Dreamwave Comics "Energon" #24

in 2004, Comic Book Review, Energon

Dreamwave Comic Books

Energon #24 Cover
General Information
Written by: Simon Furman
Pencils by: James Raiz
Inks by: Rob Armstrong
Colors by: Jong-ImLee, Elliot Kravchik & Josh Perez
Letters: Ben Lee

Synopsis:
On Cybertron, Ironhide is having a bit of a daydream, seeing Cybertron erupt with explosions. Suddenly Landquake snaps him out of it, asking where to transport parts. Ironhide tells him and we see that the Autobots are in the midst of an incredible engineering project, with Ironhide using his skills as a large scale engineer to make the whole thing happen. The goal: create a planetary shield! The plan is hardly secret however as Tidal Wave has been observing Ironhide this whole time!

Later, Ironhide and Cliffjumper are driving through the Badlands, sparking bad memories in Ironhide of the time that he was a prisoner of the Decepticons. Suddenly, a portal opens up and Tidal Wave comes out, weapons blazing! Cliffjumper is knocked off the bridge and into a pit of scrap below. Tidal Wave tells Ironhide that he wants the Seismic weapon he developed when he was a prisoner of the Decepticons - if he refuses, Cliffjumper dies! Ironhide relents and follows the Decepticon.

Elsewhere, Jetfire is worried as he wonders (along with Rodimus) just where Ironhide is. He decides to search for his comrade, heading into the Badlands.

Ironhide and Tidal Wave find the site of the weapons and Tidal Wave explains he wants the warhead to destroy Earth to release its Energon! Grudgingly, Ironhide reveals the weapon and gets to work.

In the Badlands, Jetfire is about to give up when he finds Cliffjumper, still unconscious in a scarp pile. He decides to go high and broaden the search pattern.

Back at the site of the weapon, Ironhide has finished his work. Tidal Wave watches in horror as the weapon arms! Ironhide leaps into action and takes on Tidal Wave. Tidal Wave runs for it through his portal. Ironhide then calmly puts the weapon back into the ground where it is rendered harmless.

He later explains what happened to the Autobots, feeling solemn. However, Jetfire explains that his cunning shows that he is becoming more and more of an Autobot everyday!

Story:
The one word I will use to describe this issue is Refreshing. See, Simon Furman has a reputation as being the guy who always writes these big, epic storylines that traverse space and time. But during his run on the G1 title, he wrote lots of smaller scale stories that focused on one particular character, allowing smaller scale characters to get some personality (especially during G1's waning years when there was no cartoon). This issue is a throwback to those types of stories - and it's a welcome one.

The two feature characters here are Ironhide and Tidal Wave. Ironhide is shown to be a lot more mature and older in general than his animated counterpart. Not only is he an engineer, but he was held in a Decepticon prison for a good chunk of time. However, that doesn't mean that he is the most confident Autobot around. He still appears to look towards others for inspiration (Optimus Prime being one he mentions). He chooses to emulate them and help in their cause, but it's something he still is growing into, which is refreshing. It's often easy to just look at an Autobot and think
he or she was always a paragon of good, justice etc. but the key to making Transformers interesting is that some of them need to grow as characters, and we see how Ironhide has gone from fearful prisoner to brave warrior. Excellent character work.

Tidal Wave is written very differently from his animated counterpart. Despite his earlier appearances, this is the first time we really see him just acting on his own without having to react against the other Terrorcons or other Decepticons. Instead of being a big, brutal, loyal machine of destruction, here he's essentially a big bully. He is part of the fear that Ironhide must overcome, and in his own way, Tidal Wave unintentionally makes Ironhide face his fears and conquer them.

While this character play is going on, it is good to see that the larger storyline is being considered. Creating a shield for Cybertron shows that in the aftermath of the attack by Unicron's Heralds, the Autobots aren't just sitting back and doing nothing.

Notes:

  • The Autobots are building a Planetary Shield system, much like the ones created with Energon Towers in the animated series.
  • Ironhide's speciality before joining the Autobots was Large-Scale Engineering.
  • Tidal Wave was Ironhide's jailer.
  • Ironhide was captive for over fifty mega-cycles.
  • The Seismic-Shock weapons were stored in an old spaceport, part of Megatron's plan to escape should he ever need to use the weapons.

Artwork:

James Raiz takes the art chores for this issue, and he brings the issue a very different style than previous artists. Raiz has the ability to balance a robotic look with a fluid look, making the characters look very animated on the printed page. Other artists such as Andrew Wildman were able to accomplish this, and it's nice to see an artist able to take a still image and inject life into it. He plays very well with the facial expressions on characters while still maintaining "robotic" aspects like the "helmet" portions of robot heads the all the firepower on Tidal Wave.

The coloring for this issue was very bright, which contributes to the animated feel of each page. It looks more like you're looking at stills from a cartoon than images drawn just for a comic at times. Excellent job all around.

Final Thoughts:
This is an excellent issue, and actually not a bad place for someone to start reading the title if they missed the previous issues. I love individual character issues and I only find it a shame that the limited nature of the Energon line will not permit too many more issues like this.