All Hail Megatron #10

Released: April 2009
Publisher: IDW
Number of covers: Two regulars and one incentive
Cover price: $3.99
Writer: Shane McCarthy
Artwork: Guido Guidi, Emiliano Santalucia
Rating:

Characters: (Autobots) Roadbuster, Prowl, Perceptor, Trailbreaker, Sideswipe, Bumblebee, Tracks, Jazz, Optimus Prime, Kup, Cliffjumper, Omega Supreme (Decepticons) Megatron, Bombshell, Starscream, Kickback, Shrapnel, Thundercracker, Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Rumble, Reflector


Synopsis:


Megatron is aghast to discover his elite Constructicon soldiers have turned against him.

In New York Megatron admires a vast space bridge portal which will enable him to travel anywhere and conquer the galaxy. Standing beside him is Bombshell, the Insecticon genius who engineered this huge piece of tech, and who helped Megatron to defeat the Autobots by extracting crucial defence access codes from the mind of the human Hunter O'Nion. Megatron is full of admiration, but at the same time recognises Bombshell's potential to be a threat to his leadership. Right on cue, out of the shadows steps Starscream and his band of mutinous Decepticons.

Meanwhile on Cybertron the Autobots have finally got their leader Optimus Prime back on his feet (after some nine issues or so of him laying on an operating table) but they are all facing certain doom courtesy of the advancing Insecticon Swarm. Luckily Roadbuster has a hulking great gun that his is itching to unleash on the enemy.

On Earth Megatron is bathed in hostile weapons fire but fights back, swatting the other Insecticons - Kickback and Shrapnel - before revealing he had anticipated Starscream's coup and prepared for it. But suddenly the Constructicons enter the fray and have evidently decided to put the power of Devastator at Starscream's desposal.

On Cybertron the battle with the Swarm is engaged in earnest, with Mirage even coming to Ironhide's rescue (despite earlier kicking up a massive sulk at IH) and just as things look hopeless Omega Supreme arrives overhead and blasts the crap out of the Swarm. Optimus orders Omega to transform into rocket mode and everyone scrambles aboard and heads for Earth.

Back on said the planet, Megatron furiously battles Devastator, and the sky trembles as the world's air forces arrive to launch a fight back.

******

Review:

By Omega Steve

Reading Issue #10 again for the purposes of this review, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Sure there are some niggly points, which I'll come to, but there's some really great dialogue from McCarthy, particularly with the Decepticon interactions, and a refreshing new take on the Megatron-Starscream power struggle dynamic.

And it's also a welcome relief to see the AHM vehicle splutter back to life and moving forward at last, with action on all fronts. The Decepticons have mutinied against their supreme leader, setting up a state of civil war in the ranks of the 'victorious' Decepticons, while the Autobots are up close with and battling the Swarm, and mankind is (finally) making its play.

Once again there are two artists working on the book, with mainstay Guido Guidi pencilling the Decepticon scenes, and Emiliano Santalucia drawing the Autobots on Cybertron. Although the pair have differing styles, it is not immediately obvious that the book is not drawn by the same person, so in that respect the sharing of the workload is a success. Had Emiliano not done such a great job of emulating Guido's style, I think the book would have become a jarring read as it flitted between styles.

Megatron finally starts to live up to his pre-series billing as this brilliant (if evil) tactician and general, when at the start of the issue he lavishes praise on Bombshell for his achievements (replicating the space bridge technology and setting-up the Autobots' galaxy-wide defeat), before revealing that he has marked the Insecticon out as a threat the whole time. It sounds like he is being paranoid, but at that moment Starscream and his followers step out of the darkness and initiate a coup.

So here's the interesting bit, rather than being motivated by unadulterated lust for power (like in the Sunbow cartoons), Starscream instead takes the high ground and claims to be acting for noble reasons. Megatron, he says, risks throwing everything away by having no plan for the future, so Starscream must take charge for the good of the Decepticon cause. Whether Starscream is being truthful is difficult to tell - he may have simply convinced himself of the nobility of his actions when actually it is all just an excuse to take over.

He is right about one thing though, and that is that Megatron has been dicking around and not doing much for a while now. It's odd because Megatron has clearly laid the foundations for the next stage, by having Bombshell build the space bridge, which will be a means for the Megatron to unleash his killers on to other worlds where they can channel their aggression at an enemy. However by not informing his troops of what is coming next he has allowed them to fall in behind Starscream and turn against him.

Megatron claims to be all knowing and seeing, and implies that he has allowed this situation to come about to test the loyalty of his followers, but why put yourself at risk? It doesn't seem particularly sensible to me, and looks downright foolhardy once the Devastator steps in on the side of the challengers - definitely something Megatron did not anticipate.

Some other observations: Prowl is sounding like Perceptor of old with his battle calculations (and like some pessimistic geek). I'm not sure I like the characterisation, but maybe this is how Prowl is supposed to be? Cold, calculating, aloof and a bit unlikable? Roadbuster on the other hand is quite fun with his honking great gun, recovered from the Wreckers' ship, which (probably intentionally) reminded me of the gun Roadbuster brandishes in the old Marvel story Time Wars (which incidentally exploded on him). And Bombshell is a genius with Constructicon-like abilities to build a space bridge in this continuity. Mind-control is his area of expertise, so it's fair enough to have him extracting info from Hunter, for him to rustle-up a space bridge too is a stretch too far for my liking.

Just as the Autobots are in danger of being overcome by superior numbers of Swarm, along comes the gargantuan Omega Supreme to stomp on the enemy and blast them. Sure it's a cop out and an easy resolution to the predicament, but I did enjoy Omega's grand entrance. He transforms into rocket mode and flies everyone the hell out of there, but it's not clear from this issue whether all of his component parts go along.

Lastly there's the cliffhanger of the jets arriving to engage the Decepticons. It could have been a great twist except that it's about the third such ending we've had now where humans have threatened to counter-attack (the other two being the decision to nuke New York). Quite why the Decepticons are concerned I don't know, as it's not as though humanity has posed anything resembling a threat to date. Nevertheless it's good to see the battle joined on all fronts and it sets up more action for next issue.

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