All Hail Megatron #4

Released: October 2008
Publisher: IDW
Number of covers: Two regulars and one incentive
Cover price: $3.99
Writer: Shane McCarthy
Artwork: Guido Guidi
Rating: Art / Story

Characters: (Decepticons) Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, Bombshell, Blitzwing, Astrotrain, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Kickback, Shrapnell,Bonecrusher (Autobots) Jazz, Ironhide, Prowl, Mirage, Trailbreaker, Cliffjumper, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Bumblebee, Wheeljack, Hot Rod (Humans) Col. Witwicky, Bridge, Sarah


Synopsis:


On Cybertron Jazz and Ironhide mull over the bitter taste of defeat.

In a rain-swept New York, Decepticon leader Megatron declares victory to his assembled troops - victory against humanity, victory against the Autobots. He announces that human armies have fallen and Autobot strongholds have been toppled across the galaxy: after millions of years the long Transformers civil war appears to be over.

On Cybertron the acting Autobot commander, Jazz, steps in to break-up a heated argument between Prowl and Ironhide. The latter is convinced Mirage was the one who 'sold the Autobots out' to their enemies (how this was done is not revealed). And from the discussions between Jazz and Prowl we learn the Autobots are dangerously low on Energon and barely have enough to maintain Optimus Prime's life support.

Elsewhere Bumblebee and Wheeljack are scouting for fuel when they become aware of a shadowy figure in buildings above and transmit a pulse signal which Cliffjumper detects. The SOS is an opportunity for Ironhide - who has been preoccupied with thoughts of the 'traitor' and his mentor Optimus' likely impending death - to stretch his legs and kick some butt.

An interlude on Earth sees Bridge (the guy who rescued pilot Andy Reid from Ravage in AHM #2) encouraged to step up to the plate and lead the humans who survived Astrotrain's subway attack.

While back on Cybertron, Cliffjumper and Ironhide, ambush the shadowy figure who turns out to be Hot Rod (back in his 1986 Movie design) who is also stranded on the Transformers homeworld and thinks Ironhide and co have come to rescue him!

******

Review:

By Omega Steve

The Autobots are back after a two month absence, but the truth as to how and why they came to be stranded on Cybertron is still out there. We get some hints though. Evidently a traitor - whom we're lead to believe is Mirage - assisted the Decepticons and brought about the total defeat of the Autobots. It's hard to imagine what could trigger such a rapid end to a conflict so durable that it has weathered four million years of near constant fighting, and whatever it is would have to be something pretty darn special. I wonder though, whether the explanation - when it comes - will live up to the billing. Still it's nice to get a whodunit mystery to spice things up.

One disappointing aspect for me is Megatron's victory pep-talk. It's not that I have a problem with the dialogue it's just that the conflict (as established by Simon Furman) was galaxy-wide and fought on numerous battlefronts, and yet here's Megatron talking to relevatively small brigade consisting of no more than the 1984-85 toy range. It would have been nice to Soundwave hooked up to a transmitter and Megs broadcasting to the galaxy - or even to have other Decepticons present in hologram form as they tune in from far flung outposts. It would be a small thing that would restore the sense of galaxy-wide scale which existed pre-AHM and seems to have diminished.

Ironhide takes centre stage this issue for the first time in IDW, and we get some nice references to his great age - he can remember Prime's youthful idealism and Cybertron before it had all the buildings (now that is old). Yet for all his years he's still a hothead and impulsive, as demonstrated by his striking of a superior officer (Prowl) and later Hot Rod. No wonder Prowl calls him out on being too stubborn to adjust.

Guido's art is as good as regular readers have come to expect, although this issue does have a slightly depressing grey feel to it via the backgrounds (probably intentional mood setting) and the fact that everyone's been drawn in their 1980s G1 forms is starting to grate on me. After all, EJ and Simon Furman did a sterling job of updating the cast for the 2000s and this feels like a backward step. Why would Hot Rod or the Seekers revert back to their old format? There doesn't seem to be an answer in the plot, so I can only assume it's a ploy by IDW to make the characters familiar to fans of the cartoons or the Animated movie who apparently might not relate to the updated geewunners.

Once again the story feels like it's proceeding at a leisurely stroll (or shuffle) instead of galloping forward, as its four months in and we're barely advanced from where we were in issue#1 - the Decepticons have won and the Autobots are exiled on Cybertron. But there are some nice touches, such as Cliffjumper spotting the SOS pulse even at a hundredth of a second, and Bumblebee and Wheeljack teaming up to look for Energon. Those with long memories will know this is exactly what the pair were doing in the very first scene of the first Sunbow cartoon in 1984. Nice homage!

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