Transformers Infiltration #5

Publisher: IDW
Release date: May 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: Astrotrain


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


In the underground bunker Verity comes face to face with Megatron!

Ratchet and Bumblebee have defied orders and gone to the Decepticon bunker in Nebraska looking for answers. They have enlisted the help of humans, Verity, Jimmy and Hunter, in the hopes of discovering clues as to why Starscream's infiltration unit has broken cover and is conspicuously erasing all traces of its presence on Earth.

Above ground the Autobots have come under attack and Blitzwing was last seen transforming into tank mode and rolling right over Ratchet. Bumblebee now helps his battle-damaged comrade up, just as Skywarp and Blitzwing (in jet modes) swoop down for another run.

Inside the bunker Hunter and Jimmy scramble to the exit and realise Verity is missing. Little do they know she's presently face to face with Megatron and is trembling in fear while trying to record him on a camcorder - and the Decepticon leader is simply ignoring her as though she were an insect. Elsewhere, within Starscream's new hideaway in a mountainside, he and Astrotrain begin mining a power source of unimaginable potential.

Meanwhile the bunker begins to fold in on itself from the earlier Decepticon offensive and Verity barely makes it out alive (with help from Hunter, Jimmy and the Autobots). With the humans aboard, Ratchet and Bumblebee burn rubber- and not a moment too soon -as Skywarp and Blitzwing finish the job and bury their former base.

There is an explosion and Megatron breaks free! In a mighty rage he blows a hole in Skywarp, and causes Blitzwing to land and transform in tank mode, then return fire. But Megatron is undamaged and crushes Blitzwing's gun barrel, before swinging him around with it and battering him into the ground: how quickly they forget his power. He walks off looking for Starscream, as Ratchet and Bumblebee look on in horror.

Moments later at Ark 19, the Autobots' sunken ship, we see Prowl and Ironhide receiving Ratchet's report. The Decepticon infiltration unit is 'juiced up' and there's no telling how powerful they are, Megatron is here to put his house in order, and the Autobots... it looks like they are in the middle.

******

Comments:

Quite a short issue in some respects: it's basically tying up the loose ends of last issue by concluding the jets' assault on the Decepticon base, and the humans still below ground. The plot only really moves on in the respect that they escape and Megatron has a brief set-to with two of his wayward warriors, however there is some consolation in we can feel like an exciting finale is coming - perhaps a three-way battle between Megatron, Starscream and Prowl's counter-infiltration unit.

A high-point of the issue was, definitely to my mind, Verity's meeting with Megatron. The look of abject terror on her face is brilliantly captured by EJ and speaks volumes, there's no need for words and we are offered none. Meg's reaction - glancing at her briefly and then looking away as he contemplates Starscream's betrayal -shows how he considers her an insect and not even worthy of death at his hands. She is beneath consideration it seems, and ironically it is this fact that saves her from certain doom. To her credit Verity somehow remembers that she is gathering evidence and lifts her camcorder to snatch a few glimpse of Megatron's fury.

Interestingly Ratchet is prepared to sacrifice Verity to get the rest of them to safety. This is a departure from the heroic Autobots of old who would have laid down their lives for the humans they seek to protect: the IDW versions appear to take the view that there are casualties in war, and its only Hunter and Jimmy holding firm that averts a tragedy.

I enjoyed the short-but-sweet battle of Megatron versus Skywarp and Blitzwing. Treason is met with brutal force and the Decepticon leader proves that he is capable of withstanding all manner of assault. His remark to Blitzwing "how soon they forget" is telling when considered in the light of recent revelations (in Escalation) that the leaders -both Prime and Megatron- orchestrate the war from afar and its likely that Megs has not seen direct combat for some time. It's no wonder Blitzwing has forgotten who and what he's dealing with. Similarly, Bumblebee and Ratchet, have most likely not seen Megs in many years (if not centuries) and this adds to their surprise that he is on Earth now. All we are waiting for is Prime to arrive and then the real fun can begin.

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