All Hail Megatron #12
Released: June 2009
Number of covers: Two regulars and one incentive
Cover price: $3.99
Writer: Shane McCarthy
Artwork: Guido Guidi
Characters: (Autobots) Sideswipe, Kup, Omega Supreme, Optimus Prime, Springer, Prowl, Ironhide, Jazz, Kup, Roadbuster, Cliffjumper, Bumblebee, Blaster, Omega Supreme, Ironhide, Jazz, Bumblebee, Drift, Roadbuster (Decepticons) Kickback, Bombshell, Skywarp, Devastator, Dropshot, Megatron, Starscream, Thundercracker (Humans/others) Spike, Sarah, Bridge, Charles, Sparkplug, Hunter
Shot by Spike and pummelled by Optimus - can Megatron survive?
The Autobots have recovered from their near total defeat and escaped Cybertron to take the fight to the Decepticons in New York. This issue begins with Sideswipe battering Kickback with an uprooted lamppost and being ambushed by Bombshell who reveals his role in torturing poor Hunter O'Nion.
Kup punches out Bombshell and gets scooped up by Skywarp and dropped from a height. He survives. Meanwhile Devastator and Omega Supreme come to blows on Liberty Island, and the Decepticon spy Drop Shot comes under fire from Colonel Witwicky and assorted American soldiers. Luckily for the humans Kup comes ashore ready to help.
Back in Manhattan, Optimus Prime and Megatron and lock horns and Major Spike Witwicky is perched on a rooftop ready to take his shot. Megatron headbutts Prime and throws him into a wall before radioing Tankor to drop his nuclear payload over New York. Just as Megatron is about to saviour his victory Spike fires and hits the Decepticon leader in the head with a clean shot; Prime then amplifies the damage by unleashing a series of blows.
Starscream arrives to recover Megatron's body and rejects Prime's suggestion that he abandon his leader and seize command himself. The leadership must be taken he says, before beating a hasty retreat. All, that is, except for Thundercracker who offers his help in destroying the nuke as a matter of honour. He takes to the sky and launches the bomb into space, before being attacked by his fellow seeker Skywarp and blasted at close range.
With the threat over, all that is left is for mankind and the Autobots to rebuild the Earth. And some time later Sideswipe stumbles across the remnants of Hunter, strapped to one of Bombshells mind ravaging devices, and does the humane thing by flicking off the life support.
Review:By Omega Steve
So that was it, the conclusion of All Hail Megatron, IDW's longest and most ambitious Transformers series (at that point).
The company took a big gamble by ditching the celebrated writer Simon Furman, and it's paid for that with some rancorous criticism on fan forums. A significant number of long-time readers have jumped ship (or at least claimed to have done so), some in protest at the decision to sideline Simon, and others because they simply couldn't get on with the new writer and direction. As of December 2010 the fan dissatisfaction which began with AHM still persists, more than a year into the Transformers Ongoing, and long term could spell the end of the franchise (at least under IDW).
But at the time of AHM being released, the company can be satisfied that it has been a commercial success and has accomplished its unstated aim of simplifying an increasingly convoluted continuity and reaching out to new readers (albeit at the expense of some of the existing ones). AHM has been a perfect jumping on point for newcomers, but the flip side of that coin is that it was also a perfect jump-off point for the disaffected.
The final instalment certainly isn't lacking in action though, in fact I counted at least eight individual battles plus a couple more that were off panel. Devastator versus Omega Supreme should have been titanic, but with so much going on it is relegated to a single page and the Construction gestalt is taken down rather easily in the end, courtesy of a close range blast to the chest. What becomes of Devastator or his component parts is unknown.
In the Marvel days Kup used to be a seasoned yet still capable warrior - but a better talker than a fighter. Here he is a swaggering, cigar-toting and slightly annoying, uber general in the Col. Sparkplug Witwicky mould. And in true fashion he finishes AHM with a flourish by taking down Bombshell, Skywarp and Dropshot. We never did find out how he went from a robotic vegetable at the end of his spotlight to recovering his faculties and commanding the Wreckers and Jazz's unit in AHM. Luckily IDW has announced four additional AHM instalments to tie up these loose ends.
Going back to the fighting though, the main event for me is showdown between Prime and Megatron. The action is drawn brilliantly by EJ Su to the point where you can almost feel the blows - and Prime shows a ruthless streak which is quite eye opening, when he batters Megatron with his own fusion cannon just as the Decepticon leader is reeling from being shot in the head by Spike. Just prior to that Megs is in fine form doing his best to poison Prime against protecting the humans, by citing the impending nuclear strike as evidence that mankind cannot be trusted. This shows Megatron will not rely on brute strength alone to defeat his enemy, he will use the power of argument too.
It is this persuasiveness that ultimately saves Megatron, as he has said enough to convince Starscream not to abandon him to the Autobots - even though this would allow Screamer to take the coveted Decepticon leadership. The scene shows that the Decepticons might be the bad guys, but they are still honourable (well some at least) in their own way.
The series concludes with humans and the Autobots meeting, in the person of Spike and Optimus, and suggests that mankind can rebuild its cities and possibly make peace with the Autobots. The Decepticons appear to have fled the planet for now.
The Matrix has not been recovered so that's another loose end right there, but there is no ambiguity about Hunter's fate, as Sideswipe flicks off his life support. As someone who rather liked Hunter I think it's a shame he gets such short shrift and I hope his 'death' is not as permanent as it seems.
So where from here? AHM would be followed by four Coda instalments to tie up loose ends and milk a few extra quid out of the readers, and Simon Furman would have one last swansong with Maximum Dinobots. Despite IDW defending its decision to replace Simon with Shane McCarthy, it wouldn't use Shane again until 2010's Transformers Drift mini-series. I'm sure he was only hired to do the 12 issue AHM series, but what are the chances he would have been kept on to write the Ongoing if the fans reactions to him had been a little more positive?