Megatron and Galvatron duke it out but Megatron is no match for the mystery 'con and is severely beaten. Meanwhile, the Autobots on Cybertron discover the 'con base has been taken over and, on Earth, the Mini-Cons discover a similar situation. As Megatron is about to be terminated the Air Defence Team decide to enter the fray and merge, giving Megatron the unleashed power of the Star Sabre which he uses to run his attacker through with. Back on Cybertron, the Autobots run into a little Pretender trouble deep within the Deception base.
David Cheung / Espen Grundetjern / Rob Ruffolo / Shaun Curtis
We start off this installment with Runway's off-panel observation that "This is bad." The ruined landscape and Transformer wrecks back up the understatement along with the other two off-panel Star Sabre boys. Of course, things really aren't bad until we see a beauty shot of Megatron and Galvatron struggling. The Unicron-spawn gets an early edge by blowing off Megatron's left helmet pincer and blowing a good-sized hole in the mountain. Not easily intimidated, Megatron uses Leader-1 and his side cannon to get some breathing room, proclaiming his own Mini-Con enhanced superiority. However, when the smoke clears, the Decepticon leader gets punched straight through the mountainside. Score: Galvatron 1, Megatron 0. Betting is now closed.
Inside the shack formerly known as Autobase, Sky Blast and Payload continue their work manning the probe and sending a Mini-Con mayday, while outside, Galvatron pursues his prey.
On Cybertron, another little piece of 'bad' is being played out. Jetfire and his band have arrived outside Decepticon HQ, but find the place eerily deserted. Y'know, like one of those places the old man always tells the idiots in the movies to stay away from. Screwing their courage to the sticking place, the Autobots make their way to the heart of darkness, unaware they are being watched by a certain skull-faced ninja. Spooky noochies.
Back at Silver Ridge, things are also not quite good, as the other three harbingers are in the base with the Mini-Cons. Unicron's flunkies then detect the arrival of Thrust and decide to leave and have a 'chat' with him. Sparkplug wonders about their identities and Over-Run delivers the 'shocked survivor' description about 'harbingers of doom.'
Checking in on Prime, we find that he, as well, is not good (hmmm, I'm sensing a pattern...). Optimus is itching to fight back, but all Spinister does is deliver the 'frightened survivor' rhetoric.
Getting back to the rumble on Earth, we find Megatron almost down for the count and Galvatron ready to finish him off. That is, until the cavalry arrives in the form of the Air Defense Team, who grant Megatron the thing he needs to win - the Star Sabre!
Back in Bludgeon's house of a 1000 wrecks, the Pretender has decided to make his move against the Autobots, and Jetfire just misses being sliced in two. Blurr starts firing, but his gun and index digit get sliced off. Overload tries his luck, but just misses getting swiped as well. Dropshot gets a bead on the harbinger, but this just makes him a convenient target for Bludgeon to slash in half. With a comrade down, Jetfire orders everyone to transform and back against the wall. The Autobots then blind Bludgeon with their lights and start pouring on the artillery. Unfortunately, the only thing destroyed is the Pretender shell.
Returning to Megatron, we find the Decepticon leader using the Star Sabre to block the fire of Galvatron in cannon mode and use it to force the Unicron-spawn back. Galvatron 1, Megatron 1. Galvatron then tries to grab the Sabre, but when he gets too close, it emits a flash of energy, forcing him back and allowing Megatron to prepare the final blow...
Inside the Autoshack, Payload is trying to get some contact from anybody and finally reaches the Land Military Team. Whether or not the team has good news depends on your definition of good, since Megatron has just impaled Galvatron upon the Star Sabre! Galvatron 1, Megatron 2! Claim bets at the gate...
Now this is Transformers.
Armada continues to shine in this story arc and this issue really is a dream come true. The entire Megatron/Galvatron fight is handled perfectly, with both combatants at top form and fighting hard. We have a huge shock ending, since many were expecting Galvatron to walk away with yet another victory. The use of the Star Sabre is a nice touch, considering not only its history with Megatron, but also as a way of demonstrating the power of the new generation over the old. Without the Star Sabre, Megatron would have lost, but the Mini-Cons proved the difference.
Of course, it's fun watching Bludgeon as well. It's good to see the Pretender again, though I would imagine that a good deal of cartoon-raised Transfans wouldn't recognise him. Just goes to show what you miss when not reading the comic. If there's a small flaw, it's that when he offs Dropshot there's no emotional 'oomph' because the Autobot is essentially a red shirt. Still, Bludgeon looks damn good doing it.
As I said before - all bow before Don Figueroa! BOW! Megatron and Galvatron are at their best thanks to him and Bludgeon is very creepy. That last page of Megatron over Galvatron is one to remember.
While his appearance is brief, Prime still manages to display his willingness to fight back, even though the foreboding is heavy.
Megatron earns his pride this issue, taking out none other than Galvatron. He looked a bit worried and beaten in some patches, but once the Star Sabre is in his hand, the Decepticon leader knows that victory belongs to him.
Jetfire shows his command skills this issue, leading a team into Decepticon HQ. He is naturally unsettled by the lack of security he encounters on approach, and when he sees the bodies inside, he starts to wonder where the perpetrator is. He manages to detect Bludgeon just quickly enough to get out with just a minor wound and, once he deduces that Bludgeon is influencing them, uses his team's lights to blind the Pretender long enough to hit him.
Jetfire's team isn't familiar enough for us to feel any real concern for them, but Blurr manages to make an impression with his sarcasm. The others are all disturbed by Decepticon HQ. Rhinox describes the strewn bodies as "seriously warped." Dropshot agrees that, "this place is starting to creep me out!" and agrees with the others' desire to hustle. While he thinks he has Bludgeon in his sights, the Autobot is too slow to avoid getting cut in half.
Galvatron is all business throughout the fight. He's very confident of his victory, but doesn't gloat in the style associated with his character in any form. He's very much under Unicron's thumb. Bludgeon becomes Mr Death Assassin this issue, saying nothing, moving quickly, and using the shadows to his advantage along with some kind of mental manipulation to help kill his enemies. The other harbingers just decide to pick on Thrust.
Sparkplug senses just how bad the situation is once he sees the harbingers. He's rather curious and asks Over-Run about them and later tries to reassure him.
Over-Run is still coming to grips with all that he witnessed on his Cybertron. He is, of course, determined to stop it from happening again.
The Air Defense Team apparently believes that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't, and allow themselves to become the Star Sabre and be used by Megatron.
Sky Blast admits to feeling helpless in his current situation. Still, he and Payload persist with the necessary work of locating Prime while everything falls apart around them. They also have the foresight to send out a Mini-Con mayday which brings in help.
The orbit around Cybertron is now clearly decaying due to the harbingers. Worse than termites, they are.
This issue clearly shows the superiority of Mini-Con enhanced Transformers against the original G1 brand. Megatron easily disposes of Galvatron, the guy it took a friggin' time storm to stop, in one fell swoop once he has the Star Sabre. Mini-Cons - they do a Transformer good. The Sabre itself seems a bit more powerful than the last go-round, possibly because the Mini-Cons aren't being controlled or in conflict with Optimus?
Bludgeon is capable of escaping his shell at a moment's notice, if he was even in the shell in the first place and not remote-controlling it. You just can't trust those skull-faced ninjas... they're crafty.
Alternates realities found: 61,270,008. I wonder if the hell of Gobots is counted among them...
Speaking of the little buggers, two torsos hanging from the ceiling of Decepticon HQ look suspiciously like Leader-1 and Cy-kill from Gobots. Plus, their decapitated heads can be seen right next to the torsos. Mmm... nice and gruesome.
Bludgeon's sword has japanese kanji inscripted on it.
Sky Blast and Payload sent out a Mini-Con mayday, which explains the sudden arrival of the Air Defense and Land Military Teams.
Jetfire was able to download and decode schematics of the Decepticon base.
Bludgeon does something to the Autobot's minds to increase confusion during the firefight.
The harbingers are from realities long consumed, according to Over-Run and are apparently the 'advance guard' that visited Over-Run's reality before it was consumed by Unicron. This suggests that this particular Unicron has been at this game for awhile. However, as a smart Transfan pointed out, since every universe has a Unicron, where does this one come from? If it didn't originate in the Armada universe, then where? And what about the Unicron that did originate in the Armada universe? Time to break out the aspirin.
More nicknames for Unicron: heart of darkness, root of all evil. Now, not only is he a hit at parties, he scores with all the chicks, who love the 'bad god' image.
Megatron - "You... are in my way! And anything in my way I go through! My troops may have fallen, but I am Megatron!"
Galvatron - "Megatron. Yes. I have killed many of you."
Megatron (losing ground) - "Hn-unhh... who... are you?"
Galvatron - "I - am death!"
Megatron (fighting back) - "You are powerful... but my might, augmented by the Mini-Con power of Leader-1, will still bring you to your knees! Fall, damn you - FALL!"
Jetfire - "This is bad!"
Blurr - "Bad how Jetfire? Bad in the sense we're in the heart of the enemy camp, or bad in the sense that someone's trying to ventilate the dimensional wall with space bridges?"
Jetfire - "Bad in that we've met no opposition whatever... no guards, no security, nothing."
Blurr - "Oh....riiiight."
Megatron (with the Star Sabre) - "You really don't know what this is, do you? Here... let me enlighten you! The Star Sabre is power incarnate. It can make or break worlds! It can make or break... YOU!"
Galvatron - "I grow bored. We will end this now."
Megatron - "FOOL! The sword serves only one master and here, now..."
Galvatron (reaching for Sabre, but getting forced back) - "...That is most assuredly... me!"
Megatron - "What WAS it you said? Oh yes... we will END this NOW!"