Transformers Infiltration #2

Publisher: IDW
Release date: February 2006
Number of covers: Seven
Cover price: $2.99
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: EJ Su (pencils) John Rauch (colours) Tom B. Long (inks)
Rating: Art / Story

First appearance: Blitzwing, Prowl, Sunstreaker, The Machination


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


Ratchet sets his holographic driver to explode, buying valuable time and triggering a hell of a chase!

When homeless teenager Verity Carlo stole a travelling salesman's palmtop computer she got herself in a whole lot of trouble: the kind that could lead to her getting stomped on by a giant robot. For the gadget contains sensitive information about the Decepticons' secret presence on Earth, as well as their plans and objectives. It is highly important that it be recovered, and infiltration unit commander Starscream is prepared for his troops to do what it takes, even breaking cover if they have to.

So it is that we now find the Decepticons Runabout and Runamuck, in a full robot mode, tearing down Jimmy Pink's auto-garage in search of their target. Jimmy, Hunter and Verity are frozen to the spot with terror, and Ratchet must take swift action if he is to save everyone. He's in the garage in ambulance mode, and deploys his 'driver' (an illusion created by holographic matter) to pretend to hand over the computer, and explodes in Runabout's face. As 'brother' Runamuck pulls his gun from a leg compartment, Ratchet reverts to robot mode unleashes the first shot. The Decepticon reels backwards, smoke pouring from his face and chest. In an instant the Autobot transforms back to ambulance mode and orders the three startled humans inside.

A brief interlude sees police officers examining the body of the dead salesman. Whatever killed him triggered a system-wide trauma. A cop slips away from the gathering to radio the information through to a shadowy bunch of guys in suits and dark glasses. Then we're back with Ratchet and company as they duck and weave on the busy highway. Ratchet detects an incoming Thundercracker, sweeping low to unleash a sonic boom, and insulates his internal systems to the impending attack. Unfortunately it sends the rest of the freeway into turmoil and a series of swerves and crashes ensues.

Runabout and Runamuck batter their way through the stricken vehicles and semi-transform into mobile armoured vehicles - weapons emerging from their engine and side pods, it's clear they mean business. So Ratchet throws on the breaks, preventing Runabout from firing, and somehow narrowly avoids being flattened by an oncoming semi as he swerves to the wrong side of the road. The Decepticons are not so lucky and get swatted off a cliff and crash below.

Verity has had enough and screams at Ratchet to stop. He does so, allowing a moment for Jimmy to raise her spirits, and a dejected Hunter to quiz his Autobot saviour. He's about to get somewhere when Verity and Jimmy rush back in a panic - there is Thundercracker on the horizon and he's launched a missile! Ratchet waits until the last possible moment firing his engines and blasting off at breathtaking speed (the g-force on the human's faces says it all). As Ratchet fires a parachute to himself, three vehicles speed into view ahead. They open their panels in their vehicle modes to reveal heavy-duty weaponry and let Thundercracker have it, before transforming into Ironhide, Prowl and Sunstreaker. Unit commander Prowl tells Ratchet he has disobeyed orders and violated the Autobot code of interplanetary conflict: He's in big trouble! Ratchet stuns them with two words: siege mode.

******

Comments:

Questions, questions; what is 'siege mode' and why does the mention of it cause Prowl's jaw to drop, and what is on the computer that means so much? Readers are left grappling with these conundrums at the end of the issue and I hope they'll be satisfactorily answered soon. I have to say that plot and art-wise, this is a first rate offering Furman and Su.

I'm enjoying the interactions between the human characters, and with Ratchet himself. Hunter comes across as caring and likeable; he's concerned for Verity's safety and wellbeing even though she rebuffs him at every turn (even refusing to take his hand when they are under Decepticon attack). He means well and Ratchet can be justified in trusting him. Verity on the other hand is on the edge and in transition; the world she thought she knew is turning upside down, hence her emotions coming to a head when she orders Ratchet to "STOP!" and let her out. Once in mortal danger she realises, and admits for the first time, that stealing the computer was a bad thing to do. She has endangered herself and others, and all of a sudden she's having to deal with the reality that giant robots are not only on Earth but are out to kill her. She'll be an interesting one to watch, as will the three-way dynamic between Hunter and Jimmy with Verity in the middle.

The Terminator 2 reference in the issue 0 preview was pretty obvious; Ratchet telling Hunter and Verity "if you want to live, come with me", and Verity even alluded to it with her Arnie impression last issue. The theme continues in this instalment with the gripping chase and all-out carnage and destruction on the highways, which could have come straight from one of those films. The Battlechargers looks awesome in their vehicle combat modes and really took the concept of Transformers being able to battle as either robot or vehicle to a new level. Ratchet virtually has the ability to fly with that super-duper rocket booster he uses. Is there nothing he can't do?

And just when you think it can't get any better, comes the entrance by Ironhide, Sunstreaker and Prowl, looking stylish in vehicle mode and awesome in their Transformations. Great work, now let's hope they can pick-up the pace and keep delivering for the rest of the series.

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