check out his deviant art page. Go on, I'll wait.) Letters were by Rick Parker. The cover art was by Rosado.
The cover leaves a lot to be desired. It picks up almost exactly where the last issue left off, with Scarlett squaring off against Megatron for the safety of Biggles-Jones. The only thing new is Skydive, peaking out at Megatron from behind a building. So, it's fairly unambitious, but the actual quality of the rendering also leaves much to be desired. Scarlett looks flat and unappealing, and her head seems way too small for her body. Cobra Commander is apparently unconscious on the street, that or highly disinterested. Zarana seems gleeful, and Megatron's anatomy just looks awkward. The whole thing is just uninspired.
To add insult to injury, the opening splash page is almost the same image, only much better rendered. I'm assuming this is Orozocoe artwork, given the difference in quality. I mean, compare Scarlett here to Scarlett on the cover. It's night and day. The angle is also a lot more dramatic, with the sun behind Megatron's head making him appear truly titanic.
In any event, thanks to the telegraphing from the cover, there's little surprise when the page 2-3 spread turns out to be a team of Autobots, converging on Megatron like an angry swarm of bees. They're also about as effective as bees would be against a man, annoying but not particularly threatening. Before too long Skydive is grounded, Steeljaw blasted to pieces, and a miscolored Chase crippled. The other Autobots withdraw to regroup. This serves to showcase how hard Megatron has become, but I'm not sure I buy how weak the Autobots are. If Megatron was really such a threat, why wouldn't Optimus send more men? I get that he's been upgraded, but is he really that much tougher than before?
Let's not forget that this is a Joe book, though. Scarlett eviscerates a frag viper (and with him, whatever shreds of her cover were left) for his weapon right in front of Cobra Commander. He jumps her while paraphrasing Shakespeare. (I do love the intellectual bent Hama gives good ol' CC.) Scarlett's banter is much more lowbrow, but it's still fun. "They can't understand you! You've got a street in your mouth!" Snake-Eyes, too, was in a pickle, one that he gets out of by dropping a handful of grenades on the floor. Sure enough, the many armed guards pointing weapons at him flee for their lives, allowing him to dash out a window. While normally I'm not a huge fan of the omnipotent ninja, Snake-Eyes here seems to balance his bad-assery with a certain realism that makes him appealing. Maybe it's that he's been around before Ninja were over-played. In any event, the two plots intersect when Snake-Eyes rescues Scarlett and sends Cobra Commander and Zarana running. I do rather enjoy these characters, and don't have a hard time seeing why they're so beloved by Joe fans. Hama really does a great job here.
It's kind of a strange book. Most of it is devoted to a rather one-sided fight between Megatron and a team of Autobots. While I was expecting to be swept away by this action, I found it rather implausible. I suppose the threat of the G2 Decepticons has Autobot resources stretched pretty thin, but even then the Autobots come across as a disorganized rabble. They had the drop on Megatron with 7 guys, and still get routed. Then they regroup and their next best plan is to sacrifice one of their own to slip a single agent onto Megatron's ship? Meanwhile Brawn splits up and dies alone. If they were worried that Megatron would find their ship, why not regroup... at the ship! Ugh.
Those flaws aside, this book (and the three preceding it) does effectively reintroduce the concept of Transformers. They stride like colossi, with larger than life bodies, personalities, and conflicts. Their agenda is cosmic in scope, and where they walk chaos follows. We've also got some specific plot threads set up for G2, mostly around Megatron's return. For all that this book may suffers from splitting the focus between the Joes and the Transformers, it's pretty certain that the main G2 book won't have any similar flaws. I'm looking foward to it.
The G2 prequel has yet to be reprinted, which is still a real shame. Perhaps IDW, which has the rights to both, is up to the challenge? Still, the back issues don't go for all that much, so if you're a die-hard G2 fan then why not try to scrounge them up? It's not a perfect story, but it's an enjoyable tale that continues directly a few issues later in G2 #2. Stick around, it's about to get real.
TO THE DEATH -EPISODE 2 LIVE
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