Hey, Super Readers, I'm back with the second issue of the final Lost Light storyline, where all your questions are (presumably) answered, all your "i's" are (probably) dotted, and all your "t's" are (theoretically) crossed.
But let's get the warning out of the way, first:
There are SPOILERS ahead.
OK, warning done, let's deep dive into a mess of continuity!
In the first issue of Transformers: Lost Light, Rodimus converted to Spectralism, which is a Cybertronian religion practiced by guys like Drift where colors have a high degree of importance.
Along with this religious conversion, Rodimus also took on a new color scheme, emphasizing blues and purples rather than his traditional red and yellow look. This made sense because one of his crew, Skids, had just died and blue and purple COULD be used as an expression of grief.
But they would also be a signal of Rodimus' intent to kill. Specifically, Getaway.
You know. The guy who led a coup against him and his command crew (and others) and stole his ship, the Lost Light. When Drift asked Rodimus whether he was wearing these colors out of sadness or revenge, Rodimus never gave a straight answer.
But I'd go with a little bit of both... but mostly revenge. Rodimus has been tracking down the Lost Light ever since and finally reboarded his old ship last issue, racing to the bridge to confront Getaway... and Getaway's two companions, Star Saber and Scorponok.
Those were the only three dudes aboard the Lost Light, besides Rodimus' infiltration team.
Where was the crew?
They were down on the planet Mederi's surface, turned into monster Sparkeaters through some unknown means. Getaway had unleashed them on Team Rodimus and at this very moment, those that weren't on the Lost Light had barricaded themselves within the central building on Mederi, Ward Zero, surrounded on all sides by the Sparkeater forms of their former crew members.
Inside Ward Zero, a quartet of doctors (First Aid, Ratchet, Velocity, and Spinister) looked through the medical center's files in order to find a cure to this terrible condition.
If you're wondering what a Sparkeater is, it's a mythical monster who hunts down Cybertronians and consumes their life core (aka: Spark). They also have mechanical tentacles and acidic vomit attacks. The Lost Light Sparkeaters act a lot like zombies. They're slow moving and mindless. What makes it all the worst is that they're also highly combustible. So shooting at them is pretty explosive and pretty lethal.
That means any confrontation might mean the end of a friend's life. We've already seen some long time Lost Light crew members die in last issue's confrontation. Will the rest make it out alive? Will they be cured?
We'll find out soon(ish).
When Rodimus and Cyclonus confronted Getaway, the mutinuous captain was flanked by Scorponok and Star Saber. You might remember Scorponok because he's a classic Generation 1 toy. He was the one that could transform from a robot into a city/ fortress as well as a scorpion! His head could even turn into a smaller figure called Lord Zarak.
But we aren't going to go into more depth on him right here. We're going to talk about Star Saber instead.
Star Saber was a Japanese exclusive Transformer released in 1989 for the Super-God Masterforce line of toys. He was from the subgroup, Brainmasters, and was the Autobot Commander in that series, rising from humble origins to become the heroic and idealistic leader that the galaxy needed. In all ways, he was an example of the best you could become. A knight in shining Optimus Prime inspired armor.
So, of course, IDW's Transformers line turned him into a religious fanatic who wanted to purge the unbelievers from society and had the sword skills to do so.
This might seem like an odd decision to make and you KNOW it ticked some people off. Because it was. But it didn't come out of nowhere. Before becoming the writer of your favorite Transformers comics, James Roberts was involved in the fan fic scene, specifically a UK based group known as Transmasters UK. In these stories, Star Saber adopted a more villainous persona. Roberts took that version and adopted it into a religious fundamentalist with a high kill count.
Star Saber hasn't appeared often but when he does, people die. He's personally responsible for killing many members of his former religious group, the Circle of Light, including their leader, Dai Atlas. When he reappeared years later, Star Saber joined Getaway's Lost Light crew as Chief of Security and immediately cut down Mirage and helped kill off most of the Protectobots.
Now he's back. Who's gonna die next?
Transformers: Lost Light #20
Crucible (Part 2): Lūstrāre
Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Casey W. Coller
Colors: Joana LaFuente
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte
This issue in a nutshell: Rodimus and his brave group of infiltrators retake the Lost Light just in time for the universe to tear open.
• In Ward Zero on Mederi, First Aid discovers the cure for being a Sparkeater in the database and they swiftly implement it to all of their former crewmates.
• Brave sir Cyclonus runs away bravely from Star Saber.
• Scorponok crushes Rodimus' head while Getaway laments that his dream of becoming Getaway Prime is also crushed.
• The Red Scraplet Gestalt lovingly reaches out to Whirl in Shuttle Bay Four.
• Cyclonus swiftly slices Star Saber in half, mid-pursuit.
• Before he can properly crush Rodimus' head, Scorponok is teleported away in preparation for The Grand Architect's master plan.
• In a one-on-one fight between Rodimus and Getaway, Getaway gets away.
• On Mederi, the organic telepaths vocalize one of the Knights of Cybertron's coat of arms, recognized by Rung from his distant, forgotten past.
• Then, they start a countdown.
• Rodimus catches up to Getaway in the Fuel Furnace, calling for back-up before he is attacked by Getaway, weilding two Nucleon rods.
• Getaway loses but those Nucleon rods are primed to explode if they touch each other.
• Rodimus gets Getaway to monologue a bit, explaining how he and the Crew of the Lost Light ended up fighting The Grand Architect's armada before Getaway sacrificed his crew to join up with him.
• Before he can blow everything up by connecting those Nucleon Rods, Getaway's arm is sliced off by Cyclonus from behind.
• Getaway tries killing himself by running into a nearby fire but Rodimus has a change of heart and goes in to rescue the traitor, burning off his new paint applications in the process.
• As Rodimus and Cyclonus attempt to stop the fire, Getaway wakes up and tries to cut Cyclonus down only to meet his own demise at the "hand" of "Primus," comprised of Red Scraplets.
• Ratchet calls up Rodimus and tells him that the sky is tearing itself apart.
On the planet Mederi, within Ward Zero, most of Team Rodimus and the Scavengers work to find a cure for the crew of the Lost Light. That's good because the crew has become Sparkeaters and are currently trying to break INTO Ward Zero to, y'know, eat some Sparks.
The other residents of Ward Zero are a number of organic telepaths. Mederi was a planet where people would come to die of incurable diseases and, through the magic of space technology, these telepaths would project a world image of whatever the dying thought paradise or what they most desired would look like. While the machinery used to DO that deed has been deactivated (read: destroyed), the telepaths still seem MOSTLY comotose except for the fact that last issue, they began silently mouthing words.
In this issue, they're no longer silent. Rung, the former psychiatrist, translates their alien words: "Prepare. Confront. Repel." He wonders what they're talking about but Ratchet just tells him to leave that problem alone and focus on the whole "cure for Sparkeaters" thing that seems far more pressing.
But no worries! First Aid has done a search in Mederi's medical records and found the cure! It involves "Concussive medicine" which is something he's never heard of before but basically involves transmitting the cure with a certain degree of force. I thought this would mean hitting Sparkeaters with clubs to deliver the cure but we don't have the pages for that kind of nonsense. Instead, First Aid plans to use an already assembled machine to deliver a kinetic blast, affecting all the Sparkeaters at once.
Before activating the machine, Misfire asks if this cure might be harmful to the organic telepaths in the room. First Aid doesn't know and decides to call a time out on the plan so they can figure it out. The tiniest Scavenger, Nickel, vetoes the time out, racing up to the machine and slamming down on the keyboard.
The blast hits the Sparkeaters as planned and doesn't kill the organics at all. Velocity figures Nickel activated the machine believing that if the Sparkeaters had broken inside, the organics would have been killed anyway and Nickel nevously agrees... but the truth is that Nickel's whole colony was wiped out by organics and she just doesn't care about them.
With the situation down on Mederi wrapped up (for now), we can focus on the Lost Light. Last issue, Rodimus and a crack team of powerhouses infiltrated the ship in order to retake it from Getaway (who is full on villainous now). Most of that team got stuck in a trap: drenched in Scraplet infested oil from the Oil Reservoir. Only Rodimus and Cyclonus made it to the bridge to confront Getaway. Unfortunately for them, Getaway had some reinforcements: Scorponok and Star Saber.
Almost immediately, Cyclonus transformed to space jet mode and flew off. Star Saber, who has a grudge against the ancient Cybertronian, gave chase, transforming into his own space jet mode.
That left Rodimus alone to face Scorponok. And Getaway. But mostly Scorponok.
This isn't the first time Rodimus has fought Scorponok. Back in the Maximum Dinobots mini-series, a younger Rodimus (then called Hot Rod) managed to get into a similar brawl with the MUCH more powerful Decepticon scientist. This fight goes much the same way as that one: Scorponok is winning. Easily.
Not only that, but Scorponok must not have gotten the memo involving Rodimus' name change because he uses the old identifier. "Hot Rod." Spitting up Energon, Rodimus still manages to correct his physically imposing opponent.
"Not Hot Rod. Rodimus."
Getaway is pretty much relaxing his way through this fight, letting Scorponok do all the heavy hitting, but that correction gets him talking. Sure, Hot Rod is now Rodimus but that doesn't make him a Prime. Getaway isn't criticizing here, he's empathizing. After all, Getaway's whole plan was to find Cyberutopia, get a full pardon by Primus, and be named a Prime himself. Getaway Prime.
Unfortunately, Cyberutopia turned out to be a lie: a dream seen by the ancient Knights of Cybertron as they died of an incurable disease on Mederi. They thought it was so real that they sent a map to the place back to Cybertron, hidden within the Matrix... because they wanted people to FIND Mederi but they didn't want to make it easy on ANYONE.
Anyway, since Cyberutopia doesn't really exist, Getaway isn't going to get a free pass from Primus for all of his atrocities and his dream of becoming Getaway Prime is just as real as Cyberutopia itself.
Rodimus breaks out of Scorponok's death grip long enough to tell Getaway that even if all the other parts of his ridiculous plan had come true, "Getaway Prime will always sound rubbish."
With that insult, Getaway orders Scorponok to execute Rodimus... which the Decepticon was going to do ANYWAY. Scorponok continues to apply pressure on Rodimus' head.
We leave that one-sided confrontation and join MOST of the rest of Rodimus' infiltration team (not Cyclonus-- he's still leading Star Saber on a merry chase) in Shuttle Bay Four. They're wading in oil from the Oil Reservoir located directly above them. But that's not all! In the oil with them is a giant Red Scraplet Gestalt!
That means all the Red Scraplets have combined into one massive, threatening form. Red Scraplets essentially act like robo-pyranhas, capable of devouring their intended metal meal in seconds. They can also combine.
After Ultra Magnus disputes the idea that the combined form is "going to eat them," Grimlock cuts the thing in half with his energo-sword out of spite. The Scavenger Crankcase tries to think of what kind of joke his buddy Misfire would make in this situation but all he gets is the punchline.
Cutting the Scraplets' combined form in twain isn't the end of the fight, though. In less time than anyone expected, the little buggers reappear in another monstrous combined mode. As the thing's tentacles reach out and grab people, Drift is awed by the speed and intelligence the Red Scraplets are conveying. It's not normal.
While the Red Scraplet Gestalt is grabbing a lot of people, it makes its real target Whirl. As the monster closes in, Whirl flinches, expecting the end.
It doesn't come. Instead, a robotic hand made of Scraplets reaches out and touches Whirl's head.
Meanwhile! Cyclonus is still giving Star Saber a good chase but the religious psychopath isn't mad. He's enjoying it. He shouldn't be. Before Star Saber can think, Cyclonus has converted to robot mode, drawn his sword, and cut his pursuer clean through as he flies by.
Look at that cut. That is a symetrical cut.
And that's the end of Star Saber! Maybe you were expecting a larger battle but considering Star Saber basically just shows up and quickly kills people, this is just about the perfect way for him to meet his ultimate end.
Despite everything, Cyclonus wishes that Star Saber finds Primus' forgiveness in death, just as he hopes Primus will forgive HIM when HE dies.
On the bridge of the Lost Light, Scorponok is still crushing Rodimus' head when he is suddenly teleported away. Everyone is surprised. Getaway yells at Tyrest who isn't THERE but is apparently maintaining a comlink with the mutinous captain. Tyrest affirms that he DID teleport Scorponok away because The Grand Architect was gathering up his generals. Since Getaway ISN'T one of them, he gets to stay here to face Rodimus' wrath.
Tyrest also gives some hints as to what The Grand Architect might be up to but since we don't grasp the big picture just yet, we don't REALLY get what's going on. "The time is at hand, Getaway. Benzene is threadbare. The beast approaches."
"Benzene" refers to the Benzene Cluster, currently under the control of the Black Block Consortia, an intergalactic group of organics that split off from the Galactic Council but maintain the same mandate: a protection organization against the threat of the Cybertronian Great War and its fallout. They're just more extreme about it.
We don't know who "the beast" is yet. But they sound fun!
With Scorponok gone, Rodimus straightens his helmet and tells Getaway how lucky he feels to have the opportunity to kick the ever-livin' crap out of the guy behind the mutiny of the Lost Light. Before this party can get properly started, however, Getaway transforms to car mode and races off.
OK, we can leave that non-fight and head back down to Mederi again. Our gang of protagonists have collected the crew of the Lost Light. They're still VERY grey in color but it looks like their bout of Sparkeateritis has come to an end.
The organic telepaths are getting even more talkative. This time they say this symbol like it's a real word:
I always forget to pronounce that middle dot.
Nautica recognizes it as the Knights of Cybertron coat of arms because she's heard it before. Way back in the day, Skids ended up going through a portal that presumably led to Cyberutopia and one of the gatekeepers spoke it to HIM. He in turn spelled it out for Nautica.
She's not the only one who recognizes it. So does Rung but he doesn't know WHERE he's heard it before, only knowing that it was far into the distant past.
The telepaths aren't done talking, though. "Zero, one, zero, zero, zero. Zero, zero, nine, nine, nine..."
That's 01000, 00999, and then 00998. You can guess where this is going. Something is counting down...
On the Lost Light, Rodimus chases Getaway into the Fuel Furnace, noting that the Lost Light's fuel supplies are SERIOUSLY low, something that never happened when HE was in charge.
Look, sometimes you forget things when you leave the house.
He also calls for back up because, again, he isn't a complete idiot.
When Getaway attacks, it's with particular ferocity. The Mutineer gets in a few good hits with the batons he's equipped. Even so, the outcome is never in doubt. As much as Scorponok is Rodimus' better in combat, Rodimus is Getaway's better. At one point, Getaway lands HARD and one of those sticks he's using breaks. He discards the broken bit into the furnace and it detonates, filling the room with flames.
Getaway knows he's not winning this fight and he doesn't care. He's going to die and take everyone with him. Those sticks he's been fighting with? Nucleon rods. They tend to explode when shaken vigorously. That fight shook them QUITE vigorously.
Before Getaway kills them all, Rodimus wants him to recap what happened when they got to Cyberutopia (Mederi) and Getaway indulges, telling Rodimus that they didn't see much of anything. They didn't know what Cyberutopia was supposed to look like so the telepaths didn't have much to work with. Things were pretty quiet until The Grand Architect's fleet of Worldsweepers showed up.
Worldsweepers are massive Decepticon combat ships designed to look like the Decepticon insignia.
Getaway doesn't know who The Grand Architect is, having only dealt with the guy's underlings but he DOES know that The Grand Architect is moving pieces around on a galactic scale.
After losing to the Worldsweepers, Getaway made a deal to get on The Grand Architect's team but it involved sacrificing the rest of the Lost Light crew. Scorponok was the one who made them into Sparkeaters.
Getaway tells Rodimus that there's no stopping him, btw. He knows that Rodimus is trying to talk him down but he's got NO reason to live. After all, Getaway has betrayed EVERYONE. Who wouldn't want to kill him, now? Better he do it himself and all it'll take is touching both of the rods together. At least that way, Getaway gets to kill Rodimus.
Rodimus and Getaway go round and round about who is the most focused on the other but it's when Getaway mentions that Rodimus is HERE instead of helping the rest of his team that Rodimus pauses to do a quick self-assessment.
Getaway gets ready to bring his Nucleon rods together but Cyclonus brings a stop to that plan, suddenly appearing behind the Mutineer captain and slicing off one of Getaway's arms. You can bet who Rodimus called earlier. Without the ability to bring the house down (explosively), Getaway settles on just taking his own life, running directly into the fires behind him.
When Cyclonus notes how scared Getaway looked, Rodimus says that Getaway thought they were here to end his life. Confused, Cyclonus asks, "Weren't you?"
Rodimus runs off into the flames to save Getaway. Cyclonus discards his sword and attempts to follow but a sudden explosion throws him away from the fires. It doesn't matter, Rodimus finds Getaway passed out in the flames and brings him to safety, his Spectralite paint job burning away in the process.
Or maybe I just lacked conviction.
With a life saved, Rodimus and Cyclonus head over to a control panel, attempting to get the sprinklers running to put out this fire before the Lost Light really does blow up. While they're distracted, Getaway wakes up, picks up Cyclonus' sword, and NEARLY runs Cyclonus through with it.
But... before he does, a golden hand reaches out for him. The hand of Primus. Getaway is drawn to his god, believing that everything is going to be ok. Primus is going to make him Getaway Prime for real! He takes Primus' hand.
And is consumed by Scraplets. Primus was really the Red Scraplet Gestalt.
I mean... not the REAL Primus. THIS Primus. Maybe the real one too? I don't know. Whatever. This one was made up of Scraplets.
And they LOVE Whirl. They take on a more Scraplet-like shape (but bigger!) and race up to Whirl (who is here now for reasons) as Rodimus and Cyclonus stand back in shock (they've also got the sprinkers working so wins all around).
Whirl explains that in a story not printed within the pages of Transformers: Lost Light or Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye (it was in the Transformers Holiday Special), Whirl ended up bonding with some Scraplets that snuck aboard when the Lost Light ended up on Luna 1. These guys LOVE Whirl. When Getaway put Chromedome's Red Scraplets into the Oil Reservoir, he added in the Luna 1 Scraplets, too.
The Luna 1 Scraplets turned out to be smarter and just over all-around better and so they dominated the Scraplet community. So ALL the Scraplets love Whirl. Turning into Primus was THEIR idea. Cyclonus surmises that they were probably able to sense Getaway's dream of meeting Primus because of Mederi's telepaths. Or something. Anyway, Getaway is gone. Whirl has a monster Red Scraplet Gestalt for a partner. Things are significantly weird.
And they're gonna get weirder.
Ratchet calls Rodimus up and asks how things are going on the Lost Light. Rodimus says that everything is cool and asks how that whole Sparkeater thing worked out. To Ratchet, none of that matters right now. He wants Rodimus to find the nearest window and give the sky a gander.
Because there's a massive tear running through it big enough to swallow Mederi and anything else it wants.
Crazy stuff, right? It looks like that's our final scene for this issue. Thanks for reading! See you soon!