"No plan survives contact with the enemy." With Superion out of action, the carefully laid plans of the Autobots and Joes are falling apart around them. Unfortunately things get a bit hazy at this point as someone seems to have randomly taken pages and panels out of my issue - Hound and Wheeljack go off saving drowning soldiers, Snake Eyes and Scarlett run after Bruticus, Starscream gets shot in the 'ear'(?), while Optimus decides to confront Megatron for their epic duel by... punching him once. The Matrix explodes, the Transformers all die, evil triumphs and you no longer exist. *cough* I mean, this last issue should no longer exist. Yeah.
Issue
Vol 1 006
Writer
John Ney Rieber
Pencils
Jae Lee
Inks
Jae Lee
Colours
June Chung
Release date
01/03/2004
Autobots featured
Optimus Prime, Hound, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Bumblebee, Superion, Prowl, Grimlock, Ironhide
Decepticons featured
Soundwave, Shockwave, Megatron, Skywarp, Starscream, Bruticus
Humans featured
Lady Jaye, Beach Head, Breaker, Grunt, Lifeline, Cobra Commander, Destro, Stalker, Baroness, Zartan, Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Duke, Hawk, Major Bludd, Roadblock, Buzzer, Ripper, Torch
Origin of
Death of
Optimus Prime, Hound, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Bumblebee, Superion, Prowl, Grimlock, Ironhide, Soundwave, Shockwave, Megatron, Skywarp, Starscream, Bruticus, Zartan, Cobra Commander
First appearance
Locations featured
Terrordrome, Fera Islands
Story synopsis
Ooooooooooookay, where to even begin? Grimlock, Roadblock and Stalker are floating out in the ocean by the fleet when Superion explodes due to Shockwave's blasts. Naturally this causes one of the fleet’s battleships to explode, hurtling Cobra slaves and Joes into the water where they are rescued by Wheeljack and Hound.

Lady Jaye and the unconscious Duke wash up on shore where they are ambushed by Major Bludd and his mercenaries, the Dreadnoks. Lady Jaye makes quick work of them all, and is about to finish off Bludd, when Flint appears and knocks out Bludd. Jaye isn’t fooled though, as Flint is actually Zartan in disguise! Jaye then proceeds to initiate exploratory surgery with projectile weaponry on Zartan, finishing him off.

Meanwhile, Skywarp is playing around with Cobra soldiers when Optimus Prime comes up out of the ground aaaand… does something to him. Presumably he kills him. Hard to tell when they don’t actually show what is going on. Prime then gives a stirring speech to the Autobots while Grimlock does the prudent thing and actually goes after the closest Decepticon, Soundwave. Ironhide then punches a piece of metal in order to be part of the action, and then Grimlock… does something to Soundwave, presumably killing him. Again we’re not sure since they don’t show it. Thanks a bunch.

Cobra Commander then starts complaining about Shockwave’s inability to fire his cannon while Megatron sits and does nothing to help Cobra Commander.

Scarlett and Snake Eyes wash ashore to go after Shockwave and his rail gun, when they run into Bruticus.

Then we’re back to Starscream and Destro. The two are about to launch their takeover bid when the Baroness steps out the shadows and shoots Starscream with a pistol and kills the Decepticon.

Yes, that’s right, a 9mm killed Starscream.

In any case, the Baroness and Destro share a kiss while commenting on Starscream’s weakness on “the right side, just behind the hinge of the jaw…an inch below the ear.” (Never mind the fact the Starcream does not have an ear). The Baroness then walks off to kill Cobra Commander and take power for herself and Destro.

Bruticus then starts running around smashing things, causing the ground to collapse around Cobra Commander, crushing his legs and presumably crippling him. Then Megatron turns into a gun for no good reason and rests next to Cobra Commander.

Meanwhile, as Bruticus runs around smashing, Grimlock and Roadblock try to stop him, but fail miserably but thank heavens we’re in the home stretch. Baroness picks up Megatron, shoots Cobra Commander, and then is captured by Scarlett and Snake Eyes. Snake Eyes grabs the matrix, Optimus punches Megatron, and then, in a statement worthy of the Marvel comic issue 'Afterdeath', tells Snake Eyes to smash the matrix to stop Bruticus.

This, apparently, kills all the Cybertronians, leaving their dead bodies to litter the battlefield, while the Joes go home.
Remarks
What the hell happened? Issues 1 to 5 were going smoothly and were some of the best Transformers stuff of recent times and then… issue 6 comes along. The plot is nearly non-existent, the pacing is horrific, there are loose ends all over the place and plenty of plot holes to keep us entertained/horrified for hours. Where to begin? Indeed...

Loose ends:

1)Flint? Presumably (lots of presumptions are made while reading this issue…) he’s dead in the Terrordrome as it seems Zartan took him as a disguise. But again, as with nearly every other death in this issue, it’s never shown, just implied.

2)Skywarp, Soundwave? Presumably once the matrix was destroyed they died as well, but did Optimus and Grimlock kill them before the matrix was smashed? We assume so, but again, it’s never shown… la la la…

3)Matrix? So it causes pain to Decepticons and if it goes, all the Transformers die. And how does Cobra Commander use it? Argh…

Plot holes:

1)Hound and Wheeljack are alive on page 5, and on page 10 Optimus Prime states that Hound and Wheeljack are dead. Huh? Did they die off page when no one was looking? Or is Prime so out of communication with his troops that he thinks they are dead?

2)Starscream. This is by far the worst. How does a simple human pistol kill Starscream? It boggles the mind. Rieber’s “explanation” takes the biscuit: “The right side, just behind the hinge of the jaw… an inch below the ear.” What does that even mean? For starters, Starscream doesn’t have an ear! And does he have a bullet sized hole in his head that leads to his Spark, that the Baroness so expertly aimed for? This is just ridiculous.

3)Stalker/Roadblock going on about a lack of "'bot back up" jars - last issue ended with Prime promising to help.

And why exactly didn't we have a Prime/Megatron showdown? One punch does not an epic clash of the titans make.

Fortunately the Baroness was pretty cool throughout the issue, and Megatron's brilliantly arrogant banter was a welcome breeze of fresh air compared to the stench of the rest of the issue and was long overdue after he'd been Cobra Commander's bitch for the last five issues.

Zartan's death at the hands of Lady Jaye was also well handled, however the lack of closure regarding Flint sours it.

It's worth noting at this point, that after 6 issues, Rieber "got" the Joes far more than he "got" the Transformer's characterisation.

On the plus side at least the art was good for the most part. However, why the last minute change to the cover? Originally it pictured Megatron brandishing Prime's decapitated head. Did Hasbro enforce the change, or did Dreamwave get cold feet at the last minute? Could this have had a bearing on the ending of the story (which was definitely rushed)? It is quite possible that Rieber and Lee had their idea of an issue 6, and Hasbro or possibly Dreamwave nixed it. If so that is a great shame for Rieber and Lee truly had something special going here, and for it to end on such a low note is a disaster.
Character development
This is the suicidal Optimus Prime we know so well from 'Afterdeath' (the Marvel comic's real low point). Rather than use his numerically superior forces to take down Bruticus, he simply has his entire race commit suicide! Just amazing… Optimus has killed off the entire Cybertronian race. In reaction to Skywarp's attitude he says: "I see the same arrogance and brutality that tore my home planet apart." Like any good Oppy Prime, he has a responsibility to Earth: "We brought violence and tyranny to the people of Earth - when we led the Decepticons here."

Megatron is taking the piss with Cobra Commander, especially when he calls him 'master.' Cobra Commander is squirming finally in this issue, and Megatron is loving it: "It's quite pleasant to watch you crawl." Turning into his gun mode next to a limp Cobra Commander seems to be a very evil taunt.

Stalker's quite the pessemist, saying they're going to die. In addition he isn't afraid to insult Grimlock to his face: "I'd break your face for talking to me like that - if I could reach it." This is simply the way he talks though, as he explains: "That was straight talk. And that's what a man expects from his friends."

Ah, simple, simple Grimlock. He’s got guts but not a lot of thinking going on. On the other hand he is a bit smarter this issue than previously shown after being inspired somewhat by Roadblock after their recent adventures together: "Roadblock tell me Grimlock. Soldiers not try, not quit - soldiers do."

Baroness is terribly sneaky. She betrays everyone. Definitely a Machiavelli fan. She's downright evil at the end to Cobra Commander: "Poor little man. You loved power. But you never did know what to do with it." With that, she shoots him.

Bludd's description of Lady Jaye as a prisoner of war is pretty creepy. You just know what he's got planned for her...

Skywarp is described as a thug, and the most simple-minded of the Decepticons.

Lady Jaye is well 'ard as they say, taking Zartan, Bludd and the Dreadnoks singlehandedly, and wisecracking as she does so.

Apparently (according to Grimlock anyway) Soundwave was a coward on Cybertron who fought then ran and hid from Autobots. Soundwave confirms: "Guerilla warfare minimises risk. Conserves resources." Uh, well at least Neiber has him say something, unlike Mick.

Scarlett assures Snake Eyes that he is not alone. She obviously wants to be with him and joins him as he ventures off. They embrace at the end - presumably its happy ever after for them.

Starscream is a bit sadistic, wanting to watch Megs and Cobra Commander get crushed.

Destro calls Baroness his beloved. He betrays Starscream, admitting he needed his guile and strength, but that he'd outgrown him. Perhaps he'd also been hoping that he'd get laid by the Baroness in doing so. He happily orders Bruticus to destroy "metal and flesh alike" and gloats about his "destructive genius."

Apparently all the Autobots knew that they would be sacrificed when the matrix was destroyed.
Trivia
Shockwave transforms into a rail gun. He "should be allowed to repair and recalibrate himself after every shot" otherwise he becomes useless.

The Decepticons practiced guerilla warfare on Cybertron.

The matrix is the one thing sustaining Transformer life. If it goes, so do the Transformers.

Bruticus is an amalgam of Cybertronian and Cobra technology and possibly not quite alive in the proper Cybertronian sense.

Starscream has a weak point below his ear. *sigh*

Destro will face a trial for crimes against humanity.

The line, "There's a fine line between being a hero and being a memory," is a line also said in the cartoon, in a More Than Meets The Eye episode by Prime.
Good quotes
“It’s been good, rolling with these Joes. Fighting all together… nobody caring who was what colour…” Stalker.

“Thanks friend. But me Grimlock not need help.” Grimlock.
Bad quotes
"Now let us bring them peace!" Prime.

“Just as you said, darling. The right side, just behind the hinge of the jaw… an inch below the ear.” Baroness.
Mistakes
Story rating
3 star
Art rating
6 star
Media
Reviewed by
Computron

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