Dreamwave Comics "Energon" #22

in 2004, Comic Book Review, Energon

Dreamwave Comic Books

Energon #22 Cover
General Information
Written by: Simon Furman
Pencils by: Guido Guidi
Inks by: Rob Armstrong
Colors by: David Cheung, Jong-Im Lee
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis:
Before
Megatron is defeated, having been attacked by the Autobots and sent into the bowels of Unicron. There, his body is taken apart to be recycled as Unicron sees fit. However, his Spark is intact, and with it, he begins to use the giant Transformers' own machinery for his own purposes.

Earth, Australia
Scorponok is threatening Kicker as he tries to force the human to tell him where the Energon is. His threat is not to him directly however, but it is to Alexis who is being guarded by Battle Ravage! If he doesn't cooperate, Battle Ravage will kill Alexis without hesitation!

Nearby, Rad is seeing all this and asseses the situation (and Alexis) with the help of Carlos. Rad finally decides to go in and do something, fearing that the Autobots are not showing up.

Cybertron
Optimus Prime and the Autobots are preparing to return to Earth. They received the Earth distress signal, and Prime wonders how much damage has been done in his absence. Finally, Optimus Prime, Jetfire, Inferno, Hot Shot and Ironhide all step through the warp gate. However, as he goes through, Optimus hears a familiar voice telling him that he needs him to defeat Unicron - it is Megatron!

Earth
Prime steps out of the gate but he is the only one who has heard anything odd. The other Autobots are oblivious. He gets his head together and prepares to tackle the Terrorcons. The Terrorcons meanwhile have found Energon and use it to charge up to incredible levels. Before the Autobots know it, they are under attack!

Meanwhile, nearby Rad has put Kicker into a heavy duty construction vehicle. Even better, he has found Alexis. However, just as he approaches her, Battle Ravage appears out of nowhere, ready to strike!

Back at the battle site, Scorponok takes on Prime as the battle rages. Optimus combines with his OP units to fight him, but Scorponok manages to gain the upper hand.

Rad and Alexis manage to dodge Battle Ravage. Rad has Carlos take control of his skimmer and send it crashing into one of the Energon siphons. Scorponok realizes his mission is in jeapordy and quickly has the Terrorcons break off from the battle to retrieve whatever Energon is left.

As he tries to get up, Optimus hears the voice of his arch foe again, this time telling him that he is ready to return even as we see Megatron's new body complete inside Unicron!

To Be Continued...

Story:
If you're going to name a series after something like Energon, an almost mystical power source that can do whatever a writer's imagination dictates, then it has to be something special, and that's what we see here. In previous issues, we saw how the ability to manipulate Energon into weapons took Unicron's heralds off guard and caused more damage to them than conventional Transformer weapons.

This time around, we get to see what happens when Transformers absorb a huge amount of the substance, they basically become near instoppable. Optimus brought two of the veteran warriors from Armada and two other (presumably) competent warriors and the Terrorcons still soundly handed their skid plates to them. Even Prime's new fangled combined form didn't do enough to stop the Terrorcons, and frankly, this is how it should be. Unless Energon is shown to do more than just form weapons and power Transformers, its effectiveness as a plot device wears thin. Furman prevents this by making it something so powerful that this small team of Terrorcons can take on some of the Autobots' best and still come out on top. Had it not been for Rad, our heroes would have surely perished.

I am very pleased with how the humans were written in this issue. While the Transformers were busy knocking each other around, the humans managed to play the roles of victim and heroes equally. Even when Alexis was being "rescued" by Rad, it was she who ultimately kept them both from getting squashed. And while Kicker was busy being either defiant or kept safe, Carlos (from space!) manages to help save the day. This is how to properly use humans in a Transformers storyline, have them actively be involved in the story at hand.

Notes:

  • The "blank" robot bodies inside Unicron resemble Cyclonus, whom some will remember as one of Unicron's creations in G1.
  • From Tidal Wave's comments, we can infer that the two knew each other before this battle.
  • Optimus and Scorponok also seem to be familiar with each other, even though both have "changed" since their last encounter.
  • Carlos mentions that Battle Ravage can cloak from sensors, a cool "carry over" ability from G1 Ravage.

Artwork:

Guido Guidi takes over the art chores for this issue. Guidi manages to strike a good balance between a comic book and cartoon style look to the Transformers. He also incorporates some of what I call the "Dreamwave style", which is not, as one might expect, the "anime influenced" look. Rather it is the style established early on where Transformers tended to be "puffed up" in appearance. There's a bit of that here, but Guidi resists the urge to go overboard on it and have the Transformers look "fat".

In fact, one of Guidi's greatest accomplishments in this issue was slimming Optimus Prime down. Here he manages to make Optimus look a lot more like his G1 self updated without his hefty look. For that alone I'm grateful he took over the art here. He could have easily taken the "puffy" look and thrown it onto Prime and just made him look rather...unheroic.

One of Guidi's strength is making the robots look rather fluid in both movement and shape. They look
like creatures that can move, not just stand there and pose in one position. This comes into handy in the battle scenes which have to both build suspense and be action packed.

Final Thoughts:
This issue does a great job of having aciton happen on both the Transformer and human fronts. It's actually interesting to see the Autobots lose and have humans be responsible for saving the day. Guidi's art is very well done. An excellent issue.