Released: February 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, Grotusque, Doublecross and Repugnus (Decepticons) Shockwave, Scorponok, Soundwave(humans) Hunter O'Nion, Agent Red
Answering Grimlock's distress call is The Monsterbots - Grotusque, Doublecross and Repugnus!
At a Skywatch containment facility in Salt Lake City, the Decepticon Shockwave lives again. He has been reactivated on the orders of Agent Joshua Red to recover the Dynobots, Laserbeak and Ravage, who have gone rogue. To ensure Shockwave's cooperation the humans have installed an explosive charge in his neural mass which will detonate in 24 hours unless he completes his mission. Transforming to space-gun mode, Shockwave warns that he could all but destroy the planet in a day!
Meanwhile, in Fallon, Nevada, large swathes of Scorponok's Headmaster clones are converging on the Dynobots. The team is still unhappy with it leader, Grimlock, whose pigheadedness consigned them to 40 thousand years of deactivation. Swoop is the first to walk away and pretty soon the others are turning their backs on Grimlock too. But with perfect timing the clones attack Grimlock and the Dynobots are forced to park their anger and go to the aid of their erstwhile commander.
Elsewhere, Scorponok explains his plan to a battered and captured Hot Rod; the clones will save the day by neutralising the Dynobots and then the incompetence of Skywatch (who lost control of the Transformers) will be exposed. The Government will allow Scorponok's dummy company Epsilon Holdings to take over the role of protecting mankind, and from there the 'Machination empire' will rise and conquer the Earth. In fact this world will be the first of many if Scorponok has his way.
However a shuttle-sized spanner is about to be thrown in the works. Just as the Dynobots are about to be overwhelmed, an Autobot ship piloted by the Monsterbots, Grotusque, Doublecross and Repugnus, roars overhead and blasts the clones. Moments later the trio pile out and attack the survivors forcing the clones to beat a speedy retreat. At Machination HQ Scorponok is furious and orders Hot Rod to be taken out and shot. But the Autobot flames his two would-be executioners, and hobbles in the direction of freedom.
And in Oregon, Shockwave detours from his mission after receiving a signal... from Soundwave!
By Omega Steve
Maximum Dinobots reaches the mid-point of its run and the issue kicks off in style with a full page rendition of Shockwave (courtesy of Nick Roche). It's a signal that, with this coldly logical and powerful Decepticon, entering the fray, the stakes have just raised considerably, and Shockwave's parting shot to Skywatch (about 24 hours being long enough to wreak untold damage) is a great and unnerving. The humans hope he is just trying to scare them, and wouldn't actually risk his own destruction, but they are not sure! Skywatch may think it has the upper hand but Shockwave is able to unsettle them, and expose the weakness of their position, with just a line.
So far, as mentioned elsewhere, Skywatch (and Agent Red in particular) have hardly covered themselves in glory. In fact they have been downright incompetent. Lose control of a Transformer? Let's reactivate another one to go after them! Lose that one too? Who else can we reactivate... like I say, pretty dumb, and you wonder why they don't learn from their mistakes. Well at last the penny seems to have dropped that their efforts are being sabotaged and Red tries a different tack at last. Rather than try to impose a mental control over Shockwave (which might have been impossible anyway) they will blackmail him into helping. This is a much more Decepticon way of doing things, and may well be a good deal more effective.
Providing of course Shockwave isn't smart enough to crack the deactivation code, which I think he is. But the appearance of Soundwave at the end suggests to me that Shockwave will seek his help in neutralising the explosive. In return, presumably, he can free Soundwave from the mod-lock which has consigned him to stereo deck mode for the past two decades.
In other developments, the Monsterbots make their debut in the IDW universe and are very welcome indeed. These characters have criminally under-used over the years, and only ever appeared on a couple of occasions in the Marvel run (notably in the third part of Headmasters) and never appeared during the Dreamwave comics at all.
The trio are universally disliked by their other Autobots due to their antisocial tendencies, fierce independence, and perhaps also their repulsive appearances. In normal circumstances they would make great characters who readers would enjoy seeing again and again, but there is a fundamental problem, and it's this - the is already an antisocial, independent, team of bots who refuse to play by the rules, and they are the Dynobots/Dinobots. So the Monsterbots gave got a problem differentiating themselves to the reader, and it's all the more acute as they are starring in a comic alongside the dinos. All that aside, it is nice to see them in action again after so long.
Scorponok meanwhile is becoming more of a stereotype Bond villain with each passing appearance, and this time resorts to the cliché of explaining his plans to the prisoner he will soon try to execute (and fail). I quite like my Decepticons to be cliché bad guys though so I don't mind too much.
By the end of the issue though, the threat of the clones is over and this releases some of the tension that had been building - especially now the Dynobots/Dinobots have some powerful new allies and appear to be capable of withstanding whatever comes their way. There are two issues to go and with Shockwave, Soundwave and Scorponok still to be dealt with, I would expect them to come out into the open next issue.
Hopefully by the end of the run the Dynobots will be named Dinobots again, and then all will be right with the world.