Dreamwave Comics: "The War Within" #2

in 2003, Comic Book Review, Generation One

Dreamwave Comics

General Information:
Title: Transformers The War Within #2
Cover Price: $2.95 (US)
Publisher: Dreamwave Productions
Written by: Simon Furman
Pencils by: Don Figueroa
Inks by: Elaine To
Colors by: Rob Ruffolo
Graphic Design by: Kevin Lee
Letters by: Dreamer Design

Synopsis:
At the Decepticon fortress of Kolkular, Megatron watches as his Decepticon forces overrun Cybertron. Starscream is concerned about the Autobots preparing to leave Cybertron, but Megatron has a plan to keep them from leaving.

Meanwhile at Iacon, the Autobots are preparing to abandon Cybertron. None of the Autobots are happy about it, especially Grimlock. While they continue to load material onto the ship, Grimlock stalks off on his own.

Back at the Decepticon fortress, Megatron heads underground to see his true plan being executed by the Constructicons: turning Cybertron into a cosmic dreadnought. The Constructicons are working on the planetary turbines. If activated, the reaction would cause superheated plasma to go through a vent, moving Cybertron itself!

Back at Iacon, Prowl and Optimus discuss the situation. Prowl is not convinced that the plan is the right one. Optimus claims his decision is based on statistical data, a rational, logical decision. Prowl points out that such a decision also needs to come from within. Suddenly, the ground erupts with energy! Autobots are sent scattering, some destroyed. From the sistant Torus State Kaon, Grimlock sees this and heads underground to find the source of the mass destruction.

At the Decepticon base, Megatron explains that he planned everything perfectly, using the war to cover his true plan! He then dispatches Powerglide, Springer, Soundwave, Kickback, Bombshell, Shrapnel and Ravage to track and destroy Optimus Prime!

At Iacon, Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Prowl and Red Alert examine the damage done by Megatron's plasma vent. Optimus realizes that this was Megatron's way of getting his attention. He follows suit, going underground. While investigating, the Decepticons attack!

Back at Iacon, the Autobots try to figure out what's going on without Optimus. Suddenly, the outlying defenses are
activated! Outside, the Decepticons are poised to attack: led by Shockwave!

Review:

Story:
The best thing about this issue of "The War Within" is that almost everything goes against what you expect. No convenient reset button has been hit to keep Optimus from changing his plan of abandoning Cybertron. Megatron's goal is
not just to conquer Cybertron, it's bigger than any of the Autobots suspect. We also get to see Autobots who are not
happy with Prime's decision, but feel duty bound to listen to him.

However, despite all these situations, we can easily see the personalities of whom the Autobots and Decepticons are
or will become. Megatron acts like his usual loyal self, while Starscream shows disagreement with Megatron. Megatron
is in true form here. When Starscream disagrees with him, he puts him down without lifting a finger. His domination of
Cybertron is only a cover for a larger plan. That larger plan in itself is a nod to Generation One, where Megatron stated
that he wanted to turn Cybertron into a "Cosmic Dreadnought" as well! One of the staples of Furman's writing has always been to portray Decepticon leaders as more than just blunderers who lead incompetent troops into battle. Rather, Megatron's speech to the Decepticons offers us a great look at how the Decepticons planned, prepared and struck under his leadership. This Megatron is not only physically powerful, he is also intellectually powerful.

This story keeps the pace going well, and sets up some very interesting turning points in the next issue!

Artwork:

Don Figueroa's artwork continues to please. We get to see a ton of new designs for classic characters. As with the
first issue, he manages to take prominant attributes of those characters from their original Generation One forms
and incorporate them into sleek, powerful looking forms. Perhaps the greatest example of reworking classic characters
are the Insecticons. Clearly they are vehicles in this issue, but they are still instantly recognizable. My personal
favorite are the smoke stacks/pipes on Kickback that we know later will be wings. They are in the same place on the
robot design, and the way they sweep back look very much like his future wings. It was fantastic to see the art not
only remain the same, but get better!

Neat Stuff:

  • In the opening scene, the robot crowd is choc full of robots based on real toys: Marlboro Wheeljack (a version of the G1 toy with a different head), Diaclone jet/chopper/robot triple changer, a Diaclone Dia Battles, the Gobot Cy-Kill and Micromen robots such as the padlock bots, watch bots and Binocular bot.
  • Soundwave's design incorporates an aspect of his toy: the cannon on his left shoulder, which has a different end than the other one. There are also minor influences from the Machine Wars version, especially at the shoulders.
  • The platform that Powerglide is standing on has the letters "FIRRIB" written on it which is an old internet Transformers fan saying meaning "Frenzy is red, Rumble is blue", referring to an ongoing debate about which character is which color based on their toys and television show appearances. As a side note, the robot standing next to Powerglide is Outback.
  • The Insecticons have vehicle modes in this storyline: Bombshell (tank), Kickback (dragster) and Shrapnel (jet).
  • Optimus Prime's vehicle mode is based on a short lived 80's program called "Highwayman" which featured a truck.
  • When Grimlock jumps down and the lightning strikes, it is a homage to the classic "Dark Knight Returns" comic book by Frank Miller.
  • The "cross" on Ratchet's shoulder is really a "C" which stands for "Cybertron"
  • The asian characters on the container that Brawn carries are from the Diaclone Grimlock's box.
  • When plasma is erupting from underneath Cybertron, the blue robot in the foreground is Diaclone Gat-Blocker.
  • Ravage's Cybertronian mode has features of the other cassette warriors Rumble and Frenzy, including the guns on
    his back and the squarish patterns on his chest.
  • Laserbeak's robot/animal form is the same as the form he was shown having in the original Transformers series episode
    "More than meets the eye".
  • Trypticon makes an appearance when Megatron is viewing the battle holograms!

"The War Within" #1 totally rocked, and #2 just escalates the stakes. A definite must have.