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.
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.