Prime has gathered all the Mini-Cons together, and has even made a temporary alliance with Megatron, and they all head off to Cybertron together to see off Unicron. The Chaos Bringer soon puts in an entrance, and attacks Cybertron (we've been here before haven't we?). So a great big battle kicks off, which is like, really apocalyptic. Before Megatron can make a deal with Unicron, Hot Shot and buddies shoot him, and he falls into the demi-god's maw. Then Prime attacks in his new jumbo mode, and the Mini-Cons all join hands and use the Mini-Con Matrix. As far as Unicron is concerned, this is too much excitement for one day, and he flees.
Issue
018
Writer
Simon Furman
Pencils
Guido Guidi
Inks
Elaine To
Colours
David Cheung / Jong-Im Lee / Elliot Kravchik / Sigmund Torre
Release date
01/12/2002
Autobots featured
Optimus Prime, Jetfire, Hot Shot, Scavenger, Red Alert, Blurr, Sideswipe, Smokescreen, Rhinox, Airazor, Cheetor, Overload
Decepticons featured
Megatron, Starscream, Thrust, Demolishor, Cyclonus, Terrorsaur, Skywarp, Tidal Wave, Wheeljack
Humans featured
Sparkplug, Over-Run, Commetor, Jolt, Longarm, Leader-1, Crumplezone, Swindle, Blackout, Runway, Sonar, Jetstorm, Wreckage, Knock Out, Bonecrusher, Mirage, Astroscope, Sky Blast, Payload, Grindor, Highwire, Sureshock, Rook, Backtrack, Rollbar, Firebot, Prowl, Makeshift, Incinerator, Dirt Boss, Downshift, Ransack, Dune Runner, Iceberg, Inferno, Nightbeat, Crosswise, Backtrack, Oval, Spiral, Windsheer, Liftor, Refute, Ramjet, Unicron, Rad, Carlos, Alexis
Origin of
Death of
First appearance
Cheetor, Airazor, Terrorsaur, Tidal Wave, Rook, Backtrack, Firebot, Prowl, Nightbeat, Crosswise, Windsheer, Refute, Ramjet
Locations featured
Black Mesa, Arizona, Cyber City Loop - Cybertron
Story synopsis
The end begins with Uncle Prime addressing a large assembly of Mini-Cons. He delivers the usual rhetoric about an 'enemy beyond comprehension' and brings up the legend Sparkplug told him about the Mini-Cons being able to save the universe.

Rhinox then reports that the space bridge behind Prime is starting to destablise due to some disturbance in trans-dimensional space. After Optimus delivers a bit more rhetoric, Sparkplug chimes in and directs the attention to Over-Run, and then Over-Run delivers your basic introduction to the Matrix - blah blah, 'total annihilation', yadda yadda, 'spark energy', blah blah, 'need all of you'. Like I said, basic stuff. With that finished, Prime takes the time to say goodbye to the kids. No, it does not involve them as target practice. Unfortuantely. Optimus thanks them for all their 'help' (*snigger*) and the 'heart-wrenching' goodbye is thankfully cut short by the arrival of the Decepticons. No, they don't use the kids as target practice either, stop asking.

The Mini-Cons are naturally a tad surprised and immediately prepare for battle. Before things can get too heated, Prime steps in and explains that an alliance has been formed with the Decepticons in order to stop Unicron. Wow, an alliance with the Decepticons! That sure hasn't ever been used! In an attempt to show some goodwill, Megatron frees the Decepticon-held Mini-Cons, except the Destruction Team, who Megatron says, "we're all better off without." I imagine that sharp things in sensitive places were used for the job.

Rhinox then informs all assembled that the space bridge is destabilising, so it's time to pack up. The Mini-Cons head on in, but when the damn kids ask about the other Autobots, Prime reveals that Smokescreen is in critical condition due to the attack on Autobase, and that the others aren't too fond of an alliance with Megatron. So, with everyone else gone, Prime says goodbye, unfortunately without 'good riddance', and steps through the bridge. I'm sure this would be a tiny bit sentimental if we hadn't been hammered with the oncoming of Energon...

Now on Cybertron, the Autobots go over the various preparations for battle. The calm before the storm ends quickly and Unicron, complete with patented doomsday rhetoric (a requirement for all dark gods), comes through the rift, ready to make Cybertron his personal platter. The Chaos Bringer is a bit behind on the times however, unaware that his harbingers got bitch-slapped, and thinking Megatron and Prime dead. Hoping to capitalise on this, Optimus sounds the call to battle and a very large space armada heads toward Unicron, while a vast array of planetary defenses take aim and fire.

Hanging back are Megatron and Starscream, the latter too chicken to fight and the other intending to strike a deal. Megatron's movements do not go unnoticed however, since Laserbeak has been spying on the Decepticon, and informs Hot Shot, Scavenger and Red Alert of Megatron's actions.

Meanwhile, the battle continues, with the usual amount of red shirts being blasted. Deciding to get up close, Prime and Jetfire once again form the mighty OP/Jet, much to the delight of Hasbro spokesmen everywhere. While OP/Jet flies around shooting stuff, Airazor, Cheetor, Rhinox and Terrorsaur, intending to join in on the fray once they've landed on Unicron, instead get sucked into the Chaos Bringer.

Back on Cybertron, we find the Mini-Cons holding hands around the Autobot HQ. Before they can break into a hearty rendition of 'koombaya', Over-Run holds up the Matrix and the thing starts getting sparkly, along with the other Mini-Cons. Unicron, having absorbed the four beasties, is starting to get a bit nervous, but before he can even wet his shiny whiteys, a blast of energy from the Matrix hits him full force. Seeing that they have overstayed their welcome, the might OP/Jet orders everyone to a minimum safe distance.

Megatron, seeing his chance, starts to head inside Unicron but is ambushed by Hot Shot, Red Alert and Scavenger. Saying that "this is for Smokescreen" the three Autobots put some holes in the Decepticon and he falls down an ominously dark shaft while the Autobots head for the hills, and Unicron just kind of floats away. So nice of the Transformers to let him go and rest...

Some time later, the Cybertronians are all celebrating their great victory with fireworks, booze, and the like. Detached from the party are Optimus and Jetfire, who question if it really is over. Prime promises to be "ever vigilant... should evil return." Return as in... next issue, mayhap?
Remarks
A prologue for Energon. Wait, make that too short a prologue for Energon. This issue really could have used about four to five more pages of pure battle to help send home the threat of Unicron. As it is... well, he was more threatening when Galvatron was around. If you came into this expecting another Edge of Extinction, prepare to be sorely disappointed.

What has been a large sore spot for many is that Unicron doesn't transform. While yes, it would have been nice to see him go all out, it doesn't bother me so much, given the higher level of resistance doled out by the Armada Transformers over their G1 predecessors. The main problem I have with the issue is that Unicron is simply allowed to float away while clearly wounded to the point that he could be finished. Wank.

Still, the issue itself has some good points, like the ambush of Megatron. Then there is the reference to the Destruction Team, which is very appropriate on Megatron's part - while he makes the stupid decision of trying to bargain with Unicron, he retains a bit of neatness by ordering the execution of the three pests.

Furman also deals with the kids nicely, although there is the noticeable logic gap of destroying the space bridge to keep Cybertronian technology off Earth, but giving the kids an autocarrier. Guh? But Prime fittingly gives his gratitude and leaves, since kids have no place fighting Unicron. Hell, they have no place being in a war between ancient, space-faring mechanoids who really don't have any use for them. Really, why are they there? We should be thankful that, while he addressed some of these issues, Furman phased them out for most of the series.

As for the whole of the Armada series itself, it was a missed opportunity. It started out with two strong issues, then got derailed by the third (being the kid-fest) and didn't really get back on track until the moon-base arc, though Furman's starting two-parter wasn't too bad. The moon-base issues really showed why this title could be something really neat and different. We had some nice interaction among the Mini-Cons and saw just how much they, well, not 'control,' but influence the lives of the warring factions. Plus, having Dualor strap Rad to a mine was just fun.

We then had the 'neutral' filler of the Alaskan two parter, which was decent enough, but just a waiting period for the greatness of Worlds Collide. That really was good stuff, far better than anything the main Dreamwave G1 series had produced at the time. Now, we have this prologue for Energon that lays waste to the dynamic that was becoming really interesting.

I wish we could have seen how Prime differed from his G1 version (remember, this one was already head of the military when everything started). I want to know more about the Autobot/Mini-Con dynamic and see more of Rook's rabble-rousing. I want to know more about the situation on Cybertron and what Jetfire was up to. I want more of the Megatron who's willing to actually kill prisoners and who, just maybe, could actually convince Mini-Cons to willingly join him through some charismatic rhetoric. I also want more Sparkplug. I've become quite attached to the little guy and I wish we knew just how he and the other Mini-Cons reintegrate into Cybertronian society. Does everyone just suddenly get along? That seems rather rubbish.

Guidi's art in this issue is good, rendering Prime and Unicron nicely, but Don really should have stayed on for this issue. We do get a good photocall for the Mini-Cons, as this is their last hurrah. Plus, there are plenty of Transfans who get a kick out of trying to identify all of them. Megatron looks nice and evil when he grins about the end of the Destruction Team, and showing his battle damage from Galvatron is a nice bit of continuity. And while the Transformers look plenty scared when Unicron arrives, this issue still needs a strong dose of Geoff Senior tonic. For the 'epic' touch.
Character development
Optimus Prime is all business this issue. His encounter with Unicron has made a mark and the Autobot is determined to defend Cybertron. To this end, he manages to gather together the Mini-Cons and makes an alliance with the Decepticons. He's quite good at speeches (a requirement for any Prime) and his belief in equality really shines through as he says to them: "It's your world as much as ours... and now you must fight for it!" This, of course, gets the Mini-Cons behind him.

While he is grateful to the kids, and says so, he clearly doesn't want them to get involved: "where we go now, what we do... we do alone." He's very keen on getting the element of surprise, knowing that it served him before on the 'other' Cybertron. He immediately grabs this opportunity once he realises that Unicron believes that the heralds destroyed their targets and he speedily mobilises the troops: "Hit it with everything we've got!" Once the battle starts, he combines with Jetfire and charges into the fray, ready to do some damage. Once Unicron has been hit by the Matrix, he orders a retreat, but makes the glaring mistake of allowing Unicron to simply drift away.

After the battle, he shows a cautious optimism: "We must rebuild, with new hope for the future. Autobot, Mini-Con - and perhaps even Decepticon - on one united planet. But even in peace, we must be eternally vigilant... should evil return!"

Megatron makes his arrival at the space bridge rather dramatic, trying to make everyone believe he has an interest in getting some payback on Unicron and that is why there is an alliance. In actuality, he's so confident of his ability to gain power by brokering a deal with the Chaos Bringer that he doesn't mind releasing the Decepticon held Mini-Cons. Well, at least he was cruel enough to dispose of the Destruction Team. He hangs back during the battle long enough for everyone (he thinks) to be distracted and then makes his move. By the time he gets to Unicron, the Chaos Bringer is injured greatly, so Megatron is even more confident. This changes quickly when he gets ventilated by the Autobots.

Sparkplug tries to help Prime get the support of the Mini-Cons by directing attention to Over-Run in a rather strong tone. During the battle, he hops along for the ride with OP/Jet.

Over-Run delivers his rhetoric about the Matrix with the passion one expects from someone who has seen their world destroyed. Later, he gathers the Mini-Cons and uses their power to fuel the Matrix blast against Unicron.

Starscream shows his usual amount of bravado when arriving at the space bridge, but later is too chicken to face off against Unicron with the others, saying, "you don't seriously expect me to fight that thing, do you?" Funnily enough, when Megatron flies off, Starscream knows it's all over for the Decepticon: "Nice knowing you, Megatron."

Jetfire is right with Prime, helping to coordinate the attack. Before the battle, he was busy preparing the planetary defenses and organising the troops.

The Mini-Con reaction to the Decepticon arrival was one of immediate battle-readiness. Some, like Rook, were ready to accuse the Autobots of setting them up. Once Prime stepped in they all cool down.

Apparently the alliance didn't sit well with some Autobots - Hot Shot, Red Alert and Scavenger being the noticeable ones. They are all very eager to take some revenge on Megatron on behalf of the fallen Smokescreen, when they should be on the front lines against Unicron. They clearly don't care much whether or not the alliance itself lasts.

This Unicron is nearly indistinguishable from the G1 version save in appearance. In everything else, such as speech, the two are nearly identical. Interestingly enough, this Unicron is too overcome by the battle to transform, and he seems to not be omniscient, since he is unaware of the deaths of his heralds. He abducts Rhinox, Airazor, Cheetor and Terrorsaur, probably because he needs new heralds but also out of curiosity: "This is not as it should be. You four will provide me with the answers I seek."

The kids are, of course, sorry to see the Transformers leave.
Trivia
At the beginning of the issue, Optimus gives his best Uncle Sam impression.

Jetfire is a 'commander.'

Unicron's coming is reported as a "massive disturbance in trans-dimensional space." The rift outside Cybertron has by this time grown very large and ominous-looking. Unicron passes through it fairly easily.

The stresses on trans-dimensional space have a direct effect upon the space bridge. The portal begins to destabilise as the stress increases.

There are still some isolated pockets of resistance in the war on Cybertron, moments before Unicron's arrival.

The Transformers clutch their audio sensors, presumably because Unicron's voice is so loud.

The Matrix is powered by Mini-Con spark energy, which is fueled by the Mini-Cons of Over-Run's world who abandoned their physical bodies and amalgamated their spark energy to become the power of the Matrix. When the Mini-Cons of this Cybertron gather, they can power the Matrix to an even greater extent, but it still isn't quite enough to completely stop Unicron. Thus, the Chaos Bringer is stopped by the power of two worlds' Mini-Cons. One world is contained within the Matrix, the other, ours, sets this power free and possibly even enhances it by coming together. Over-Run and the Matrix seem to act as a conduit.

It is possible that there is no 'Prime' Matrix or essence of Primus ala G1. Unless, his power is divided among the Mini-Cons somehow.

While the More Than Meets The Eye profiles state that Sideways is allied to Unicron, he is seen here among the Autobots and Decepticons who look flabbergasted by Unicron's arrival. Presumably he is just playing along to maintain his cover.

The Destruction Team has gone bye-bye. A nice example of the ruthlessness the Decepticons should display more often.

Smokescreen's injuries are so grave, Prime says that he may not recover.

The space bridge is equipped with a self-destruct that can be placed on a timer. This comes in handy when one wants to erase evidence of techology.

An 'autocarrier' is apparently some form of transport.

Cybertron's defenses are more formidable than those used by the G1 defenders. In addition to various guns and missiles, a fully equipped space armada is deployed to attack Unicron and land troops on him. Cybertron is also equipped with shield generators to help protect the planet. Apparently, the civil war hasn't destroyed quite as much as on the G1 Cybertron.

Megatron uses his boot jets to propel himself to Unicron.

Rhinox and the others aren't dead, but do get transformed into Unicron's 'four horsemen' (as seen next issue).

Megatron, also, isn't dead but is instead a disembodied spark. That is, until issue 22 when he constructs a new body for himself within Unicron.

Rhinox mentions that his group was realigned for Earth combat, suggesting that maybe there was more activity on Earth than we were privy to. Or, they never had a chance to be deployed.
Good quotes
"Yes! Credit where credit is due, Prime - you have gathered the clan. And to think, all I ever needed was to fashion an impending apocalypse." Megatron.

"Cybertronians - bear witness to the emergence of Unicron!" Unicron.
Bad quotes
"This is what I call - teamwork!" Optimus Prime, as he combines with Jetfire.
Mistakes
Story rating
6 star
Art rating
7 star
Media
Reviewed by
bobaprime85

Read more