IDW Publishing: "Regeneration One" Issue 85 Comic Book Review
Title: "Loose Ends" Part Five
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: November 7, 2012
Writer: Simon Furman
Penciler: Andrew Wildman
Inker: Stephen Baskerville
Colorist: John-Paul Bove
Letterer: Chris Mowry
Editor: John Barber
Editor in Chief: Chris Ryall
The battle for Earth has begun! With his Autobot forces, Optimus Prime has found Megatron and immediately orders his troops into action. He finds Megatron crouched over Springer and tells him to let him go. Before Optimus can react, Megatron blasts Springer's head completely off! This sets off a wave of rage and guilt in Optimus and he begins to charge at Megatron, pummeling the Decepticon leader mercilessly!
Nearby, the Autobots begin to fight the "zombie" Decepticons. They're surrounded but don't give up. Instead, they fight back and begin to take down the Decepticons one by one. As all this chaos continues, the Scraplet infected Kup slowly makes his way towards the imprisoned body of Ratchet...
As Optimus Prime and Megatron continue their struggle, Megatron reveals that regardless of the battle's outcome, the Ark has been programmed to launch all its missiles, obliterating everyone! Megatron's plan isn't to win, it's pure annihilation!
Yukon Territory, Canada
The Wreckers are locked in a struggle with the "Guardians" protecting the Ark. Everyone makes valiant efforts, but ultimately Roadbuster realizes it is Spike who has to get into the Ark to stop it. As the Autobots and humans in battle suits provide cover, Spike heads into the gigantic ship.
Cybertron, the Hall of Silence
Hot Rod, Blurr, Grapple and other Autobots are investigating the break in at the Hall of Silence. The base was supposed to be impregnable, but it has been broken into and a "null field" has been put into place, keeping everyone out. What the Autobots can't figure out is how the Decepticons are planning to get out since the field won't let them out. It is revealed that the Hall of Silence contains the "Matrix reservoir", no doubt based on Thunderwing having once possessed the artifact, and that the Autobots would sooner destroy it than let it fall into enemy hands!
Earth, Washington D.C.
The battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron has escalated, with each leader tearing each other to pieces! Meanwhile, First Aid has caught up with Kup and innoculates him against the Scraplets, hoping that he's arrived on time. Kup hasn't forgotten what Starscream told him however and he asks First Aid for his weapon. First Aid is reluctant at first, but he relents and Kup asks him to steady him as he takes aim at Ratchet's head.
Inside The Ark, Spike confronts Auntie. She detects him as a virus and seeks to purge him! Outside, the battle continues to rage as Megatron goads Optimus Prime into giving in to his dark side and destroying him! Optimus refuses and Megatron takes the chance to stab Optimus through the chest. Before he can complete his task, Kup blasts Ratchet's head! This sends Megatron into shock and Optimus Prime finally takes the chance to finish the job!
Just as Megatron's eyes stop glowing with life, Galvatron emerges from the ice! Nearby in The Ark, Spike uses his powers to begin frying Auntie's circuits! The giant wave of power he generates fries all the circuits and the battle ends with Megatron's plan defeated!
The Planet Nebulos
Grimlock has been captured and is strung up by his arms. He is being given an offer to join someone in exchange for a new body. He refuses however, why? That person is Scorponok!
There are times you read or watch fiction and think "They won't do XYZ" like in the most recent episode of "Transformers Prime" (the season 2 finale), you knew that Optimus Prime and Megatron would fight, but ultimately neither combatant was going to die, mostly owing to the need to sell future action figures of the characters in that universe. However, in this title, there are no such limitations, and this issue thoroughly takes expectations and throws them out the window - which is awesome!
Perhaps one of the most momentous events of this issue is the apparent death of Megatron. Granted, we never see Optimus Prime rip out Megatron's Spark chamber and blast it to bits, but we do see the Decepticon leader's eyes darken and his fallen body, which is about as dead as he needs to be for his plans to fail. Seeing these two warriors finally go at it without reservation has been a long time coming. As megatron rightly points out, these two characters have been at this point many times before, but something always kept the battle from reaching its logical conclusion. In a way, Megatron's madness let him see the truth of the matter, the war was eventually going to lead to one of them (or both) dying. Since death never seems to keep Optimus Prime down (in the Marvel continuity, he had at least two "major" deaths) Megatron's death was the next likely step. What I love is that Furman has used Megatron's death as a way to spark (no pun intended) the awakening of Galvatron! I've wondered what the "other" Decepticon leader has been up to and given how powerful he was in the original Marvel comic books, I find myself wondering just what this means for Earth and the Autobots to have such a powerful Transformer roaming around Earth? And is Galvatron even as powerful as we previously saw given that he no longer has Unicron's power to draw from? I'm excited to find out!
The other big reveal (for me at least) is the end: Scorponok! I'm glad to see the "Headmaster" thread from issue #82 followed up on. To be clear: this is not the "Lord Zarak" controlled Scorponok. That Scorponok died in the battle against Unicron. This Scorponok is the one whose head was left on Nebulos, the original head which obviously contained the core personality functions of Scorponok when we first met him so many years ago on Cybertron before any Transformers set foot on Cybertron. I really appreciate this "out" used for the Headmasters characters. It does make a sort of "in universe" sense that the Autobot and Decepticon Headmasters wouldn't have had their heads disassembled to form the Headmaster armor for the Nebulans. Instead I can see the Transformer personality properties being copied to the "new" heads. Now I'm very curious to see just how Scorponok managed to go from a head to a fully functioning body!
I also find Scorponok's last statement interesting. He's not trying to recruit Grimlock to conquer the galaxy (at least for now). Instead, he talks about the next evolution of the Cybertronian race. My first reaction was thinking Scorponok was talking about something organic being integrated with Cybertronian technology a la Beast Wars/Beast Machines, but I'm hoping for something different than that. It's a very interesting carrot to dangle in front of us and I really am curious where this will lead!
The art in this issue was fantastic as always. One thing I always appreciated about Wildman's artwork is his ability to show physical consequences to the battles fought by the Transformers, usually in the form of missing armor, torn up parts and damage. When Optimus and Megatron go at it, parts literally go flying and that to me makes the battle os much more raw and emotional than if they were just punching and kicking with nothing more than scratches on their outer armor. It's also difficult as an artist because you have to be sure you are keeping track of the damage as you draw each successive panel. You can't just be lazy and redraw a pristine character model over and over, and htis extra effort is most appreciated.
Kudos to the coloring team as well for achieving some effects I'm not sure would have been possible like this twenty years ago. One effect I really like is the Scraplet infection on Kup. It looks like it's glowing, as if the Scraplets are leaching the very Energon out of him. It looks painful but other-worldly at the same time. Another great example is the "lightning/storm" background used when Optimus looks like he is going to smash Megatron. It's a very sudden but appropriate change in visual tone and it works brilliantly for the scene.
This was a brilliant issue that managed to wrap up a couple story lines, but kicked the door wide open for a whole new set of tales. It also manages to do so while following up on previous threads such as the Headmasters and Galvatron. I'm dying to read the next issue, and that's the way you should feel after reading a comic!