A few surviving and escaped Mini-Cons band together to attempt to free their captured comrades. Elsewhere, the Decepticons, (led by Megatron) are attacking Cyber City. The Autobots try to resist them but the 'cons have powered up, using the captured Mini-Cons to boost themselves. The Autobots are defeated and retreat. Meanwhile, the other Mini-Cons have rescued their comrades and have stolen a space ship. They try to escape the planet, but in doing so they suffer a massive engine failure.
Issue
002
Writer
Chris Sarracini
Pencils
James Raiz
Inks
Rob Armstrong
Colours
Alan Wang / Gary Yeung / Rob Ruffolo
Release date
01/08/2002
Autobots featured
Optimus Prime, Hot Shot, Smokscreen, Scavenger, Red Alert
Decepticons featured
Megatron, Starscream, Cyclonus, Demolishor
Humans featured
Sparkplug, Runway, Sonar, Jetstorm, Longarm, Leader-1, Jolt, Buzzsaw, Drill Bit, Dualor
Origin of
Death of
First appearance
Starscream, Runway, Sonar, Jetstorm, Buzzsaw, Drill Bit, Dualor
Locations featured
Village C52, Cyber City, Waste Disposal District - Cybertron
Story synopsis
We start off with a group of Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, investigating the village attacked last issue. They find nothing but rubble.

Meanwhile, Megatron has decided to march on Cyber City. We'll get back to him in awhile.

Elsewhere, Sparkplug is now returning to reality. While he managed to escape the attack on his village, he was injured and knocked out. He was found and resusicated by none other than the Star Sabre boys, Runway, Sonar and Jetstorm. After they remove a tracking device from Sparkplug, they bring him up to speed on a) their location (it's a garbage dump. Clever.), b) the plan to escape Cybertron in a homemade space ship, and c) the plan to break into Decepticon HQ and rescue the other Mini-cons.

Getting back to Megatron, the Decepticon leader is now announcing himself to the inhabitants of Cyber City. He delivers the usual grandiose rhetoric that boils down to one simple line: "I'm in charge now." His demonstration is interrupted by the arrival of Optimus Prime, who's striking one of his 'heroic' poses. Megatron is unimpressed by the Autobots assembled and, once he has armed himself with a Mini-Con, he sounds the call to battle.

Meanwhile, the Star Sabre team plus Sparkplug have arrived at the Decepticon home base. To get past the motion sensors, the Star Sabre team uses the rather unorthodox strategy of strapping Sparkplug to a jet pack and having the poor sap rocket around the base uncontrollably. It's a plan Sparkplug isn't thrilled about.

Back at Cyber City, the Autobots are having their shiny butts handed to them by the Decepticons. Realising that they are outmatched, Prime is forced to order a retreat, thereby leaving Megatron in charge of the capital. The Decepticons' moment of glory doesn't last too long as it is interrupted by Starscream's announcement that their base has been infiltrated and that the Mini-Cons inside have escaped.

The little Transformers are rather proud of themselves for escaping and don't seem to give a second thought to their comrades still with Megatron. I'm willing to bet their celebration wouldn't be as lively if they realised that one of their engines is starting to explode...
Remarks
An entertaining issue, with a good set-up for the Mini-Con arrival and entombment on Earth. In contrast to the cartoon, the Mini-Cons here escape to Earth, rather than being exiled. The interaction between Sparkplug and the Star Sabre team is handled nicely and is a high point of the issue. However, it's a bit odd that there's so little security around the Decepticon base, and this is a motif which continues throughout the series. Then there's the lack of concern for the Mini-Cons that were with Megatron while he was attacking Cyber City. It would have been nice for someone to have said, "We'll be coming back for the others later," or something to that effect, instead of simply abandoning their kin.

The fight for Cyber City is okay, but a couple things about it bug me. First, there's the fist-fight atmosphere of it, which is common of the battles Sarracini writes. There is little to no actual weaponry used and because of it, the battle feels more like a gang brawl. Next, there's the fact that Megatron simply waltzes in there with no apparent reinforcements. Prime can be forgiven for low personnel, since Cybertron is supposed to be at peace, but for a conquering army, the Decepticons feel a bit short-handed.

Raiz's art is still nice and slick, for example when the Autobots arrive to confront Megatron, but his storytelling abilities need just a liiitttle tweaking, such as with Sparkplug's jetpack and the somewhat confusing manner it's handled.
Character development
Optimus Prime doesn't get too much screen time this issue, but his behaviour at the Mini-Con village shows the latent anger management problems that are consistent with Sarracini's take on the character. But, since it's an alternate Prime, I guess I can let some of it slide. He also shows that he knows when to tuck tail and run, as shown by his retreat this issue. He was also 'scared' at the prospect of what Megatron wanted with the Mini-Cons and is quick to realise a war has started.

Megatron shows himself to be quite the audacious fellow. He merely struts into Cyber City and declares himself in charge. His arrogance does have a bit of merit behind it, given the beating he dishes out to Prime. I'm just shocked he let Prime live. He also has a weakspot for Mini-Cons and calls them the "key to the universe."

Sparkplug is a bit out of it this issue, but you can't blame the poor guy, what with his home getting levelled. He basically walks around with his mouth open, trying to play catch up to the Star Sabre boys. He's definitely not the bravest fellow, given his reluctant reactions to the idea of breaking into Decepticon HQ and later the diversionary tactic used.

The Star Sabre group kind of bleeds together this issue, as they essentially show the same kind of eccentricies. Sonar and Jetstrom basically follow Runway's lead and always back up the last thing he said. They do get points for being clever enough to hide out in a garbage dump and be able to use the trash in said dump to build a spaceship. They also have plenty of brass to just casually strut into Decepticon HQ.

Hot Shot asks Prime a lot of questions and probably looks up to him.

Scavenger shows himself to have a no-nonsense type of personality, and responds to Prime's inquiries at the village with a simple answer.

Red Alert is a tech geek with a runny mouth, evidenced by his off-track answer to Prime's inquiry at the village.

Smokescreen seems to have a temper and gets rather angry about the scene at the Mini-Con village.
Trivia
At the Mini-Con village, Hot Shot stands next to Prime, while the others do the work. This possibly reinforces the idea that he has a higher rank.

When Megatron marches into Cyber City, he does so with only three soldiers. Apparently the Autobot forces are so few that he doesn't need to worry about being overwhelmed.

After Megatron announces himself, the populace of Cyber City starts to clamour for the Autobots to protect them. This reinforces the idea that the Autobots are a military/police force above the average Cybertronian.

Megatron destroys the greeter droid from last issue. Yay!

On awakening, Sparkplug's audio parameters are first restored, then the optics.

Cybertronian garbage dumps get awful big and are largely shunned by the populace. I can't help but wonder what it's comprised of. Hiding under it's metal also hides the Star Sabre boys from Decepticon sensors.

The Decepticon base is protected by motion sensors.

Decepticon tracking devices have the nasty habit of exploding after awhile.

Runway is from village B13.

The Destruction Team are glimpsed in this issue. Presumably they escape Megatron at some point between this issue and the next, and lied about crashing on the moon with the other Mini-Cons, more likely locating them and joining them later.
Good quotes
Sparkplug - "Hang on, where are we?"
Runway - "The garbage disposal district. Sort of explains the, you know... GARBAGE everywhere."

"Oh, I'll enjoy my stay. I'll enjoy it so much I just might stay forever." Megatron
Bad quotes
Mistakes
Cyclonus gets his name misspelled as 'Cyclonis.'

Ditto for Runway, who gets misspelled as 'Runaway.' Dreamwave - get a dictionary!
Story rating
6 star
Art rating
7 star
Media
Reviewed by
bobaprime85

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