Transformers Ongoing: Issue #5
Title: Original Sin
Release date: May 2004
Cover variants: Regular (Don Figueroa)
Writer: McDonough & Patyk
Artwork: Don Figueroa, James Raiz (pencils) Elaine To (inks)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Ian Arrowsmith
Jetfire soars across the ocean in search of the demi-god Sunstorm who is still at large!
Last issue was left on a mini cliffhanger as we have yet to see whether Omega-Supreme or Sunstorm was the last mech standing. This instalment opens in Alaska, and under a clouded sky, the Autobot Bumblebee ponders how things could have gotten so bad. Omega is lying face down as Cliffjumper, Bumblebee and Jetfire approach. Somewhat mystifyingly Jetfire claims Omega's defeat isn't as bad as it looks; Cliffjumper and Bumblebee are not convinced. The two minibots are annoyed at Jetfire's running of the show so far and ask to be filled in.
Millions of years ago when the Ark went into space and did not return, Jetfire and Omega were dispatched to locate the missing crew and Optimus Prime. They trailed a large Decepticon energy signature which they believed could lead them to the Ark and were attacked Scourge (or possibly one of the Sweeps) and he brought their ship down. Jettisoning an escape pod, and landing on Earth, Jetfire rigged the pod to fry the "Scourge's" circuits.
"Sunstorm - Underestimated" chimes in Omega. With his visor removed and unprotected face exposed he found his internal circuitry irradiated. Omega is still badly damaged and shouldn't move. Pointing out the direction to the other mechs nearby he tells them where to find Sunstorm. Despite his massive size Omega still needs a sitter in his weakened state. Bumblebee pulls rank and assigns the task to Cliffjumper while he takes the more exciting job of accompanying Jetfire.
Cybertron: Over communicators Prowl and Perceptor are discussing the anomalies that started all this. Perhaps Shockwave's clone labs weren't the intended target of Vector Sigma (see G1 vol 2 #6) merely the only node available. Any protoform being influenced by the supercomputer Vector Sigma would have to simplify the information to stay sane. Now Prowl seems to be on to something. Shockwave was only interested in Earth after he'd decoded data from Vector Sigma, nothing good.
Jetfire streaks across the skies of Earth with Bumblebee aboard. The pair discuss Sunstorm and the mystery which surrounds him, then see a great hole form in the ocean. With the ocean walls parting around him Starscream feels a little out of place compared to his accomplice Sunstorm. Sunstorm orders him to open the seal that the ocean floor has revealed, it has a composit Autobot/Decepticon insignia and looks to be ancient in origin. Sunstorm again seems to be preaching a little too much, claiming that Starscream has the only untainted portion of his being left. Jetfire arrives, raining fire down on Starscream who struggles to open the seal. Sunstorm explodes the area and he and Starscream disappear down the now open rabbit hole. Leaving Jetfire and passenger to rocket down after them before the doorway closes.
Just a little way down, on their backs Starscream launches a volley of missiles. Realising they are in close quarters the Autobot pair transform and attack in close quarters. Jetfire smashes into Starscream and knocks him to the floor close to a pool of purple liquid. Bumblebee isn't so lucky and ends up in the Sunstorm's grasp - but Starscream has decided that the only way out is as the last man standing. He floors Sunstorm with his null ray, then turns on Jetfire, flooring him too. Now his attentions are drawn to the weakened Bumblebee, choosing his last words wisely Bumbleebee advises Starscream to "look behind him".
There is a lot of action this issue which is illustrated in a series of close-knit panels. It flows nicely because Don has a nice way of switching angles to show us various viewpoints. Of course with the smaller panels we don't get to see the full effect of Don's skill so much but the art is still pretty good. I particulary like the double page where Jetfire is giving his back-story for being on Earth.
This issue gives an insight into how much Mcdonough and Patyk are thinking about the story they are weaving and how everything will link together. We are given references to Micromasters and previous G1 stories and fleeting glimpses at preview issues. It is good how they are drawing a bigger picture, even if this issue does come across like a kind of dumping ground of information. The action and pacing still isn't quite right but they are getting there.
The character portrayals are spot on and this compensates for the pace problems, but of course it could be improved with better writing. Good art alone does not make a good comic, the writing has to be top knotch too. At the least though with their story the writers do seem to be adding something new and fresh to the Transformers universe. Who knows what is underneath the earths surface under the seal Starscream unlocked?