Transformers Ongoing: Issue #8

Title: Extermination
Publisher: Dreamwave
Release date: September 2004
Cover variants: Regular (Don Figueroa)
Price: $2.95
Writer: McDonough & Patyk
Artwork: Don Figueroa (pencils) Elaine To (inks)
Rating: Art / Story

First appearance: Carly Witwicky


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


The Insecticons are defeated and now Autobots must contend with a mob of human zombies!

Jazz has been in some "bugged out" situations in the past - but nothing quite like this, he thinks as he blows a hole in an Insecticon! Oddly enough the creature appears to be made out of some kind of green slime and not a machine at all. The Autobot is flanked by human paratroopers, and their commander Marissa Fairbourne, who is not impressed by Jazz's joking. After all they have got an army of Insecticon clones bearing down on them.

Jazz barks orders at the troops, indicating where they should concentrate their fire. There is no way around so they will try to go through this nightmare. But the plan fails as Marissa's two colleagues are snatched by a flying Shrapnel clone and carried off into the distance. Jazz collects Marissa, transforms to Porsche mode and carves his way through the mob. Over at the theatre, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker discover an abyss which has opened in the floor. They venture in and are drawn to a lime green glow which are revealed to be thousands of Insecticon eggs.

Not far away, but out of earshot of the Autobots, the real Bombshell is prodding a screwdriver at the unconscious head of the mini-bot Bumper, and getting his ear bashed by Shockwave. The one-eyed commander is on the view screen from Cybertron administering a bollocking and accusing the Insecticons of endangering their mission by releasing the clones early. A flippant Bombshell won't hear of it and retorts that they have been twiddling their thumbs on Earth for 48,000 vorns (3.8million years). He hangs up, collects Kickback and Shrapnel and off they go (leaving Bumper to break free).

Over in Cleveland, Ohio (where strangely its daylight), Spike and Carly Witwicky are taking their shopping indoors and see a familiar yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Their son Daniel asks who it is and Carly replies: "daddy's best friend." But Spike, who has now got a job and a family, doesn't seem too pleased to see Bumblebee, and is even less keen on getting dragged into the Transformers' war again. However he finds Bumblebee at a low ebb and in need of a friend to talk to. He's quitting the Autobots!

Back in the San Destro, California (where it's still the dead of night), Sideswipe and Sunstreaker find themselves in the hornets nest and under attack from... well, not so much hornets, but Insecticon clones. They are holding their own until Shrapnel (the genuine article) shows up and electrifies the pair of them into unconsciousness. Oops! Luckily the cavalry is on the way in the form of Jazz, but first he pulls into an abandoned garage where he and Marissa find cattle carcasses! It's all very strange but then Marissa remembers reports about missing and mutilated cattle and figures the Insecticons were responsible.

Jazz has a think and flashes back to something Grimlock said, about his Dinobots following a team of Decepticons to Earth millions of years ago. It seems that it was the Insecticons (again!) and they weren't toast as dead as the Dinos thought. The pair press on and come to the cavern where Sideswipe and Sunstreaker bought it. Jazz doesn't bother inspecting the eggs like they did, he simply torches them, and that makes the cons very angry. Fortunately Bumper has untied Sideswipe and Sunstreaker and worked out that Bombshell has been controlling the townsfolk with (drum roll!) his Cerebro Shells. A fierce battle ensues in the streets with the Autobots finally getting the better of the three Insecticons, but then they face a new threat in the form of the town's 1,000 or so zombified residents. Sunstreaker gets a missile ready and Jazz slaps the idea down quick-time: they cannot slaughter innocents.

Standing on top of a tower block, orchestrating the mayhem below, is Bombshell - his circuits controlling every individual human. But so preoccupied is he, that he fails to spot Bumper approaching. The mini-hero attaches the shell he swiped on to Bombshell's leg, inexplicably causing him to overload and pass out, restoring the humans to normal. Three cheers for Bumper! It seems the bugs have been exterminated.

******

Comments:

Another enjoyable G1 comic from the boys McDonough, Patyk and Figueroa - hopefully this is getting to be a habit. As I said in my comments about part one, it's nice to have a straightforward, simple story for once rather than a long rambling epic. As before there are reminders of the wider continuity, with Shockwave on Cybertron orchestrating the big picture, the Dinobots' prehistoric back story, and Bumblebee quitting over earlier trauma's (the death of Jetfire under his command probably). But these are little more than teases and never threaten to overwhelm the main story, and I like that.

Oddly enough the comic has Ghostbusters feel. I know that sounds a strange thing to say, but when you look at it there's green slime all over the place, plus creepy creatures, and heroes blasting the crap out of them. Some excellent art from Don, exceeding even his own high standards, and his cartoon humans are starting to grow on me. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker look stylish and this is without doubt the best renditions of them I've seen in a TF comic. The writer compliments the art nicely by making them squabbling siblings which makes for lighter moments in an otherwise dark story.

Talking about dark though, did McDonough forget it was supposed to be dead of night when he penned that scene with Spike and Bumblebee - it was perfect daylight only a few hundred miles away! It's a small point but it wouldn't have hurt to stick a text box on saying '12 hours earlier' and something like that. By the way, this is to my knowledge the only appearance of Daniel's mum Carly in a Transformers comic. She's in the cartoons of course but it's nice to see Dreamwave including her. Down points are the cover - what the hell is it supposed to be? A huge hand squashing an Insecticon maybe, but whose? We all know people judge a comic book by its cover and Dreamwave should and could have made more of an effort here. This is by far the worst of the ongoing's covers.

Another gripe are that several text boxes in the comic haven't been coloured white, making them appear transparent. They are still readable but I'm sure this is an oversight. The editor/proof reader wasn't paying attention on that one. Overall it doesn't ruin what is basically an enjoyable read, but will have irritated some fans.

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