Dreamwave Comics "War and Peace" #3

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 and Gary Yeung
Letters by: Paul Villafuerte

Synopsis:
On Cybertron 3,000 years ago, Shockwave is being hunted by a pack of Sharkticons. Never having sensed fear before, he is now overcome by it as the creatures move in for the kill. But just as he does so, Scourge comes to save him, tearing through the Sharkticons easily. Shockwave is amazed, calling Scourge "possibly the most efficient killing machine ever engineered".

In the present day, we see Shockwave explaining that finding Scourge was the first step to finding his victim: Alpha Trion!

On Earth, Jazz, Windcharger and Brawn try to find the pod that brought Scourge to Earth, as well as Scourge himself. They are having little luck. Unbeknownst to them, humans are watching their every move! Inside the human base, we see that Scourge has been taken by humans to be re-engineered and used much like Lazarus did in the previous mini-series. However, Scourge's design is proving much more complex and difficult to decipher.

Meanwhile, in orbit above Cybertron, the stolen Decepticon shuttle with the Dinobots goes crashing into Cybertron. Nearby, Hot Rod, Blurr and Springer see this and believe more Decepticons have arrived. Shockwave has also seen the crash, and dispatches Octane to find the wreckage and nvestigate. He then gives Rumble and Frenzy a chance to redeem themselves by installing a disc at the Detention Banks in Quadrant Epsilon. The two promise not to fail and windup almost getting stomped on by Ultra Magnus in the hallway. They protest, but he tells them that he is no mood for
them.

Ultra Magnus confronts Shockwave, questioning his order to terminate the Autobots. Shockwave shows footage from the Earth battles, claiming that Prime and the others are just savages who lose control of themselves. These images are broadcast all over Cybertron for the general population to see.

Inside the detention cells, Optimus is in deep thought, wondering if Cybertron believes the Autobots have become monsters. Ironhide tries to make Prime feel better, downplaying the footage being shown.

In the Wastelands of Cybertron, Octane is riding on top of a vehicle (that looks a lot like Sixshot) when he finds the Dinobots in the shuttle wreckage. He points his gun at Slag, who wakes up - quite unhappy.

At the Detention Banks, Frenzy and Rumble follow Shockwave's orders. We discover that this center holds the deactivated Stunticons, considered some of the most dangerous Transformers on Cybertron. Just as the pair is about to leave, Starscream appears at the door - null ray ready to fire!

At the Central Hall in Iacon, Perceptor and Ultra Magnus are pleading with the Autobots there to listen to their warnings. Skids is not ready to act out yet, but Inferno seems quite willing. Suddenly, Red Alert receives a warning: the Stunticons are loose! Ultra Magnus quickly snaps to action, arming himself heavily and getting a group of Autobots to follow him including Whirl, Topspin and Roadbuster.

Elsewhere, the Dinobots seem to have recovered nicely as they ride the tank vehicle to Iacon as Slag plays with the head of the fallen Octane.

In Iacon, victims are being tossed into the Smelting Pools, dying as their forms are melted in huge vats. Shockwave watches as he orders the prisoners to be prepared for transport. Blitzwing wonders about Ultra Magnus and Shockwave explains that he has arranged for the Autobot commander to be occupied. Suddenly, the ground shakes, knocking the Decepticons off their feet! Inside the jail cells, Sandstorm and Broadside break the Autobots out as the Dinobots attack outside!

Optimus follows Sandstorm through the old Slave Trails when suddenly the Autobot triple changer is blasted by Runabout! The Battle Charger is about to shoot Optimus as well until a Sharkticon jumps into the fray and tears him apart. The Sharkticon then lunges at Optimus!

To Be Continued...

Story:
It's great to see that at the mid-way point of the storyline, we have new mysteries arise and some good action gaining momentum. Mick has a good grasp on keeping the balance of the two, not giving away too much at once while whetting our appetites for more. Scourge, whom we assumed was just a regular 'con in the first issue now appears to be something more sinister. Could his advanced wiring and tech be a sign that he's from the future? Or better yet, a creation of a certain Dark God?
Time will tell.

The use of Sharkticons here is also interesting. Are they left overs from a Quintesson era? A failed experiment to create Transformer drone warriors? It will be interesting to see how that is explained (if it is explained).

We are given an interesting look at Shockwave. Ever logical, we see that he is capable of extreme emotion such as fear, it just takes the right stimulus (like overwhelming odds). It also seems that between 3,000 years ago and now he increased his physical power a lot. Whereas in the past a bunch of Sharkticons put the fear in him, he was easily able to trash Scourge in the first issue.

Seeing Alpha Trion was quite a surprise, and a welcome one. Shockwave mentions Trion being the "key", which may be a clever allusion to Alpha Trion being a key to Vector Sigma, the super computer on Cybertron. Of course, I'm makinga lot of assumptions here, but it is possible. The scene with Alpha Trion is also cute in the sense that it shows his "code" as looking a lot like the
green, scrolling code from the Matrix movies.

I love how Shockwave is trying to use propaganda to "win over" more Transformers to his side and away from Prime's. The broadcasting of the war images was a perfect moment. Also, look for Swerve, Tracks, Seaspray, Pipes, Tailgate, Smokescreen, Beachcomber and Warpath all in one panel. I also have to compliment Mick on how he wrote Ironhide trying to give Prime a pep talk. The dialogue sounded like Peter Cullen himself could read it in Ironhide's voice and make it perfect. It's just the thing Ironhide would do in the situation and his loyalty to Prime shines through.

I also think using the Stunticons as the "insane guys even Shockwave can't control" is a great idea. However, the detention center had nine tubes that we could see, I'm curious who was in the other four!

It was good to see that Ultra Magnus is finally coming to his senses. His argument at the Central Hall was perfect, and Inferno showed that there are some Autobots who have been waiting for this chance for a while now. I also found it cool how four of the Autobots Magnus gathers were part of the elite "Wreckers" crew from the original Generation One comic book run: Topspin, Twin Twist, Whirl
and Roadbuster. Magnus even makes a cheeky remark about "wrecks..." Perfect!

In another nice homage to the G1 comic book, we get to see Shockwave's version of the "Smelting Pools", which some fans will remember as being used by Lord Straxus in the original comic book series on Cybertron. It adds a sinister edge to the pools when you consider they are located in Iacon.

As for the last parts of the issue, all I can say is I feel sorry for Sandstorm. He just didn't stand much of a chance did he? Now we wonder if Prime is fish food or not!

Artwork:

One thing I kept an eye out for in this issue was Pat Lee's "puffy" Transformers becoming "over-puffy", and thankfully that did not happen. Everyone looked in fine form in this issue. I'm ecstatic to see that Alpha Trion was not altered in any way (other than being made to look damaged, which makes sense in the context of the story).

I also liked how a lot of little tid-bits were thrown in here and there by the artists which enriched the story:

  • When the humans see Jazz, the file they have on him shows his "J Name" (Japanese Name) as "Meister" and his "A Name" (American Name) as Jazz. This
    is following the convention of the toys who do have different names depending on what country you're in.
  • Not that this is new, but the color artist make sure that Wheeljack's "ears" light up when he talks.
  • The tank that Octane (and later the Dinobots) ride looks a lot like Sixshot's tank mode.
  • Making the scope on Runabout's gun a laser scope was a neat touch.
  • Alpha Trion has the mind reading device near his head, but with its glow and the way he's positioned, it's hard not to think of him as being "crucified". Shockwave calling him a "Savior"
    in the same panel helps this allusion.

On another note, Lee obviously favors using the actual toys for the basis of his character models with very few exceptions (such as Ironhide and Ratchet). However, I am very glad to see that for the Sharkticons, he decided to go with the "Movie models" which look much more fierce in my opinion.

Final Thoughts:
This issue builds things up really well, and offers enough surprises, carnage and fun to make any Transformers fan happy. I'm glad to see things continue to get introduced even in this "middle bridge" issue. It's also great to see Shockwave being more sinister and Magnus waking up from his peaceful stupor. A very good issue.