All Hail Megatron #11

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

Characters: (Autobots) Optimus Prime, Springer, Prowl, Ironhide, Jazz, Kup, Roadbuster, Cliffjumper, Bumblebee, Blaster, Omega Supreme (Decepticons) Devastator, Megatron, Starscream, Astrotrain, Soundwave, Rumble, Reflector, Skywarp, Blitzwing, Shrapnel, Kickback, Dropshot, Tankor (Humans/others) Maj Spike Witwicky, Sarah, Bridge, Charles


Synopsis:


The Autobots have arrived to reclaim Earth from the Decepticons.

Decepticon-occupied New York is under attack from Europe's air forces and Devastator is fighting back. At ground level, Spike tries to shake off his new friends Sarah, Bridge and Charles, so that he can complete his mission to assassinate Megatron. But they figure if everyone is going to get nuked anyway they might as well accompany Spike.

Nearby, Megatron fights side-by-side with Starscream - the recent coup attempt seemingly put to one side. The human counter attack is no surprise to Megatron, as his spies have kept him informed all along. He reveals his big vision for the Decepticons: peace through tyranny, which will see the army's killers disposed of once their usefulness is ended, and a new surbordinate race to take their place.

Suddenly it's all eyes skyward as the Autobots soar overhead and spill out from Omega Supreme - this is something Megatron definitely did not anticipate, and soon the bots and cons are locked in pitched battles.

Megatron tells Starscream that one day the leadership will be his, but first he must earn it. It's enough for Starscream to rediscover his former loyalty and rally the Decepticons into a counter attack.

But then Omega Supreme arrives (in robot mode) and seizes Devastator, flying him away from the city. As Prime and Megatron square up, Colonel Sparkplug Witwicky watching from across the water ponders whether these new arrivals are friends or yet more hostile robots. In any event the evacuation of New York will continue as the nuclear bomb is en route - the only problem is that the military has lost control over the plane!

As the colonel's men wonder why one of their rocket launchers has stopped responding, it suddenly transforms into Dropshot, making it plain that the Decepticons have infiltrated the human camp all along. And in the skies the nuclear plane is revealed to be no ordinary plane at all - it is the Decepticon Tankor!!

******

Review:

By Omega Steve

After eleven issues where the story has, at times, felt incredibly drawn out and slow moving, the pieces are finally in place for the grand finale next issue.

The arrival of Omega Supreme may have been an all-too convenient fix, simultaneously demolishing the Swarm problem and providing a means for the heroic forces to get to Earth; but at least Optimus and company are finally in New York, some eleven issues after the Decepticons got there. The age old debate about where Omega's body goes to when his arm becomes a rocket is set to rage on; does it get left behind or 'mass shift' (shrink) and fit on board the rocket section? Now that we've seen Omega in his full robot mode on Earth it's clear that all of his component parts travel. Thank goodness for that; it must be a royal pain to have your arm and body on different sides of the galaxy - thereby demanding a return journey.

So now the Autobots are in New York and squaring up to the 'cons, Megatron and Prime are all set for battle, Omega is taking on Devastator, and the nuclear bomb is on its way (albeit aboard the Decepticon triple changer Octane - or Tankor as he is now being called).

So that's the plus side - the minus is that the issue is mostly about slotting everyone into place so that the real action can commence next issue; even the Prime versus Megatron face-off amounts to little more than the leaders circling one another and posturing (although the dialogue is good). Megatron plainly has more than brute strength and firepower in his weapons locker; he also uses persuasion to undermine an enemy's resolve, as evidenced with Starscream and later Prime.

In the case of Starscream, Megatron defuses his little rebellion by promising him the leadership in the future. Whether he is being sincere or manipulative is conjecture, but it has the desired effect. Likewise Megatron questions Optimus Prime's apparent concern for the people of Earth, and reminds him that he had regarded such peoples as collateral damage in the past, as he focused on the war's big picture. What's more, says Megatron, the human's are preparing to nuke Autobot and Decepticon alike so are they really the innocents they seem? It's a fair argument but at the end of the day, if Prime doesn't stick up for the victims of the war then what is the point of the Autobot resistance? They may as well let Megatron get on with his galaxy conquering.

While the dialogue is a strength of McCarthy's work, I do lament the absence of those traditional narration boxes that used to provide highly useful scene setting or clarity, or even having characters name-check each other. Sure this can be clunky but at least you know who is who and what's happening and where. In the case of Tankor and Dropshot, we have two unfamiliar characters show up and there's no way outside of a bit of internet researching to know who they are. The same was true of Deluge a few issues back. Having said that, in fairness to Shane, I think hardly anyone puts narration boxes in comics these days, more's the pity.

Some other observations: Megatron gets a little annoying with his 'everything is happening like I planned' chatter. The facsimiles which Furman introduced at the start of the series could have been seen to play a part in Megs' information network; this would have been an ideal use for them and provide some welcome continuity. The Devastator double page sure makes a striking image, but I am mildly irritated by his scale, which seems too big for his component Constucticons.

Megatron hints at a post-war plan in the first time anywhere, I think, that he has articulated such an ambition. He needed a ruthless army to overthrow the Cybertron status quo, so he fashioned one. Then he recruited an ever more sadistic bunch to bed in for the long-term war that his coup/rebellion triggered, and in future Megatron wants a 'perfectly controlled peace'. This suggests some sort of dictatorship, with him in charge, providing order and stability to the universe; perhaps the peace through tyranny that Megatron's original motto alluded to.

So it's on to the final part of IDW's running single Transformers title (at that point) with, hopefully, a suitably explosive conclusion.

Next issue
Previous
Back to index