Prime tells the kids that he doesn't want to involve them in the war again but as he's doing so Sparkplug receives a distress call from a group of Mini-Cons that the Decepticons are attacking. Prime rejects the Mini-Con plan to raid the Decepticon base themselves but they go anyway and discover that Megatron has fused the Air Defence team to create the Star Sabre!
Issue
006
Writer
Simon Furman
Pencils
Pat Lee
Inks
Rob Armstrong
Colours
Espen Grundetjern / Felipe Smith / Trang Dang / Mike Majestic / Gary Yeung / Rob Ruffolo
Release date
14/12/2002
Autobots featured
Optimus Prime, Hot Shot
Decepticons featured
Megatron, Starscream, Cyclonus, Demolishor
Humans featured
Sparkplug, Jolt, Longarm, Leader-1, Grindor, Sure Shock, Highwire, Runway, Sonar, Jetstorm, Rad, Carlos, Alexis
Origin of
Death of
First appearance
Locations featured
Silver Ridge, Nebraska, Rapid City, South Dakota, the Black Hills
Story synopsis
The issue starts with Megatron trying to get what he always wants - more. The Decepticon leader is repeatedly slamming his fist against a power-gauging platform of some kind. Apparently, the 'victory' Prime scored last issue has left Megatron unsettled, and now determined to get more power. Once he has decided that Leader-1 is not up to the task, Megatron decides to increase his Mini-Con arsenal.

Meanwhile, the damn kids are off in the woods and get eaten by a bear. Kidding (damn). The actual events are Rad showing off on a skateboard, causing him to fall and split his skull open. Kidding again (damn). He merely hits the skateboard on a rock, causing it to fly into a river nearby and Rad to grab a tree limb in order to avoid the same fate. Alexis starts to argue with him yet again, but thankfully the scene is interrupted by the arrival of Optimus Prime. The reason for Prime's visit is simple: he's come to say goodbye.

Meanwhile, the Air Defense Team are playing a game of Cybertronian chess and planning their next move. That is, until Megatron smashes through the roof.

Getting back to Prime, the Autobot leader explains to the kids that there is no place for them in the civil war. The kids are less than understanding (natch), and when Prime looks for support from Sparkplug he only gets reluctance and an emergency call from the Air Defense Team.

Speaking of whom, the trio is getting rounded up by the Decepticons, and it looks like Sonar might get away, but nope. Megatron checks with Leader-1 to make sure no distress call was sent and, of course, the Mini-Con lies to him. Great military genius we've got there.

The scenery then changes to Autobase, where Prime is reviewing surveillance footage taken of the Air Defense Team being taken into the Decepticon base. Optimus rules out a frontal assualt because of the heavy fortifications and rejects Sparkplug's infiltration plan as too dangerous.

Meanwhile, inside the little base of horrors, Megatron is in the process of forging the Star Sabre from the Air Defense Team. Cue threatening music.

Outside the Decepticon hidey-hole, Sparkplug, Jolt, Longarm and the damn kids are going over the break-in plan. The Mini-Cons break into the base embarrassingly easily while the kids stay outside with a panic-pager they are supposed to activate if they don't hear from Sparkplug in 30 minutes. The three Mini-Cons need to work on their stealth, as they make enough noise to catch the attention of a wandering Starscream. The aerial Decepticon starts chasing the pint-sized Transformers, but gets so frustrated that he starts shooting wildly, causing the walls to come down.

Nearby, Megatron has just finished the Star Sabre, and we end the issue with one of those 'dangerous' looks on his face...
Remarks
So Furman makes his debut on Armada, and the results are... okay. The creation of the Star Sabre is a logical enough reaction from Megatron, but the lack of explanation as to how he found the trio hurts the issue. There are other gaps in logic in this issue as well, namely the pathetic security at Decepticon HQ. It's really rather ridiculous that the base wouldn't have anti-Mini-Con defenses installed, especially after the embarrassing results of the break-in from issue 2 and Prime's comments about how the, "Decepticon stronghold is heavily fortified." Then there's an odd comment from Sparkplug about being, "fed up with Prime telling us what we can or can't do...", which is really rather odd, considering that he has only been under Prime's command for what... a week? Two? Seems some harsh criticism. Also, Alexis' presence at Silver Ridge doesn't quite fit with what we know about her as the sensible one of the trio.

Pat Lee's inflatable Transformers, while good for kids parties and pinatas, are not suited for storytelling and this issue is a reason why. Starscream is especially deplorable. There is one decent moment with Megatron tearing through the wall of the Air Defense Team's hideout, but otherwise it feels like he's biding his time until Volume 2 of the G1 series.
Character development
Optimus Prime showed some real common sense in his decision to break off relations with the kids. The little fleshies can only provide the Decepticons with hostages and/or target practice. Prime seems to have realised this and has decided to take appropriate action. He explains himself rather bluntly: "I don't want you pulled in any deeper. This is our war." He does try to soften the blow by telling them that he appreciates their help so far.

His rejection of Sparkplug's plan is also reasonable, given the extreme danger that lies with their capture - Optimus knows all too well what it is like to be on the wrong side of a Mini-Con boosted Decepticon without one of your own.

Megatron's thrist for more power is rather logical, considering that the 'defeat' last issue was supposedly the first one of its kind in a long while. He shows Leader-1 pure contempt when the Mini-Con isn't able to deliver the power wanted, but his trust in the Mini-Con's subservience later is rather stupid, considering the amount of torture Leader-1 has been put through. This type of arrogance is also what prompts him to command Starscream to 'fetch' an escaping member of the Air Defense Team. He also shows some exasperation and a violent temper when ripping up part of his base. Most likely it's a combination of being beaten by Prime last issue and the shortcomings of his Mini-Con augmentation.

Starscream does not take orders easily and clearly resents Megatron's command to 'fetch' the escaping Mini-Con. Later, he paces around the lower levels of the base trying to think of a way to deep six Megatron's plan. This doesn't seem like the straight-forward power play that his G1 counterpart would try, but more like an attempt to get some petty revenge or simply to cause trouble. He also gets frustrated rather easily and starts shooting wildly at the Mini-Cons intruders rather quickly.

Sparkplug shows a willingness to disobey Prime's direct orders. His comment about Prime's alledged overbearing ways either means that a) Optimus turns into a control freak very fast, b) Sparkplug isn't that compatible with obeying the chain of command that is mandatory in a military situation, or c) a combination of the above. Given Prime's comments next issue, it's most likely the third.

Jolt and Longarm show a loyalty to Sparkplug in their decision to disobey Prime's orders with him. It's also pretty gutsy of the three Mini-Cons to go into the base.

The Star Sabre boys don't get much, but they show an interest in getting the war off Earth. Sonar and Jetstorm continue to echo everything Runway says. He's concerned about getting the war off Earth and feels that direct involvement will only worsen things. His More Than Meets the Eye profile offers further insight: "He secretly harbours great guilt that the escape ship his team built crashed on Earth, spreading to another world."

Leader-1 starts off as something of a frightened underling, but later he shows his typical sarcasm when answering Megatron. He, of course, has no qualms about lying to Megatron about the distress signal.

The kids show the predictable desire to continue to meddle in a conflict they have no place in. Rad is still reckless, Alexis still domineering, and is anyone else upset that they got more lines than the Star Sabre boys? Carlos seems rather adventure-hungry saying "What brings you here, Optimus Prime? Some world-shattering threat... I hope." The trio of annoyance act like spoilt brats when Optimus gives his decision by saying "So... what? You're forbidding us to see our friends?"
Trivia
The names 'Runabout' and 'Runamuck' are spray painted on the abandoned building the Air Defense Team is staying in. This is a reference to the Marvel 'Decepticon Grafffiti' story that is really best left forgotten.

The boost Mini-Cons give can be measured by hitting a power-gauging platform.

Apparently, too many Mini-Cons cause Starscream to get queasy.

Leader-1 is outfitted with the ability to block Mini-Con distress calls.

Sparkplug receives an emergency transmission on a Mini-Con specific frequency.

The Autobots have flying cameras, which are used in this instance to video footage at the Decepticon base.

While Megatron returned to Cybertron at the end of last issue, in this one he has established an Earthen base in in the former mining town of Silver Ridge, Nebraska.

The Decepticon base has some of the crappiest security ever. This is second time (we know of) that Mini-Cons have been able to break in almost effortlessly. It won't be the last.

It is, however, outfitted with the machinery needed to refit Mini-Cons into weaponry.

Apparently, some Mini-Cons can be re-designed to combine into weaponry. Did Megatron invent the technology, or are the Mini-Cons here somehow special? Sparkplug mentions that: "Individually, the energy Megatron could leech from those Mini-Cons is off the scale. But, together, combined... well, I don't even have a scale!" The Star Sabre is the only example of this seen in the comic. Megatron shows his mechanical skills by being able to refit the Air Defense Team into the Star Sabre. There seems to be some kind of mould, which lends credence to the suggestion Megatron has forged/invented the sabre to gain optimum power from the team members. The toyline gives us further examples of this process, notably the Race Team as the Skyboom Shield, and the Space Team as the Requiem Blaster.

Starscream makes a comment about not believing in a Transformer deity that, along with the mystery surrounding the Armada Transformers concerning Unicron, seems to suggest that the Armada Cybertronians are even less sure of their origins than their G1 counterparts. We never do hear of 'Primus' in the Armada comic.
Good quotes
"You exist to serve me. Your sole function is to boost my power levels so that I can CRUSH my enemies." Megatron.

"Starscream--fetch!" Megatron.
Bad quotes
Mistakes
Story rating
5 star
Art rating
5 star
Media
Reviewed by
bobaprime85

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