Released: April 2009 Publisher: IDW Number of covers: Two regular, one incentive Cover price: $3.99 Writer: Simon Furman Artwork: Nick Roche and James Raiz 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
It's five against one as Shockwave is ambushed him by the Dinobots.
The eagerly-awaited showdown between the Dinobots and Scorponok under way in Dallas, and Sludge is quickly taken out by the Decepticon's sting. A grief-stricken Grimlock takes his comrade's apparent 'death' personally, and is determined to avenge him. But Shockwave enters the fray and - bizarrely for one usually above petty revenge - challenges Scorponok for the right to destroy the Dinobots!
Elsewhere, Agent Joshua Red of Skywatch is informed that Shockwave has neutralised Ravage and Laserbeak and allowed the pair to be picked up by Red's agents. It appears he is co-operating, and Red decides to transmit a code code to reset the explosives in Shockwave's brain, sparing him from destruction for another 24 hours. But little does he know that Soundwave (as planned by Shockwave) has intercepted the code and uses it to free render the explosives inert. In return Shockwave provides him the codes he (Soundwave) needs to unlock his transformation back to robot mode. Free at last after 20 years, he reactivates Ravage and Laserbeak who escape from human captivity.
At the battlefield Shockwave gains the upper hand by threatening a devastating close-range blast that Scorponok may survive, but his human Headmaster component, Abraham Dante, wouldn't. Scorponok is forced to yield and teleport back to his compound. Grimlock challenges Shockwave but finds the Decepticon has no interest in a rematch. Grimlock won't let him walk away though and blows up an group of gas canisters in a suicidal last act.
Back at Machination HQ Scorponok materialises just in time to prevent Hot Rod and Hunter from destroying his original battle-damaged head - something which could have done him a good deal of harm. But the other Dinobots arrive (Sludge having now recovered) and hold Scorponok at bay just long enough for Ultra Magnus to arrive and take the fugitive into custody. Grimlock and Shockwave are also arrested, but Magnus agrees to cancel the warrants against the Dinobots.
Three days later aboard Ark 32, Ratchet successfully separates Hunter O'Nion and Sunstreaker, while warning that the lad may not be the same again. But at least Hunter is reunited with his friends Jimmy and Verity, who survived being beamed up after all (back in TF Devastation). Before leaving with his captives, Ultra Magnus warns Optimus Prime that the Autobot presence on Earth is now compromised.
By Omega Steve
The curtain falls on Simon Furman's excellent three years at the helm of IDW's rebooted Transformers continuity, and this reviewer for one is sorry to see him go. This concluding instalment of Maximum Dinobots has everything you could wish for - drama and action, and great characterisation too. Loose ends are tied-up and we even find out that Jimmy and Verity survived their brush with death from TF Revelation some months earlier. Magnus gets his man (well, several fugitives in fact) and Grimlock is redeemed.
Sludge's death is a catalyst for Grimlock to finally take responsibility for the consequences of his actions, and his compassion/guilt towards his fallen comrade shows his true colours. This is why Grimlock is an Autobot at the end of the day, despite conducting himself in a selfish and brutish way that is more akin to the Decepticons. His desperate attempt to revive Sludge is touching, and his resulting fury, but I never thought Sludge would stay dead for long, well okay, maybe a little longer than this.
Agent Red and Skywatch have been mind-numbingly dumb throughout the last few series as they've been outplayed at every turn by Scorponok and later Shockwave. Having lost every one of their captive Transformers they ought to have put their trust in Shockwave to rescue the situation, but clearly they were desperate by then. It didn't take much for a master of logic to outfox them and, by linking up with Soundwave, the beginnings of a partnership which will last into the Transformers Ongoing comic is forged.
I thought Shockwave's deception was masterful, as he fooled Skywatch into thinking he was following orders and the Autobots into thinking he was out for revenge. Only Scorponok sees through the act and their showdown - the first time they've clashed since the Marvel run - was a joy to behold. Scorponok's brawn versus the formidable brain of Shockwave - the end result could never be in doubt.
It's interesting that Scorponok's weakness is his original head, as you have to wonder why he wouldn't a) repair the head, or b) transfer his brain functions to the new head. Instead he's left himself quite badly exposed to an enemy attack. At the end Magnus takes Scorponok into custody, concluding their cat and mouse game, and so far (I'm writing this in 2011) we've seen no more of Scorponok. It would be nice for him to reappear some time.
Other points, Sunstreaker and Hunter are separated and we will see the aftermath of their story in All Hail Megatron; Shockwave and Grimlock wind up in the Garrus-9 prison, but whether Scorponok goes there is unclear; this story appears to be set after the end of TF Revelation but some weeks or months before AHM. Prime notes that the TF's clandestine presence on Earth has been compromised, but hopefully humanity will think them destroyed. If so this could explain how life is relatively back to normal at the beginning of AHM and New Yorkers are wholly unprepared for a Decepticon invasion.
Furman bows out on a high (sort of, he's still got a short story in AHM Coda to come) and sets a high standard for his would-be successors. So far only Nick Roche and James Roberts have come close, and most others have fallen short. It is the hope of this reviewer that Simon will be back writing Transformers again in the near future.