IDW Publishing: Last Stand of the Wreckers #4 Comic Book Review
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 and Andrew Griffith
Colors by: Josh Burcham
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Edits by: Andy Schmidt
Associate Editor: Denton J. Tipton
Kimia Weapons Facility, eight months ago
Inside Ironfist's lab, he is working on more weaponary as Prowl speaks to him over a video connection. Prowl notes that Ironfist has chronicled the adventures of the The Wreckers very well over the years, and now he offers him a chance to take one of the open spots on the Wreckers team.
Garus 9, present day
Kup and Guzzle are around the corner from a well guarded cell in the prison facility. Kup tells Guzzle to hang back as he approaches the group of Decepticons. He rapidly dispatches of them single handedly and then Guzzle comes over to help him open the cell...which turns out to be empty. The Decepticon Snare suddenly appears behind them, arms up in surrender. He explains that the prisoner who was in the cell, Grimlock is long gone, possibly having gone mad. Snare offers to help the Autobots, pointing out that he could have destroyed them if he wanted to.
A few floors away
The team led by Perceptor stands before Aequitas, revealed to be a supercomputer. Perceptor reveals that their mission is to download the contents of the computer. Perceptor explains that Aequitas determines guilt baesd upon mathematical algorithms: the ultimate judge. Topspin is not happy with this, but suddenly seizes up in pain. Twin Twist is being tortured, and he can feel everything. Though the connection will pass, he is disabled temporarily.
Spark Extraction Chamber
Springer, Impactor and Twin Twist are all still tied down. Stalker has stepped out and Impactor and Springer argue about his confinement. Impactor blames Springer for tearing the Wreckers apart and he admits he does not regret the incident that led to his imprisonment. Twin Twist, torn apart pretty badly is amazed they can argue - and then Stalker returns!
The Aequitas Chamber
As Pyro and Perceptor work on accessing Aequitas, Ironfist tells Verity a story from the Wreckers' past. This tale focuses on Squadron X, the Decepticon equivalent of the Wreckers, led by Macabre. He tells of the final battle between the two groups where Impactor led them to victory, destroying their enemies despite all odds. As the story ends, Perceptor explains that because none of the original Garus 9 staff are left, there is only one way to access Aequitas - a voluntary Spark donation. Pyro and Ironfist realize that they were assigned to potentially donate one of their Sparks since they are "second tier" Wreckers, but before they come to any decision, Topspin sacrifices himself, and Twin Twist in turn - ending both of their suffering and activating the supercomputer! As Perceptor runs the computer, he plugs in Ironfist and downloads the contents of the computer into his mind!
Elsewhere, Stalker is confused by Twin Twist's deactivation but then moves on to Impactor. Just as he is about to cut into him, he is blasted by two shots from Guzzle! Snare has led Kup and Guzzle straight to him and Stalker quickly blasts Snare, striking him in the head. As the Decepticon goes down, Springer is freed and quickly takes out Stalker with his own weapon. Snare is put out of his misery by Impactor when suddenly a wall is blown away and Overlord reveals himself!
In the Aequitas chamber, time is running out as the Decepticons will soon be bursting through the doors. Perceptor figures out that he can activate an explosive device to destroy all the prisoners of the camp. However, Impactor is one of those former prisoners! The Autobots put it to a vote, and Ironfist, stunned by what he has learned from Aequitas decides to use his deciding vote to destroy all the prisoners, including Impactor!
The Wreckers have taken on a legendary status among Transformers fans. Always seen as a rough and tough group that is virtually unbeatable, they're almost like "The A-Team" from the 80's TV show. However, in reality this issue reminds us that they are more like the "Dirty Dozen" (from a series of movies of the same name) who are a force to contend with, but one that deals with brutality and does lose members. Seeing the aftermath of Stalker's torture and the loss of two members of the team is almost traumatic. Topspin and Twin Twist were excellent choices to sacrifice because they have been long associated with The Wreckers (since the 80's) and losing them is like losing a critical piece of the puzzle that makes up the team. Indeed, at this point Springer and Impactor are pretty much "it" in terms of original members of the team from the 80's incarnation. I am glad to see this aspect of the team is still intact since even the 80's version featured a rotating roster and characters who fell in battle. The theme of sacrifice both emphasizes the nobility of the Autobots as well as the rough and tough nature of the team. Having the "new guys" offer an alternate perspective is a great idea, showing that fantasy and reality are sometimes two very different things. Plus, it emphasizes that not all Autobots necesarily think alike.
On the other side of the fence, Squadron X brought about a huge smile to my face. While most of the characters used in this series have had toys made of them, this group consisted entirely of characters who had been made up for the Marvel G1 comic book series from the 80's. Here's a quick breakdown.
- Macabre: Introduced in the "Target 2006" storyline in Marvel's G1 series. Originally destroyed by the Wreckers.
- Tornado: A saboteur who once conspired to bomb a power plant but was stopped.
- Earthquake: A warrior who rebelled against the Decepticons, but was ultimately destroyed after a Trial by Combat.
- Triton: A Decepticon double agent from the 25th century of an alternate Marvel G1 timeline.
- Fang: Introduced in the "Target 2006" Marvel G1 storyline, Fang took on Twin Twist at Maccadam's Old Oil House.
- Ferak: Appeared in "The Smelting Pool!" issue of the Marvel G1 storyline, but only in vehicle mode. The robot mode is based on an unnamed Decepticon who appeared in "Wanted: Galvatron - Dead or Alive!".
- Crosscut: When a new Space Bridge was to be tested in "The Bridge to Nowhere!", it was Crosscut who was sent to go through the portal. While he almost appeared on Earth, he wound up exploding instead.
Using such homages really show a love for the work that preceeded this generation of Transformers comic books and also shows an appreciation for the use of obscure or "one off" characters.
The last story point I found interesting is Ironfist's sudden new burst of knowledge via Aequitas. I get the feeling he now understands what Impactor was accused of, and perhaps more. Too much knowledge can be overwhelming, especially when your view of the world was very set in its ways. I'm very curious as to what he learned and what caused him to vote to destroy the prisoners (including Impactor). Nice hook to grab the audience!
My only (admittedly minor) gripe is that I'd really like to see what Verity's Exo Suit can do. It looks like it may transform or just have the capability to roll on the legs and move very fast. I'd like to see her contribute to the coming battle somehow. After all, why give a girl a cool suit of armor if she can't use it?
I've gushed on and on about the artwork in this series already, so saying any more positive would be redundant. My main comments surround Squadron X and the detail level of the artwork.
While I appreciate the use of "non toy" G1 characters, I also love the use of character designs that closely resemble the designs used for those characters in the G1 comic. Among them, I recognized Crosscut immediately. I'd say Earthquake's design is a bit removed from the way he looked originally, but for everyone else you can see how the design's roots come from the G1 comic, wacky colors and all! Out of the bunch, I'd say Macabre is one of my favorites since he's super over the top, especially with his colors. Earthquake reminds me of what a modern day Constructicon would look like and Crosscut has a nice insectoid/alien look to him.
In terms of detail, I really dig the way we get to see the characters in both "new" and "damaged" states. The Wreckers have pretty much been in good shape leading up to this issue. Now everyone is showing a good amount of wear and tear, with poor Twin Twist getting the worst of it! I also enjoy the way Snare's head design was interpreted, with his "visor" and "mouthplate" covering up a regular pair of eyes and mouth underneath. Little touches like that help make a universe much more rich in design and appearance.
I love the twists and turns this series has taken in the story, and the action is placed just where it needs to be. The artwork has not dropped in quality in the least and you're left wanting more at the end of the issue. What more can you ask for in a comic? Highly recommended!