Dreamwave Comics "Prime Directives" #3

in 2002, Comic Book Review, Generation One

Dreamwave Comic Books

General Information
Written by: Chris Sarracini
Pencils by: Pat Lee
Inks by: Pat Armstrong, Erik Sander, Ferdinand Poblete
Backgrounds by: Edwin Garcia
Colors by: Ramil Sunga, Gary Yeung, Alan Wang, Talent Pun
Letters by: Dreamer Design
Pre-Press: Kell-O-Graphics

Synopsis:
Spike and Optimus Prime survey the damage done by Lazarus' Transformer attack on the oil drilling site. As Optimus Prime tries to figure out who is responsible, Spike explains that Transformers did it. Prime speculates that he Autobts were being controlled, but to Spike, this is irrelevent.
He angrily tells Prime that no matter what, the Transformer war always hurts innocents and storms off.

General Hallo steps in and tells Prime that he understands the nature of of the Transformers conflict: power. Optimus does not believe this to be true, but before he can say anything else, Hallo's solider radios in and tells him that Lazarus' base has suffered an explosion, allowing it to be tracked. Optimus quickly goes to gather the Autobots as Hallo demands the coordinates immediately. With Jazz, Mirage, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, Trailbreaker and Superion in tow, Optimus races to the scene.

At Lazarus' base, Megatron taunts Lazarus, whom he has on a chain, leading him around like a pet dog. As he checks up on the three Decepticon jets, he finds them playing with the remains of Bumblebee and Cliffjumper. He tells them to gather as he is about to unleash his plan. Inside a chamber, Autobots are strapped to the wall, adding power to a gigantic bubble of liquid metal which begins expanding outward. It overtakes Lazarus, leaving the shape of the man frozen in the metallic ooze. Laserbeak detects the oncoming Autobots, but Megatron is not worried as he and the Decepticons head out to confront their foes.

As the Autobots arrive, they see the metallic liquid overtaking the land and changing it into metal. Megatron arrives on the scene and tells Optimus that it is time to change his view on the humans. He points out that at the first chance they had, they took his Autobots and turned them into slaves.
He wants to create a new Cybertron on Earth, where the Transformers are gods. Optimus refuses and blasts the metal, but it only expands even faster! To further convince Optimus, Megatron reveals that one of the Autobots has joined his side: Grimlock! The Dinobot leader explains that he cannot go on protecting a race that would use him to kill others of their own kind.

Optimus is not phased by this, and a battle ensues. As Autobot and Decepticon fight, the military arrives and General Hallo executes "Operation Clean-Up". Spike is taken aback, but he cannot stop them as they drop a bomb that engulfs the entire battlefield, swallowing all the Transformers in its wake.

To Be Continued...

Story:
This issue features some very nice development in the storyline, and some genuine moments of conflict between our beloved characters.

First we have Spike, who is still filled with anger over his father's death. His rationale that it doesn't matter whether or not the Autobots were being controlled only work son a surface level. By only relying on that, he is ignoring the fact that those Transformers being controlled were his
friends, including Bumblebee whom one could argue was his best friend out of all the Autobots. His anger is not letting him see past the fact that no matter how you look at it, Cybertronians and humans alike are being hurt by Lazarus' plans.

The other conflict and bit of flawed reasoning here is Megatron's. If indeed his only concern was how humans treated Transformers (or other humans for that matter), then he would acknowledge that there are good and bad humans around. His short sighted reasoning of course gets to Dinobot leader Grimlock, who also believes that Lazarus' demonstration of disregard for life can be expanded to all humans. In this sense, we can applaud Prime's response each step of the way. At no time does he give in to these half hearted arguments. Rather, he sticks to his guns both figuratively and literally.

Interestingly enough, the plotline of turning Earth into a "new Cybertron" has been done twice before. In the classic episodes "The Key to Vector Sigma" and "City of Steel", Megatron's plans revolved around converting Earth structures (or Earth itself) into Cybertronian structures. However, the involvement of the Earth military and Lazarus helps to set this story apart from those two.

Artwork:

Pat Lee's art continues to impress, especially since this is the first issue where we get to see good deal of Transformer to Transformer battle. It was nice to see the usual detail level that Lee uses on standing shots and poses also utilized during the battle scene. The shot of Superion's hand
trying to crush Soundwave is very nicely done, conveying the power and size of Superion quite well.

I did find two design decisions quite interesting. Well, one design and one color decision anyhow. When Megatron tells the Decepticon jets to stop fooling around, note that each of them has golden colored eyes. Thus goes against the standard thinking of having all Decepticons have red eyes. However, what this does do is follow the toy models, which had gold stickers for the eyes. A nice little touch.

The nice design decision involves Laserbeak, who is mostly based on his toy model here as well. This includes drawing the network of mechanical tubes and details in his wings, as well as giving him the extra "lasers" aside from the two mounted on his back. Both of these features are present in the original toy. Although details like this are certainly not needed, they add to the overall quality of the artwork.

Final Thoughts:
Issue #3 is where things really start to kick off. The ending is a nice cliffhanger and the battle scene is nicely drawn. Recommended. A-