We're back, Super Readers, to chronicle the end of everything. Maybe. We'll see.
I mean, things ARE looking pretty bleak.
Before you take one step further, let it be well known:
There are SPOILERS ahead.
Now that that's settled, let's get this party started.
Cybertron might be the origin planet for the Transformer race but it's not their ONLY planet. In fact, during the Great War, the Decepticons ended up cyberforming quite a number of planets to serve as operation centers and staging grounds.
But well BEFORE the Great War in a time lost to memory, Cybertron had thirteen colony worlds settled by (or at least NAMED for) the Thirteen Primes. Each one was the home of Titan, a massive city-sized Cybertronian that not only brought the colonists to their new home but also carried their own "Hot Spots," areas that would see the birth of new sparks and, therefore, new colonists.
One of those Titans was Caminus. He was the Titan of Solus Prime, a Prime who focused on creating things and was associated with her Forge. Caminus settled on a small moon orbiting a gas giant. When we see the moon millions of years after it's been properly settled, we see that it's been cyberformed, with parts from Caminus spread throughout the surface. Thus, the moon has taken on the name of the Titan.
Energy resources on Caminus have always been sparse and the Cybertronians colonizing the planet have learned all about energy conservation. They're also extremely religious, revering the ancient Primes as well as the modern ones (like Optimus, for example). Centered around the religion is the honoring of Solus Prime and so it is called The Way of Flame which is headed by the Mistress of Flame.
While deferring to The Way of Flame in almost all things, the planet is governed by the Forgefire Parliament. Beyond energy conservation and hyper-religiousity, Camiens have a greater interest in the arts than the sciences even though their scientists are not too shabby.
The leader of Cybertron is a Camien, Windblade, who began her career as a City-Speaker. That's someone trained to speak to the Titans who don't ALWAYS have the ability to verbalize themselves. Other notable Camiens include Windblade's former bodyguard Chromia, Nautica over in Lost Light, Prime's companion Aileron, and Torchbearer leader Pyra Magna. Oh, and the Mistress of Flame, of course. She currently serves as not only Caminus' religious leader but also as it's representative on the Council of Worlds, located on Cybertron.
Another of Cybertron's colony worlds ended up being Elonia, home of an organic race that had founded the Solstar Order of Spaceknights in order to fight the Dire Wraiths, a group of hideous alien monsters that weild magic more naturally than technology and seem to reproduce by infecting other living creatures.
Yes. Including Transformers. The result of a Dire Wraith/ Transformer hybrid turns out to be a powerful but mostly uncontrollable ball of fury and destruction. So Dire Wraiths try not to infect Transformers, relying on more organic hosts.
In the zero issue of Transformers: Unicron, Elonia was devoured by planet eater on his path to Cybertron. Unicron is making a point to devour every colony world before sitting down for its main feast. Before snacking on Elonia, the monster planet consumed LV-117, Prion, Gorlam Prime (which would have been trouble because it was believed destroyed after being swallowed by the Dead Universe), and Velocitron. After eating Elonia, Unicron teleported away and immediately made a meal of Eukaris.
These colony worlds not only contain Titans. They're also the location of special ores planted into the ground a million years ago by the coldly logical Shockwave. Each of these ores had special traits which Shockwave would, after harvesting, use to... collapse the entire universe into a fixed singularity based around Cybertron, thus providing the planet with an eternal supply of energy as well as killing all life in the cosmos. Including life on Cybertron because it would be reduced to a single point of time existing forever. Or something. Honestly, I've never fully understood what Shockwave was trying to do of why his emotionless, logical state would think it was a good idea. If you want to know more, go read Dark Cybertron.
But probably don't.
Anyway, Shockwave did a thing but didn't realize at the time that he was planting all these ores on colony worlds. He was being guided by an unseen hand to do so but we don't need to get all metaphysical about it because that unseen hand turned out to be his own. Because of time travel. It's complicated.
Anyway, Unicron is eating colony worlds. Maybe it's because of the Titans. Maybe it's because of the ores and their special properties. Maybe it's because of both? Regardless, it keeps on eating.
There are many variations on the Cybertron's creation myth.
Most of them focus on Cybertronian super-god and creator entity, Primus. In some, Cybertron and it's inhabitants were all birthed from Primus and he walked among them with his first-born progeny, the Guiding Hand, before war waged among the Guiding Hand caused death itself to be vanquished and Primus to return to Cybertron, becoming Vector Sigma, Cybertron's super computer. In others, Primus was always Cybertron while still managing to create all life on the planet.
What has been only hinted at in the comics thus far is Primus' "other." His opposite. If Primus is the creation god, who is the god of destruction? Now, we're not talking about the god of death. That is known as Mortilus and in the myths, it is Mortilus and his single-minded focus on death that caused the Guiding Hand to war among itself... or, more properly, they all fought Mortilus.
No, it's not Morty.
While unnamed, we've always ASSUMED that they were talking about Unicron. Because in every other storyline, Unicron is Primus' opposite. We just thought IDW wasn't ready to GO there. Because what Unicron typically means is "end-game." It means your story is more close to finishing than beginning.
Turns out, we were probably right.
Transformers: Unicron #1
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Alex Milne
Colors: Sebastian Cheng
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte
This issue in a nutshell: The nightmare planet, Unicron, devours Caminus as Optimus Prime and his allies fail to stop it.
• Optimus Prime recalls the myth around Primus and his opposite, Unicron, and how it relates to the Arisen myth associated with himself.
• The Cybertronian fleet faces off against Unicron and its Maximal army on the approach to the Cybertronian colony world of Caminus.
• During the conflict, Prime keeps his eye on the Maximals' ship and when it lands on Unicron, he has Bumblebee's ship collide with the surface of Unicron in the same location.
• Optimus, Arcee, and Bumblebee use the newly created opening to enter Unicron.
• On the way to Unicron's core (or whatever), the trio see living environments within Unicron composed of the previously devoured worlds.
• They also see the remains of a deceased Omega Sentinel.
• Oh, and they're attacked by composite creatures that act as Unicron's immune system and are nigh unbeatable.
• At the same time, the Maximals break through the Cybertronian fleet's defenses and fly to the surface of Caminus, intent on killing any Camien trying to escape.
• The Mistress of Flame deny's Pyra Magna's intentions of holding back the Maximals single-handedly and decides to do it herself.
• Aileron and Pyra Magna escape with the rest of the Camien citizens as the Mistress of Flame buys them time with her life.
• Bumblebee orders Soundwave to teleport he, Prime, and Arcee out of Unicron after seeing Prime in a sorry state upon encountering Unicron's immune system.
• Unicron eats Caminus.
• Back on Cybertron, Starscream meets with an imprisoned Shockwave but rejects the prisoner's future plans in favor of his own.
• When Prime returns from the battle above Caminus, he announces his failure to the leader of Cybertron, Windblade, and wonders how they can save what is left of their people.
• Starscream appears before the people of Cybertron, promising that where others have failed, he and his Decepticons will succeed.
Remember that creation myth bit I recounted above? Optimus Prime's thinking about it, too. Finally, Primus' "other" is directly named.
Yeah, it's Unicron.
We see a classic robot-mode version of Unicron locked in mortal combat with Primus. Unlike the typical golden version of Primus that we've seen throughout the IDW series, this Primus is colored in red, white, and blue. Because Primus is an AMERICAN!
But not really. Anyway, it's a different interpretation of both of these characters that has it's roots in other Transformers continuities.
Optimus also remembers another part of the myths: the one about the ARISEN. That's the thirteen Prime (the TRUE Prime) who is prophesied to destroy Unicron. The interesting thing about THIS version of Optimus Prime is that he's not even a little bit religious. He's never really believed the old myths and hasn't really cared about prophesies even though he's pretty much lived right up to the legend of the Arisen. He's held the Matrix and everything.
Optimus has made no bones about his lack of faith but has allowed others to believe what they will, even USING the legends to fulfill his objectives, like establishing Earth as the thirteenth colony world. His lack of personal belief hasn't stopped Unicron, though.
In the time between the zero issue and this issue, the planet-eater has consumed three more colony worlds: Arduria, Tsehshi, and Divisiun. That brings the grand total of devoured colonies to nine. And now, the monster planet approaches the moon colony of Caminus.
Optimus barely had time to mount a rescue mission for Elonia last issue but it looks like this time, he's brought all the guns.
"Jetfire, get over here and offer your life so I can get a temporary power boost!"
After delivering a speech about how this fight is for their future and yadda yadda yadda, we go round the proverbial room to see how his allies react to all this speech making. Arcee, Rom, Bumblebee, and Soundwave are determined. Prya Magna is... an ass. So, the usual.
Along with his usual allies, Optimus Prime has brought pretty much the entire Cybertronian fleet, including his flagship, the Ark-Zero. As they engage in battle with an entire planet, we see that Unicron has allies of its own. Maximals.
This might require a BIT of explanation. When Shockwave recently invaded Cybertron, he had an army that he had cultivated for millions of years due to his time-traveling. These were the Maximals, Transformers with beast-modes from Onyx Prime's (one of the thirteen Primes) ancient tribe. But don't worry about Onyx Prime! Shockwave killed and replaced him.
OK, maybe worry about Onyx Prime.
There's no explanation given on why the Maximals have joined up with Unicron and the story of Shockwave's invasion of Cybertron hasn't COMPLETELY been told over in the Optimus Prime series. But here they are. And I may be calling them "Maximals," because that's what they're called in the story, but they are comprised of Maximals AND Predacons from the Beast Wars era of the toyline, including the Japanese only series. So if you have a favorite Beast Wars character who hasn't shown up yet in the IDW stories, chances are you'll see him in the background battle scenes here.
On Cybertron, Windblade (Cybertron's leader) grouses about Optimus' plan. We'll see what that IS in a moment because she's not talking about all the ships and all the fighting. Anyway, Windblade is extra upset that Caminus' spiritual leader, the Mistress of Flame, has given Prime the OK. Back in the fight, Bumblebee assures Windblade that Optimus Prime shines the brightest when facing insurmountable odds.
But before Optimus wins this whole thing in the first issue thereby negating the entire mini-series and universe ending event, Soundwave decides to try some diplomacy against the Maximals. This is the same kind of thing he tried over in the Optimus Prime book when our friends were attacked by Junkions. There, it was successful.
Here? Not as much.
Soundwave's words about how the Maximals are fighting for a monster planet that doesn't care a lick about them fall on deaf ears as the Maximals attack him.
On the surface of Caminus, the population is being evacuated to Cybertron. Yes, there's a powerful looking armed fleet defending the planet but no one's under any illusions about how THAT'S gonna work out. At best, the defenders are fighting for time.
Two of Prime's allies are aiding in the departure: Aileron and Pyra Magna. Aileron has come to know Optimus and thinks that this is a sign that he really DOES believe that he's the Arisen engaging in the final battle with ultimate evil. She's shocked at the display but it fills her faith, despite recent events having shaken it. Pyra, on the other hand...
OK, Pyra Magna doesn't like Optimus Prime. In the last issue, I described her as an Autobot version of Starscream and I'm not WRONG there. But she is a whole lot braver with a whole lot less charm. Regardless, she thinks Prime should be aiding on the ground instead of fighting in orbit. Honestly, if Prime were on the ground, she would think he should be in the sky. Nothing would satisfy her.
Unlike Aileron, her faith isn't swelling. It's dying. When the Mistress of Flame comforts her people with a message of faith, Pyra yells at her, telling the religious leader that it's a time to give up fairy tales and rely on reality. So... she's not exactly comforting in the face of tragedy.
Meanwhile, in orbit, Optimus observes the Maximal's ship landing on the surface of Unicron "just as the MISTRESS predicted." That's Bumblebee's cue to smash his own ship into Unicron on the same spot, bailing out before impact. Arcee jetpacks in to save him and then the two join Optimus for a jaunt inside the monster planet.
THIS is the actual plan. While the Cybertronian fleet engages Unicron and its forces, Prime, Arcee, and Bumblebee trek inside the beast in order to snuff out Unicron's brain. Or Spark chamber. Something lethal.
But they better hurry because the Maximals are proving pretty lethal themselves. It's almost like the Transformers haven't been fighting a war lasting millions of years considering how poorly they're doing against the cannon fodder.
Soundwave attempts to get Rom to leave the combat zone, citing the Spaceknight's value to the surviving Elonians (who were left without a home planet in the zero issue). Rom, however, is far too selfless to leave his allies in their time of need. These guys helped Elonia and it's only right that he stands with them.
Meanwhile, in another part of the battlezone, a few native Camiens are being surrounded by Maximals. Just as they are about to meet their end, they're rescued by the Decepticon known as Dirge. Good ol' Dirge! He's, like, the last Decepticon Seeker left, what with his old wave-mates, Ramjet and Thrust having been killed MUCH earlier in the IDW continuity. Dirge laments that the Cybertronian war ruined things for him and swears that he won't allow it to do the same to the Camiens.
And then he is killed. :(
A fellow Decepticon, Sparkstalker, tells the Camiens whom Dirge just saved that Dirge might have been a Decepticon, "but he died a CYBERTRONIAN."
While things fall apart outside, Prime, Arcee, and Bumblebee continue their quest within Unicron. Since the monster world feeds and builds itself up from the planets it consumes, we see little bits and pieces of lots of places. Bumblebee finds a mural with the five-headed face of a Quintesson on it and wonders if it's important. To Optimus, it's just in his way. He charges his energy axe and cuts it down.
Outside, Unicron fires an energy beam from its mouth, declaring "I HUNGERRR..."
Everyone is surprised to hear the invading planet talk. Pyra believes that Optimus has lost. The Mistress of Flame, on the contrary, still has her faith. As the Caminus Spacebridge is finally charged up, she directs her people to (relative) safety. But it's going to take time to get everyone to Cybertron. Do they have it?
Within Unicron, Prime and his merry band encounter a weird little slice of intersecting planets. Bumblebee takes this quiet moment to ask Optimus the million dollar question: Does he think the Arisen prophesy is legit? Before Prime can answer, Arcee interupts them with her shock at finding a long dead Omega Sentinel.
Maybe... maybe it was RELEASE with realistic battle damage?
You might recognize the design as belonging to Omega Supreme. He's the only known Omega Sentinel left alive. That's been the case since well before the Great Cybertronian War. Heck, it's been the case since before the time of Nova Prime, the first Prime to reign after the Thirteen Primes and the last one to hold the real Matrix before Optimus Prime.
This one is far older. And far deader. Arcee is still shocked to see the remains. While she stands transfixed, Bumblebee again asks Optimus about all the myths surrounding Unicron. Has this fight happened before? Has Unicron previously attacked Cybertron. Optimus doesn't play diplomat to his friend. Instead, he tells Bumblebee that he really doesn't know.
And with that moment of true honesty behind them, Prime and pals are attacked by creatures that match the landscape. Just like this area is a weird fusion of everything Unicron has consumed, these monstrosities also look like composites of every lifeform to have LIVED on those worlds.
Back outside, the defensive line has broken and Maximals pour through, headed to the surface of Caminus. Soundwave wonders why they'd bother with Unicron's eventual meal already being assured but then he figures it out. They're going down to kill the Camiens before they can escape through the Spacebridge.
Pyra Magna brandishes her sword, intending to hold off the coming horde so that her follow Camiens can find safety on Cybertron. She tells Aileron to inform Optimus Prime that "this is all HIS fault."
Because Pyra's gonna be an ass all the way to her grave.
Aileron, of course, won't deliver this message but she won't HAVE to. The Mistress of Flame tells Pyra that she can't hold the line here because she's abandoned her faith. As such, it'll be the Mistress of Flame who does the last stand thing. She hands the Hammer of Solus Prime to Pyra and prepares to kick a little Maximal ass.
A volley of fire erupts from her chest, incinerating the closest invaders. With a sad smile on her face, she tells Pyra and Aileron that there's gonna be a happy ending to this sorry tale. But before they get to the happiness, "things will become MUCH WORSE."
We leave Aileron to pull a forlorn Pyra Magna through the Spacebridge and rejoin Optimus and his friends still within Unicron. The composite creatures they face are hella strong and their touch is corrosive. In moments, they've already severely damaged Optimus and sent him carreening through the nearest evergreen trees. Prime struggles to get back up, realizing that these creatures function as Unicron's immune system.
Seeing the big guy in such a sorry state, Bumblebee calls Soundwave and orders an immediate teleport out of the monster planet.
While the return to Ark-Zero, Unicron finally devours Caminus.
Optimus' voice narration calls this a great failure. And it is, of course. Caminus was eaten and he wasn't able to kill Unicron. That was the whole point of sending the Cybertronian fleet against the monster world to begin with. He had promised a great victory and wasn't able to deliver. He wonders if his lack of faith is to blame or if he's overthinking everything.
At the same time... well, it's frickin' Unicron. Victory isn't gonna come easily and no matter what Prime did, I don't see Caminus surviving.
And the important thing is that the PEOPLE lived. The Camiens were able to use the Spacebridge and arrive safely on Cybertron.
"Safely." Because we KNOW Unicron is heading this way.
We don't get any type of numbers for how MANY Camiens survived but it seems like it's a solid majority.
From the blown out wall of the local prison, Starscream surveys Cybertron's new refugees, nearly cursing Optimus Prime and Windblade for not being able to clean up this mess. For about as many reasons as you can name, Starscream is a fugitive which is a long way to fall from being the leader of Cybertron. So you're probably wondering WHY he would find himself breaking into prison.
Well, it's because one of the prisoners wanted to have a word with him and old 'Screamer was too curious to ignore the summons. So he broke in, knocked out the prisoner's guard (Beachcomber), and got ready to listen to...
Now, like I said, Shockwave's story up to THIS point plays out over in recent issues of Optimus Prime and that story hadn't properly wrapped up before this issue shipped... and STILL hasn't completely wrapped up... so Shockwave's imprisonment was first revealed RIGHT here.
It looks like the time travelling Decepticon had been VERY busy prior to his incarceration. He claims that through his time travelling machinations, he essentially composed all of the myths and legends that led to this point and through the revelation that he made it all up, Cybertron's faith has been dealt a fatal blow. Hope will follow. Cold hard facts will remain.
And this is all great but THERE'S A LEGENDARY MONSTER PLANET THAT IS NOT PART OF YOUR MADE UP MYTHS AND IS VERY VERY REAL. So maybe you didn't REALLY make everything up.
But, yeah, hope might be totally gonzo as a result of that same monster planet. Not to worry, Shockwave's plans include Unicron, too. Recently, he helped get all of Cybertron's energon corrupted. When Unicron eats the planet, it will be poisoned to DEATH.
And then it'll be a simple matter for Shockwave and Starscream to unite the remaining Cybertronians into an army of Decepticons that will sweep through the galaxy and create an empire without equal. Because the loss of a homeworld and all their colony worlds will surely allow that to happen. It's a foolproof plan.
And it's not something that Starscream will get behind. He doesn't trust Shockwave one iota. And he's got some plans of his own...
The Ark-Zero is the fastest ship in the Cybertronian fleet so it's the first one to return even though it's PRETTY beat up. So is Optimus Prime. He exits the ship with the help of Bumblebee and greets the leader of Cybertron, Windblade, in his customary way.
"Unicron has no weakness."
Prime owns up to his failure to save Caminus and end Unicron. He looks skyward to see one of the last Titan colonies, Carcer, in orbit above Cybertron. Optimus knows that Unicron is coming here soon and seems to believe that the monster planet is saving Earth for last. Bumblebee does a quick count and thinks they're STILL missing a colony but doesn't know which one hasn't been devoured. Regardless, they need to figure out how to save everyone and Prime is willing to give anything a try.
Well, ALMOST anything...
"I totally forgot I'm running from the law!"
Starscream, the former leader of Cybertron tells everyone that he and he alone can save the people of Cybertron and her colonies. He has a plan that's sure to succeed where guys like Optimus Prime and his Autobots have floundered.
Prime, still being propped up by Bumblebee, doesn't believe a word of what Starscream is peddling.
Rom Back-up Story
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artist: David Messina
Colors: Alessandra Alexakis
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte
Victim of Unicron: Christos Gage
This issue in a nutshell: The Spaceknight, Rom, tries to encourage his fellow surviving Spaceknights to join in the battle against Unicron.
• Flanked by Carax and Bumblebee, Rom addresses the surviving Spaceknights of the Solstar Order, attempting to get them to continue the fight against Unicron.
• This doesn't work too well, with a mixed reaction from his follows.
• The Spaceknight, Q'b, attacks Rom and argues with Livia.
• After hearing Q'b's concerns, Rom validates them but presses that it is in these moments that the universe needs the Spaceknights more than ever.
• With a rousing speech, Rom probably convinces his comrades to continue the fight.
• At the very least, everyone poses dramatically as Unicron flies in the background.
Last issue (the 0 issue), Unicron devoured the homeworld of the Solstar Order, Elonia. It's leading Spaceknight, Rom, was on hand to witness the devastation but survived along with a good portion of the planet's inhabitants.
While it was left a bit vague in that issue, it appears that Elonia's population was Spacebridged away to Cybertron and it is here that Rom finds himself addressing the surviving Spaceknights of the Solstar Order. Flanked by Carax (the ruler of the Order of Spaceknights who remains super quiet throughout this issue) and the Autobot Bumblebee, Rom gives a brief history of Elonia's war with the Dire Wraiths to a group that lived THROUGH it.
When he gets to the part about losing his family, he faulters a bit. Bumblebee offers to finish this speech for him but the Spaceknight, while grateful, believes that it's important that he do this.
The entire point of recounting the war between the Solstar Order and the Dire Wraiths was to nail home the dream that, if the war were to ever end, he would be able to return home. To Elonia. A world that no longer exists.
Rom's speech isn't to give them no hope but to show his fellow Spaceknights that while the threat that consumed their homeworld remains, they must stay vigilant and continue the fight.
You should just let him. It'd save us all some drama.
The Spaceknights have... mixed feeling about this. Q'b (he's the cube) thinks Rom is leading them all to their deaths. Nikomi (the bear) grieves for his dead children. The red one (who has the probable name of "Plor" that belongs to Marvel Comics) blames Rom for everything. Only Livia, Rom's childhood friend and romantic interest is laser focused on Rom's message and she calls for the rest of the Spaceknights to listen to him.
Rom recounts way back in the day when he was first locked into his armored suit. His sense of loneliness and isolation pushed him to his very limits. He fought through it even after losing his family and his sense of self through the power... some would say the MAGIC of friendship. Of his comradery with his fellow Spaceknights.
Q'b is done with all of this talk. With Elonia gone, all hope is lost. When Rom tries to calm him down, Q'b shoots him with a beam of Neutralizer energy. Rom is uninjured and makes sure no one attacks Q'b on his behalf. Instead, Livia argues with the cubed Spaceknight. Even though Q'b feels like they'll die in the conflict against Unicron, Livia would rather lose her life defending her comrades than die running.
Q'b finds that quite likely. Rom doesn't disagree. It's very possible that Cybertron is doomed. That the UNIVERSE is doomed. BECAUSE of that, it's all the more vital that the Spaceknights stand and fight. The Solstar Order stands to help those that can't help themselves. If their character is being tested by complete annihilation, then they can only face it, either in triumph or loss.
Maybe the rest of the Knights of the Solstar Order aren't moved by his words. Maybe they're still stuck in the throws of despair. They wouldn't be WRONG to feel that way. But I'm betting they've just been thoroughly motivated to find the good fight even if victory is a distant, tragic thing.
And that's the official first issue of Transformers: Unicron, fully read in the Super Reads style. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you soon!