IDW Publishing: "Regeneration One" Issue 90 Comic Book Review
Title: "Natural Selection" Part Five
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: April 10, 2013
Writer: Simon Furman
Penciler: Andrew Wildman
Inker: Stephen Baskerville
Colorist: John-Paul Bove
Letterer: Chris Mowry
Editor: John Barber
Editor in Chief: Chris Ryall
Hot Rod is deep in Cybertron. Wielding Primus' sword, he has the Demons at his mercy. He knows he has the power to destroy them, but chooses to spare them, wondering how the Transformers race can be one if they ignore a significant part of their own history.
Above ground, Guzzle freaks out when he sees Grimlock charging at him! Clearing the way for the remaining "untainted" Autobots, they smash and blast their way into the facility where Pounce and Wingspan surrender as the Autobots quickly try to take control of the computer systems. Time is running out and Grimlock intends to end Scorponok even as the Autobot ship Valiant races towards Cybertron - right into Pounce and Wingspan's trap!
On Earth, Galvatron has finished his work on The Ark, intending to take the ship to Cybertron! Below, Shockwave communicates with Starscream through the Ark's computers. He manages to disable Megatron's locks on his mind, telling Starscream that while he has some control of the ship, he needs a pilot. Starscream is more than happy to volunteer!
Back on Cybertron, Scorponok is infuriated at the delays in getting his giant Genetic Key working. Perceptor explains there are some final adjustments to be made. As Scorponok rages, he lashes out at his own warriors, causing Needlenose and Spinister to look at each other with worried expressions. Suddenly, Grimlock comes flying in on a hovercraft, blasting away and taking on Scorponok. Scorponok orders Perceptor to activiate the key, and he obeys!
Meanwhile, the Autobots are trying to deactivate the weapons pointed at the Valiant. They ask the Clones for the unlock code, when they refuse Crosshairs blasts one of them, causing the other to give the code quickly! They manage to put it in just in time to cause the weapons to explode! The Valiant escapes destruction and Ultra Magnus orders the Autobots to ready for battle!
At the Sonic Canyons, the battle continues. The Key has been activated, but when it goes off all the Autobots are returned to normal! Scorponok suddenly realizes that Perceptor has been playing him for a fool this whole time! In a flashback we see Grimlock showing Perceptor the effects of the key, but not making the effects permanent and telling him he has to pretend to be "evil". Scorponok is infuriated and trains his shoulder cannons on Perceptor, but before he can get a lock, Grimlock throws his aim off and orders the Dinobots to attack! Swoop takes out the bridge as the Autobots escape. Snarl tries to rescue Grimlock but he winds up falling over the edge, taking Scorponok with him!
Back on Earth, the Ark has begun to lift off just as Optimus Prime arrives! He looks up, seeing the outline of Galvatron and wonders...is that Megatron?
Since the original Marvel Comics "Transformers" title, Furman has written with a particular rhythm which generally consists of strong back story and characterization that builds up to to a confrontation that usually involves some type of twist (large or small). This pattern plays out again with Grimlock's assault on Scorponok in this issue. I figured he had a plan when he returned to Cybertron, but his "turning" Perceptor was definitely a fun way to pull the wool over our collective eyes. It hadn't occurred to me that the "Gene Key" process takes time so Grimlock could stop the process ahead of time if he wanted to, and it works beautifully for this story. For an old time fan like me, it's also cool to see these two characters in particular interacting. Way back in the earlier issues of the Marvel title, Optimus Prime was dead (briefly) so the Autobots needed to choose a new leader, and it was Perceptor who partly championed Grimlock taking that role so seeing the two being so key in disrupting Scorponok's plans was very gratifying.
By the end, we see Grimlock truly feeling remorse for all his actions, and when I say "actions" I don't just mean him helping Scorponok invade Cybertron. I think part of his willingness to die and take Scorponok with him is borne out of guilt for all the Autobots who have Nucleon based problems (such as Inferno, who can't control his bursts of flame). This goes especially true for Slag, who (as of this issue) has not been "cured" and was one of Grimlock's most loyal soldiers. After so many years of seeing this Grimlock unrepentant and amazingly stubborn, seeing him finally break down and feel the weight of his grief was a really awesome (and sad) moment.
Regarding The Ark, all I can keep thinking is "Wow, they really built The Ark to last!". I mean, this thing is millions of years old, slammed into a volcano, sat there essentially rotting away and it's since crashed again and so on. The fact the ship can still move at all is pretty insane, but the type of scifi conceit I think you need in stories about sentient space robots! I am curious however as to what this brief moment between Galvatron and Optimus will mean. Will Optimus spend the rest of his time on Earth trying to figure out how to get back to Cybertron to "save" it from Galvatron? Or will Earth present a whole new storyline? I really like this quick set up for a future storyline.
The artwork in this issue is action packed and vibrant. I also really enjoyed the big contrast between Earth (with its bright, snow based scenery) and Cybertron with its dark metallic/space background setting. I also love the way Wildman drew Grimlock charging, using his head as a battering ram. It's exciting but also comedic all at the same time. The color work is brilliant. I really enjoy the way anything with energy, be it a rocket burst or a computer screen "glows" with energy. Also kudos to getting the distinctive coloring of some lesser known Transformers such as Roadblock done well enough that I recognized the colors sometimes before I recognized the actual character himself!
This was a fun issue. Action, humor, drama and excitement all wrapped up into one bundle. I think this is the issue many fans have been waiting for and leads off into a new story branch nicely!