Dreamwave Comics "War and Peace" #4

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: Ben Lee

Synopsis:
Menasor is loose and he's on a rampage through Quadrant Epsilon! Defensor has been defeated, and the Omnibots are trashed. There is hope however as Roadbuster, Whirl, Topspin and Twin Twist are led onto the battlefield by Ultra Magnus. Verbally taunting the five individual Stunticons, causing
them to conflict and argue with each other, slowing Menasor down. This buys time for
his team to get some shots in before he crashes into Menasor's face, sending the giant collapsing.

At Iacon, Grimlock orders the Dinobots to head to the central tower while he goes to fight Shockwave. Blitzwing is still there to defend his leader however, and the two cross swords.

Meanwhile, Broadside is transporting Ironhide, Prowl, Bluestreak, Gears, Hound, Bumblebee and Mirage to a secret location. Once they arrive, they are introduced to Smokescreen, who has been assigned to take Prowl to yet, another secret location. Prowl agrees and Ironhide insists on going too. As the three walk, they follow tunnels normally used for waste disposal to get to the old Slave Trails. Along the way they see an Autobot symbol burned into a wall, which Smokescreen explains was done by a group of Autobots who helped to "wake up" much of Cybertron's population.

Elsewhere, Optimus Prime awakes from stasis lock to find the Sharkticon staring at him! He lashes out but Blurr and Wheelie try to stop him. Hot Rod comes into the room, his blasters pointed at Prime. He explains the Sharkticon is actually an ally. Kup slaps Hot Rod in the back of the head for even pointing his guns at Prime.

In Iacon, the Dinobots are making progress until something very big and dangerous stops them! Grimlock loses communication with them but before he can do anything about it, Ultra Magnus downs him with a missile! Grimlock then loses consciousness as Blitzwing stomps on him.

Back at the Resistance HQ, Kup shows Optimus Prime around, introducing him to the other Autobots and even showing him a Decepticon in captivity (Runamuck). He also explains that Wheelie is an orphan and that somehow he and Gnaw, the Sharkticon have formed a bond. He also introduces Hot Rod (formally), arcee and Blaster. Blaster explains that Shockwave has been sending out subliminal
signals to make the Transformers more aggressive in nature, in essence, preparing them for war.

Suddenly, Springer arrives with Smokescreen and Ironhide. I presume Prowl is there too, but he is not shown in the panels. Ironhide and Kup share a happy reunion but it has to be cut short. Springer explains that the "Sentinels" have been activated - and that spells trouble for everyone!

To Be Continued...

Story:
The whole sequence with Menasor is one of those that fans should treasure. Sure it has action, that's a given. But it also has some interesting characterization bits. We see Magnus not only remembering lessons learned from Optimus, but how he has forgotten them over the years. Magnus has finally come around and realized that Shockwave was doing nothing but telling lies the entire time.

Mick must love Ironhide. He writes the character so well. Not just in his speech patterns, but also in the choice of words and actions. We see Ironhide being every bit as protective of Prowl (the "current leader") as he would be of Optimus. It's also a great moment to see Ironhide and Kup being so happy to see each other again (after all, they did fight together in "War Within", so we know they have a history together).

Using Gnaw as an ally of the Autobots is a really nice touch. I never thought I'd actually feel sorry for a Sharkticon, but the frightened way he looks up at Prime and the way Wheelie treats him like a pet is just too cute for words. I actually felt bad for Gnaw when Prime hit him. Wow, there's something I never thought I'd write! On a related note, seeing Wheelie trying to bite Prime was hilarious.

Hot Rod being overprotective of Arcee was a nice character touch. It was also to see Blaster so enthralled by Earth culture. While I did like Blaster's portrayal in Generation One comic book, he was a rather grim character who didn't have any of the love for Earth culture that was portrayed in the G1 cartoon. This Blaster seems to lean towards the G1 cartoon portrayal.

The ending is a chilling one. Massive Guardian Robots (called "Sentinels" here) ready to stop any opposition. Obviously Shockwave's been doing some planning behind the scenes!

Artwork:

Strong visuals are one of Dreamwave's trademarks, and this issue is no different. A lot of panels here just jumped out of the page including:

  • Menasor crushing Defensor under his foot.
  • Magnus smashing into Menasor's face.
  • The Sentinels on the last page

Of particular note (although I'm not sure if it's a pencil, ink or color detail) are the scar marks on Grimlock when he faces Shockwave. They look really nice, gritty and real on the Dinobot commander. Another interesting art choice was making Grimlock and Blitzwing's swords both "light saber" type swords that have energy crackling through them.

Neat little art tid-bits:

  • Smokescreen rubbing his faction symbol to show the Autobot symbol.
  • A Devcon-like robot in the hallway as Smokescreen and Prowl talk.
  • The puff of smoke as Prime drops Wheelie.

Final Thoughts:
The stakes get raised as the Resistance grows but one of the greatest Autobots is trashed. With some neat cameos and an imminent sense of doom, this issue really makes you eager to see what's next!