All Hail Megatron #7
Released: January 2009
Number of covers: Two regulars and one incentive
Cover price: $3.99
Writer: Shane McCarthy
Artwork: Guido Guidi
Characters: (Autobots) Jazz, Kup, Springer, Sunstreaker, Ironhide, Roadbuster, Perceptor, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Mirage, Hound, Trailbreaker, Tracks, Prowl, Cliffjumper, Sideswipe, Wheeljack (Decepticons) Megatron, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Deluge, Bombshell, Kickback, Shrapnel, Scrapper, Mixmaster, Devastator, Scorponok, Reflector, Blitzwing, Dirge, Rumble, Ravage, Astrotrain (Humans) Hunter and Dante (in flashbacks)
Ironhide pins Mirage to the wall, convinced he is the mysterious traitor.
The second half of All Hail Megatron begins with a big mess of insect-like robotic body parts. Evidently this, or rather these, are the Swarm - thousands of vile and deformed Insecticons who have been dumped on Cybertron's toxic surface. Within a Decepticon stronghold on the planet, Thundercracker is feeling bad for them and Megatron almost is too, although he never says it. His creepy scientist Deluge reveals that all this experimenting has paid off because they have managed to create a twisted evil genius by the name of Bombshell, plus two compatriots (Kickback and Shrapnel).
On Cybertron the Autobots have been discovered by the Swarm and have decided to flee their hideout before any more of the creatures come looking. Their flight is the perfect opportunity for Kup (and the readers) to be brought up to speed on how the Autobots came to be on Cybertron in the first place.
There follows a flashback sequence narrated by Jazz in which we find out the entire Earthbound Autobot army had blundered into a trap set by the Decepticons. In the ambush which followed the heroic forces were massacred by Devastator and Megatron tore the Matrix from Optimus Prime's chest. Finally the Autobots were marched towards a portal and exiled to Cybertron. Prime snatched Blitzwing's gun and shot up the portal's controls before sustaining a volley of weapons fire and tumbling backwards into the window anyway.
Back in the present (or possibly just before the Autobots set off) Sideswipe tries without much success to get through to a traumatised Sunstreaker who has never quite recovered from the inconvenience of being bonded to the human Hunter O'Nion as a Headmaster. This is even though Ratchet has recently separated the pair.
Sunstreaker chats to Ironhide who decides to beat up the guy he thinks was responsible for selling out the Autobot army and consigning them to exhile - Mirage. Ironhide attacks him and tears off his insignia, stomping off while the others look on in horror.
Review:By Omega Steve
We are now just over half way through the AHM series and the burning question of how the Autobots came to be so utterly defeated can answered at last. It wasn't Unicron or some other galaxy anhiliating threat, it was Devastator all along! Yep Devastator. Those crafty Decepticons finally perfected combiner technology and unleashed the slow and lumber Devastator on their enemies, to, ahem, devastating effect.
This shouldn't have inflicted a mortal blow or anywhere near it. Sure the Autobots could have taken a pasting but I'm sure in their four million years or so of warfare they have had worse - and they are spread across the galaxy after all, so it is debatable how much impact one defeat on Earth can be, albeit a crushing one.
But sadly the Autobots are made to look a bunch of mugs and amateurs in the flashback. They are lured into an ambush and cornered by way of a ruse of schoolboy simplicity (a little disinformation that Starscream and his group of deserters are alone and exposed, but Devastor lays in wait) and I find myself unconvinced that any army, let alone one that has fought and survived for millions of years, could be so easily duped.
According to Jazz 'Prime saved us' - but all he really managed to do was destroy the space bridge controls. He didn't stop the Autobots being banished to Cybertron or himself ending up their either, and he got shot up to within an inch of his life in the process. As the entire Earthbound force was dumped on Cybertron with only two Decepticons to accompany them (namely Deluge and Dirge) you have to wonder why Prime didn't simply beat the crap out of them, then blast the other cons as each one emerged from the portal. Instead he's consigned himself to life support in a place where his troops will need every bit of available energon to survive. Crazy!
We do learn that Cybertron is 'getting better' so evidently it is no longer the health hazard it was in Transformers Stormbringer, and it is not stated whether this is a natural healing or the result of a third party intervention. Perhaps the Swarm are feeding off the radiation and pumping out tree-like non-toxic atmosphere?
At long last we also see some direct tie-in with previous stories with Sunstreaker seeing flashbacks of his incarceration by Scorponok and his cloning and then forced bonding to a human. This is welcome but long overdue, and I can't help thinking that if readers had got clear evidence of how AHM ties in with the previous three years of comics earlier, IDW could have avoided a lot of the confusion and resentment that was caused. Speaking of confusion we are introduced to a Decepticon scientist early on but never learn his name, which is a little annoying. I had to go online and stumble across a thread on a forum discussing him to find out. Would naming this individual (the G2 character Deluge) really have been so difficult?
This scene where Deluge appears is quite significant in that it establishes that the Decepticons unwittingly created the deformed Swarm as they sought to perfect their Insecticons. Quite why it was so difficult to build three outwardly bog standard Decepticons is not explained, and neither is it particularly clear why Megatron wanted these new recruits and what sets them apart from everyone else. But we find out Bombshell built the space bridge so maybe he is some sort of engineering genuis. I have to say the scene where he is being addressed by Megatron and stares at him is eery, but the repetition of panels is a tad lazy.
Speaking of significant scenes, we've also got Ironhide beating up Mirage, quite severly! It is an unprovoked attack and illustrates the pent up frustration in the Autobot camp as the stress of knowing there is a traitor begins to take a toll. This may be why Ironhide escapes rebuke from his superiors and it probably rules out both him and Mirage from being unveiled as the traitor next issue.