IDW Publishing "Defiance" #2 Review
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publication Date: March 4, 2009
Pencils by: Dan Khanna and Andrew Griffith
Inks by: Andrew Griffith with John Wycough
Colors by: Josh Perez
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Edits by: Denton J. Tipton
Long ago on Earth a great battle took place. There was violence and betrayal and at the dawn of mankind's greatest age, the ancestors of modern day humans build a great pyramid but fear lightning from the sky.
On Cybertron, a damaged Megatron lays before the recently uncovered artifact. A voice tells him to awaken! Optimus' teams are digging out their fallen brethren from the recent battle site. As they do so, Prowl speculates about what the aliens wanted. He believes that they may have been after the Allspark. Back in Megatron's chambers, he awakens, his wounds healed. He talks to the artifact, which tells him he must change from the protector of Cybertron to its lord and ruler!
At the battle site, Optimus' team finds some dead aliens and he orders them to be taken back to Ratchet's laboratory for examination. Meanwhile, he heads to Megatron's quarters to check on him. When he opens the door, Megatron orders him to gather his forces for war. Optimus protests, which Megatron responds to by slamming him up against a wall before stalking off. Optimus knows what Megatron is doing is wrong and a determined look crosses his face.
At a nearby hill, the Autobots gather around Optimus. He tells everyone about Megatron's plan and begs them not to join him. He stresses that Autobots are meant to be protector, not aggressors. However, he promises not to reprimand anyone who does choose to join Megatron.
At the city of Trypticon, the Autobots arrive in time to see Megatron giving a speech. He declares war on the alien aggressors and declares that everyone on Cybertron is now under his command. He then orders all flight capable Transformers to join him to attack the aliens while the ground based Transformers are to pick off any survivors. Optimus and the Autobots are shocked and watch on as Megatron leads an aerial group out of Cybertron's obit.
Megatron's attack on the alien fleet is brutal and while the Decepticons lose some of Dreadwing's drones, they easily tear into the alien ship and begin destroying everything inside. Thundercracker, Blackout and Starscream also participate in the battle, reveling in the destruction.
On Cybertron, Optimus talks to Prowl about how he feels about Megatron. Prowl acknowledges that Megatron may not be the best leader for Cybertron, and he explains that his forces are mostly sentries. Optimus asks him if that includes Megatron's quarters and he says yes, giving Optimus an idea.
As Megatron and his warriors stand victorious on the alien ship, he decides to conquer the surrounding planets, and those who do not submit will be destroyed. As he declares this, Optimus, Prowl and Jazz head to Megatron's quarters.
The live action Transformers movie continuity borrows elements from previous Transformers stories, but when it comes to the relationship between Optimus Prime and Megatron, it brings something unique to the table. In most other continuities, Megatron and Optimus did not have much of a working or personal relationship before the war. In the G1 cartoon series, Optimus was Orion Pax, a young Autobot who idolized Megatron because of his ability to fly. In various comic books, Megatron slaughters the previous Autobot leader, paving the way for Optimus to rise up into the role of leadership. As I read this issue, I actually found that by having the two characters act as partners in the operation of Cybertron, it compounds the already obvious tragedy of the Great War.
The tragedy falls on two sides, but on each it pushes the characters towards destiny. Megatron's most telling moment was his declaration that he was Cybertron's protector, something he seemed to emphasize strongly. However, not too deep down inside he does have a lust for power and control, and by manipulating that, The Fallen brought out the worst in Megatron. The irony is that, by the time of the events of the movie, we see that Megatron changed from Cybertron's protector to its destroyer. Seeing the pivotal moments that lead him down this path is both sad and exhilerating at the same time.
On the other side of the coin, Optimus' role changes as well. He clearly embraces the role of a protector, scientist and scholar. Unfortunately for him, events beyond his control are changing the nature of those roles, and instead of applying them all to altruistic pursuits, he will soon have to take on those roles in the theater of war - and then some. Again, it is sad to see this, but exciting as this is the prelude to the hero we know as Optimus Prime being born.
This issue is very "Megatron heavy" and I have to say that it's really interesting if you stare at the character long enough you begin to realize that he must be one annoying character to have to draw repeatedly. The first panel he appears in where he's unconscious is really nicely drawn. You can see details from his vehicle form along with a complex set of details on his arms and back. Khanna and Griffith do a great job of giving not only complex detail, but the posture of an animal stalking its prey. He is often shown hunched over, claws seemingly moving even as still images. When he strikes, it may be scary but it's awesome at the same time. Seeing him tear through the alien crew mercilessly reinforces just why this is not a Transformer you want to mess with!
There are a couple of crowd scenes in this issue, most notably when Optimus is talking to the Autobots. Look carefully and you'll see a couple super fun cameos. On page 14 you'll see Camshaft, Grindcore, Wingblade and Smokescreen watching Optimus speak. On page 15 you'll see Beast Machines Jetstorm, Wheelie, Beast Wars Bighorn and G1 Brawn! I love it when artists show they are fans of the series, and to include cameos such as these definitely indicates someone who enjoys a product line as well as working on an associated comic book.
I enjoyed this issue, though like its predecessor it is rather light on action. Seeing the tension between Optimus and Megatron result in two disparate paths is a tragic, yet it certainly shows destiny taking its course. Definitely a good set up, and we get more information on how Megatron went from Cybertron's protector to a conqueror.