Tuesday, November 25, 2014

War is Over: Transformers Primacy # 4!

IT’S always a great thing to see the Autobots and the Decepticons desperately throw down, and that is exactly what you get throughout “Transformers: Primacy # 4,” the final issue of the flashback mini-series from the “Autocracy/Monstrosity” team of Chris Metzen, Flint Dille and Livio Ramondelli.

After taking down Metroplex and Omega Supreme, the Decepticons have swooped in with the Seekers and their special teams in an attempt to destroy the Autobots who are trying to defend Iacon and its inhabitants. The Seekers had struck with a vicious dose of acid rain, and Megatron realizes that he has been corrupted by the spark of bad guy Pentius.

This is the beginning of some rather head-scratching developments for the Decepticons. First—and this has been pointed out by many observers online—didn’t the Decepticons realize that the acid storm would be as bad for their Seekers (if not worse) than it would be for the Autobots? The Seekers literally drop out of the air, done for this round.

Meanwhile, in another case of Decepticon miscalculation, Omega Supreme is “merely singed” not dead, and he joins with Autobots in a mighty fightback.

Grimlock takes out his frustrations of his former gladiatorial pitmate Blackwall; that was actually easier than anyone thought—Grimlock still king! In an update of their ongoing drama, Hot Rod receives an assist from old friend-turned-enemy Slugslinger (formerly just Slinger) who has realized he made a huge mistake joining the Decepticons. Let us just note this is great writing for someone who was formerly just another Targetmaster, the kind of writing that also made Doubledealer (formerly just Dealer) another compelling friend for Hot Rod. In Slugslinger’s case, it doesn’t last long as the Predacons tear him apart and turn their sights on Hot Rod. Luckily, Grimlock comes to his rescue in an inevitable war buddy moment, and they take down Razorclaw.

In another head-scratching moment, Megatron knows he must get rid of Pentius, and runs towards what remains of Trypticon (dispatching Bumblebee rather cruelly). Optimus Prime heads off to meet him, dispatching the Stunticons efficiently with Omega Supreme’s covering fire. Megatron then is faced down by Prime in a one-on-one battle that references their awesome “One-Will-Stand” duel in “The Transformers: The Movie”(check out Megatron’s energy morning star and Prime’s energy battleaxe). Of course, why doesn’t Megatron just say what he’s trying to do? The useless duel could have been avoided.

Megatron finally explains to Prime that he had stolen Pentius’ power but this has now put all of them in jeopardy and asks Prime to essentially kill him to save Cybertron in a surprisingly cogent “Peace-Through-Tyranny” moment. Prime has a better idea, using the Matrix to cleanse Megatron of the malignant spark before knocking him out with a haymaker. This establishes the hate-hate relationship that is supposed to be repeated again and again in the series that occur after this. “I will never stop hating you,” Megatron sneers. “I know,” Prime answers.

Prime then brings a halt to the fighting with what is apparently among the first of his endless “The battle is over” speeches. We see Megatron being immobilized with a dangerous twinkle in his optical receptors. We get an epilogue with Prime pondering the future as he now accepts the shift from Orion Pax to Optimus Prime. “I… am Optimus Prime. And my story…is only just beginning.”

That last part is pretty important because “Primacy” actually depicts the first great battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons (and by extension, Prime and Megatron) in Cybertronian history. It just doesn’t feel that way probably because we’ve seen them battle so many times already in events that will happen in the future but have already been chronicled. Though Ramondelli is a key part of this team, one gets the feeling that this last issue showed the murkiness and the tendency to draw the characters too similarly that characterizes his work, especially considering how big and varied the cast is for this series.

Considering what “Autocracy” and “Monstrosity” set up, “Primacy” would logically wrap up this trilogy for Metzen, Dille and Ramondelli, paving the way for the IDW comic continuities, and for that, we should be thankful that this team endeavored to do what they did. Let the modern age of the Transformers begin.

Next time: Transformers Drift Empire of Stone # 1!

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