Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Marvel G1 #72: ...All this and Civil War 2

The seventy-second issue of the US G1 Marvel Comics run of Transformers is titled ...All this and Civil War 2.  It features an unchanged creative lineup for the third issue in a row, and you can feel the creative cohesion.  For those keeping score, that puts Furman as the writer, Wildman as penciler, Baskerville as inker, Parker as letterer, and Yomtov as colorist.  Editior Rob Tokar and Editor In Chief Tom DeFalco are credited as 'conscientious objectors.'  The cover is also by Wildman.

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.  

And speaking of threads drawn together, we're treated to three pages of interludes.  On Cybertron, Galvatron has tracked down Emirate Xaaron, who is determined to die like an Autobot.  Galvatron wants nothing of the sort, though.  His goal is to defeat and humble Unicron, and he hopes Xaaron holds the key to achieving this goal.  Xaaron tells Galvatron of the legend, that all of Primus' children united as one can stand against the Chaos Bringer, prompting Galvatron to seek out Primus to accomplish this gathering.  There's also a great moment when Galvatron realizes that he's badmouthed Unicron too strenously, and waits for his punishment.  His trepidation turns to elation when he realizes that Unicron can't reach him within the core of Cybertron, and then his anger returns.  The rapidfire emotions make the character seem delightfully manic. 

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. 

The book races relentlessly to its conclusion as Scorponok and Shockwave reach the shore of Manhattan Island.  Their battle is both visually and emotionally exciting, as two very different commanders duke it out.  Shockwave accues Scorponok of lethargy, and Scorponok declares Shockwave to be a dinosaur, ready for extinction.  Despite the risk his actions pose to the alliance, Optimus interposes himself between the two combatants, unwilling to allow humans to get caught in the crossfire.  As Scorponok prepares to cut through Optimus to get to Scorponok, a fourth faction enters the arena... Blackrock's super hero team, the Neo Knights.  Just when it looked like the tension couldn't get any higher, we introduce this new element, and the story kicks it up to the next level. 

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!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ark Addendum - The Dormant Volcano Mysteriously Erupts (part 1)

Wow, busy week for me last week.  A college buddy of mine is getting married this December, so this extended weekend I headed on down to New Orleans for the bachelor party.  I'll admit, I was skeptical that the added expense of an out-of-the-way trip would be worth it, but as it turns out The Big Easy is a great place to party with you testosterone-charged male pals.  (The gals there seemed to be having a good time too, so I suppose it cuts both ways.)  Drinking and debauchery in the French Quarters, and plenty of good food and history along the way.  Oh, and along the way, in a Hudson's News stand at the airport, I found a nice trade of The Last Stand of the Wreckers!  Let's get some more excellent Transformers fiction in front of the masses!  (Yeah, I know, I know, I'm exhausted in that picture.  Had I found it on the way TO New Orleans, I'd have been bright and chipper and perhaps even wearing a fez.)

In any event, that's why there was no Transformers comic review last week.  Sadly, War of the Worlds is a bit on hold until my new DVDs arrive, as the latest episode is corrupted on YouTube.  At least I'm not skipping the main event, though, the weekly dose of new Transformersy model goodness that is The Ark Addendum!

This week's edition is brought to you thanks to Steve Mapes of Transformers At The Moon.  Yes, the very same fellow who (along with his bro) made it possible for me to put in an appearance at Auto Assembly 2010.  He recently acquired some Headmasters models, and while mostly they overlapped with my own material, he did have a few pages that were new to me.  And so, I bring you, The Dormant Volcano Mysteriously Erupts!  This is the first of two of the models, and showcases the main guest star of the episode, Pipiro!  Pipiro is an orphan from the South American village of Pan, and he's friends with a donkey named Koro.  I love the crude height-comparison sketch figure next to Koro on the right; it's just so goofy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Ark Addendum - The Ultimate Doom (part six)

Has it been a week already?  My, how time flies.  Well, may as well gird my loins and whip out another Ark Addendum.  This week, I finish off the second Ultimate Doom episode as I continue my examination of this three-parter. 

These background models showcase the destruction caused by pulling Cybertron into Earth's orbit, with massive waves and earthquakes and mighty winds.  The bottom picture shows some of the efforts the Dinobots made at combating this menace.  Even as a kid, I couldn't help but think that their efforts must surely pale in comparison to the global scale of the catastrophe. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review: Marvel G1 #71: Surrender!

Surrender! is the seventy-first issue of the US G1 Marvel Comics run of Transformers.  The creative line-up is unchanged from last issue, meaning the tale was brought to us by Furman, Wildman, Baskerville, Parker, and Yomtov.  Amusingly, Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco is listed as 'quitter', apropo for the theme of the issue.  The cover is an Andy Wildman.

It's a fantastic cover, simple and powerful.  Optimus prime crouches in the rain, having removed his Autobot symbol and placed it at Scorponok's feet.  the Transformers logo is hollow, and rain can be seen through it.  'Surrender!' it says, simply, elegantly.  It's a terrific image, one that appears in the book, and one that's thematically perfect for the story in question.  How can you be a Transformers fan and not love this image?

The issue opens in the distant past, during an early turning point in the Civil War between Autobot and Decepticon.  With their position nearly overrun, a soldier begs Optimus Prime to surrender to the Decepticons.  Optimus asks for the white flag, but uses it to bind his wounds.  They're Autobots, he explains.  They NEVER give up ground and they never, never surrender!  "Never Surrender!" echos as Optimus leads a counter-attack.  A simple vignette, but one that's nicely contrasted by an abrupt cut to the present.

Optimus Prime surrenders to Scorponok in the rain-swept swamps of New Jersey.  My, how things have changed!  Scorponok is ecstatic, and his troops are rather pleased with themselves as well.  The Autobots, though, are miserable.  Wildman's expressive faces work well in this story, really selling the emotion.  Kup snaps under the strain, belting Apeface before Optimus restrains him.  Optimus is, naturally, full of doubt about this decision.  Even Scorponok/Lord Zarak is conflicted by the decision.  Part of him knows that trusting Optimus, working together with the Autobots to stand against Unicron, is necessary for the survival of their race.  Still, in the face of the morale boost from this new development, it's hard for him to tell his troops that this is merely a prelude to an alliance.  How simple, it would be, to just accept this victory at face value and let the future worry about itself?  All told, the beginning of this story is fantastic, touring through the emotions of Kup, Scorponok, Optimus Prime, and the various background players.  It's hard to believe how much Furman makes you care about these characters.

Furman gives us a slick transition (with a slicker one yet to come) to Shockwave's crew, when Zarak gloats to himself that Triggerhappy and Mindwipe will be crawling back soon.  He's right that they'll be back, but it won't be on hands and knees.  Three thousand miles away, off the coast of England, Shockwave plans his plans.  He's gathered up Starscream, Ravage, Runamuck, Runabout (remember them?), Triggerhappy, and Mindwipe.  Scorponok, he asserts, has accomplished nothing in his tenure as Decepticon leader, and Shockwave plans to remove him.  Sadly for him, the surrender of the Autobots has stepped up his timetable.  Realizing that time isn't on their side, he plans to strike now, and strike hard.  Mindwipe has some misgivings, but Starscream lets him know that that the only way out of this conspiracy is feet first.  This subplot has been brewing for a while now, and it seems about to boil over.  We get two more cast-off Decepticons of yesteryear joining the conspiracy, Runamuck and Runabout.  Shockwave's been doing his homework, apparently.  I've always loved Shockwave, so it's fun to see him in action here.

After a brief cut back to a frustrated Optimus Prime pacing about a rather large cell, we flash to Cybertron.  (This was the slicker transition, as poor Optimus frets that Unicron may have already reached Cybertron.)   Unicron hasn't, but Galvatron has.  Galvatron makes mincemeat (that's not the right metaphor for robots I suppose) out of  the Autobot resistance, seeminly effortlessly dispatching them.  Emirate Xaaron reluctantly agrees to flee, to rekindle the flames of resistance elsewhere.  Even as he boards a tram in the sewers of Cybertron to flee, he hears the pontification of Galvatron, foretelling of the coming of Unicron.  It's another emotionally resonant scene.  Galvatron seem implacable, unstoppable, and he's just the overture.  Things on Cybertron seem bleak indeed.

Optimus is tired of waiting; he hurls Soundwave against a wall and smashes out of his cell.  He can't passively wait for Scorponok to decide, he has to force the issue.  The cell next to him contains Hot Rod and (of course) Kup, and he asks for their help.  Kup is skeptical, but Optimus convinces him with an impassioned speech defending the decision to surrender.  Zarak and Bludgeon are preoccupied by four incoming aerial Cybertronians, and so are taken unawares by Hot Rod and Kup.  A brief stand-off results when Kup has Zarak by his organic limbs and a headless Scorponok grabs Kup and threatens to decapitate him.  Optimus, ever the voice of reason, orders Hot Rod to release Zarak, who responds by doing the same to Kup.  Optimus seizes on this moment of trust, and implores Zarak to build on it.  Zarak reconnects with Scorponok and accepts the hand of friendship from Prime.  At least, he's about to, when the roof collapses on them.  The four unidentified aircraft were, of course, Shockwave, Starscream, Triggerhappy, and Mindwipe.  Shockwave has made his play; the Decepticon civil war has begun!  The central conflict of the issue has been resolved, in a very comic-booky way.  (This isn't a bad thing.)  This was a fight to prove that trust is possible, and one that Optimus won.

The issue isn't quite over yet, though.  The sewer tram lies in ruins, and Xaaron flees from a monster named Galvatron.  He knows, though, that from this creature, this beast, there is no escape!  NOW the issue's over, with a great ending that keeps the stakes of Unicron's imminent arrival very much in mind. 

Overall, it's another amazing issue.  There is a surprising amount of action packed in, but it's the pathos that really resonates.  Plot after plot thread get woven into the narrative.  The artwork continues to dazzle.  I love Wildman's interpretation of Galvatron, and in fact spent a lot of time trying to track down a piece of his original artwork.  (Sadly, I've never succeeded, though I have an amazing Guido Guidi Galvatron that was used as a lithograph.)  Things continue to get more and more exciting, and we still have four issues to go until the big #75.

Next issue, we're promised 'the wrath of Galvatron! The return of the Dinobots! The coming of Unicron!  All this... and CIVIL WAR 2!'  Sounds fantastic; I can't wait to review it!  Surrender! is available in IDW Publishing's  Classic Transformers, Vol. 5.  If you haven't read it yet, buy this book immediately and do so!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Ark Addendum - The Ultimate Doom (part five)

How the days of the week just fly by!  I glance at my calendar and it's suddenly Tuesday.  Fortunately, I had this week's Ark Addendum all queued up and ready to go.

Continuing with the theme started last week, I look at the second episode of The Ultimate Doom trilogy.  This is the fifth pack of models from this three-parter, and features some cool Dery devices.

The holding pit, inside the Decepticon underwater HQ, ALMOST made it into  Transformers: The Complete Ark (order it today!)  I just couldn't squeeze everything I had about the 'Con base onto the page, and the pit seemed like the least generic model I had.  (The computer, the exterior shot, the tower, and the elevator were all used in multiple episodes.)


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: Marvel G1 #70: The Price of Life!

The Price of Life! is the seventieth issue of the US G1 Marvel Comics run of Transformers.  As ever, Simon Furman has penned the script.  Andrew Wildman stays on as artist, as indeed he will for all but one more issue of the series.  Stephen Baskerville joins the US ensemble as inker, and what a difference he makes.  Nel Yomtov does colors, Rick Parker letters, and Rob Tokar becomes the new editor.  It's a great line-up, and they produce an appropriately epic storyline.  The cover is by Wildman.

The cover is perfect; a close up of the Ratchet / Megatron fusion screaming in agony, holding up a sign saying 'help us.'  The image is grotesque, but in a good way.  They look like they're in agony, and yet could rip you to shreds.  For a bit of ironic humor, look to the top of the image.

The issue starts exactly where the last issue left off.  (In fact, I'll talk more about that at the end.)  The Megatron/Ratchet hybrid has stepped off the dimensional portal, lumbering towards Optimus, Nightbeat, and Waverider.  While they all stand around, numbed by shock, Kup happens by and takes decisive action, shooting at the creature.  This spurs Megatron to action, despite Ratchet's protests.  It shambles off into the corridor, leaving the Autobots dazed.  Kup wants to go put it down, but Prime insists that they have to try to save it.  The dialogue here is terrific, with both Kup and Prime raising excellent points.  I also love the monster's attempt at speech; "DHH AWABUS!" it crries as it shoves Kup, Waverider, and Nightbeat into a wall. 

Prime ends by musing if his risking everything to save Ratchet isn't exactly what Grimlock is doing.  Cut to Grimlock, who is hacking and slashing his way through the mechanical jungles of Hydrus Four.  Grimlock's bumbling guide gives the rest of the exposition for the issue (Nightbeat had awkwardly outlined the events leading up to the Megatron/Ratchet monster earlier in the issue) while setting up that there were three patients given Nucleon.  Grimlock battles the first patient, a zombie-ish mechanoid floating like a hanged man above a mauve sea.  A cloud-covered blue moon completes the picture.  It's all very nicely done.  In the end, Grimlock kills the creature, but he takes no pleasure in his victory.  "This not warrior's work.  Me surgeon, cutting away diseased tissue!" he muses. 

Meanwhile, on the Ark, Megatron has forced his way into the engine room and is tearing things apart even as the Ark prepares to insert itself into Earth's orbit.  Kup threatens to relieve Optimus of command if he doesn't act.  Prime, looking at his unhappy warriors, reluctantly takes Kup's weapon and smashes his way in.  Much like Grimlock, Prime takes no pleasure in his battle, but reluctantly defeats this creature.  The emotional climax comes when Prime puts the gun aside, and the creature pulls it back up and begs for death.  "Pluuuus!" it cries, as Optimus' finger twitches.  Powerful stuff.  I love the looks of despair and disgust on the faces of the Autobots after Kup threatens to invoke the Crisis Act.  Optimus clearly looks to them for support, and it's clear that no support is forthcoming.

Grimlock approaches the island holding the spring of Nucleon.  The second guardian appears, an underwater mechanoid with a nifty design. It too cries things like "non must feed" and "defend the well."  As the TF Wiki points out, that latter phrase can be read in two ways, both appropriate.    The third guardian is a sad, pathetic little dying creature.  He points out that Nucleon made his 'friends' crazy and cursed him to a more painful death than he would otherwise experience.  What, he asks, will it do to Transformers?"  Grimlock realizes he can't subject his Dinobots to this, not without some assurances that Nucleon is non toxic for Cybertronians... and tests it on himself!  It energizes his circuits, making him feel more alive than ever, and so he begins to revive his crew.  The tiny dying mechanoid sits in the corner, muttering that time will tell.  We get another exciting battle, more pathos, and some great foreshadowing of things to come.

Prime couldn't do it; Megatron/Ratchet lies on a bed in the medical bay. Fixit (we're getting low on medics, here) reports that Ratchet's life can be saved, prompting Prime to almost gloat to Kup.  Sadly, though, Megatron's nervous system has become bonded to Ratchet's at a molecular level.  One CANNOT live without the other.  Despite the obvious misgivings of his crew, Prime orders them to both be saved.  How could he do otherwise?  And thus ends another blockbuster issue.  It's very much a character study of Optimus and Grimlock.  The two very different Autobots nevertheless find themselves in parallel situations, reluctantly battling diseased and misshapen foes and choosing life over death.  (Also, neither of them has a proper mouth, forcing Wildman to use the eyes for all emoting.  He rises to the challenge.)  In many ways it's a small story, compared to what has come before and what will come later.  There will obviously be repercussions, many repercussions, but this issue revolves around saving just a handful of lives.  It's well placed, as it emotionally grounds the characters and makes what comes later all the more potent.

In addition to the Optimus / Ratchet characterization, Kup is really starting to come into his own.  He's a great foil to Optimus, practical where Optimus is idealistic.  Furman was a big fan of the movie, which is probably why a random Targetmaster is getting so much love.

Earlier, I alluded to the first page picking up exactly where the last issue left off.  It allows for a curious juxtaposition; what is essentially the same Andy Wildman pencils, but done up by two different inkers. Look how much more appealing the illustration is this issue, compared to the last issue.  It's so much richer and more textured.  (Hans also pointed this out in the comments section of my review of #69.)  Baskerville  will stay on for the rest of the run, excepting issue #75.

And there you have it.  Another fantastic issue, bristling with raw energy.  The passion of the creative team is evident, and at this point over a year of set-up is starting to pay off in spades.  Next issue, "the issue you thought you'd never see (heck, we didn't think we'd see it either, and we produced it!): SURRENDER!"  Sounds amazing.  The Price of Life is available in IDW Publishing's  Classic Transformers, Vol. 5, and comes highly recommended.  Pick up a copy at if you haven't already.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Ark Addendum - The Ultimate Doom (part four)

A very busy week for me!  I've been having trouble finding the time to blog, though I hope that this week I'll get all of my usual features (reviews of the Marvel TF run, reviews of War of the Worlds, the series, and of course an Ark Addendum) up.

To that end, The Ark Addendum!  Let's circle back to The Ultimate Doom.  I'd previously covered the first episode with three sets of background models.  Now, we're up to the second episode of the trilogy.  There's a scene where Bumblebee has to change his tire (with a little help from Spike) and falls into a crevice formed by an earthquake.  Naturally, Laserbeak happens along at about this point and knocks him in.  Fortunately, Hound has a nifty scanner to locate his diminutive companion, and Windcharger swaps out his arm for a high-tech magnet to pull him out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Review: Marvel G1 #69: Eye of the Storm

Eye of the Storm is the sixty-ninth issue of the US G1 Marvel Comics run of Transformers.  It features another superlative script by Simon Furman, terrific artwork by newcomer (to the US) Andy Wildman, Rick Parker lettering, Nel Yomtov coloring, and some perfunctory inking by Harry Candelario and Bob Lewis.  Don't worry, the inking's about to get a whole lot better.  The cover is by Andy Wildman.

I've got mixed feelings about the cover.  On the one hand, it's perfectly thematically appropriate to the issue, itself an odd collection of vignettes.  On the other, though, it's not a very appealing image in and of itself.  There's not much composition.  The eye is drawn to the question mark in the center of the page, and it's not at all clear even after reading the issue what the question is.  I suppose the first thing that springs to mind is what ties these characters together... that's not it, though.  The narrative threads introduced in this issue won't converge until issue 75, half a year away.  Still, it can't have been all bad, as this issue was what got me into Transformers way back in the 1990s.  I guess just knowing that all my favorite characters were in it was enough for me.  On reflection, this is a bad image, but a good cover.

The issue itself just moves from strength to strength.  Given the many disparate narrative threads begun here, I won't attempt to go page by page.  The main backdrop is the Autobots on the ark, recuperating after their recent trials.  The title of the book, Eye of the Storm, is particularly apt.  We've had some momentous events in the past, largely the Matrix Quest, and we're about to head full-bore into the Unicron War. The main plot points of the issue include:

Grimlock's frustration with both his inactivity, and his inability to defeat Thunderwing.  Waverider catches the Dinobot tearing up his quarters and attempts to talk some sense into him.  He nearly gets his head taken off for his troubles.  Grimlock then violates Prime's orders by taking the inert bodies of his Dinobots to a shuttle and blasting free of the ship.  He's going to Hydrus IV, to attempt to use Nucleon to revive his fallen comrades.  One of my favorite bits is his confrontation with security chief Kup.  Kup yearns to let Grimlock go with his men, but his sense of duty is just too strong.  Grimlock tricks him with a transparent ruse, and Kup's expression at this is priceless.  There's a wealth of emotion in that one look; it's clear to me that Kup realizes what's up, and makes a conscious decision not to turn back to Grimlock.  The next instant, Grimlock decks him.  It's a powerful story moment, perfectly in keeping with the characters of both Kup and Grimlock.  Remember, not that long ago Grimlock was the Autobot commander.  It must chafe him terribly to be beholden to Optimus Prime, especially when Prime is denying him permission to apply potentially life-saving (but dangerous) medicine to the Dinobots.

Optimus, meanwhile, is having issues of his own.  He sees the levity among his men as a problem, a false calm.  Worse, he suffers some kind of attack, doubling over in pain for reasons unknown.  As he prepares for a desperate step to unify the Transformers race to stand against Unicron, he first has Nightbeat work on a personal matter; Ratchet's body was never recovered from the wreckage of Megatron's tower.  Nightbeat theorizes that Ratchet may have been blown through the dimensional portal and trapped in unspace, and dispatches a probe to find him.  He then makes his momentous announcement; the Autobots will surrender to Scorponok's Decepticons... unconditionally!  It's a shocking moment, and underscores just how seriously Optimus is taking the threat of Unicron.

Cut to Scorpponok, who's having difficulties of his own.  Mindwipe and Triggerhappy desert their commander, unhappy with Scorponok's decision to allow Starscream to rejoin the Decepticons and Starscream's subsequent disappearance.  Ironically, Starscream forces them to land, where they are recruited by Shockwave and Ravage.  I love Wildman's interpretation of Starscream here.  He looks so sinister; there are so many schemes behind his eyes.  I also like the return of Ravage.  Shockwave seems to be gathering up all the strays, forming his own little army.  (A minor nitpick.  Mindwipe is surprised to see Ravage, as he got dropped down a mine shaft.  If the 'Cons knew that... why wouldn't they just come get him?  Just a quibble, though.)

And speaking of gathering an army, Unicron is gathering up his own.  Galvatron is furious at having been plucked from his proper timeline.  He's dispatched to Cybertron, along with Hook, Line, and Sinker, to hamper the Cybertronian resistance.  I love Parker's lettering here; Unicron's voice seems much larger than life.  I also enjoy the 'speak with your mind' bit.  The yellow coloring also makes the whole thing seem very moody.  Furman's dialogue is so spot-on that I can effortlessly imagine Orson Welles reading it. 

Page twenty arrives all too soon.  The pacing is such that, even though almost everything that happens is set-up, you can't stop turning pages.  There's one last twist, though, and it's the most shocking of all.  Nightbeat's probe has found something... the horrid twisted fuzed form of Ratchet and Megatron, and amalgamated horror that should never have come to be.  The eye of the storm has passed, and the torrent begins!

It's an incredible issue.  Wildman's expressive artwork allows Furman to really cut loose with the melodrama.  I can't imagine a better collaboration for this issue.  There are so many subtle details.  I love how, on VsQs, Bumblebee and Jazz are carted away, but Grimlock manages to limp out under his own power.  I love the lettering on the first page, and the game of Cybertronian chess (Quarg takes vig -- fullstasis!), and the toy dinosaur on Grimlock's desk, and Galvatron's silent scream in space when Unicron tortures him, and the shadow Galvatron casts against Unicron's light, and the flash of lightning that underscores Starscream's declaration of war.

This issue, more than any other, was what got me into the Transformers comic.  After getting it at a newstand while I was waiting for a ride from my dad, I hit comic shops and got up-to-date on the latest issues (I think that 70 was already out and 71 was just a week away) and started tracking down every back issue.   This issue works on nearly every level, and sets off the events that will end with Unicron's arrival with aplomb.  It's one of the best there is, and heralds more strong stories moving forward.

Next issue, The Price of Life!  Don't you dare miss it, the last page declares.  It's not exaggerating, you won't want to miss it.  Eye of the Storm is available for purchase in IDW Publishing's Classic Transformers, Vol. 5 , and comes highly recommended.