IDW Publishing "Last Stand of the Wreckers" #3

in 2010, Comic Book Review, Generation One

IDW Publishing

General Information:
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: March 24, 2010
Written by: Nick Roche and James Roberts
Pencils by: Nick Roche and Guido Guidi
Inks: Guido Guidi, Nick Roche, John Wycough and Andrew Griffith
Colors by: Josh Burcham and Joana Lafuente
Letters by: Neil Uyetake
Edits by: Andy Schmidt


Cover A Cover B Incentive Cover

Synopsis:

Garrus-9 Penitentiary, two years ago...
Shockwave is being reassembled, part of Overlord's overall plan. Years ago, Shockwave planted Overlord with a virus that gave him a "tactical blind spot". Once Shockwave removes it, Overlord believes he will be able to continue his sadistic games. Shockwave points out however that his true intent is to get Megatron's attention, somthing Overlord is not entirely sure of.

The present...
The chase is on as a group of Decepticons pursue part of the Wreckers team. Springer, Kup, Guzzle, Twin Twist and Impactor are fighting a running battle as they realize the other Wreckers got separated from the group. While they put up a valiant struggle, they are outnumbered and outgunned!

Elsewhere in the facility, Overlord confronts the Wrecker contingent that landed right in front of him. Rotorstorm tries to lighten the mood with some humor, but Overlord destroys him first! The others look on shocked.

Meanwhile, Guzzle uses his tank mode to send a portion of the ceiling crashing down, buying the Wreckers some time. Springer orders Kup and Guzzle to get backup while Twin Twist drills down to the prisoner level.

In The Pit, shock has worn off and the Autobots know what they must do. Verity enters a hatch in Pyro so they can protect her, and then the Autobots charge at the Decepticon!

In The Southern Wing, Twin Twist drills through into thin air! As he falls, Springer jumps in and catches him. Treadshot tries to take shots at them, but Impactor takes him down first. When they land, they find the fallen body of Kick-Off, utterly destroyed. They're near an energy reactor, and Impactor notes that if you survive The Pits, you're given a choice - but no one knows what that choice is. Suddenly, alarms go off and the three are shocked by a defense mechanism!

In The Pit, the Wreckers are not faring well. Overlord thwarts each of their strikes with ease and finally makes an offer to all Dedcepticons in his facility. Whoever brings him the head of a Wrecker can leave. This is an offer the Decepticons gladly take on as they begin to advance. Perceptor destroys a fuel tank, covering their escape. They realize their only hope now is to find Aequitas. Ironfist is not faring well psychologically however, and Topspin tells him this is not role-play, and he questions how he even got on the team. Perceptor keeps them focused however and they head south.

Below, Kup and Guzzle are making their way down a ladder slowly but surely. The two talk and we learn that Guzzle lost friends who tried to rescue Kup when before he was upgraded to his current state. Kup, with no memory of the incident tells Guzzle he hopes the Autobot rescued was worth it, and Guzzle simply states it depends on who you ask.

Elsewhere, Topspin explains to Pyro about he and Twin Twist having a "branched Spark", giving them somewhat overlapping nervous systems. The pain felt by one can sometimes be felt by the other. Perceptor finally speaks, revealing that he believes he has found the wall that Aequitas is behind. They find that what is left of Fortress Maximus is hooked up to the wall, comatose but being used to enter billions of access codes until the right one is found. The Decepticons are gathering out side and will be through soon, but before they can enter, Perceptor opens the door and the Autobots are confronted by Aequitas!

Not all is well however. Inside Stalker's lab, formerly the Spark Extraction Chamber, Springer, Impactor and Twin Twist have been captured and restrained. Only Twin Twist is awake, and Stalker begins the process of information extraction - by torture!

To Be Continued...

Story:
For those who felt the action wasn't up to par in issues #1 and 2 of "Wreckers", I'd say this issue fulfills that need and then some! I was really happy to see that the Wreckers got separated into two groups. Sure it serves the purpose of the story, but it also allows us to see two very contrasting battles. Seeing half the group take on Overlord was interesting. As much as the "Wreckers" reputation may make the Autobots seem like the roughest and toughest around, it's scary to see how easily Overlord is able to overcome them. The death of one of their members was both sohcking and not at the same time. The way the Wreckers invaded last issue, you knew there would definitely be casualties, but I was surprised that they picked one of the "green" members of the team to go instead of going the traditional "older member dies, new member carries on" story (though of course there's still room for that).

On the other hand, the running firefight in the hallway gave us massive destruction, and the humorous touches such as "Fisitron's" log contradicting everything that's happening really made this a fun issue. There is an old saying that no plan survives contact with the enemy, and this plan definitely fits the bill. It's cooler to see how our heroes deal with the collapse of their original plan as it gives us a real look at their personalities, flaws and all. Perhaps my favorite is Ironfist's breakdown. Being one who supposedly chronicled so much of Wrecker life, you would think he would know the death and destruction he would see, but reality is often much different than fiction in war, and it was cool to see not all Transformers are necesarily hardened to the realities of combat. On the flip side, it was great seeing Guzzle's enthusiasm for battle continuing despite the seemingly overwhelming odds.

I was happy to see legions of Decepticon forces getting trashed. Whether they can best Overlord or not, the Wreckers definitely earned their name in this issue by sheer body count! It was also cool to see that war's rather gruesome nature wsa shown as well. Perhaps most terrifying is what happened to Fortress Maximus. I'm hoping that he somehow gets rebuilt into a larger, more powerful form resembling the city/base we knew before, but that's probably just me.

There are a couple interesting concepts brought to bear here. In particular I like the whole "Spark" connection between Top Spin and Twin Twist. The two have long been associated because of their toys both being Jumpstarters, but not much else ever linked the two. As a kid I often wondered "Why did these two become Jumpstarters and no one else?" but now their link makes a lot of sense and I enjoyed Top Spin's reasoning behind leaving a peaceful life to join his brother. It's a different relationship than Sunstreaker and Sideswipe's or even Movie Mudflap and Skids' connection as "twins". The other concept that I found intriguing is that a Transformer can get "infected" with a virus that can affect them mentally, but not some "mystery" item like the G1 cartoon's red plague. Instead, this is manufactured by a Transformer targeting a very specific function, and I dig the idea that Shockwave is the one who came up with it! Little elements like this add depth to the universe these characters inhabit and I generally welcome them.

Artwork:

You'll probably notice in the credits for this issue that there were several artists involve in completing this issue, and that always leaves me with a bit of trepidation when it comes to comic books. More often than not, this means that for a few pages, the art style goes one way, then all of a sudden there's a huge, jarring change, and for my personal preference, that's always annoying. However, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that as the issue progressed, the style of this issue did not in fact change dramatically. Sure there are some very minor style changes, perhaps a bit more exaggeration on angles or a different use of detail lines, but overall the look of each character remained consistant. I really applaud the art team for that and thank the editors for putting together artists with compatible styles.

Something else I noticed is that the artists have a really good sense of proportion from character to character. When we see Verity's size in comparison to the Transformers, between the obvious size difference and the angles used, the larger size of the Transformers are emphasized really well. Also, the Transformers are very well illustrated in relation to each other. Ironfist is portrayed as very thick and squat, which matches his action figure while relative to him, Perceptor is taller and leaner. It's a really nice balance that makes the visuals of the characters quite distinctive from each other.

With so much action, it was cool to see different types of combat. You had ranged combat such as the hallway battle and melee combat as Overlord took on the Wreckers. I liked the use of Anime like striped backgrounds and extreme angles, giving the audience a really strong sense of movement. Very well done!

Final Thoughts:
I think this is the issue most people have been waiting for, where the action kicks into overdrive (not that the previous issues lacked action!). It was very cool to see that the Wreckers didn't just dive in, succeed and fly off patting each other on the back. If we're to believe the Wreckers are among the roughest and toughest the Autobots have to offer, then we the audience need to see how they survive a seemingly hopeless situation. The mystery of Aequitas is definitely a huge carrot stick to tempt us to pick up the next issue. All I have to say is, count me in!