Prime uses the space bridge to go to Cybertron for help, whilst Megatron plans on tunnelling into the Mini-Con fortress. Jetfire is unwilling to leave Cybertron to aid Prime who heads back alone with some equipment instead. Megatron meanwhile has broken in the Mini-Con fortress and is busy snatching Mini-Cons. He dispatches Leader-1 off to the control centre to shut down the base defences, but Leader-1 has different ideas. Prime returns to Earth with an Autobot shuttle and plans to head to the moon himself to rescue Rad.
David Cheung / Shaun Curtis
Optimus Prime, Jetfire, Hot Shot, Blurr, Red Alert
Silver Ridge, Nebraska, Lincoln, South Dakota - Earth, the moon and Cybertron
We start off with Hot Shot and Red Alert inside the Decepticon base. The dynamic duo have informed Prime that they are ready to delete the trace data inside the computer once Optimus Prime uses the space bridge. Prime strikes one of his heroic poses and steps through the gate to Cybertron.
On the moon, Rad is being inspected by the Destruction Team. The little fleshie voices his grievance about being stuck to the mine and is quite surprised that Mini-Cons are capable of doing this. Dualor is unaffected by Rad's pleas and makes clear his intention to continue with his plans, which include using Rad as a hostage in peril. Hard to argue with that one.
Elsewhere, Megatron is pouring over scans of the Mini-Con base on a monitor set-up. Cyclonus questions the likelihood of getting into the base, which only affirms Megatron's decision to 'dig deeper'. It also gives him a chance to reveal his stunning new drill machine.
Meanwhile, the Mini-Cons locked inside the moonbase's holding cell find themselves conflicted over what to do. Wreckage is perfectly happy where he is, but others, like Jolt, are none too pleased with the prison decor. Sparkplug then outlines his view of the situation: it's not about being free from the threat of the Decepticons, it's about Dualor being willing to hijack and do what he wants with them, having no consideration to what they want, which is basically the Decepticons in a nutshell. This is of interest to an eavesdropping, cloaked Mirage.
Back on Earth, Starscream and Thrust have arrived back at the Decepticon base, only to find Demolishor's broken body. Now alert to an Autobot presence, the despicable duo go a'huntin'.
In a galaxy far, far away, Optimus has returned to Cybertron for resupply and reinforcement. Unfortunately, he's having a bit of trouble with a rather cranky and sarcastic Jetfire, who's busy trying to stem a Decepticon advance. He offers Prime whatever equipment he needs, but refuses to leave Cybertron when Optimus asks him to come to Earth.
Speaking of that Transformer vacation spot, Starscream is going on a shooting spree inside his own base, and while he doesn't actually hit any Autobots, he sure teaches the inanimate objects a thing or two. Red Alert and Hot Shot have hidden themselves inside the Decepticon computer (no, not in a stupid 'AfterDeath' way), which gives them a front-row seat to the light signaling a space bridge activation from Cybertron.
Back at the moonbase corral, Mirage is giving a rather incorrect report to Dualor about the situation with the formerly Earth-based Mini-Cons, saying that they are all coming around. The scene is interrupted when something suddenly rocks the base. Dualor then sends Mirage and the Adventure Team to check on the 'guests' and orders Astroscope to activate the orbital defenses, which includes a Rad-heavy payload.
Down below, Megatron has entered the building via his drilling equipment and he's making his way to the holding cell where the Earth-based Mini-Cons are held. He's about to seize the sitting ducks when the Adventure Team opens fire. The Decepticon leader then orders Leader-1 to locate and shut down the base's defense controls while he deals with his Mini-Con attackers. Leader-1 responds with what should be a suspicious "As you command." Sparkplug is about to intervene when Mirage informs him that Rad is in danger. Why Sparkplug doesn't high-five him is unknown.
On Earth, Hot Shot and Red Alert have decided that subtlety is for wussies and have started shooting at everthing in sight. The Decepticon duo is taken by surprise and fail to keep the computer, with its space bridge tracing capabilities, from being trashed, thereby ensuring the continuing secrecy of Autobase: Cybertron.
Meanwhile, Prime reveals to the kids that, while he didn't get too much since supplies are low, he got a shuttle. The little annoyances are ready to go, but Prime says it's too dangerous for them to come physically. He does say they will be with him "in spirit", much to their confusion.
Back at what is soon to be Megatron's personal playpen, the Destruction Team has just finished checking the orbital perimeter when a disklike object explodes right in front of them, clearing the stage for none other than... Leader-1, who takes centre stage.
A fun issue. But while it's great to see Megatron break into the base, and Prime's interaction with Jetfire is amusing, there are a couple of things that bug me. While Megatron getting into the base is pleasing, exactly how does he get all that equipment? Starscream, Thrust and Cyclonus probably have cargo space, but they clearly made several return trips and should have seen Demolishor's body before now. Oafs. Then there is the vague nature of the conflict on Cybertron. Just who is leading the Decepticons?
Getting back to the base, would Dualor really be so stupid as to not reinforce the lower levels? One would surely think that someone as shrewd as he is made out to be would expect an attack on the lower levels, which aren't properly shielded. Oy. Oh well, the cliffhanger in this issue is probably one of the best ones in Armada, or even G1, and it's good to see Furman showing that not all Mini-Cons are cuddly.
Guidi's art is nice and slick this issue, delivering good stuff like the moment when Megatron enters the base. Both he and Furman are proving a great asset to the title.
Optimus Prime continues to show that Earth is his priority. He is perfectly willing to call Jetfire, acting commander on Cybertron, and want him to come to Earth to lend technical expertise. When the Autobots are clearly on the ropes, I might add. Not too noble, there. He also won't endanger the two kids by allowing them to physically come with him. Note 'physically', because it gets explained next issue.
Megatron has the determination of a certain coyote. He shows little reluctance after the humiliating defeat he suffered last issue, and is completely set on finding a way around the Mini-Con defenses. He even quotes his first rule of battle: "Find a weakness and exploit it for all it's worth." This he does, and he's clearly having a good time when he breaks in. Once he has breached the base, he's willing to waste time attacking the Adventure Team and rather stupidly trusts Leader-1 to obey his orders. That will cost him.
Jetfire has "technical expertise." In contrast to Prime, has made Cybertron his priority. Not willing to abandon his fellow Autobots, he refuses to obey what is probably a direct order to come to Earth. He shows his sarcastic side by immediately coming to attention when Optimus threatens to pull rank. Jetfire seems rather frustrated with Optimus, saying, "And I need Optimus Prime!" as the Decepticons seem to be winning the war. More Than Meets the Eye states: "He's too concerned with defeating the Decepticons to let anything get in the way of doing his duty." The profile also has a 'troop assessment' from Prime: "There have certainly been times when Jetfire and I haven't seen optic sensor-to-optic sensor on a subject, and he doesn't hesitate to tell me so... regardless of how he thinks I might react. But Jetfire could never be considered insurbordinate in these instances - he just speaks his mind when it comes to the best interest of our cause."
Starscream is rather triggerhappy and is very willing to shoot first and ask questions later. His aim needs work, because all he succeeds in hitting is his own base. He also shows his tendency to complain about being ordered to perform menial tasks. His confidance certainly isn't lacking, because once he finds Demolishor, he promises to show Thrust 'what he's good for.' He doesn't take well to be criticised by Thrust and tells him: "Shut your flaps."
Hot Shot and Red Alert are not ones for an initial shootout and try hiding from the Decepticon duo, but Hot Shot apparently wanted Red Alert to find his own hiding space. Eventually, when no other option is available, they open fire.
Thrust is not fond of Starscream and says this to the Decepticon's face. He considers him a whiner and basically useless. Thrust is also less triggerhappy, as he is the one who gets Starscream to stop blasting the walls.
Sparkplug is someone who doesn't respond kindly to being locked up. He clearly views Dualor as kin to the Decepticons and makes this point rather clear in his speech about his companions being hijacked, saying: "They didn't ask, they just took. And that is exactly what we were running from in the first place." A good judge of character. He is ready to leap in and stop Leader-1 from helping Megatron, but once Mirage informs him that Rad is in danger, he comes along.
Dualor is one cold bastard. He's very willing to use Rad as a bargaining chip that will keep Prime out of his hair and when Rad says that he thought Mini-Cons were nice, Dualor replies: "Human... whatever gave you that idea?" He later says: "To Protect what we've built here, I'm fully prepared to sacrifice you... or anyone who comes looking for you." He views the two warring factions as basically the same and is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the Mini-Cons out of it. This includes spying on his fellow Mini-Cons. He acts a bit surprised when Mirage tells him that his captives are coming around, clearly not ready to underestimate Sparkplug, and is immediately willing to order Rad's mine launched when the base is attacked.
Leader-1 shows his shrewdness. By pretending to simply go along with Megatron's commands, he gets an excuse to slip away, take out the Destruction Team, and seize power for himself. He may have let being Megatron's partner go to his head, since he's clearly biting off a great deal.
Mirage is one who prefers the covert approach. He falsifies his report from spying on the imprisioned Mini-Cons and then enlists Sparkplug's help when Megatron breaches the base and says: "Not all of us are here by choice."
Jolt follows Sparkplug's line of thinking, but is more sarcastic about it. When he argues with Wreckage about being imprisoned, he refers to the "warm glow of the security fields" and the "cozy cell decor."
Wreckage is apparently happy to be off the Earth and at the base, saying "We're home... or as close to it as we're likely to get." It may be that, as military, he's getting worn down, as he says: "The war's over."
Astroscope initially hesitates when Dualor orders him to deliver the 'special payload', aka Rad.
Jolt's sarcasm makes Knock Out lose his temper and get rather aggressive.
Sureshock misses the kids. Lord knows why.
Ransack bravely leads an attack on Megatron, saying that resistance is a watchword on the moonbase.
Rad is surprised to see that Mini-Cons would be willing to endanger humans. Frankly, he should be surprised that Mini-Cons are not willing to endanger humans, given his behaviour. Alexis and Carlos expect Prime to come back with some heavy equipment, but are impressed by the shuttle. They are very willing to accompany Optimus on his mission and are a bit mystified as to the 'in spirit' business.
The screen on the Decepticon computer shows Earth to be roughly a quarter larger than Cybertron.
The Autobot space bridge is entered via a round portal.
Prime can uplink the space bridge once Hot Shot and Red Alert delete the 'trace data' from the computer, thus ensuring the continued secrecy of Autobase.
Apparently return trips to the moon can use a lot of fuel.
Starscream can tell Demolishor was shot by the Autobots because of the energy trace residue on the impact shells.
Jetfire tells Blurr to wait for reinforcements at 'Sector Zero-Ten.'
Either 'Breens' are a Cybertronian measurement of time, or Dreamwave has misspelled the Marvel G1 term 'Breem'.
The Decepticon base has security monitors.
Megatron can use the barrel of his tank as a handheld weapon in robot mode.
Mirage can seemingly walk through walls, and anyone he is touching becomes invisible with him and walks through walls too.
The tower that retrieved the Mini-Cons in issue 8 is called an Ark.
Megatron can apparently conjure up some rather effective drilling equipment.
The moonbase's shielding is rather weak in its lower levels, near the holding cells.
Jetfire commands the Autobot military on Cybertron, which is run rather ragged at this point. He commands from a pillarlike console.
The Armada shuttles bear a striking resemblance to their G1 predecessors, specifically the ones seen in the movie (and the design of the Ark in several G1 comic issues) when detatched.
A message buoy accompanies the satellite mines in this issue.
There are some small, hover-disks, clearly meant for Mini-Con use, that are effective explosives.
Megatron's first rule of battle: "Find a weakness and exploit it for all it's worth."
"Rank amateurs... let me show you how to REALLY turn up the heat!" Leader-1. That's right, Leader-1.
Leader-1's lower chin guard switches from silver-grey to blue.