The Land Military team arrive on the scene and help Sparkplug's bunch escape the Decepticon base where they have been trapped. Megatron is about to use the power of the Star Sabre to destroy the local area but Prime arrives and tries to stop him. Sparkplug powerlinks with Prime to boost him as he gives a little speech about respecting the Mini-Cons. The Star Sabre hears the speech and breaks into it's component Mini-Cons, which is enough to cause Megatron to order the retreat. Again.
Simon Furman
Pat Lee
Rob Armstrong
Espen Grundetjern / David Cheung / Rob Ruffolo / Ramil Sunga / Felipe Smith
Release date
Autobots featured
Optimus Prime, Hot Shot, Red Alert
Decepticons featured
Megatron, Starscream, Cyclonus, Demolishor
Humans featured
Sparkplug, Jolt, Longarm, Wreckage, Knock Out, Bonecrusher, Leader-1, Runway, Sonar, Jetstorm, Rad, Carlos, Alexis
Origin of
Death of
First appearance
Wreckage, Bonecrusher, Knock Out
Locations featured
Silver Ridge, Nebraska, Lincoln, South Dakota
Story synopsis
We start with the damn kids outside the Decepticon base, debating what to do about their friends still inside and witnessing the debut of the Star Sabre. It's sparkly. Megatron shows off his new toy to his underlings, minus Starscream, who is still stuck under the rubble of the room he collapsed last issue. Receiving a summons, Starscream drags himself out of the mess and heeds Megatron's call. Outside, the kids activate the panic-pager that Sparkplug gave them last issue.

Back inside, Sparkplug, Jolt (who has been greatly injured) and Longarm try to extracate themselves from the rubble, but with no success.

Back outside with the damn kids, some 'help' arrives in the form of the not-too friendly Land Military Team.

Meanwhile, Megatron has reached the outskirts of Lincoln, where Autobase is located, and starts to use the Star Sabre to tear up the landscape. Optimus Prime, feeling the walls quake, correctly guesses that Megatron is on the warpath, but things look grim as all Autobot-allied Mini-Cons are missing.

Speaking of Mini-Cons, the kids are explaining the situation to the Land Military Team outside the Decepticon base. Unfortunately, the new arrivals reject any kind of alliance with the two factions and pick their own causes. Rad doesn't warm to this idea, goes off on a tangent and rides his high horse in the direction of the base. The Land Military Team then re-enters the scene, makes some introductions, and offers help.

Meanwhile, Megatron is busy showing off the Star Sabre, much to the chagrin of his warriors. Starscream starts to voice the fear that the new toy will cause Megatron to forget all about his grunts, and he decides to remind Megatron just how much he needs them. Cyclonus starts to voice his agreement, but is cut off by a blast from Prime. The Autobot leader then finds himself facing Starscream, who merely steps aside, leaving Optimus to get smacked by the Star Sabre.

Back at Decepticon base, Longarm tries to cut his way out of the rubble, but has little luck until Wreckage arrives.

Back to the fight, and Prime gets his hands on the Star Sabre, which is imbedded in the ground, and is trying to get its Mini-Con components to snap out of it. Megatron takes this opportunity to tackle Prime and deliver a Decepticon view on the nature of power. He regains the Star Sabre and is about to deliver the killing blow when Sparkplug arrives and links to Optimus, giving the Autobot leader a much needed boost. Hot Shot and Red Alert get boosted as well and, with the independent help of the Land Military guys, rejoin the fray.

Prime gets up close and personal with Megatron, which somehow causes the Decepticon to lose control of the Star Sabre. Megatron then decides to run like a wuss boy and Optimus lets him. Don't ask why. With the Decepticons routed, the Land Military guys and the Air Defense Team decide to take off as well, but Prime feels it's best not to upset the balance anyway, and that the Autobots still have the edge.
It feels as though Furman is trying to test the waters with this two-parter, though he's basically stuck in automatic.

Once again, we have some lapses in logic that really hurt the issue, such as the sudden 'awakening' of the Star Sabre. It is almost suspiciously easy for them to break Megatron's control and one might even think it's a set-up, if one thought much about it. Still, it's ironic, as G1 Megatron would say, that this rather poor story introduces the Star Sabre plot device which the later enjoyable 'Worlds Collide' mini-epic will benefit from.

Then there is the comment from Wreckage about using Megatron's lab, which doesn't go anywhere and serves only as space filler. It may be that they're refitting themselves to powerlink, but if it is, it should have been much clearer. Not to mention that the 'it's not our fight' line has been used by Furman several times as well as the 'not turning their backs to the responsibility they have to Earth' line. Furman recycling ideas? You don't say!

The sudden departure at the end was expected, but Prime saying that it's not right to 'tip the balance' is just strange. Given that he has been on the losing side of a war that has lasted over a million years, one would think Optimus would very much want to 'tip the balance' in his favour. I won't even go into allowing the Decepticons to just bugger off at the end, which is rather abrupt, in a cartoon-style way. Armada Megatron seems to be taking lessons from his G1 cartoon predecessor on how to stage a lame retreat. Well, at least we get an okay fight scene, I think.

Transformers, much like girlfriends, should never be inflatable. Pat Lee would do well to learn this. His Transformers continually look like they could be popped by a pin and the poses and layout are rather amateurish.
Character development
Optimus Prime showed his trademark respect for all beings this issue. He desperately tries to talk to the Star Sabre in an attempt to awaken its Mini-Con components. He appeals to them as an "equal" when he asks for their help and it pays off, somehow. Prime shows no airs and graces. When discussing power with Megatron, he says that power must be respected, not just controlled and mentions that he had forgotten that, suggesting that Sparkplug's complaints last issue have a grain of truth. He did have two of his weird moments when he let the Decepticons bugger off as well as the two Mini-Con teams. With the former, he perhaps didn't believe that he had enough energy to finish the job maybe? As to the latter, he probably allowed his respect for individual rights to cloud the fact that he needs every resource available.

According to Megatron, power "must be shackled, reined, broken... and then unleashed!" He has no respect for the source and is totally confident of his ability when he has it, no plan needed. After all, he's Megatron. He also appears very willing to cast aside his underlings when something better arrives in the form of the Star Sabre. Starscream describes it as: "He's forgotten all about us. It's like he's on this solo power trip all of a sudden... and we're yesterday's muscle." It's all about his new toy, soldiers be damned.

Starscream is... I'm not sure what. After pulling himself out from under last issue's wreckage, he mutters that Megatron had better watch his back. He apparently wanted the Mini-Con trio he chased because they were "the appropriate response to Megatron's triple power play." Later, he acts concerned about Megatron's lack of consideration concerning his underlings and comments that he should remind Megatron about how much he needs them. Perhaps out of a fear of losing his safety as Chief Lieutenant? He then merely steps aside when Prime arrives, probably hoping the Star Sabre will be lost and Megatron will be back to relying on his 'loyal' soldiers. He's also the first to retreat, and he rubs it in a bit.

Interestingly enough, Cyclonus calls Starscream jealous and Demolishor also has faith in their leader.

Sparkplug is quick to see the error of his ways and regrets his infiltration plan. Once he's been buried under a roomfull of rubble, that is. After being rescued, he clearly is ready to get back to Prime's side.

Longarm isn't about to let Sparkplug go on a self-blaming tangent, saying, "What's with the solo guilt trip?" and he makes clear that they all opted in on the little break-in.

The Land Military Team seems to be the 'roughneck with a heart of gold' type. They certainly give off the persona of military, calling people 'son' and 'soldier' and when first addresses the kids Knock Out says: "Tell me where you got that Mini-Con panic pager... on the double!" They're rather unfriendly when they first meet the kids (can't blame 'em), but come around after a 'responsiblity' speech from Rad. They continue to show an independent streak by driving into the sunrise at the end. Wreckage makes clear that the team has rejected any kind of alliance with either side in the civil war and only fight their own causes. Still, he's not afraid to admit he's wrong to Rad: "You've got brass. We admire that. And more to the point, you speak plain. Plain enough to get through even our thick armour-plating."

The Air Defense Team is apparently very strong-willed, since they broke Megatron's control so easily. They also show an independent streak when they fly into the sunset at the end. I guess they felt that being isolated and vulnerable to another attack from Megatron was best.

The other two kids take a backseat to Rad this issue, as he shows himself able to crank out a speech about 'responsibility'. There's probably some kind of point about such a reckless character talking about responsibility, but I missed it in my rage over him being allowed to speak when the Star Sabre boys only get one line. Rad is also willing to simply barge into the Decepticon base, but Alexis trys to be the voice of reason and advocate caution.
Smokescreen and Scavenger where noticeably absent this issue. In issue 12 we learn that Prime sent them to spy on a Decepticon construction project in Death Valley.

Megatron mentions that it has been awhile since he had a multiple powerlink, suggesting that a) he has created Star Sabre-esque weaponry before, or b) he's forgotten about the multiple Mini-Cons he had in issue 5. Take your pick.

A 'panic pager' is a Mini-Con device used to send distress signals to other Mini-Cons.

The Star Sabre is an extremely powerful weapon, able to shake the walls of a reasonably far-off Autobase, and prompts Megatron to say: "With the Star Sabre I will end this war in a stroke." But the control used on the Mini-Cons seems rather feeble. Plus, a powerlinked Optimus can stand up to it in the hands of Megatron. Whether this means that the Sabre itself isn't that powerful, or that Prime is a lot stronger than I thought is unclear.

Hot Shot's comment that Jetstorm, Sonar and Runway are the "whole Mini-Con package deal" suggests that the team may have been special in some way before Megatron's meddling.

The Air Defense Team is briefly pictured behind Megatron purple-coloured in their airborne modes, showing that they are under his control.

Longarm carries a laser welder. Wreckage carries a bigger one.
Good quotes
"A simple knock on the door would have sufficed, Megatron. Did you have to go and wake the whole neighbourhood?" Optimus Prime attempts humour, in a so-corny-it's-good way.
Bad quotes
Story rating
5 star
Art rating
5 star
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