Friday, October 29, 2010
Review: Marvel G1 #72: ...All this and Civil War 2
The cover is perfectly serviceable, with a damaged Scorponok whaling on Shockwave against an abstract city background. "The war is over--and the war has begun!", it teases. It's perfectly representative of what the book is about, and the characters are rendered well enough... but it somehow leaves me flat. Maybe I'm spoiled by the more esoteric covers we've been getting recently, but this just doesn't have the same level of creativity as, say, the extremely powerful Surrender cover from last issue. It's a sort of solid B, amid a string of As.
Thankfully, the issue itself goes from strength to strength. It opens amid the ruins of Scorponok's base, with Shockwave's rag-tag band surveying the carnage. Starscream gloats, Shockwave theorizes that Scorponok might well be alive, and Mindwipe & Triggerhappy want to get while the getting's good. Starscream's bravado quickly turns to panic when Scorponok emerges from the rubble and engages these newest foes. The headmaster almost effortlessly deals with Shockwave's minions before grappling with Shockwave and plunging into the North River. This sequence gives great characterization all around, from Starscream's rapidly shifting confidence to a mindless strike by Ravage to Mindwipe's hesitant "Us?! Destroy him?!", even though they had Scorponok outnumbered six to one. Neither Starscream nor Shockwave has instilled much passion or fire in their minions.
Within the base, Autobot and Decepticon alike attempt to rally themselves. Prime bemoans the possible death of the alliance, as well as the possibility of massive human casualties in the 'settlement across the river.' That settlement, of course, is New York City. Said inhabitants watch the battle as it comes closer and closer, and calls begin to trickle up the chain of command. Eventually it reaches an oddly caricatured President George Bush (senior, of course), who calls... G.B. Blackrock! More threads are being drawn together into this narrative tapestry, as the events of issue #68 take on new significance.
The other interlude is a one page tale on Hydrus Four, where Grimlock and the revived Dinobots tank up a shuttle full of Nucleon. Grimlock gloats to himself about how his decision was right and Prime's was wrong... at least, he does until his leg locks up. Ominous! The Action Master storyline continues to advance, and surprisingly it's not at all awful or stupid. It's a testament to Furman's skill as a writer that he could take these lemons and make lemonade with them.
And that's the end! Once again, Furman et al have left us wanting more. The Decepticon/Decepticon fight looks to have only just started, with plenty of mayhem yet to come. Galvatron spins his plans, Grimlock seeks his vindication, the Neo Knights are about to get in the way, Prime is learning what he will and won't do to preserve his tenuous alliance... what terrific material. Wildman's expressive faces are used to good effect here, especially on actors like Starscream, Scorponok, and Galvatron. The great writing and great artwork combine to make a superb story.
Next issue, "Unicron's on the last leg of his journey to Cybertron, and that means that just about everyone is OUT OF TIME!" OOOOhhhh, I'm so excited!!! ...All this and Civil War 2 is available in IDW Publishing's Classic Transformers, Vol. 5. Go on, pick it up, you know you want to!