War and Peace #6
Release date: September 2003
Cover variants: Shockwave, Prime & Grimlock
Writer: Brad Mick
Artwork: Pat Lee (pencils) Rob Armstrong (inks)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Magnus sheds his armour to reveal why he is regarded as Prime's brother.
As Optimus Prime led an assault on Iacon, Ultra Magnus confronted Shockwave over recent events, only to meet with the barrel of a gun. Starscream and Soundwave ensured that the treacherous act was broadcasted planet-wide, thereby shattering the fragile Autobot/Decepticon truce. Prime stormed Shockwave's tower and the injured Magnus pointed the way towards a secret chamber leading to the ancient supercomputer known as Vector Sigma. He was defeated by Shockwave, who achieved his final goal: possession of the Matrix.
This issue's instalment starts with Prime recognising that he is hurt bad, and that he needs to keep Shockwave talking if his internal repair mechanisms to kick in. Luckily Shockwave is obliging. He gabbles on about the millions of years of warfare which consumed Cybertron and resulted in everyone running out of energy and going offline during the 'great shutdown'. Then some 3,000 years ago Shockwave was mysteriously reactivated and discovered that Cybertron had undergone a natural process of regeneration. He resurrected Autobots and Decepticons and convinced them to abandon old rivalries and rebuild Iacon. In time the ruling council of Autobots appointed Shockwave chief executive, and all he had to do to win their trust was to relinquish his Decepticon identity and abolish the old factions.
Magnus had been easily manipulated into joining the new order, due to his deeply rooted desire for peace and capacity for self doubt. As Shockwave speaks, we see the wounded Magnus getting back on his feet and shedding parts of his damaged armour. He batters in a door and heads off to find Prime... Outside the fight against Sentinels and Shockwave loyalists continues. Cliffjumper attacks Dirge, and Mirage steps in to assure the victory. Autobot council member Skids watches the fighting from his window. He tells Inferno that the apparent 'death' of Magnus has forced them a declaration of war against Shockwave. If another mitigating factor were needed, they have the spy cassette shoulder weapon that was found at the detention banks, a sure sign that Decepticons were involved in Menasor's escape.
Meanwhile Starscream has decided to escape the revolution and conquer Earth instead. He climbs on board a convenient shuttle with his fellow Decepticons, only for it to transform in mid-flight into the Autobot Sky Lynx! Their sudden incarceration is monitored by Shockwave, who now reveals to Prime that the Earth is more strategically significant than Megatron or Prime ever realised. Indeed it was Shockwave who destroyed Ark II to stop the Autobots and defeated Decepticons from returning to Cybertron ahead of schedule.
Back on the streets Hot Rod demonstrates his acrobatic skills by leaping over Astrotrain and gunning up the triple changer. Newly-repaired Grimlock batters Blitzwing, and reinforcements arrive to help subdue a sentinel unit who blocks entry to Shockwave's tower. Meanwhile the one-eyed villain is about to finish off Prime and beat a hasty exit to his laboritory. But Magnus (minus his armour and in 'white Prime' mode) dramatically enters and unleashes a volley of shots. Shockwave goes down briefly before reviving and blasting one of Magnus' arms off. The pair grapple and Shockwave falls into a glowing pit, possibly to his doom. Grimlock arrives to collect the Matrix and whisk both Prime and Magnus out of there before the chamber collapses.
Once everyone is top side and out of danger Prime has a moment to reflect on what he has heard. What could have motivated a logical mind such as Shockwave's to initiate such an elaborate scheme had to be big. It is sure to spell trouble. Our last scene takes place in deep space, where a small craft piloted by Wreck-gar homes in on a piece of debris. The Junkion brings it aboard only to discover it is a body, none other than Megatron!
So Ultra Magnus shedding his armour was the 'ultimate transformation' which Dreamwave had been hinting about. I can't deny that he looks cool, due to Pat Lee's dramatic artwork, and I am sure fans will have been jumping for joy. The great thing for me is that I used to own the Magnus toy and often used the 'white Optimus' part of it in my games. However in the comics or cartoons the white cab does not transform in its own right - it just combines with the trailer to become Ultra Magnus' robot form. So it is nice to see the writer acknowledging physical characteristics of the toy and weaving them into the story. In this way Brad Mick's story really is a homage to all things Transformers, taking on board aspects of the previous comics, cartoons and Hasbro toy designs.
Other observations: the battle between Hot Rod/Grimlock and the triple changers contains dialogue used in the Movie such as "come on down Autobrat". This issue's covers are quite boring compared to the last two months, and I can't figure out why Ironhide, Bumblebee and Grimlock are depicted on them defeated by Shockwave, when this doesn't happen. Maybe it was a script change or artist licence. How do Starscream and company escape from Sky Lynx? We know they will because they turn up alive and well in G1v3 issue #1. And how does Magnus defeat Shockwave at the end? The artwork is not clear, but I am guessing that Magnus rips the power cable out of Shockwave's gun arm just as he is about to fire, and that causes an explosion which carries him into a pit.
After several issues of mounting questions, we at least get some answers on this occasion as Shockwave reveals his rise to power. I would have preferred a bit more of a drip, drip effect in earlier issues. It is not the full story as there is more to come, as anyone who picked up issue #0 would have found out. I find it quite remarkable that an Autobot council should be so inept at decision making, that they would ask Shockwave to do it for them - effectively installing him as Cybertron's benevolent dictator. Obviously his vast knowledge comes into play (although why not ask him to share it) but it is probably his logical mind that appealed. Perhaps the Autobots felt that Shockwave was not evil after all, but just pursues the most logical course of action. A risky move though.