All Hail Megatron #3
Released: September 2008
Number of covers: Two regulars and one incentive
Cover price: $3.99
Writer: Shane McCarthy
Artwork: Guido Guidi
Rating: Art / Story
Characters: (Decepticons) Astrotrain, Megatron, Hook, Starscream, Reflector, Rumble. (Humans) Traumatised civilian and his son, Col. Witwicky, Hawke, Andy Reid, Bridge.
The Autobots have been defeated and exiled to a desolate Cybertron, leaving the way clear for the Decepticons to conquer Earth. Megatron's reign of terror began in New York with the destruction of the army as well as the bridges and tunnels, leaving Manhattan cut off from mainland America and its people in hiding. One such cluster is hiding out in a darkened underground station when lights in the tunnel, and the sound of an approaching train raises the possibility of rescue - only for hope to be cruelly snatched when Astrotrain pulls in and transforms, sending the frightened refugees stampeding.
Nearby Colonel Witwicky and his senior staff receive reports of city after city falling to the Decepticons. The naval fleet is sunk and even Air Force One is shot down and burning in front of the Lincoln Memorial. 'Lord' Megatron surveys his victory and is content. Hook informs him that construction has begun in New York and then Starscream to offer a little sarcasm at Megatron's glorious victory.
Elsewhere humans run the gauntlet of Decepticon patrols to smuggle food and supplies into the underground network. Below ground pilot Andy Reid (who survived a direct attack on Megatron) is among the people hiding out. He tells the guy who saved his life last issue that he needs to find the girlfriend of his former flying partner DJ (who didn't survive an attack on Megatron) so he can give her the news. Andy hears the approaching train and screams 'code yellow' then 'code red'. Not everybody runs. Some actually think they are about to be rescued but then Astrotrain transforms to robot mode, towers over Andy and then brings the roof down.
Review:By Omega Steve
It's the end of the line for pilot Andy Reid as Astrotrain attacks.
The Astrotrain scenes bookend the story nicely and for the first time in the comics his train mode has come in handy . It's almost as though Shane wrote that scene just to show off Astrotrain's rarely seen train mode.
It's not clear whether there are any survivors from the underground station attack and that is disturbing as we've been shown scenes of children playing ball in the hideout. Also, what is Astrotrain's purpose? Is he also after Andy Reid for some petty vengeance or just a coincidence that they happen to meet at this particular station. The destruction is pretty severe this issue, and the splash pages showing the navy and the president's plan are striking images.
Presumably Col. Witwicky (Sparkplug) is given the news that his commander in chief may be dead and this, coupled with reports of other cities falling, must be terribly depressing. I'm not sure why all of this has to happen off panel though - surely a few panels with other Decepticons busy conquering the West Coast wouldn't have harmed anyone!?
We learn the Constructicons are building something and that they don't think much of the New York surroundings, but we don't find out what they are up to.
Starscream's relationship to Megatron appears to take on a different and more mature context here than anything we've seen before. Rather than dismissing Screamer as an oaf and a liability, Megatron is positively complimentary. He talks of Starscream as the 'living embodiment of the Decepticon ideal', skilled, powerful and ruthless, and this may answer the age old question of why Megatron still keeps his deputy around despite numerous coup attempts, challenges to his authority, and general treachery. It might be that this bold and ruthless streak is what he admires about Starscream, and in a weird sort of way he wants Screamer to prove himself worthy of leading.
Could it be Megatron is contemplating the day when, having led his army to the promised land of victory and conquest, he's ready to hand the post-war rule over to a successor? Interesting idea.
One last point, the presence of the three Decepticons who make up Reflector, suggests that AHM takes place before Spotlight Wheelie where the trio meet their end.