Dreamwave Comics "War and Peace" #2

in 2003, Comic Book Review, Generation One

Dreamwave Comic Books

General Information
Written by: Brad Mick
Pencils by: Pat Lee
Inks by: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds by: Edwin Garcia
Colors by: Espen Grundetjern, Alan Wang
Letters by: Paul Villafuerte

Synopsis:
At the Autobot headquarters in Oregon, we see Ramjet getting torn apart by the base defense systems. Ultra Magnus orders the Autobots to surrender, claiming they have committed crimes against Cybertron. Inside the base, Optimus, Grimlock and Jazz watch in horror. Jazz can't believe that Magnus is a traitor while
Grimlock
offers to stop Magnus once and for all. Optimus knows better, it is not the Decepticon cause that Magnus is loyal to, it is Cybertron itself. Even with this understanding, Optimus wonders if Cybertron could indeed finally be at peace, and where Shockwave might be...

On the shuttle heading to Cybertron, Shockwave brutally disciplines Starscream for getting rid of Megatron. Starscream tries to play things off innocently, but Shockwave knows better, and threatens to deactivate him if he tries anything again.

Upon landing on Cybertron, Thundercracker and Skywarp are amazed that the Decepticons have conqured Iacon, but Shockwave corrects them. It is not the Decepticons who have triumphed, The Autobots and Decepticons have united as "Cybertronians" now instead. Starscream is still skeptical as he sees
nothing but a "unified" Cybertron under one Decepticons' command: Shockwave.

On Earth, Blitzwing is about to level a town to get Prime to surrender, but Magnus stops him. There is no need for violence however as Optimus Prime appears with a few Autobots and surrenders with Bumblebee, Ironhide and Bluestreak beside him. Elsewhere, Jazz, Ratchet, Brawn, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Wheeljack and Windcharger head to
Portland Oregon.

Back on Cybertron, Twin Twist is going a bit stir crazy until Perceptor contacts the Jumpstarters. He tells them that power anomalies seem to indicate that Cybertron is moving!

At Shockwave's command center, he explains to the Decepticons that they will have Energy Transfer Modules installed. This will allow them to draw energy from Cybertron itself. Perceptor contacts Shockwave and sends the Decepticons off to refuel.

On Earth, the Autobots are boarding Sky Lynx. Blitzwing tries to knock Prime around but the Autobot leader smashes him away. When Magnus tries to console him, he calls him a traitor and knocks Magnus away too! Magnus tells Optimus he will let this go this one time. Optimus feels more betrayed than ever before.

Onboard Sky Lynx, Optimus is thrown into a cell with Prowl, Bluestreak, Gears, Hound, Mirage and Cliffjumper. They explain to Prime that it was
Mirage who gave them up.
Prowl wants to give Shockwave's new regime a chance, eager for peace. Gears is also enthusiastic about the idea, but Bluestreak is not so sure.

On Earth, Grimlock trudges through the Arctic and finds a secret base left over by Megatron. Inside, he finds a Decepticon shuttle and a crew: the other four Dinobots in stasis!

Back on Cybertron, Thundercracker and Skywarp are enjoying Energon baths and getting maintenance as they consider their options when it comes to following Shockwave. Skywarp is content to side with whomever is the strongest, something Thundercracker is not so sure about.

Shockwave meanwhile offers Soundwave the role of his lieutenant before being called away on other matters. As Soundwave considers this, he suddenly hears a noise and dispatches Ravage to investigate. Ravage is zapped and Starscream quickly gets the jump on Soundwave...

Meanwhile, Reflector has detected Sky Lynx returning to Cybertron. Shockwave contacts the shuttle and tells Ultra Magnus that as soon as Sky Lynx arrives on Cybertron, the captured Autobots must be deactivated. Despite all he hasdone, this is not an option that Ultra Magnus likes.

To Be Continued...

Story:
This issue was rather predictable. Most of it feels like set up for the rest of the series, and in any mini-series, you will always get that in one issue or another. Given that, this issue provides some really nice moments. It is interesting to see that even some of Optimus' own troops are willing to "give peace a chance", showing that it doesn't take brainwashing on Shockwave's part to convert Transformers, just the promise of peace.

Some of the most powerful moments in this issue happen between Ultra Magnus and Optimus Prime. Prime striking Magnus and calling him traitor at the same time was really well done. It's like a cathartic release that the readers have been looking for since the last issue. You almost wish that the strike would somehow "wake up" Ultra Magnus, but the gratifying this is that it doesn't and Optimus is resigned to his fate.

Of course, Prime wouldn't be Prime without a back up plan, and it's neat to see that he dispatched most of the Autobots on different missions while heb asically sets himself up as a decoy.

I liked little things in this issue such as the use of Mini-Spies as characters repairing Skywarp and Thundercracker. I also liked the way Optimus surrendered, taking off the Autobot symbol and placing it on the ground, similar to how Optimus Prime surrendered in the Generation One comic series to Scorponok.

There are some nice character moments here that help to distinguish characters from each other. Note how Gears is all for the "Shockwave peaceplan" while Bluestreak isn't so sure. I also like how Shockwave tells the Decepticons to report to Octane for fueling.

The issue ends with a challenge to Magnus. Is he so devoted to Shockwave'scause that he doesn't see what's really happening? The next issue will
tell.

Artwork:

Pat Lee's art continues to shine, albeit with a couple reservations. The panel at the beginning of the issue is fantastic, showing Ramjet getting wrecked by Autobot defenses. Cybertron looks fantastic, with some nods to the rather dark aesthetic we had in Beast Machines. It's also neat how Shockwave has worked himself into Cybertron's landscape with the big tower that resembles his head and the security cameras that do the same.

The best panel in the comic is where Optimus punches out Magnus. There was a lot of raw power to that picture, you just felt bad for Optimus and mad at Magnus at the
same time.

Lee needs to be a bit more careful about proportions. I've mentioned in the past how some of his 'bots look downright "puffy". In the panel where Optimus sees Prowl in Sky Lynx's holding cell, Prowls thighs are huge, his body isextremely wide - but his "car door" wings are so small they're mostly
obscured. I'm also not fond of how
the Autobots with crests and horns on their heads have them drawn as blocky parts whereas I prefer them to come to sharp points - but that's a bias based on seeing them drawn that way in the animated series more than anything else.

The coloring work is top notch. I like the way Cybertron is colored dark, but with spotlights reaching into the sky. The parts with the Energon baths also look great, with the energon glowing nicely against the dark colors in the room.

Final Thoughts:
This is a good, calm issue with a couple moments of explosive action that help keep the issue from being dull. It is interesting to see how several Autobots and Decepticons are okay with Shockwave's plan while others question it. I'm also glad they're avoiding the cliche of having Shockwave use some mind control device or something. It just seems the Transformers are so tired of fighting, they're willing to
accept almost anything other than conflict. An interesting issue.