GI Joe vs Transformers #3

Publisher: Devils Due
Release date: August 2003
Number of covers: Two
Cover price: $2.95
Writer: Josh Blaylock
Artwork: Mike S Miller (pencils) Armando Durruthy (inks)
Rating: Art / Story

Characters: Soundwave, Megatron, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Ratbat, Bazooka, Roadblock and Rock 'n' Roll, Rumble, Frenzy, Sci-Fi, Ravage, Laserbeak, Snake-Eyes, Wheeljack, Bumblebee, Scrapper, Bonecrusher, Mixmaster, Hook, Optimus Prime


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve

Wheeljack and Bumblebee repell a Cobra attack and make new allies.

Metal-faced money bags, Destro, visits the Cobra's secret base in the Caribbean to see how his cash is being spent. Dr Mindbender trumpets their achievements - 14 Transformers have so far been successfully integrated into the Cobra war machine, and Soundwave is only the latest. He will act as a central command and communications unit maintaining radio control over other Transformers in the field. Destro is impressed and insists on piloting Soundwave on the next attack, even though this means altering established plans. Megatron, who is trapped in gun mode and being carried by Cobra Commander, decides he likes Destro's style. The commander is irritated.

Elsewhere Flint and Lady Jaye are commenting on the Government's latest lies over the Transformers threat and indulging in a little flirting. They are summoned to a briefing and told of a satellite program that was intended to provide a new source of power by 2018 - word is this is Cobra's next target. Sure enough Soundwave, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, and other units are flying towards the SPS Research facility. At Destro's command Soundwave ejects his cassettes - Ravage, Rumble, Frenzy, Ratbat - but little do they realise that GI Joe is lying in wait.

A laser beam penetrates Frenzy's eye, neutralising him, and a barrage of bullets takes out Ratbat. Laserbeak is a little tougher but he's ambushed by Snake Eyes who chops off the bird-like Decepticon's head. While Rumble shakes up the ground under the SPS building, two Autobots who have escaped Cobra control make their move. Wheeljack rams Sideswipe and Sunstreaker and Bumblebee takes out Rumble with a well executed punch.

Despite his efforts to assist the Joes (lifting rocks off two of them) he's soon being lined up within the crosshairs of three tanks. Bumblebee and Wheeljack attempt to persuade the Joes they are allies, while Cobra spy Zartan and Firefly utilise Transformer cloaking technology to slip into the facility to get what they want, then plant explosives. Zartan unleashes Ravage on Quick Kick and Mutt - only for the robotic jaguar to abandon his attack and leave.

Wheeljack and Bumblebee accompany the Joes back to HQ where they're shown a mysterious email that's been turning up all over the place. Wheeljack recognises it as being written in Cybertronian - it's from Optimus Prime and contains coordinates to his whereabouts as well as data needed to hack Cobra's Transformer-control network. Wheeljack goes to work on the computer, and over at Cobra Island the Constructicons break free of their mind control and start smashing the place up. Prime appears on Cobra Commander's screen to let him know the game is up.

******

Comments:

A little fancy typing by Wheeljack and suddenly the Transformers are free of Cobra's programming. How easy was that? A bit too easy for my liking. On the one hand I'm happy to see the TFs reverting back to their real personalities, but I can't help wondering what happens now. Cobra's threat must surely evaporate next issue with all of them hiding in a cave somewhere while the Autobots or Decepticons duke it out. Hopefully Blaylock has a few tricks up his sleeve to fill another three issues in a meaningful way otherwise I fear a huge anticlimax.

Three issues in and still no explanation for Bumblebee and Wheeljack being at large - any chance of a recap/flashback people? I'm curious as to how the pair of them avoided being scooped up by Cobra during the Ark clearout. Maybe they were in a section the troops didn't (or couldn't) access but if so how did they reawaken all by themselves? If it were that easy they surely would have done it millions of years before now. However, niggles aside, I enjoyed Wheeljack's 'typing fingers' effect. For those who haven't read the comic, he opens his finger tip and a dozen smaller fingers emerge allowing him to operate a standard human sized keyboard. Transformers are supposed to be technologically advanced alien machines after all, so its to be expected they'll possess all sorts of abilities.

The opening page with Destro's mask catching Soundwave's reflection held my gaze for a long while, but I can't make up my mind whether it's a good effect or plain ugly. It's a different way of starting a scene while at the same time opening on Destro and Soundwave, but it looks a bit too weird for comfort. Soundwave's now got a control room built into his chest - so how has he got room for all those cassettes and what happens if a pilot mistakenly trips his transformation circuits? That could get very messy indeed.

It's always good to see the cassettes in action, even Ratbat put up as much fight as a wet paper bag and Ravage cleared off before turning the Joes to mush. Frenzy getting shot through the eye were certainly attention grabbing, but then you've got Snake Eyes decapitating Laserbeak with a sword and its sneaked through in via a bottom right hand corner panel, in a sort of blink and you'll miss it moment. Trouble is I don't see how any human wielding a sword, however sharp, is capable of chopping through a moving Laserbeak's steel neck.

It's also worth noting that the colourist has followed the cartoon series' tack of colouring Rumble blue, meaning that Frenzy is in black. Comics and the 80s toys have these two the other way around.

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