Sunstorm and Starscream are in Alaska, but one of the Autobots' greatest warriors is there to meet them! Omega Supreme makes an impressive debut as he fights Sunstorm and Starscream in a battle sure to knock your socks off. Oh, and it turns out that humanity has decided that they've had just enough of the Transformers rampaging around their world.
Issue
Vol 3 004a
Writer
Brad Mick
Pencils
Don Figueroa
Inks
Elaine To
Colours
Espen Grundetjern
Release date
01/04/2004
Autobots featured
Bumblebee, Jetfire, Brawn, Ratchet, Cliffjumper, Seaspray, Prowl, Ultra Magnus, Bumper, Jazz, Warpath, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Wheeljack, Windcharger, Cosmos, Powerglide, Omega Supreme
Decepticons featured
Starscream, Megatron, Soundwave, Runamuck
Humans featured
Marissa Fairborne, Sunstorm
Origin of
Death of
First appearance
Marissa Fairborne
Locations featured
Chamber of the Ancients, Autobase: Central Computer Lab - Cybertron, Alaska, Oregon - Earth
Story synopsis
We open an exciting issue of the Ongoing series millions of years ago, with War Within era Megatron yelling at Starscream to get down off the seats that used to belong to the Ancients. Megatron is incredibly angry with Starscream, as Starscream decided, on his own accord, to assassinate the entire Council of the Ancients that was so notably prominent in the first War Within volume. Although Starscream thinks Megatron should be happy with what he has done, Megatron is vehemently opposed to Starscream deciding who lives and dies without him being informed. Megatron displays an extraordinary amount of violence and rage much to Starscream's dismay. Starscream then begs forgiveness, stating that he won’t question Megatron’s authority again…

We then flash forward to the present as yet another threat to Starscream appears - the Autobot, Omega Supreme! Clutching the deactivated Sunstorm in his right arm claw, the giant Autobot’s new target is Starscream! However, Starscream is not finished yet. Using his incredible maneuverability and speed, Starscream strafes Omega Supreme and manages to hit the inhibitor attached to Sunstorm, which reactivates the cloned Seeker. Faced with a much more dangerous foe, Omega is forced to let Starscream flee while he faces the Cybertronian zealot.

Meanwhile on Cybertron, Prowl is up working late at night trying to make sense of the happenings occuring around him. Shockwave was apparently growing clones deep within his labs and using copies of the data found in Vector Sigma to aid the lab's central motherboard in creation of said clones. However, the strain of that much power overloaded the computers and caused an explosion. But Prowl is still unsure how the hole in the lab’s ceiling was created (Sunstorm’s escape in Issue 1 is to blame).

At this point Ultra Magnus contacts Prowl informing him that tomorrow’s meeting is all set to begin and that Prowl should get some downtime to rest in preparation. Prowl concedes and heads off.

Back on Earth, Warpath and Bumper are recovering the bodies of the Autobots that Starscream dumped unceremoniously in a lake in Oregon. Just as they are done, members of the Earth Defense Command, led by Marissa Fairborne, appear and demand that the Autobots stand down and surrender!

Meanwhile in Alaska, Bumblebee and his strike force return after having defeated Sunstorm, only to find the Orion strangely quiet. Entering in combat formation, they see that the crew has been disabled! Ratchet then shows up wounded, and informs them that Starscream sabotaged the engines and then shot everyone with his null ray, before escaping. Then a large explosion rocks the area with Jetfire informing the rest of Autobots that that was probably their “last ace,” namely Omega Supreme!

Several miles away, Omega and Sunstorm are locked in a deadly battle! Although Omega is far larger than Sunstorm, the Decepticon Seeker clone is equally capable of keeping up with Omega’s firepower. The two trade shots back and forth, culminating in a final shot that finally breaks through Sunstorm’s impressive powers, knocking the zealot down into a mountainside. Omega Supreme then approaches the seemingly offline Sunstorm, but due to weapons damage to his visor is unable to accurately determine Sunstorm’s fate. However, the moment he lifts his visor to confirm Sunstorm’s death, Sunstorm reactivates and prepares to begin the fight anew…
Remarks
This comic is simply pure fun from start to finish, and both Mick and Figueroa pull off a great issue. Although the issue is mostly a dramatic fight sequence between Sunstorm and Omega Supreme, and the plot is not advanced to a great degree, this fits the bill as one of those action packed 'filler' issues that everyone can like, similar to Armada issue 16 (the Megatron/Galvatron clash) and War Within issue 3 (Prime in crowd pleasing action).

Mick pulls a fair number of important moves throughout this comic. Firstly, the brief flashback to War Within era Starscream is a nice surprise as not only do we get to see Figueroa’s War Within pencils again, we also find out the fate of the Council of Ancients, and another reason for the Megatron/Starscream hatred ingrained in the both of them towards each other. This flashback also does a great job of setting up this issue's bonus story, as Megatron vows to pay Starscream back should he betray him again - later we'll see Megatron start to make do on his promise.

Next, the dialogue is perfect for each character. From Starscream’s pleading in front of Megatron, and his self-serving rescue of Sunstorm, to Prowl’s logical examination of the mystery surrounding Shockwave’s clone labs. Omega Supreme, despite his speech limitations, speaks exactly as we expect him to from our memories of the original cartoon - terse, quick and to the point. In addition, Mick reinforces Bumblebee’s growth as a character by having him quickly issue orders and get everyone organised when it appears something is wrong at the Orion.

The centrepiece of this issue, the Omega Supreme/Sunstorm battle, is fantastic and beautifully illustrated. One gets a real sense of two heavyweights fighting each other for domination (as Jetfire says: "We've got to get up there before they tear this entire continent apart"). The argument can be made however that it may take up too much time in the issue without advancing the plot considerably.

Of further interest is the insight into Transformer 'sleep' patterns. Prowl appears to grow more tired as he continues his investigation and Magnus advises spending some time in the CR chamber. Apparently CR chambers do more than simply repair Transformers, but also maintain Transformer functionality at peak levels. This is also supported by Beast Wars Megatron sleeping in Episode 10 Season 2 (Transmutate). Of course this scene also raises the question of why Bumblebee hasn't reported back to Cybertron yet with his findings...

Other niggles remain. It seems odd that Bumper and Warpath (especially Warpath) would be outgunned by a bunch of humans. After Volume 1's catastrophe concerning human armies defeating Transformers, one would hope it wouldn't happen again. But for the benefit of the doubt, we'll assume that the humans are using weapons derived from Devastator, Scourge and Superion (whom they hold captive), or Bumper and Warpath are merely doing the Autobot 'thing' by playing nice. Also, one hopes that these new humans don't end up being a derivative of the irritating RAAT from the Marvel issues. To do so would be a true disaster. Of course, as the setting is Earth, the writers can only ignore the human factor for so long. Hopefully, as this arc pans out, it'll work.

However, the worst moment is the very end, concerning Omega's visor. It would be a great shame to continue this otherwise great issue with Sunstorm defeating Omega next issue simply because Omega decided to stupidly lift his visor at the last moment.

Despite this, it's still overall a solid, great result by Mick.

But the issue truly shines in the hands of Figueroa. As Metal Vendetta so eloquently stated at the Transfans forums, “Almost every page seems to have something on there that's worth the cover price alone.” The art is simply incredible. From the opening War Within pencils that showcase Starscream’s incredibly cool looking pre-Earth form, to the page 4 and 5 spread of Omega Supreme entering the Alaskan cave, to the pretty shot of the headlights shining on Warpath and Bumper in the rain, every moment is brilliantly penciled, inked and coloured. Even the introduction of Marissa Fairborne and her EDC soliders is incredibly awesome to behold.

Make no mistake, this issue’s art is near perfect.
Character development
Prowl may be Acting Autobot Leader, but he still feels the same strain that Optimus feels. His dedication to the cause is apparent as he stays up extra hours trying to decipher the mystery of Shockwave’s labs. He welcomes a, "distraction from the rigours of postwar politics," by digging into the mystery behind the energy anomoly in Epsilon. It turns out that, despite his hard work, it serves only to frustrate him further. Apparently theoretical tech talk is, surprisingly, a little too intense for his processors.

Sunstorm is still convinced that he needs to cleanse everyone. He continues to talk of heresy, crusades, and anointed tasks. He says to Omega Supreme: "May the light have mercy upon your tainted spark."

Starscream certainly has a lot of cheek, swanning around the Chamber of the Ancients like some kind of conquerer in Megatron's presence. His decision to execute the ancients not only shows his flouting of authority, as he takes things into his own hands, but also how evil he can be. Megatron wipes the smile off his face pretty quickly, leaving him to beg for his life: "Please... I didn't mean... to question your authority... I'm sorry." From arrogant to 'mea culpa' in mere moments. He’s the perfect politician, doing whatever is necessary to ensure his own survival, even if that means cowering to Megatron.

Starscream does show bravery when it counts though. The fancy manouevres he pulls off in front of Omega Supreme ("I'm sure that I'll hate myself in the morning for this!" he says) show he's willing to put up a fight against seemingly unstoppable foes, and he eventually saves his bacon when he frees Sunstorm from Omega's grasp in the process. He's also clever enough to make use of Sunstorm at such a moment - at the end of last issue he was prepared to leave his 'brother' to die, but now that he needs him, its a different story.

Omega Supreme keeps it short and to the point. He says only what needs to be said. Much like Grimlock, great power is disguised by his apparent speech quirks. His personality reflects his cartoon interpretation. He's pretty sure of his own abilities ("Victory: inevitable") but he ultimately underestimates an opponent who physically is not his match, by liftng his protective visor at a crucial moment. Doh!

Marissa Fairborne is no doubt a brave and forthright young lady, boldly telling the 'bots that they are on United States soil and that they should surrender.

Bumblebee is quick to take the lead in a potential crisis situation. When faced with an unknown situation on the Orion, he quickly issues combat orders and prepares for a fight. But he does underestimate Sunstorm's power, and assumes that Omega has victory in the bag.

Megatron is clearly displeased at Starscream's quick willingness to apologise for assassinating the council. As Megatron states to Starscream: “Your contrition sickens me.” He's outraged at Starscream's decision to wipe out the ancients: "I am the rightful leader of the Decepticons, and as leader the decision of who shall live and who shall die is left to me... and only me." Though Starscream theoretically just carried out Megatron's orders ("To exact our vengeance upon the Council of Ancients... the clandestine group of elitists who have manipulated our every move since the dawn of Cybertron's creation") its clear that its the manner in which he's gone about it that bothers him: "Idiot! Stop fooling yourself with these preposterous delusions of grandeur."

Interestingly, as this scene is clearly set after the first War Within Volume, it would seem Megatron has forgiven Starscream's treachery there. However, he says here: "Test my authority again, Starscream, and agony will be the last sensation to pulsate through that twisted little mess you call a brain." This takes us neatly to this issue's back up strip, as Megatron seems set on revenge against all his enemies, and Starscream's insubordination in Volume 2 of the G1 comic no doubt comes under that.

Ultra Magnus is helpful and supportive to Prowl, asking him if he needs his support for the next day's meeting, and suggesting he get some 'sleep.'

Bumper has no love for Starscream, calling him a "scrapbucket" and "Decepticreep" after the Seeker stashes his fellow Autobots at the bottom of a lake. He also seems to have good hearing, as well as knowing when he's out of his depth (he advises Warpath to stand down during the human ambush).

Warpath is a bit gung ho, and seems ready to put up a fight against the human contigent, regardless of the fact that he's hugely outnumbered, not to mention the fact that Autobots shouldn't be shooting at humans anyway. "It's time we show these half-pints a little zig-zag-zow!" he says, in the same manner we'd expect his cartoon counterpart to adopt.

Jetfire is quick to deduce that it was Starscream, not Sunstorm, that deactivated the Orion crew.
Trivia
Starscream is responsible for the death of the Council of the Ancients. What this meant for the Transformer race and the succession of the Matrix from then on is unclear. Megatron clearly hated the council and its desire for Transformer unity to fight evil, but he wanted to kill the council himself, not have Starscream do it. The opening pages in this comic are the most signifciant of the issue in terms of adding to the Transformer mythos.

Starscream is able to target a very small device, while maneuvering at high speed (Gee you think Superion could have done the same in Dreamwave’s Volume 1?)

Vector Sigma is composed of trillions of subatomic nanonmachines made up of 'hard light.' Prowl states that this technology is too advanced even for standard Cybertronian equipment to handle.

Bumblebee is able to avoid the effects of water damage whereas Bumper is not. The swim nearly shorts out Bumper's 'internal guidance system.'

Marissa Fairborne was first introduced to Transformers lore in the cartoon mini-epic Five Faces of Darkness, though there she and the EDC were allied with the Autobots. Her father is supposedly Flint (of Gi-Joe fame) - he has a brief cameo in the cartoon and also shares her surname.

Omega Supreme's visor is used for protection. He can retract it when he wishes, such as when scorch marks obscure his vision.

The very last panel on the last page, which shows Sunstorm from Omega’s point of view after the visor has been retracted, appears to have a small text message which states “Oh Slag!” as Sunstorm powers up.

Starscream is able to neutralise the energy siphon around Sunstorm with his null ray. His weapon also causes a temporary deactivation of the Autobot crew on the Orion (for approximately a few hundred breems apparently).

It seems Transformers need sleep just like people do. As Prowl stays up late trying to figure out what happened in Epsilon, he feels like he's going to conk out. Having stayed online for awhile, Magnus suggests that he "power down for a recharge," so that he's not "running on empty" for his important meeting the next day.

Shockwave uploaded the compressed contents of Vector Sigma to several unidentified sources (ie. clones). The central motherboard couldn't handle the strain, hence the explosion in issue 1 of the Ongoing, and the escape of Sunstorm.

Warpath wonders if Jazz has "packed on a couple of astrotons there." This could mean that Transformers can gain and lose weight somehow.

Bumblebee instructs his Autobots to use 'Formation A3.' This is a possible reference to Alpha Trion - perhaps it is a battle tactic he once taught.
Good quotes
“Your contrition sickens me.” Megatron to Starscream.

“Omega Supreme…are you kidding me? Ooh! Sunstorm is so slagged!” Bumblebee.

“Resilience: Impressive. Countermeasures… initiated.” Omega Supreme.

“Victory: Inevitable.” Omega Supreme.
Bad quotes
Mistakes
Story rating
7 star
Art rating
9 star
Media
Reviewed by
Computron

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