Transformers Infiltration #6
Release date: June 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: Optimus Prime
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Starscream's rebellion comes to a dramatic end and Optimus Prime arrives to take command on Earth.
The Decepticon infiltration unit on Earth has gone wayward after discovering wells of Ore 13 energy hidden beneath the planet's surface. Word has reached Runabout and Astrotrain that Megatron is coming and they are all in big, big trouble: Blitzwing and Skywarp have already been punished for their traitorous actions and soon they will all pay the price. Their unit commander, Starscream -the architect of their betrayal -is the only one confident of their success. He has absorbed enough Ore 13 to boost his power many times over and he's now ready to take on Megatron - it promises to be a battle of the titans.
On the highway, Ratchet is driving Verity, Hunter and Jimmy away from the impending carnage, and encourages them to leave this one to others who are better equipped - these being Prowl, Ironhide, Sunstreaker, Jazz and Wheeljack, who are now en route to the Decepticon base. Bumblebee is already on the scene and keeping watch from a safe distance.
Megatron teleports outside and orders Starscream to face him. Moments later the base opens and Runabout, Runamuck, Thundercracker and Astrotrain emerge, none of them daring to fight. So it falls to Starscream (now glowing with the Ore 13 energy) to defend their actions - and he swoops down in jet and then robot modes, unleashing a barrage of fire against Megatron. He hurls the Decepticon leader into the rock-face and attacks, all guns blazing. Megatron absorbs the blasts, and menacingly keeps coming!
Bumblebee, in the meantime, has been spotted by Runabout, but is saved by a remote shot from Prowl, as the Autobots assemble on a nearby ledge. They resolve to let Megatron and Starscream sort out their differences, and watch as Megs blows a massive, gaping (and potentially fatal) hole in his traitorous lieutenant, before ordering the Battlechargers to take the remains inside and see to them. He will be dealt with later... if he lives.
Megatron then faces the Autobots, but rather than fight he simply instructs his troops that they will proceed to phase two of their infiltration, and they all disappear inside. Prowl and his men know that to fight would be futile and they retreat back to the Ark - not realising that they are being watched as they enter their base in the lake by human agents of the Machination.
Moments later reinforcements arrive... in the shape of Optimus Prime.
And so ends the first IDW Transformers G1 arc. As finales go it's not bad, the battle between Starscream and Megatron is spectacular, and its ending genuinely shocking and brutal - I can't think of any other time Starscream has been so ruthlessly dispatched by Megatron for his treachery. But at the same time it left this reviewer frustrated that we didn't see more, particularly from the Autobots who came, saw, and went home. Where was the titanic three-way struggle between the warring Decepticon leaders and Prowl's warriors that we'd expected to see? Not only that but what happened to Prime? I thought he'd at least play a part in the battle after so long a build-up, and no doubt my disappointment would have been greater if not for his impressive entrance at the end, courtesy of EJ.
Infiltration started at a measured pace and moved along nicely with the excitement of Ratchet being pursued by Decepticons along the freeway. But by issue #3 onwards, readers will have been hoping for the tempo to have upped a little faster. While Stormbringer and Escalation would provide the action fans had been longing to see, I can't help thinking that some readers would have lost interest to an extent, concluding that Infiltration was a disappointment. I have mixed feelings about it: I found it enjoyable and clearly a lot better structured than Dreamwave's G1 (which was degenerating into a confusing mess by the end) but it is somewhat lacklustre on balance.
Some of the good points worth noting in this issue are, the battle between Megs and Starscream obviously, and also the reactions of the Decepticons as they contemplate taking on Megatron and then bottle out, and also the dramatic appearance of Prime - there to save the day just as the story is in danger of petering out. The art is good and I feel that the human characters create the perspective of making the Transformers seem more alien and menacing than they might otherwise. The holographic 'drivers' are also a nice touch and a homage to the 'facsimile' dummies that the Autobots had in the Marvel era. Prowl and his group definitely look outgunned and helpless when confronted by an enemy line-up that includes Megatron - but this could have been done to greater effect if they'd actually got involved and taken a pasting from Megs as well. Overall it's a B+ from me, a good start but room for improvement, and its onward to Stormbringer, Escalation and the Spotlights.