Transformers Escalation #4
Release date: February 2007
Number of covers: Three
Cover price: $3.99
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: EJ Su (pencils) John Rauch (colours) Chris Mowry (letters)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Victory or defeat is on a knife edge as Prowl closes in on the facsimile Koska.
Hunter O'Nion awakes to find himself strapped to an operating table surrounded by a crowd of unfriendly-looking surgeons. He has no memory of how he has come be there; one minute he was riding in Sunstreaker and the next he's a prisoner of this ominous bunch. He hears one of them give the order that he be prepared for surgery, and Hunter loses consciousness...
At Fort Wayne, Indiana, Verity and Jimmy and the Autobots Ironhide and Ratchet are continuing their unauthorized search for the missing teenager. They trail has led to a seemingly innocent looking car parts store, but more detailed scans reveal an unusually high level of security. Ironhide detects a holomatter recorder capable of detecting Autobot avatars, and clearly this is the place they've been looking for. Verity and Jimmy decide to take the risk and go in first.
Three hours earlier in the breakaway state of Brasnya, Optimus Prime speeds across the frozen wastes, seemingly unaware that Blitzwing has him in his sights. There is a huge explosion, but as the smoke clears it's Blitzwing in flames! It transpires that Prime's trailer detected the threat early on, and dispatched Roller to turn the tables on the would-be assassin.
Decepticon facsimile Georgi Koska then lines up Prime, armed with Megatron in gun mode. But Prowl, Wheeljack and Jazz blast onto the scene and prevent the attack. As Astrotrain and Skywarp swoop down to counter-attack, Megatron orders Koska to 'decommission himself', or in other words commit suicide to stop his genetic secrets from falling into Autobot hands. The fake human dutifully hobbles off in the direction of enemy lines, intent on getting executed by a burst of hostile fire.
Prowl guns his engines after Koska, and Astrotrain soars overhead, preparing to fire. But once again it is teamwork to the rescue, as the Autobot tank Hardhead shoots down Astrotrain. Hot Rod and Hardhead beamed down from orbit moments earlier, and just in the nick of time it seems. Ever eager to make an impression, Hot Rod races past Prowl, keen to grab Koska himself but slips and crashes. Nearby Megatron transforms to robot mode and confronts Prime. The two leaders are meeting in battle for the first time in centuries, and Megatron declares: "Let's finish this... once and for all."
Back at Custom Wheels, Verity and Jimmy discover a secret entrance to the basement with machinery for building cars. Verity pockets a business card, just as doors slam shut and gas fills the room!
This issue was great! I thought it was a solid, standalone issue which ensured we understood the importance of Brasnya. The strategies of the Autobots and Decepticons and how they set about achieving their goals was like a chess match. In battle, it seemed like both were setting up their pieces ready to checkmate at any moment to win the match. From Blitzwing's chameleon mesh to Skywarp calling Astrotrain to join him, we see the Decepticon's more than ready to help Megatron win this battle against the Autobot's.
Though it seemed like the cons would win this round, the Autobots gained the advantage by calling in reinforcements. Prime being the Leader that he is called in Roller, Hotrod, and Hardhead to tip the scale to make sure their mission was accomplished. As everyone moved into positions several characters stood out for me - Prowl, Hotrod, and Hardhead played significant roles in intercepting the facsimile. Prowl's determination in intercepting the facsimile, Hotrod's "do or die" attitude, and Hardhead's love to be a soldier all made the difference in turning the odds in turning the favor in claiming the facsimile.
While Megatron remains consistent throughout this series-ruthless, strategic, and cold, I think he needs to have someone to be able to handle situations alone with minimal direction. The Seekers and the TripleChangers are a solid group, but what is missing is someone to really own missions and assure victory. Perhaps if Starscream were in the midst of battle the decepticons would have been able to hold off the Autobots. Or even if Soundwave were there in Brasnya with Megatron the outcome would have been different. Later in Escalation #6 we will find out that my opinion on having stronger and more ambitious decepticon's for Megatron will be more than just a theory. Enter: Sixshot.