Monday, 18 January 2016

Transformers Stormbringer 2

Transformers Stormbringer 2 


Jetfire is interrogated by Bludgeon who is leading a team who found Thunderwing and intend to continue his work in more then one way. 
Jetfire appeals to Bludgeon, reminding him that  it was Thunderwing who brought Cybertron to the brink of destruction. 
Bludgeon reminds Jetfire that Thunderwing, who predicted  the  catastrophic event that hit Cybertron, warned Jetfire and other scientists regardless of allegiance and they did nothing.
Optimus Prime  receives a message in regards to the  destruction of the Calabi Yau,  send by Nosecone and Afterburner.  He calls in The Wreckers in case Thunderwing indeed is back.  

Thunderwing  is  restored to power by the pocket of  energon that brought the Calabi Yau to Cybertron in the first place and Bludgeon reveals that he plans to use Jetfire and the Technobots as raw materials  for the grafting process, that  turned Thunderwing in to what he is now. 
Bludgeon uses an  axis cradle, to briefly control Thunderwing and  turn him to the next  planet  to destroy. 
Where Bludgeon wil let Thunderwing  loose. 

Nosecone and Afterburner manage to get out of their escape pod  and barely functional, make their way across the surface of Cybertron. 
However, they don't get far. The radiation plays merry hell with their systems and they are easily rounded  up by a group of centurion drones.  

Pptimus Prime  travels to Cybertron, telling The Wreckers to rendezvous with him.
Springer tells Prime that  he may want to consider to just destroy the planet, if Thunderwing is indeed back. 
Prime reluctantly considers this an option. 
Prime reminisces  back to when thunderwing was apparently defeated, when Megatron advocated the same course of action. Prime vehemently disagreed. 

An infiltration unit on Nebulos witness Thunderwing  exiting foldspace, 
and ready to bring Armageddon to Nebulos. 

Notes : Stormbringer  2 is issue 8, in the short lived sub numbering. 
It's not said with so many words, but  one can  assume that Bludgeon uncovered  Thunderwing  while looking in to Shockwave's  research and whatever else he was busy with, before he disappeared in Spotlight Shockwave.

Credits :
Writer : Simon Furman
Artist : Don figueroa
Colors : Josh Burcham
Editor: Chris Ryall and Dan Taylor

Portents : ominous, prose : purple. 
That's how Stormbringer 2 opens, just as ominously as 1. 
We get to see our first  glimpse of yet another alien  planet, and this one is  rather  well known to any Transformers fan, especially G1. 
Unfortunately, it's the Nebulos of the cartoon, which means that  they are  bald green aliens. 
While this helps selling the  alien part of  the world, it  also makes everybody  look the same. 
We also get to see  another infiltration unit, consisting of Dreadwind, Darkwing, Ruckus,
Skullcruncher, Thrust, Crankcase and Roadgrabber. 
Not exactly a group of individuals  you'd expect to  infiltrate and  slowly destabilise the  political climate of  any given world. 
Ruckus and Skullcruncher were never much of the subtle sorts.  

Thunderwing himself  continues to be a hollow empty shell, what's worse  he  has been reduced to a drone. 
Something that can be pointed at a target and fired and forgotten about. Untill its done and ready to come home, which is exactly what Bludgeon is doing this issue. 
What is more interesting about Thunderwing, is what he has done to himself. 
And that Bludgeon, who looks like a self mutilator in this  universe, plans  to replicate 
the grafting process. 
The pretender process in other words. 
In G1  the pretenders were one of the  umpteenth gimmicks, Hasbro threw at an exasperated Bob Budiansky, who had to  work it all in his running narrative of the US Transformers with  ...varying degrees of success. Reducing the Autobots  to  20 foot tall humanoids because the Decepticons  would  never suspect  them being Autobots, oh no  just giant humans. 
Not one of Budiansky's better stories.
The conceit worked better off Earth, where it was established that  most of the universe are Transformers sized  and  humans are just very small.
an idea i  rather  liked after all why should the rest of the universe  conform to human standards  ?
The Japanese series, Masterforce handled the pretenders better still, by having the  pretender shells be actually human sized and the  internal Transformers  grow to  Transformer size, when they left the shell. 
The pretenders were  quickly pushed aside for the mostly human cast in that series though, but that's neither here nor there. 

Pretenders were mostly a disguise and one of the goofier, poorly handled gimmicks of  Generation One. 
In Stormbringer however pretender armor or the grafting process, was meant to become  armor and literally weather the storm of Cybertron's eventual  decay and possible demise. 
That didn't work out so well for Thunderwing. The process drove him insane, as well as  immeasurably powerfull, to the point that he brought Cybertron to the brink  and it took all the combined Autobot and Decepticon armies had and more. 
And here he is fuelled by ultra energon  ! 
Ore 13 by any other name. 
You think the stakes weren't high enough yet ?
Why Bludgeon found it necessary to send Thunderwing  to Nebulos and  raze the place to the ground isn't entirely made clear. What is clear is that he plans to replicate the grafting  process using  Jetfire and the Technobots as raw material ...nasty.  

What we also get, is the  introduction of the Wreckers in the IDW-verse.
The Wreckers were originally introduced in the Transformers Marvel UK comic, specifically in part 4 of Target 2006. 
They were a rat-tag bunch of  obscure toys and comic only characters and were, so I  gather wildly popular.
So popular that they have been resurrected briefly by Dreamwave and they are resurrected here, by the one who created them in the first place. 
The Wreckers on display here are pretty much The Wreckers of Time Wars, sans RacknRuin.
Springer, Roadbuster, Broadside, Sandstorm, Whirl,  Twintwist and Topspin.
Scoop seems to be a temporary member  and as we later learn  the line up of The Wreckers is  volatile and liable to change any given mission. 
The Wreckers here are presented as the last  line of defence. When phase six has hit the fan and when the whole contested planet has been turned  in to a disaster area, The Wreckers are brought in to deal with it. 
We also get to see what phase six  actually means for a planet  ..and well to  quote  Ratchet, it's not anything good. 

We only get  2 and half pages of  The Wreckers in action, but  that's already enough to  give Roadbuster and Springer quite a bit of personality. 
Though mostly they come over as hardnosed gruff,  take no slag from anybody soldiers  that live, eat, breath and sleep war. 
For some reason I always though the way Springer  talked on the communication device and then tosses it  back to Broadside over his shoulder, while Varas exploded around  him, to be darkly amusing. 

What exactly happened the fist time around with Thunderwing, isn't made exactly clear. We do get another flashback, just after the  apparent demise of  Thunderwing.
And Megatron  advocating to nuke the whole planet out of existence. 
A pragmatic if  extremely cold view of doing things, but which fits Megatron's current characterisation. 
Prime naturally  disagrees, but Megatron's cold pragmatism is echoed by Springer in the present, who advices Prime that if its indeed Thunderwing. Both Thunderwing and  Cybertron should  be burned out of existence, underlining the seriousness of the situation. Whole planets could and will burn  if Thunderwing is let loose and all it will costs is your homeplanet Prime. 
What a choice to make. 

Stormbringer 2  is a great  issue. It's all  that issue 1 was and wanted to be and much more. 
The story, while still fairly slow moving, still is packed.
So packed that I haven't even touched Dogfight's youthfull eagerness to get in to a mission, along side Optimus Prime no less. 
Or Afterburner and Nosecone's plight on the surface of Cybertron where they  encounter that other old Marvel UK mainstay, guardian drones named centurions here. 
These ones are not yellow however, nor ridiculously unreliable. 
Everything that was wrong with Stormbringer 1, is fixed  here. The story slowly ratchets up the tension, while we gradually get to understand the seriousness of the situation and what exactly Thunderwing, or rather the shell that is Thunderwing has become, is capable off.
Even worse, is that Bludgeon is sending it out randomly and plans to duplicate the process for himself. 
Throw in the fact  that Thunderwing is fuelled by Ultra Energon and the stakes have  become immeasurably high. 
But issue 2 isn't even done with that. It introduces Nebulos, The Wreckers and several other concepts  as well as Prime's moral dilemma in how far he is willing to go to  destroy Thunderwing. 
Is his homeplanet, even in ruins as it is, worth more then  the countless other planets  Thunderwing can destroy ?
Cracking stuff and the promise of  Stormbringer 1 is fulfilled here and in issue 3  we will see just exactly what Thunderwing is capable of. 
It wont be pretty. 


  1. I've never really "gotten" the Wreckers. They don't light my world on fire, for whatever reason. I like the idea of a group of elite operatives who only take on the toughest missions, but with the exception of Springer (and in other continuities and time periods, Kup and Ultra Magnus), their usual membership is a bunch of guys I'm not very familiar with and don't care much about.

    I have mixed feelings on the Pretenders. I agree they were a pretty dumb gimmick and the G1 comics didn't really sell their need very well. But I liked the designs of the Decepticon Pretenders (Skullgrin and Bombburst being my favorites), and I loved the inner robot toys. They were among the few Transformers with decent proportions back then.

    As for Nebulos -- I like the Marvel version above all others. I didn't care for the Nebulans in the cartoon, where their planet was basically barren, they were all green, and the good guys lived underground while the bad guys ruled the surface. I really appreciated Bob Budiansky's version, where Nebulos was sort of like something out of FLASH GORDON or some other old sci-fi serial. Zarak was evil, but he was also one of the planet's rulers. He had a beautiful daughter. The civilization was an advanced utopia. I'd read a soap opera-style NEBULOS comic series without any Transformers in it, if it was based on that version!

    1. Well, that to be honest was the whole point of The Wreckers. A bunch of nobodies nobody cared about and could be safely and easily killed off.
      And off course, they become popular.
      The whole team was made up from obscure, old or undesirable toys save for Springer, Magnus, Sandstorm and Broadside.

      The Pretenders worked better in stories not set on earth, where the aliens were as big as Transformers.
      Masterforce still tackled the pretenders best I think, but that doesn't say much.

      I think Marvel comic Nebulos is also best but I have issues with it. ( as usual )
      Mostly, isn't it very convenient they look like humans ?
      For a planet of peacemongers, ( heh) they sure are quick to go aggro.
      And all those weapons have conveniently been stored away for 10,000 years
      and they still look like new and operate without a hitch.
      But those are issues I got with the original Headmasters series,
      which despite it's problems was one of Budiansky's better works.
      He seemed to really like the Headmasters.