Transformers #19 and now it has a – Rise of the Decepticons or “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine” and there’s a whole lot of ground to cover. Megatron scrambles to not only secure his position within the Ascenticons/Decepticons, he decides to clean house starting with not just Elita-1 but also with Bumblebee who has most definitely outlived any usefulness he might have had. The focus of the story here is on Bumblebee attempting to stay alive as he’s ambushed by the Ravage-esque Catgut and another Decepticon called Treadshot. There’s an interesting aside that the two of them were once stranded without access to energon, and having to feed off something called nucleon left them permanently stuck in a single form, unable to transform ever again.
This is actually a lovely little nod back to the original Gen 1 continuity (US issue #70), where Grimlock went searching for a “miracle fuel” on a planet called Hydrus Four in an attempt to revive the rest of the Dinobots. In that continuity the loss of ability to transform was part of an evolution/transformation into an Action Master because yay for selling the kids another set of shiny new toys.
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Anyway, back to our current plot. While this is going on, Sentinel Prime just doesn’t quite seem to grasp how far out of control things have gotten, ignoring the warnings and pleadings of Orion Pax he continues to throw his weight around as if the Autobots are still the ones calling the shots. With this sort of hubris on display we can no doubt expect him to meet a nasty, gruesome end, though this wouldn’t be the first time Sentinel has come down with a serious case of death and somehow managed to walk it off. We end with Shockwave getting some bad news and the stage is set for issue #20!
A quick shout out for the variant cover art here. The Convention Exclusive cover shows Megatron holding the decapitated head of Optimus Prime/Orion Pax while crushing Bumblebee’s head underfoot. It’s a lovely bit of work with a very Gen 1 art-style aesthetic to it.
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There are, in fact, so many nods and winks to Gen 1 in this one. For example we have the appearance of some other familiar faces such as Ratbat. I’ve loved that guy ever since he showed up in the Gen 1 Space Bridge storyline. Some other familiar faces show up in the forms of Runabout and Runamuck, the Battle Chargers. Terrible toys, for the record. Their schitck was that they had a friction motor, so you could pull them back and let them go and as they trundled along they would pop up into robot form. Nice gimmick, but it made them very limited in terms of the mould because they couldn’t transform in the normal way. Their arms were sticks, they had no legs or feet or much of anything beyond the pop-up trick. Nice idea, bad execution, as was common for so many of the toys from back then.
Anyway, enough rambling about all the Gen 1 connections in this series. A serious tip of the hat to the writers, though, who really do seem to know their lore, making this current run a gem for old school fans.
Transformers #19 is out now from IDW Publishing.