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Transformers Maximum Dinobots #2

Released: January 2009
Publisher: IDW
Number of covers: Two regular, one incentive
Cover price: $3.99
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Nick Roche
Rating:

Characters: (Autobots) Hot Rod, Sunstreaker, Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Swoop, Snarl (Decepticons) Scorponok, Shockwave (humans) Hunter O'Nion, Weston, Agent Red


Synopsis:


Grimlock is under attack from his own teammates and must explain why he sacrificed them so long ago.

At Machination headquarters in Dallas, a badly mangled Hot Rod takes a pasting from Scorponok! After bouncing off walls and getting smacked about the face with an iron girder, his legs are crushed by the Decepticon's powerful pinchers - rendering him incapable of escape. Scorponok will keep him alive for now, but only long enough to witness the demise of the Dynobots and rise of the Machination empire!

In Fallon, Nevada, events are proceeding as Scorponok planned; Grimlock has been dumped in the centre of town and caused all hell to break loose; and as expected Skywatch has deployed the other Dynobots (currently under their control) to neutralise him.

Hunter and Sunstreaker clock 160mph on their way to Dallas, reasoning that if they can steal back the original Sunstreaker head all of the Machination clones will be disabled. But after outrunning motorway patrol they are stopped from going further by a police blockade.

Back in Nevada, the Dynobots lay into their former leader, and Scorponok ensures the reunion is suitably acrimonious by having his people override Skywatch's control and allowing some of the Dynobot's latent personalities to resurface. This lets them remember that Grimlock 'sacrificed them' to take down Shockwave (see Spotlight Shockwave) which resulted in them being buried in the Earth for 40,000 years!

Grimlock argues that any one of the team would have done the same, and being a Dynobot means all there are 'no rules' - what he did was "so us". His words seem to strike a chord with the team, but Scorponok is not to be beaten, and sends in his Headmaster hordes to take down the Dynobots.

Meanwhile Agent Joshua Red has concluded that the loss of control over the 'Thunder lizards' is down to enemy action, and reverts to his own Plan B - Shockwave!

******

Review:

By Omega Steve

Back in 2006 in the acclaimed Spotlight Shockwave comic (also by Furman and Roche) Grimlock took the extraordinarily selfish decision to sacrifice himself and his team for victory over Shockwave. The score they were settling wasn't a particularly big deal anyway, but Grimlock couldn't bear to lose, and preferred to have his ship, The Skyfire, blast Shockers into deactivation - taking all five Dynobots with him. Some 40 centuries later the proverbial chickens have come home to roost and it's time to face the music.

If the original incident spoke volumes about Grimlock's character, the reckoning says just as much about the team's mentality. We learn the 'Dynobots' as an entity were founded by Grimlock and Slag, which is an odd thing to do for staunch individualists, to form a team. But in this case they are individuals with a shared outlook, embracing extreme violence, non-conformity, the desire to win-at-any-cost and be unpredictable.

Despite shafting the group, Grimlock knows the right buttons to press, and is able to bring the team back on side just by reminding them of what they stand for. In this he shows he is mentally as well as physically formidable and Scorponok is right to take him seriously as an opponent. Strangely for all the machoism, Grimlock still takes a moment to rescue a train passenger trapped by fire. This and his desire to avoid harming humans in Fallon, shows a compassionate side that anchors him to the Autobot cause. Without this, readers might well wonder what separates the Dynobots from the Decepticons they fight.

The art this issue is fantastic in places but a little too busy in some battle scenes making it hard to decipher at times. The colouring and finish is stunning though and, coupled with the paper quality, makes this comic a quality product. Story-wise the plot is edging forward but not by any leaps and bounds and I detect a mild malaise setting in. Transformers Revelation (which also wrapped up outstanding Furman storylines) was given four issues and probably could have done with one more. Maximum Dinobots is the opposite - it has five issues and probably should be four.

Take Hot Rod for example, I'm just not sure what he is doing there other than getting smacked about to fill a few pages and big-up Scorponok's credentials as a villain. Sadly he is a bit James Bond villain too, keeping his foe alive just so he can bear witness to the masterplan taking root.

Hunter's suggestion that Dynobots should be Dinobots, suggests to me a possible laying the seeds for the inevitable name change, and I enjoyed the concept of Sunstreaker's original head being the key to disarming the clones. From what we've seen in previous comics the head acts as a kind of network server or hub for the cloned robots.

And the shock conclusion with Agent Red preparing to unleash Shockwave was very nice indeed. Red must surely be the most incompetent agent in America for the amount of Transformers he has activated and lost. Shockwave is his last throw of the dice, but his request for a 'serious talk' between the two of them suggest he may try something different than simply trying to remote control Shockwave.

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