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The Autobots are concerned, the Decepticons are fuming, the Mini-Cons... are confused. They are being held captive by their mysterious abductors on the moon! They soon learn that they have been 'rescued' from the war by fellow Mini-Cons, led by the Destruction Team, who have been stranded on the moon. The 'cons decide to take action and jet up to the moon and begin a raid, however the Mini-Cons have built good defences, so Megatron orders the retreat. The Autobots meanwhile decide to risk using the space bridge, and it is revealed that the moon-based Mini-Cons have strapped Rad into a space mine!
Issue
009
Writer
Simon Furman
Pencils
Guido Guidi
Inks
Elaine To
Colours
Shaun Curtis / Alan Wang / David Cheung
Release date
01/03/2003
Autobots featured
Optimus Prime, Hot Shot, Red Alert
Decepticons featured
Megatron, Starscream, Thrust, Cyclonus, Demolishor
Humans featured
Sparkplug, Leader-1, Dualor, Drillbit, Buzzsaw, Wreckage, Bonecrusher, Knock Out, Runway, Sonar, Jetstorm, Jolt, Grindor, Highwire, Sureshock, Laserbeak, Ransack, Dune Runner, Rad, Carlos, Alexis
Origin of
Death of
First appearance
Thrust, Laserbeak, Ransack, Dune Runner
Locations featured
The moon, Lincoln, South Dakota, Silver Ridge, Nebraska
Story synopsis
We open with a page of Dualor standing in a room overlooking the moon landscape, all powerful figure-like. We then go back down to Earth, where the page alternates between Alexis asking Optimus Prime questions and Megatron answering them to his troops. Clever. Basically, both factions know that a group of moon-based Mini-Cons are responsible for the abduction of the Earth-based Mini-Cons.

The scenery then changes to a holding cell where our familiar Mini-Cons are trying to figure out just what happened to them. Before they throw around too much speculation, the Destruction Team of Dualor, Drillbit and Buzzsaw arrives and offers a guided tour of the base to Sparkplug, Leader-1 and Runway. Despite the odd manner of retrieving them, he assures the other Mini-Cons that they are 'home.'

Back on Earth, Optimus outlines the situation to Alexis, which is basically that the Autobots can only wait for Megatron to make his move. Mounting a rescue mission would require materials they don't have and since Megatron scrapped their shuttle back in Kansas, they don't have any transportation. Using a space bridge to get materials from Cybertron is too risky, because the bridge is traceable and would light up Autobase on Cybertron.

Speaking of space bridges, Thrust has just arrived from Cybertron with a pair of rocket boosters for Megatron. Once attatched, the Decepticons, minus Demolishor, shoot for the moon.

Getting back to that hunk of rock, Dualor is acting as tour guide for the trio he let out earlier. He's got quite the little set-up, with plenty of machinery and weaponry. He explains that over the past million years he has transformed the remains of the crashed spaceship into a veritable fortress and was aware of the Mini-Con reactivation, but hesitated. Riiiight. When Sparkplug calls him on his methods, Dualor accuses him of being brainwashed.

Elsewhere, the Decepticons have reached the Mini-Con outer defenses, which is a rather nasty spacial minefield. They don't do too much damage to the attackers, but there is enough of them to cause the Decepticons to slow down. Missiles then start launching, and the attackers start taking some hits.

Back down on Earth, Hot Shot and Red Alert find Demolishor all alone guarding the Decepticon base. Prime then gives the order to take him out and begins to initiate the space bridge.

Meanwhile, the firefight on the moon is heating up and it's not looking good for the Decepticons. Megatron orders them to fall back and this provokes some jubilation from the Mini-Cons inside. The Destruction Team isn't ready to celebrate yet, because they know their underlings won't be so game to fight Optimus and co. Dualor then unveils his 'secret weapon': Rad attatched to a spacial mine! Yay, er, wait...
Remarks
A fun, solid issue. There's some good action with the Decepticon assault and some nice development of the Mini-Cons. The attack on the moonbase has some nice scenes, with Starscream getting shot down and Megatron throwing away a boot jet in exasperation/anger. Dualor shows himself to be just as calculating a menace as Megatron and, though a Mini-Con, if certain circumstances where changed, he probably would be wearing a Decepticon symbol.

The switching between Optimus Prime and Megatron at the beginning is a nice touch, and is a neat way of showing some similarities between the two leaders. Prime shows some clever-thinking in sending Hot Shot and Red Alert to break into Decepticon HQ, but it does provide yet another detriment to Decepticon security. Then again, it could just be because Demolishor was in charge. The good cliffhangers continue, with this being the first time Rad's fate is of interest.

Guidi's art is good this issue, but he needs a liiiittle work in a couple places, mainly with some Mini-Con close-up shots. But just a little.
Character development
Optimus Prime shows himself to be quite the clever fellow by quickly piecing together the recent developments. He's cautious about using the space bridge and sends Red Alert and Hot Shot to deal with the problem of the Decepticons zeroing in.

Megatron is just as quick on the uptake as Prime, but is a tad overeager to launch an assault on the moonbase. Of course, he is overconfident enough to attack the front door and gets soundly thrashed, further damaging his battle track record. What is it, three straight losses now? Not to mention the shoddy security he left for Decepticon base.

Thrust makes an interesting introduction this issue, but doesn't get too much. He prefers to 'fly under his own speed' and is very eager to join in on Megatron's attack on the moonbase.

Sparkplug seems a tad bewildered as to why the Mini-Cons were abducted, but once he learns what is going on, he quickly sees through Dualor's welcoming act. He correctly calls the Mini-Con on his methods and how they differ little from Megatron - basically kidnapping the Earthen Mini-Cons.

Leader-1 is quick to recognise when he has been imprisoned and his fatalism shows through when he says that trouble follows Mini-Cons. He's also the first to bring up the likelihood of Megatron attacking the base.

Wreckage bides his time, telling the Land Military Team to stand down.

Dualor seems to be quite the little tyrant. He constructs a heavily armed base out of a ruined spaceship over a period of a million years and has his fellow Mini-Cons under his thumb. He has enough gall to abduct the Earth-based Mini-Cons without so much as a 'hello' and accuses Sparkplug of being brainwashed when the Mini-Con assesses Dualor's lack of consideration. Obviously not one to take criticism, he clearly hates the larger Transformers and is willing to put an innocent life in danger to keep Prime out of the way.

In his More Than Meets the Eye profile, an account from Sparkplug describes Dualor as willing to, "bargain, coerce, or downright threaten in order to achieve what he wants... he's far too willing to sacrifice everthing, including innocents, to achieve his goals. You can't trust a 'bot that would sell you out in a second for his own vision of the 'greater good.'" It's somewhat fitting that his motto is: "The end justifies the means."

Buzzsaw and Drillbit essentially follow his lead, and Buzzsaw is the one who brings up what to do about Prime. He's also confident about the Mini-Cons coming around, but thinks that Sparkplug may pose problems. He's very sure of the base's defenses and has a tendency to boss around the Mini-Cons, using a somewhat patronising tone.

Runway is immediately suspicious of his surroundings, and the rest of the Air Defense Team follows suite, of course.

Rad is thankfully silent this issue, so we only have to put up with Carlos and Alexis. The latter is concerned about what just happened to Rad and repeatedly questions Prime. Carlos just kind of sits there and delivers a comment about rescuing Rad there and then.
Trivia
The vehicle that took the Mini-Cons left the Mini-Con insignia scorched into the field, like a crop circle.

The reactivation beacon set off in issue 3 alerted the moon-based Mini-Cons to the presence of the Earth-based ones.

Space bridges are traceable, which forces the Autobots to rely upon shuttles for their transportation needs.

The location of Autobase: Cybertron is to be kept secret from the Decepticons and no risks are taken that may leak its location.

The moon-based Mini-Cons have quite the defensive array, with plenty of spacial mines and missiles (some that appear to be heat or motion seeking). It also is defended by moonrock, reinforced tritanium (whatever that is) and forcefields. Amazing what you can accomplish after a million years. Their holding cells are equipped with forcefields to keep prisoners locked up.

Megatron and Demolishor can't fly and the Decepticon leader is forced to rely upon rocket boosters, which are capable of propulsion beyond the atmosphere, but they aren't very durable in battle.

When he transforms, the head of Prime's 'combined with trailer mode' can be seen in his chest.

Decepticons have subneuro speech drives that allow for private communication. This assists them in the sound vacuum of outer space.

The Mini-Cons are no longer under 'remote control' from the start of this issue.
Good quotes
Bad quotes
Mistakes
Demolishor gets his name misspelled as 'Demolisher.'

Sonar gets a word balloon clearly meant for Runway, because, well, Runway is the only member of the Air Defense Team that ever says anything other than some form of 'yes.'
Story rating
7 star
Art rating
7 star
Media
Reviewed by
bobaprime85