Comics

Transformers Vol. 3: All Fall Down – Comic Review

Transformers Vol. 3 – All Fall Down is the latest TPB from the folks at IDW Publishing. It collects Transformers 2019 #19-24 and Transformers: Galaxies #7-12. Here’s a summary of what to expect in each issue. Warning: contains spoilers!

Transformers #19 – 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.

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Transformers #20 – The slow, inexorable slide into civil war continues apace. We’re introduced to some new faces and some familiar ones. Hound makes an appearance and it looks like he’s got a bit of an eco-warrior thing going on but doesn’t get too much characterisation beyond that. Sideswipe is there, hot headed, eager to prove himself, there’s Nightbeat, Mindwipe (Remember him? He was a Headmaster!), Prowl, who is really done being polite with people and we get to see what Swindle is up to.

Transformers #21 – It’s time for some new characters, and the reappearance of a character briefly introduced back in Issue #3. Azimuth is on patrol with Beachcomber, Geomotus and another red bot called Landmine. They find Leviathan trapped in a crevice but before they can do much more they are ambushed by Rumble, Frenzy, Fangry, Triggerhappy and another bot called… Rage? I think? Meanwhile, Megatron continues to up the ante by broadcasting a massive hologram over the city, denouncing the actions of the Autobots and calling for more bots to rise up and join the Decepticon cause.

Transformers #22 – This issue opens with Sixshot doing what he does best – Mayhem. The fight, however, is swiftly interrupted by a rather grumpy and now-transformed Leviathan who brings the fight to a swift and unceremonious end. With Quake now in custody Sentinel Prime does a rather silly thing… brings the killer of one of the newly forged Autobots right through the middle of the city with only a minimal guard because we need to send a signal that we’ve got everything under control. Things go about as well as you might expect. In the midst of all the inevitable riot, Quake makes a break for it only to run straight into the Voin Asserter and its squad.

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Transformers #23 – The fecal matter finally hits the revolving blades. No more subtlety, no more playing by the rules, no more hiding behind the Rise. Orion Pax tries one last time to get through to Megatron, to try and stop what’s about to happen but Megatron isn’t interested. Megatron addresses the senate and his speech is the signal for his troops to strike, eliminating key locations around Cybertron while at the same time his troops invade the Senate building and take the Senators hostage. Finally, the other shoe has dropped. Now it’s war.

Transformers #24 – Moves away from the immediate action to catch up with Wheeljack and his crew on the Winged Moon, trying to stop it from crashing into Cybertron’s sun now that the tether is no longer holding it in place. His attempts to McGyver a solution seem to be in vain as a Decepticon strike team arrives to steal the moon and claim the energon for the Decepticon cause. It’s actually quite a light-hearted issue, a break away from all the horrors going on down on the surface. There’s some flashbacks to before the war, showing that Wheeljack was one friends with Termagax and what happened to eventually cause her to walk away from Megatron and the Ascenticons.

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Transformers: Galaxies #7 – Time to check in and see what’s been going on with Arcee, Greenlight and Gauge after we saw them flee the violence on Cybertron. For those who need a reminder, Gauge is officially the youngest of the Transformers, having been forged after the death of Rubble in the mainline series and Arcee and Greenlight were jointly her mentors. The story picks up with the Reversionists and some time has passed, it seems. Gauge is now a Reversionist, spending her days as a Curate, her life dictated by prayer and ritual but all the time she’s doing this, she dreams, she thinks, she questions, things that set her apart from those around her. Into this life of rigid routine and regimen sneaks a glitch, something that taunts her from monitors, trying to tell her something, something that will eventually lead her to forbidden knowledge and forbidden parts of the ship.

Transformers: Galaxies #8 – Gauge has followed the mysterious signal and found her way down through the Reversionist ship, discovering her mentors Arcee and Greenlight locked up. Just one little problem, she doesn’t know who they are or why she should trust them. One handy memory-dump later and both Gauge and the reader are brought up to speed. It seems that the Reversionists weren’t pleased to find non-believers on their ship and they locked up the two older ones while doing bad, bad things to poor newly-forged and still pliable Gauge. Gauge now has to decide who she wants to trust, the bots around her on the ship, a ship where she seems out of place and ill at ease, or the bots trapped behind bars who claim to be her friends and mentors?

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Transformers: Galaxies #9 – The Plenary’s fairly unpleasant plan is finally laid bare and it’s up to Arcee, Greenlight and Gauge to stop it. It also turns out that Gauge and her abilities are fairly central to the Plenary’s plan to cleanse this particular planet of unbelievers so the Reversionists can move in and take over. Gauge has to pick a side, to decide whether to believe Arcee or the Plenary. It’s all up to her, to either warn people and fight back, or go along with what the Plenary claims is the will of Primus. Of the Galaxy storylines so far, this one is the least interesting, which is a shame. There are just a few too many inconsistencies in the storyline and the Plenary is something of a one note Thanos-lite villain.

Transformers: Galaxies #10 – And it’s time to check in with the not yet duly appointed enforcer of the Tyrest Accord – GENERAL Ultra Magnus. Here we find him out kicking ass and taking names, only to pulled off his mission and instead sent in pursuit of the missing Alpha Trion. A simple search and rescue operation swiftly becomes more suspicious and dangerous when it becomes clear that not only has someone deliberately tried to conceal the trail of Alpha Trion’s ship, they’ve also walked straight into a den of “Splice Thieves”. It’s not clear exactly who they are or what they do to the bots they capture but it’s suggested that their victims are broken down for parts, one piece at a time. But to find Alpha Trion, Magnus must set aside his anger and hatred and join forces with the exiled bot known as Spinister.

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Transformers: Galaxies #11 – Kicking things off with a flashback to show a little more of the relationship between Alpha and Magnus, we discover Alpha Trion’s ship is stranded near the event horizon of an Interstellar-style black hole. During the rescue mission we discover that shooting Magnus in the face is actually a terrible idea and that Victory Leo exists in this continuity There’s a lot of moralising in this story, so be prepared for a LOT of text and back and forth arguing over the rights and wrongs of violence and chopping bots up into ittybitty bits. Magnus is genuinely intimidating in this storyline, a bot you really do not want to mess with. We are also briefly introduced to a strangely familiar bot going by the name of Soundblaster.

Transformers: Galaxies #12 – This issue is mostly just action on top of action. Magnus braves the black hole to rescue Alpha Trion from his ship before it’s torn apart, only to discover that Soundblaster is disinclined to part with a resource as valuable as one of the oldest Autobots of all time. A brisk and violent round of negotiations follows which ends with Magnus and Trion fleeing the ship and Soundblaster getting left to his fate. On their way back home to Cybertron the crew discover that being around a singularity does weird things to time and they’ve been away from home for a long, long time.

All in all, this TPB is a strong offering, covering the real beginning of the Autobot/Decepticon war, and while the Gauge storyline is not the best, the Ultra Magnus/Alpha Trion arc is far more entertaining. Definitely one to pick up if you don’t own the individual issues!

Transformers Vol. 3: All Fall Down is out now from IDW Publishing.

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