovering from repairs, and is revealed by Hoist to have been severely affected by losing the Matrix (albeit briefly). Ultra Magnus on the other hand is fully repaired. Prowl receives a communication from Streetwise, saying they have found the location of last issue's energy anomaly. It came from an old Decepticon laboratory, and the Protectobots have found the place in pieces with a huge melted hole in the roof. The Decepticon battle chargers, Runamuck and Runabout, are being attended to by First Aid.
Back on Earth, Sunstorm sears through the sky and detects Starscream below the ocean waves in the sunken spacecraft, Nemesis. Starscream is formulating plans when he hears a crackle and fears intruders. He orders the computer to carry out a scan only for Sunstorm to grab him by the neck. He commands Starscream to explain how he came to be on Earth, and Starscream reveals the incident with Sky-Lynx tricking them. Eventually they gained control of it, and found their way to the Nemesis, picking up alternate forms for the Combaticons on a desert island. It was all going well despite the setbacks until Sunstorm showed up. Now however Sunstorm wants his help to complete his divine mission as set out by the oracle. Starscream mocks Sunstorm's offer, with reason, there is a large mech ready to take on Sunstorm behind him.
Meanwhile, Bumblebee and co have crawled out of the wreckage of the Orion, and are examining the fallen Bruticus. The priorities now are to fix the ship and investigate Sunstorm's activities. Hopefully they can do it before the humans catch wind of them (but with a helicopter looking on you never know). As the sun sets on the Orion the Autobots have made enough preliminary repairs to board, they activate the cloaking device. Bumblebee comments that the difficulty they will have is finding Starscream, so they can find Jazz and the crew, he just hopes its not too late. Of course with Starscream it never too late, as he turns up with the mysterious mech just that instant.
Seeing Sunstorm in print is cool; he takes some special colouring to give him that gold effect. To Generation 1 he is a new character and fresh in many ways not only his colouring but also his characterisation. At least for one thing as a character he does seem to have a personal mission to be on, and a mysterious one at that. Its classic Brad Mick, keeping us guessing what's really going on, many people did the whole of the last volume.
Most Characters are scripted in part and the moment where Brawn indulges in some therapy courtesy of Bruticus is of particular note, it would have been cool to see some of the other mini-bots there get a chance to be fleshed out a bit, but to make a story progress at pace it is hard to involve everyone. I did think that the Autobase Training Facility scene could have been handled a bit better, it just seemed a bit too patchy, well nevermind it just seemed to be missing something that's all.
As per usual Don's art was on the whole stunning, apart from the odd gripe I would have about Sunstorm being in the same panel as Bruticus and the proportions looking a bit off, I would say it was stirling work yet again. Not just from Don but also from the colourists you can't forget what a contribution they make, they are the ones that really make the larger pictures special. All in all a good issue, but its nothing too spectacular it does serve to keep the pace of the book accelerating though.