Roddy and co turn up to find the Wreckers and Mayhems getting slaughtered. Feeling left out the shaky Bot-Con alliance line up to get their shiny metal behinds kicked as well, with the exception of Soundwave and co, who run away. Meanwhile Optimus Prime watches from Limbo as the ‘bots and ‘cons fall before Megs and Galvy. As Rodimus Prime is brushed aside by Galvatron Optimus realises he has no choice. He uses the Matrix to bring himself back to reality... and face to face with Galvatron. Welcome to Thunderdome...
Galvatron simultaneously deactivates Twin Twist and Rack 'n' Ruin - the former he decapitates with his bare hands, the latter he destroys with a particle blast to the chest. Springer’s alive, but completely out of it, so too Carnivac. It appears that he and Catilla are the only living members of the Mayhems.
Rodimus Prime arrives on the scene. He watches from a distance, equally stunned and disgusted by what he sees. Battered bodies litter the floor as Galvatron and Megatron mop up any resistance. Megatron is about to off Broadside when he notices the arrival of Rodimus and his party.
Immediately, Rodimus issues orders to Kup, Ultra Magnus and Arcee: “Concentrate your fire on Megatron!” The future Prime’s orders are carried out to the letter, by his noble warriors. Megatron swats Kup away as the battle is joined, but the attack has allowed Broadside to struggle free. Fortress Maximus moves in on Rodimus’ command, Grimlock and Swoop go with him. Megatron immediately lunges for the imposing Headmaster, taking him down.
Rodimus decides against going to intervene - Galvatron is the prime concern. It is only now that Rodimus is in close that he notices Galvatron’s horrifically damaged face. During the confrontation, Galvatron struggles to understand the situation – he’s seen himself win the battle through the eyes of Megatron and has no recollection of Rodimus Prime, only Optimus. It is of no consequence! Galvatron makes a decision to blast the three 'bots in front of him and carries it out with steely zest! The blast impacts near the 'bot contingent, scattering them.
Scorponok is eager to aid the future Autobots but is halted by Soundwave’s pragmatism: “Let them wear Galvatron down before we participate.” Scorponok scoffs at this idea: “No that is the weak way,” gathers his troops and rushes into battle. Soundwave almost immediately gathers his own troops and gets ready to go back to his own time.
Optimus continues to watch from Limbo, through the Matrix link he shares with Rodimus Prime. We catch a glimpse of Megatron taking out Grimlock and Swoop in a blink and you'll miss it scene. Even though Prime senses he must, he daren’t step back into the real world, for fear of further accelerating the rip in time and space.
Elsewhere, Ravage finds Scourge, who is in a bad way following last issue's events. Scourge tells him that Shockwave did it (Funny that eh? Dreamwave takes note) and recounts the events: Springer was correct, Cyclonus’ body needs to be sent Back… TO THE FUTURE! Scourge is too damaged to do it, so Ravage has to. Ravage expresses reluctance… then decides to do it anyway!
Meanwhile, Scorponok and Galvatron battle. The brawl ends abruptly and clinically - Galvatron brutally smashes a hole through Scorponok, gouges him in the eye and then shows the awareness to throw him into Ultra Magnus’s gun fire, which was intended for Galvatron himself. Scorponok’s troops are not impressed, this demonstrated by the kicking they give the unfortunate Ultra Magnus. Rodimus again decides not to help his comrades and squares off against Galvatron.
Galvatron loses it. The Time Wars are not panning out the way he remembers as Megatron. Sensing his chance Rodimus Prime acts! Unfortunately, the sum result of this involves him pulling his gun on Galvatron and getting backhanded.
Enough is enough! Optimus Prime realises he is the only Autobot that can stop Galvatron. He reluctantly steps out of Limbo, praying for swift resolution... otherwise he may have just sped up the time rip. Balls.
I liked the issue, purely for the action elements and the art – because on other levels it does quite badly, suffering from the general problem that Time Wars has: dramatically exaggerated power levels and other unexplained incidents. These of course are merely symptoms of the disease known as poor pacing – yes, this little chestnut raises its head again as well.
There have been plenty of hints that the story is building to a conclusion between Galvatron and Powermaster Prime, but before that happens the two antagonists have to go through another large cast of characters.
This poses a large (both in stature and delivery) and largely unsatisfactorily answered question:
“How to portray a convincing battle between two hardcore Decepticons against largely the cream of the rest of the Transformers universe in half the time it took to portray a battle against fewer, less able, Transformers?”
It seems you cannot. Credibility is thrown out of the window. Megatron is undoubtedly tough, but tough enough to shrug off constant blaster fire and then rush all those attacking him? No – or at least no, based on everything that he’s done in the Transformers comic so far. So what has changed? We see Ultra Magnus, Arcee and Kup firing on him. It does very little indeed. Megatron is still comfortably able to absolutely cream Kup. Then suddenly Grimlock, Fortress Maximus and Swoop enter the fray. We just barely see what happens to the two Dinobots - well, we see a spec that resembles Swoop in a pile on the floor and something looking like Grimlock getting shot. It really is very hard to notice, so hard in fact that today is the first time I've ever seen it. Magnus and Arcee completely stop what they’re doing (Magnus clearly suffering from Jackie Chan Syndrome. He later happily steps up to Galvatron after watching motionless whilst Scorponok gets battered). But why did they stop? No explanation.
Clearly a problem with available time and page space – call it a time/space rift if you will… Ha ha ha, that’s an author’s right to abuse his readers.
Fortress Maximus is on the end of a beating within one panel. As mentioned, everybody else seems to have lost interest – or maybe they all got beaten in the lull it took from the panel above… sigh.
Other action scenes seem a little stop start – Rodimus Prime shows how cack a leader he can be, twice allowing Galvatron time to talk gibberish and then still have the first attack. The exposition in both these scenes is quite clunky to say the least. It’s handled far more smoothly in the fight between Scorponok and Galvatron.
Soundwave and the Terrorcons whole interest in the story is rendered null and void. In the first issue, he decided to go back in time to get his troops some revenge. Do they do that? Do they ****! In the third issue he gets his troops to put emotion aside and listen to Optimus Prime, in order to avoid the ‘impending holocaust’ as he puts it. In this issue he even suggests waiting till last to have a pop at Galvatron – getting closer to the canny Decepticon leader we’ve come to know and love… but as soon as this suggestion is turned down, he leaves. Now, surely a Decepticon of his high intelligence would like to stay and ensure he has a future to go back to? We’ve seen him swallow his pride before, at heart he is practical when it comes to leadership – he has worked with Autobots before, as seen in the superior paced and developed Space Pirates (issues 182 to 187). I would have liked to have seen him try and work something out with Megatron, either to pull him round and help kill Galvatron, or to outright join them. Galvatron, Megatron and Abominous would lend more credibility to a swift brutal culling of so many top class warriors, whilst also tying up the future rivalry.
The Galvatron/Scorponok scrap is good fun and done in an acceptable enough manner – though even in this case there is only just enough lip service paid to the situation for the reader to realise that it has taken, indeed is taking place. And Scorponok is completely let down by his (at this time) loyal warriors.
Scorponok’s troops ignore the fact that Galvatron has been pasting ‘the boss’, no doubt whilst they’ve been watching (Bruce Lee syndrome again). However, they only get involved once Ultra Magnus accidentally shoots Scorponok. They’re blas