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The rift in time and space is out of control and in the year 2009 the end of the world appears to be nigh. Rodimus Prime and his boys have to first scupper Soundwave's Decepticons latest filthy plan to steal Earth's resources before time jumping back to the present day to destroy Galvatron once and for all. But Soundwave and his warriors want revenge, and follow them back in time to 1989...
Issue
199
Writer
Simon Furman
Pencils
Andrew Wildman
Inks
Stephen Baskerville
Colours
Euan Peters
Release date
07/01/1989
Autobots featured
Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Blurr, Red Alert, Arcee, Kup, Blaster
Decepticons featured
Soundwave, Rippersnapper, Sinnertwin, Blot, Cutthroat, Hun-Grr, Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge, Megatron
Humans featured
Spike Witwicky, Daniel Witwicky
Origin of
Death of
First appearance
Locations featured
USA
Story synopsis
Time Wars begins with a refresher on the events that have led to the current situation:

The time travelling exploits of future Decepticons Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge have lead to the slow unravelling of time itself. Once a small split, it has now grown to a huge rift following the death of Cyclonus twenty years before his creation. The rift has already claimed the planet Quintesson, and is now threatening Earth and Cybertron.

Earth, New Years day 2009. As the Time Storm creeps ever closer, a human demonstration has started in the middle of a busy city, and assorted lunatics lament the situation humanity is facing. Things do indeed look pretty desperate for Earth and its inhabitants. However, the scene still has room for deterioration - and the situation rapidly degenerates when the demo is interrupted by the malevolent Terrorcons.

Whilst the smaller Terrorcon members revel in the destruction they cause, Hun-Grr remains obviously annoyed by his troops' actions. His attitude makes it clear that something more important is at stake. The attack on the city is promptly called off before Autobot resistance arrives to stop it, and despite his annoyance Hun-Grr still manages to pull off a devious victory, further souring Autobot/human relations by implicating the Autobots in the attack.

Several hours later, and a furious Kup storms into Autobot City with Spike and Daniel in tow, demanding to speak with Rodimus Prime. Even though the Decepticon whereabouts were (and still are) known, Kup has had his request for an assault squad turned down, and is disgusted with the Autobots' inability to post a response to the earlier Decepticon attack. He wants answers! Rodimus Prime's response is ambiguous, and leaves Kup initially bewildered. Ultra Magnus steps in and explains in full the problems surrounding troop availability - the situation facing Earth and Cybertron is dire, all efforts are being directed to sending a team back to 1989, the date the disturbance is believed to have originated.

Kup reluctantly agrees with Prime's evaluation of the situation the troops cannot be spared, there isn't enough time. The jump has to be made as soon as possible. If they do not move within the hour, dimensional vectors will go out of alignment and the jump will not be possible for another month. Kup is ready to back down, only for a late, passionate protest by Spike and Daniel to stir Rodimus but is it enough to have him despatch reinforcements?

The isolated Arcee meanwhile continues to survey the Decepticon position, having tracked them from the original city attack. The Decepticons have built a machine designed to drain the Earth of precious resources, and Arcee finds herself faced with the unenviable task of shutting it down. Soundwave is only moments away from activating the machine when an Autobot raiding party bursts onto the scene. Ultra Magnus, Red Alert, Blurr and Kup have been spared for the quick assault, and they manage to destroy the machine without taking any casualties. Arcee escapes with the crew, who quickly return to Autobot City.

Soundwave and the Terrorcons arrive at Autobot City looking for revenge, but are unable to find any Autobots. Realising the Autobots have jumped back to 1989, they decide to use the technology to follow them.
Remarks
And so it begins. Time Wars was promoted to the hilt back in 1989 (that old!) as the epic to end all epics. Fighting talk! It is in fact much more than just one story, easily dating back to the original epic Target 2006 - this is the tying up of a seriously large body of work! Whilst it does draw on a large amount of material, it is also immediately noticeable that more recent plot developments are being built upon. Initially the most prominent of these continued strands are possibilities left over from Space Pirates, Dry Run and Altered Image. More recent threads come into play as the present day Autobots and Decepticons are brought into the fold - but that doesn't take place until next issue.

Aside from a succinct preface, part one as I've mentioned focuses entirely on the alternate future aspects of the continuity. Future actions of the rift are given sole attention and the cast consists completely of future incarnations of familiar Autobots and Decepticons. As far as exposition stories go it is enjoyable, though the plot feels forced owing in my opinion to being rushed. It left me with a few gripes.

Soundwave claims his energy leech will drain the Earth totally. Surely a bit more exposure could have been given to this machine, considering the devastation it can apparently cause? It shouldn't have been paid such high regards - it is a plot device. Give it more back story and attention to detail or give it none at all. It could have been destroyed at an early developmental stage for example. It took the Constructicons several issues to build Galvatron's weapon in Target 2006.

Considering the importance of the leech, it could have been afforded a little more Decepticon back up as well as a bit more armour. It goes up like a cheap shell suit doused in petrol! Soundwave is canny, his actions in this issue are not.

Rodimus Prime's issue regarding the part dimensional vectors play on a time jump appears to be another coincidence for the sake of the story.

The main problem is the aftermath. It pushes credibility to the limit. Only six Autobots jump back to 1989. But Soundwave gains access to Autobot City far too easily. Where the hell is everybody else? We know for a fact that Blaster was present mere moments ago. Why is the place deserted? Why doesn't Soundwave strip the assets down? What about automated defences? It is farcical.

This issue was reprinted in Collected Comics 18, as well as the Titan trade paperback 'Time Wars.'
Character development
Soundwave demonstrates an intelligent approach to managing his troops. As an aide, he was second to none even though at times he was being less than one hundred per cent loyal to his commanders. The point is that he always did what he believed would be of most benefit to the Decepticon cause - it seems natural that the Decepticons would do well under him. Indeed, it appears the Decepticons are flourishing under him, but even when the going gets tough, he is quick to acknowledge his troop's needs although this decision can be interpreted as Soundwave bending his ethos to remain in power but then again, he may genuinely believe that having himself in power is the best course of action for the Decepticon cause! I wasn't so sure about the decision taken in the end, it is a shame the readers never found out the implications of not stripping Autobot city - as it is disappointing that the comic didn't feature much more material involving the Decepticon army under Soundwave's command.

Hun-grr is head and shoulders above the rest of the Terrorcons and he knows it, showing contempt for his troops on occasion. His actions suggest he is learning from Soundwave. Very cunning.

Rodimus Prime is still getting to grips with his job, coming across as indecisive. Being surrounded by Transformers he trusts is a good sign he appears to be able to take constructive criticism from them well, which leads to an effective solution to the leech problem.

Kup proves an invaluable right hand man to Rodimus Prime, and his experience and passion are on show throughout this issue.
Trivia
According to Rodimus Prime, Time Jumps require careful plotting of dimensional vectors, and cannot just be made whenever one is required. It is debateable as to whether this stands up alongside the rest of the continuity. We know other characters have made jumps as and when they have been required. The question is, did they pick their specific time, or merely take pot luck? The second option doesn't sound too plausible.

This is the first appearance of Red Alert since issue 15 (The Enemy Within part 3). From here on in the G1 comic he only plays a role as a future character.

Spot the in joke. Issue one of Simon Furman and Geoff Senior's Marvel UK comic Dragon's Claws is at the bottom of page 2.
Good quotes
"What happened to your duty to safeguard Earth, eh?" Spike.

"A rash course of action. Better to strip Autobot city in their absence and re-build the energy leech. But my men are angry. To them, avenging the loss of face they have suffered is far more important than draining Earth. Past Decepticon leaders have fallen over far less. I have no wish to share their fate!" Soundwave.
Bad quotes
Mistakes
Story rating
6 star
Art rating
8 star
Media
Reviewed by
snarl