Dreamwave Comics "Energon" #23

in 2004, Comic Book Review, Energon

Dreamwave Comic Books

Energon #23 Cover
General Information
Written by: Simon Furman
Pencils by: Joe Ng
Inks by: Elaine To
Colors by: Jong-ImLee, Stuart Ng & Josh Perez
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis:
Earth
The Terrorcon rampage continues as they attack the Alterenergy Base. Inside, Dr. Jones is trapped and Scorponok knows this, using the fact to force Kicker to do as he asks. Finally, Kicker relents.

Fifty three miles south
Alexis and Rad are running for it. They ask Carlos to help, but due to the Energon saturation in the atmosphere, he can't do a thing. He does confirm however that the Autobots should be close. Rad finally runs into them and Prime greets them. After a bit of catchup with Hot Shot and Prime, but then they get to the matters at hand: namely the Terrorcons!

Two Hours Later
The Autobots approach the Terrorcon position. Scorponok has Tidal Wave stay behind to guard the Energon siphons and takes Insecticon and Battle Ravage to face the Autobots. Cruellock and Divebomb circle around to try to ambush the Autobots from behind. As the Terrorcons move in, Optimus combines with his OP units while Jetfire and Ironhide combine into Powerlinx Jetfire. At the last second, they both jump allowing the Terrorcon blasts to go under them and hit each other! Just then, Inferno, Arcee and Signal Flare attack too, pouring on a combination of Energon and firepower.

The battle is joined and chaos ensues. Divebomb realizes that the Autobots are actually i>overloading the Terrorcons with Energon. Scorponok orders close quarters combat until he realizes that one Autobot is missing: Hot Shot!

Nearby Tidal Wave has the Energon siphons set to go. Kicker is in an energy cage, unhappy. He insults Tidal Wave, and when the Terrorcon threatens him, he finds a gun to his head, courtesy of Hot Shot! With Tidal Wave down for the moment, Strongarm gives Kicker a suit that will help him in the coming fights. Tidal Wave is about to get up, but Skyblast flies into the scene and blasts him. The Terrorcon is not afraid however. He transforms into his vehicle mode and begins to blast away at the Omnicon, who dodges the blasts. Kicker gets into Hot Shot and tells the Autobots to get away fast.
Before he realizes it, the Energon siphons overload and Tidal Wave is caught in a tremendous blast! Kicker explains that the Energon they were tapping wasn't pure, causing the explosion.

Scorponok sees the explosion from a distance and realizes he has failed again. Optimus is taking him down when suddenly he and the others are pulled into Warp Gates by Unicron's heralds.

The day is won, and Prime thanks the Omnicons for their help. Rad is afraid the Autobots are going to leave again, but Prime decides to stay this time - and tell the entire world in the process!

Story:
The conclusion of the "What lies beneath" storyline is a satisfying one, not because it resolves the
Energon storyline or anything that severe. Rather, it ends what feels like a prologue to the larger Energon tale. We now have a good idea of various character abilities and personalities. Most of all, we see many of our characters reunited. When Rad and Alexis meet up with Prime and Hot Shot, the scene was nicely done, short and sweet, just enough to keep continuity going on the Earth front, then the action kicks in again.

The Autobot victory in this episode is a great one because we saw how they tried the brute strength method in the last issue and soundly failed. This time they planned things out and called in back up. I'm also glad to see Ironhide and Jetfire using their Powerlinking capability. I kind of wondered why they didn't do it in the last issue, but I suspect it's because they simply underestimated the Terrorcons. This time they learned from their mistakes.

I was very happy with the use of the Omnicons in this issue. With the Terrorcons overtorqued thanks to the Energon powerup, it makes sense that Transformers with Energon weapons would be among the more effective against them. I'm also happy to see the Omnicons are individual Transformers rather than just an army of clones like the animated series shows. Despite their smaller size, they aren't treated as "weaker" or "lower" than the other Transformers, in fact they're set apart as rather special.

The set up here is interesting as we see Optimus Prime intending not only to stay on Earth, but get Earth involved in its own defense, something we will see come into play later in the series.

My one nitpick about this issue is that it didn't address how the Terrorcons snatched Kicker. Last we saw him he was hidden in a construction equipment. I'm sure it wasn't hard for them to just go up to it, grab him and that's it. But a panel or two for that would have been nice.

Notes:

  • This establishes that Kicker can not only detect Energon, but he has a sense of the Energon's purity as well.
  • Energon can interfere with remote operation of equipment.

Artwork:

Joe Ng returns to the title in this issue. His work is just as impressive now as it was before.
One thing I notice Joe likes to do is pour on the details. My favorite panel in the whole issue is where Tidal Wave transforms into his vehicle mode. The scene is dynamic, having Tidal Wave look like he's coming out at you with a really healthy dose of detail and design for the vehicle mode. He could have cheated in many places and leave out lines and levels to the design, but he goes the opposite and makes sure that we fans get a visual treat.

The only panel that confused me was the one with the Omnicons and Inferno. It looks like Arcee is warping in or something in one position then switching to another, but in the context of the scene that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

The coloring in this issue is bright and vibrant, lending a very animated look to the issue. The bright look of Earth is given stark contrast when we see a glimpse inside Unicron, where things are dark and hopeless looking.

The only miscolor I found was with Skyblast, who switches from white, to grey to blue.

Final Thoughts:
A great conclusion to Energon's opening storyline. It sets up some future storylines and sets the stage for bigger things ahead.