Heyo Super Readers and welcome back to a stunning edition of Super Reads Transformers: Unicron!
Before we get too deep down the rabbit hole, let's remind everyone of one simple thing:
There are SPOILERS ahead.
Get it? Got it? Good.
Starscream is a former leader of Cybertron, former head of the Council of Worlds, former Decepticon leader, former leader of the Decepticon Infiltration Unit on Earth, former Cybertronian Senator, and former con man.
He's been a lot of things over the course of his long and industrious career but what he's MOSTLY been is unsatisfied with his lot in life. Part of that strings from the fact that he's never been comfortable with body and changes aspects of it more times than Hasbro has released different Starscream toys.
Starscream is mostly known as the guy constantly gunning for leadership of the Decepticons, willing to betray Megatron at the drop of a hat and not able to even TRY to hide his ambition from the more powerful Decepticon leader. At the same time, Starscream PROTECTED Megatron from other Decepticons' traitorous attempts at the top spot. So Megatron keeping Starscream around is basically because he's just SO OBVIOUS and STILL protects Megatron's position.
In IDW continuity, things are a lot more nuanced. Starscream has only made a couple attempts at Decepticon leadership and was even successful his second (recorded) time! Beyond that, he spent millions of years being a mostly loyal soldier in the Decepticon war machine and only started lashing out after discovering Ultra Energon (Ore-13) on Earth.
Post-War, Starscream surprised everyone by allying with Bumblebee's interim government while using his wordskills to set HIMSELF in a good position to be voted in as the next leader. This was helped by a returning Titan naming him as "The Chosen One." It was FURTHER helped by that time he murdered his biggest competition, Metalhawk, blaming it on the most recent Decepticon uprising. Following that attack, Starscream publicly abandoned the Decepticon cause and led a movement to exile any Cybertronian who continued to belong to the Autobot or Decepticon factions. This led to Bumblebee being exiled and for Starscream to be the last one standing in the vote for leadership.
Starscream turned out to not be a TERRIBLE leader but WAS corrupt as hell. After a few more open conflicts with various groups and some special mental breakthroughs with Windblade, Starscream was a (kinda) changed bot. Before the next election for Leader of Cybertron, Starscream and the other three candidates held a debate. In the opening statement, Starscream admitted to all of the criminal acts he had committed as Leader of Cybertron. It took more than an hour.
He did a lot of bad things.
Anyway, Starscream was NOT elected for a second term of office. Instead, he was arrestes and all of his potential voters threw their support behind Windblade. Which was what Starscream was hoping would happen anyway (because the OTHER option was a militant dictator named Elita-One).
In the course of Shockwave's recent attempted invasion of Cybertron, Starscream found himself free from prison. He only returned in our last issue, claiming he had a plan to save everything. We'll see how that works out for... well, everyone.
While Starscream is KNOWN for being sketchy as a Decepticon, Bludgeon actually IS less devoted to the Decepticon cause than pretty much anyone.
And that's saying something. Most of the bigger names in the Decepticon heirarchy are less than perfect in their loyalty to the Decepticon cause. Bludgeon takes that cake. And devours it.
Way back in the day, Megatron set Bludgeon on investigating what Shockwave had been up to once the one-eyed senator/ scientist went missing. Bludgeon discovered the Ultra Energon on Earth and instead of reporting back to Megatron, he gathered a number of followers to harvest that Energon and use it to power up one of the most devastating forces ever unleashed upon Cybertron: Thunderwing.
Thunderwing was a mindless monster that Bludgeon directed against certain targets across the universe, believing that given enough destruction, Cybertron would naturally be restored. At the same time, Bludgeon and his team created their own Pretender shells based on Thunderwing's initial designs but with a whole lot more control. None of this worked out for him and he ended up frozen within his own shell.
When Bludgeon eventually regained control of his bodily functions, he ended up furthering the agendas of both Jhiaxus and Shockwave, collecting the rest of the Regenesis Ores that Shockwave had created on Cybertron's colony worlds. When THIS plan blew up in his face, Bludgeon went into hiding, ending up in Cybertron's Sea of Rust where he found a brand new hot spot of unharvested Sparks and began conducting monsterous experiments, placing the new Sparks within the dead bodies of Sweeps (a cloned army of Scourge that had followed the ancient warlord Galvatron) and turbofoxes (typical Cybertronian wildlife). You'd think that would be enough atrocities but he also played around with the dark energies that powered the sleeping Titan Trypticon.
When THAT plan blew up in his face, Bludgeon was captured and forced to do Starscream's bidding, all the while, continuing the plans that would see the return of his "master."
Omega Supreme was the ancient leader of the Omega Sentinels and was around during the time of the Knights of Cybertron.
For millenia, he served as the guardian of a Titan hidden beneath the underground Crystal City. When he was found by Nova Prime and his followers, Omega joined the leader of Cybertron and helped to bring Cybertron back from the brink of the destruction following the First Cybertronian Civil War.
Omega eventually realized that Nova Prime wasn't actually a GOOD guy for a number of reasons... but mostly because the Prime allowed his head scientist, Jhiaxus, to fuse together five Cybertronians into the giant, uncontrollable monstrosity known as Monstructor (everything has such descriptive names in the Transformers universe!). Omega's battle with the ancient gestalt caused massive destruction around Crystal City, reburying the entire area.
After sealing away Monstructor, Omega went into self exile but was eventually rediscovered by Optimus Prime and, convinced that THIS Prime wasn't the villain that Nova had been, joined him and the Autobots.
Omega still felt more comfortable separated from his fellow Cybertronians and served in a mostly advisory role. His actions against Monstructor recently came to light as did Nova Prime's more unscrupulous acts. Omega still served Optimus loyally until the last of the Primes stepped down. Once that happened, Omega Supreme stayed in the last Cybertronian city, Iacon, as they helped rebuild after the last Great Cybertronian War.
He was caught in an explosion to prevent his interference when Megatron staged his last attempt to conquer what remained of Cybertron and has remained incapacitated ever since.
Transformers: Unicron #2
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Alex Milne
Colors: Sebastian Cheng
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte
This issue in a nutshell: Starscream's planet to save Cybertron by throwing a massive fleet of hidden Decepticon warships at Unicron fails spectacularly while Bumblebee gets the 411 on the planet eater from a dying Omega Supreme.
• Starscream gives a speech to the people of Cybertron, claiming to have a plan that will save them from Unicron while simultaneously taking shots at his political opponents.
• The Decepticon Vengeance Division under the command of Bludgeon engages Unicron, utilizing a Stasis Web designed to hold the monster planet in place.
• Bumblebee interupts Arcee and Aileron's talk about the destruction of Caminus to ask Arcee why she was so shocked at seeing an Omega Sentinel inside Unicron.
• When Arcee mentions how the Omega Sentinels were once used on the front lines of Cybertron's Expansion, Bumblebee decides to talk with the unconscious Omega Supreme with Aileron tagging along with him because she needs to keep busy.
• Bumblebee touches Omega Supreme's face and witnesses a message delivered directly into his mind by Omega.
• Elsewhere, Pyra Magna says good-bye to the dead Mistress of Flame before discarding her Forgehammer.
• Starscream meets with the Council of Worlds to detail his plan to save Cybertron.
• This leads to Prime and Starscream bickering about Autobot and Decepticon stuff that just ticks Windblade off.
• As she's scolding the two, Windblade gets a call from Chromia, who has been absent for quite a while.
• Chromia and her crew are witness to the Decepticons challenging Unicron and she's here to give the Council a play-by-play.
• Bumblebee has a vision that gives him part of an origin to Unicron, the Dire Wraiths, and the Visionaries.
• Chromia tells the Council all about the Decepticon's ineffective attack on Unicron but leave before the Maximals, unleashed from Unicron, can engage the Decepticon fleet.
• When the Maximals board the Decepticon vessels, they stand revealed inside their Pretender shells as followers of Liege Maximo and Bludgeon COULDN'T BE HAPPIER.
• Meanwhile, Unicron has teleported away from the Decepticon's Stasis Web to Cybertron, where it transforms into its robot mode.
• Bumblebee wakes from his vision to reveal that the way to destroy Unicron is to end all life!
• Or just Transformer lives?
• Whatever... people gonna die.
Join us, won't you, on the planet Cybertron as Starscream tries his level best to undermine Optimus Prime and his allies while claiming that he alone has a plan that will save all assembled from the destructive force of Unicron.
If there's one thing Starscream is good at, it's talking. This is extra good because the last time he talked to the citizens of Cybertron, he was confessing to all the atrocities he committed as leader of Cybertron. Optimus Prime makes certain to mention Starscream's criminal status before ol' Screamer gets his speech in full gear and it's the last time anyone is going to get a word in because he hits his stride, acting like he isn't a wanted felon.
Starscream is excellent at mixing in some truth with a whole lot of lies and he uses it effectively to cast doubt on Optimus Prime (the legacy of the Primes is awful), Soundwave (the Decepticon that no one believes in), Rom (not a friend of Starscream because of past battles), and Bumblebee (whose interim government was rife with incompetence). As Starscream's gaze (and words) fall on Bumblebee, the yellow hero mutters about how no one else is getting a word in during Starscream's "conversation."
With everyone thoroughly put in their place, Starscream gives the basics of his plan, first mentioning that Optimus Prime's Cybertronian fleet is returning after a great defeat. Where the Autobots have failed, however, the DECEPTICONS will win. Starscream is in contact with SO MANY off-world Decepticons, claiming to have maintained connections in anticipation for an event just like this.
As Starscream chatters on, we join the Decepticon fleet as it moves to intercept Unicron. Commanding the fleet? Bludgeon. One of THE LEAST LOYAL Decepticons ever. So this already has "WIN" written all over it. The fleet itself is pretty impressive, however, comprised of Decepticon Worldsweepers (The ships shaped like Decepticon icons), Warworlds (the bulbous ships that first made their appearance in the Generation 2 comics), and a smattering of other Decepticon ships from all over Transformers continuity, like Galvatron's warship from The Transformers: The Movie.
Aboard Bludgeon's command ship, a trio of Decepticons (modeled and named after the Mini-con Demolition Team from Transformers: Classics toyline) makes small talk over their intended mission. This earns them a berating from Bludgeon who expects them to maintain a certain decorum aboard his ship. Speaking like the super-villain he is, Bludgeon orders the fleet to trap Unicron in a Stasis Web. For today "the Decepticon Vengeance Division shall kill DEATH."
Their confrontation with the planet eater has begun.
Back on Cybertron, Starscream is finally flying down into the crowd of onlookers as Arcee and Aileron talk about how Aileron's home was just destroyed.
Yes, it did. Politics, people!
Arcee's not really a... people person. She goes tough talk about how they will persevere through this latest adversity but those aren't the special words Aileron needs to hear. She's looking for some comfort. In all the wrong places. Arcee attempts an apology but is interupted by Bumblebee.
You might remember last issue when Arcee was way more shocked than everyone else that a long-dead Omega Sentinel was located within Unicron. Bumblebee certainly remembers and wants to know WHY she reacted the way she did. Aileron tries to defend Arcee but the old barbarian begins to recall her ancient past and how the Omega Sentinels once served as front line agents during Cybertron's Expansion.
Arcee was also involved in the Expansion and regrets her actions even to this day. Anyway, seeing a dead Omega Sentinel inside Unicron reminded her of this bit of her past. She conjectures that the Sentinel must have found Unicron far into the past, believing he might have even done so on Shockwave's command. Shockwave, however, isn't the kind of guy you ask about this kind of thing because he won't necessarily tell you the truth. About ANYTHING.
But that's ok because Bumblebee knows exactly who else he can ask. He cheerfully runs off. When Aileron attempts to join him, Bumblebee reluctantly agrees but warns her that they're about to visit one of his biggest failures as leader of Cybertron. A hop, skip, and jump later, Bumblebee has led Aileron to the resting area of Omega Supreme, leader of the Omega Sentinels and completely incapacitated since the time when Bumblebee tried to lead a planet in the right direction.
I mean, is Unicron the only guy who gets to eat in this thing?
Bumblebee is playing a hunch, here, hoping that in this time of need, they'll be able to get the information they need from Omega but the big guy shows no signs of stirring. Bumblebee muses about using Soundwave to read Omega Supreme's mind. He's also casually reaching out his hand to lean on Omega's head. When he makes contact, his hand is surrounded by black Kirby dots. And then his eyes go completely dark.
Elsewhere on Cybertron, other Camiens are dealing with the loss of their home colony. And also the loss of Caminus' spiritual leader, the Mistress of Flame. Before she died, the Mistress of Flame passed her hammer on to Pyra Magna. It's finally given a NAME this issue. The Forgehammer. With her fellow Torchbearers watching from the streets, Pyra Magna says her cranky goodbyes to the Mistress of Flame on top of a building. When she's done being a jerk to dead people, Pyra slams the Forgehammer into the ground and walks away from it.
That's how you say goodbye. With an unhealthy degree of anger and a whole lot of smarm.
For some crazy reason, Starscream has been invited back to the Council of Worlds along with Optimus Prime. The Council immediately seeks to put the former leader of Cybertron back behind bars after Starscream questions their very legitimacy. After all, most of the "Worlds" that comprise this Council are GONE. So he's making friends. Which is nice.
But plans! After mentioning that he's a bot of the people, Starscream explains that his Decepticon fleet has the world devourer surrounded and trapped inside a Stasis Web designed by Bludgeon. Windblade balks at the mention of Bludgeon because she thought that dude had been killed. Starscream admits that he kept Bludgeon around and eventually sent the mad scientist to collect all of the wayward Decepticons and their instruments of mass destruction. When Prime brings up the fact that Bludgeon tried to end the universe not too long ago, Starscream claims that it happened "YEARS ago." As if it was a phase he was going through.
As far as Bludgeon working for Shockwave, a recent threat to Cybertron, Starscream deflects this by saying that Bludgeon doesn't have any loyalty to the guy. Neither does Starscream. Screamer brings up his recent talk with Shockwave from last issue and how the former Senator's plan is for Unicron to devour Cybertron, consuming its tainted Energon and expiring. Oh, and Shockwave also wants Starscream to lead a New Decepticon Empire in the wake of Unicron's passing.
Prime wonders why Starscream didn't take him UP on the offer. Starscream reminds Optimus that he's a changed bot. Even if he WASN'T, no one should trust Shockwave. There's always more going on with that guy than... meets the eye.
OK. So, Decepticon Fleet. Windblade believes they should join the two fleets and attack Unicron together but Starscream claims that the Decepticon Fleet is more than enough to destroy Unicron and they have no need of the AUTOBOT Fleet. This sends Prime into a little tiff as he in one breath claims that the "Autobot" fleet is in fact a CYBERTRONIAN Fleet and it also has no need of the Decepticons. Also: he trusts Starscream as much as Shockwave.
Keep in mind that Optimus waved the Autobot flag last issue when leading the "Cybertronian" Fleet. So, y'know. Hypocrisy and all that.
Despite her Autobot symbols, Windblade has no desire to have a little mini-Great Cybertronian War right now. As she chastises the two for letting past alliances influence their actions, the Council or Worlds gets a call from Windblade's best friend and former bodyguard, Chromia on board her ship, the Sabre.
A ways back, Chromia and her team were sent out to hunt down a bad dude named Liege Maximo. That guy is one of the Thirteen Primes and was released from his prison (the Spark chamber of the Titan Carcer) during the Titans Return War (because Cybertron doesn't go ten minutes without another war or crisis hitting it). Liege Maximo in this continuity is ESSENTIALLY Loki but with more evil intentions.
Anyway, Chromia and crew were presumed dead when Liege Maximo returned to Cybertron with Onyx Prime (who turned out to be Shockwave wearing Onyx Prime's carcass which is GROSS). She and Windblade have some catching up to do since she wasn't around to witness Windblade running and winning the election for Leader of Cybertron. With that done, it's time for Chromia to tell the Council of Worlds what she and her team are seeing.
Because the Sabre is witness to the Decepticon Vengeance Division's Stasis Web surrounding Unicron. She's going to give everyone a play-by-play.
Let's skip back over to Bumblebee. After his eyes went black, our favorite yellow Autobot saw a vision imparted by Omega Supreme. That means that the narration is curt. Also: cryptic.
"A world devastated...
"A situation HOPELESS...
"A plan DESPERATE.
"To END WAR...
"One must end life.
"A machine reaching...
"...giving rise to NEW MAGICKS: NEW WARS.
"The star system gone...
:...theheart of the storm REMAINED...
"...the ghosts FLED...
"...No... not ghosts...
"...spread far away...
"...A LONE PLANET...
"...orbiting a BLACK STAR...
This plays out over the course of three pages and... now I try to make sense of the images with the text...
OK, a long time ago, a world was killing itself with war but a horned light blue scientist decided that if he killed the world ALL THE WAY, war would obviously stop. It's... logic but stupid so it fits the theme of logical plans in Transformers books. Anyway, scientist makes device that looks a little like the casing for the Matrix and steps inside a bigger chamber to maybe... power it up or something? With that done, he presses the button on the device and kills the world. This has far reaching effects all over the universe and looks to be the cause of the Visionaries' homeworld's destruction.
The all the pyrotechnics are over, the war-torn planet is left a dead husk. The star is left a black hole. The... let's call them survivors? Those guys are turned into Dire Wraiths and spread a magickal threat to the rest of the universe. And Unicron (which I guess was the original war-torn world?) is left circling a dead star.
So, we're left with a vague story that hints at the origins of Unicron while also giving us backstory for the Dire Wraiths and the Visionaries. Upon delivering this vision to Bumblebee, Omega Supreme dies. Aileron tries to wake Bumblebee out of his trance, noting that he also looks to have suffered from the information upload.
Back at Unicron, the Decepticon Vengeance Division unloads its full firepower at the monster planet. Chromia relates the entire incident back to the Council of Worlds on Cybertron and she is SHOCKED that this kind of display of power hadn't ended the Great War long ago. It's ridiculous.
And it's not NEAR enough.
As the onslaught dies down, the Maximals that serve Unicron fly out of the explosions to deal death to the Decepticons. Before they reach the Decepticon Fleet, Chromia orders her ship to retreat and returns to Cybertron. When the light show dies down, Unicron has teleported away, leaving the Maximals to deal with the Decepticons and the ineffective Stasis Web.
It takes a while for the Maximals to engage the Decepticon Fleet, what with distance being a thing but the Decepticons don't appear to even ATTEMPT to fire on the new enemy. Hell, it looks like Bludgeon is expecting them to board. He also appeared to be calling Unicron his "Master" as the giant planet teleported away.
A group of Maximals smashes into the Decepticon command ship's bridge which seems like it would be a HUGE design flaw. As they threaten (possibly kill) the Demolition Team, Bludgeon explains that the Maximals aren't from the beast colony world of Eukaris. Instead, they follow the will of Liege Maximo. Standing on the Decepticon bridge, the Maximals open up their exothermic shells (they're Pretenders). Within, they look more techorganic than before and each seems to bear a similar look to their master, Liege Maximo. Bludgeon labels them "the FINAL STAGE of our EVOLUTION."
So... that worked out just as well as we all expected, right? Starscream should get a medal for his visionary plan.
If you're wondering where Unicron went, it skipped right over the Stasis Web and went right to Cybertron. In a series of panels, we watch as the monster planet shifts to robot mode, in the same way that the original movie version of the big guy did in the animated movie.
While that's happening above Cybertron, down below, Bumblebee is finally regaining consciousness.
And the universe saw the Visionaries and said "OK, we can end this now."
Aileron leads Bumblebee out of Omega Supreme's chamber and out to witness the oncoming horror of Unicron, Bumblebee demands to be brought to Optimus Prime and Windblade. Omega Supreme's cryptic message has revealed to him the secrets of Unicron AND how to defeat it.
With a little of sadness on his weary face, Bumblebee reveals that in order to bring down the planet eater, they all need to die.
G.I. Joe Back-up Story
Writer: David Rodriguez
Artist: Nelson Dániel
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte
This issue in a nutshell: Roadblock and Scarlett try to hold off an invading Maximal army aboard their headquarters ship, Lemuria, but are ultimately rescued by Helix, Snake Eyes, and Skywarp.
• Scarlett and Roadblock stand alone defending the Lemuria from an army of aquatic Maximals.
• Scarlett is especially disheartened and Roadblock has to be EXTRA inspiring to motivate her into doing her job.
• Once properly inspired, the duo rises to face their last stand against a horde of Maximals only to find that the bad guys have already been defeated by Snake Eyes, Helix, and Skywarp.
• Those guys were off-site and just arrived to mop things up.
• As the newcomers bicker, Roadblock and Scarlett slide back behind their barricade with smiles on their faces.
G.I. Joe is the codename for America's daring, highly trained special missions force. It's purpose: to defend human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.
However, in IDW continuity, G.I. Joe was just a super-secret anti-terrorist unit that stumbled onto a super secret terrorist organization called Cobra that had existed for centuries, manipulating events for a nebulous purpose. When the team was eventually made public, it stopped all that anti-terrorism nonsense and went where the REAL money was: defending Earth from the threat of extraterrestrial invasion. And also still fighting Cobra sometimes.
Operating from an old sunken Decepticon ship rechristened the Lemuria, G.I. Joe tackled problems big and small throughout the world until they were unceremoniously cancelled mid-storyline for... y'know what? I'm not gonna get into that here because it's a whole "real world" thing that doesn't have any bearing on this story and I used up my one "real world" commentary already.
This story takes place after their uncompleted last story so don't expect any finality to that here. What we DO get is G.I. Joe leader, Scarlett, and field ops leader, Roadblock, waging their last stand against alien invaders aboard the Lemuria. They're the last Joes left in fighting condition and Scarlett has pretty much given up the ghost.
Roadblock is still keeping his positive attitude and tries to psych his leader up but Scarlett isn't having ANY of that positivity. When Roadblock tells her that this isn't the worst things have been for the two, Scarlett disagrees. This battle feels different to her. It feels final.
If you're wondering WHY it feels final, let's take a look outside the ship. Yep. The Lemuria is being assaulted by Maximals. Most of them are being kept in shadow but standing right in the light is a Maximal looking like Depth Charge. He turned into a manta ray.
With the Maximals on Earth, that means this conflict takes place a bit ahead of the main storyline and it's likely that Unicron is already at the planet or that it's on the way there soon.
It looks like G.I. Joe was on a mission of mercy, attempting to rescue a whole lot of people in the wake of an alien invasion but that just put them in the invaders' spotlight. We don't see many other Joes in the next few pages but we see Shipwreck laid out on a table, completely out of the action and also Lady Jay being treated by Doc in the medical bay. Jay wants back in the fight but her right arm is useless and she's a terrible shot with her left. Doc recommends she stay with the innocents to protect them.
The story doesn't mention this and it isn't REALLY relevant but Doc is a human/ Dire Wraith hybrid. She didn't know her history until her dad, the original Doc, was revealed to be a full-on Dire Wraith sleeper agent. Comics is a crazy business, people.
The Maximals are finally tearing through the doorway guarded by Roadblock and Scarlett. Scarlett is right at the edge of dispair. THIS is how it ends? Facing a monster planet that doesn't even know it's killing them? At least make it personal, Unicron!
Roadblock tells Scarlett that he and every other Joe would follow her to hell and back. She's a respected leader of the toughest S.O.B.'s Earth has brought together. And it's time for them to PROVE it even if this is the LAST time.
Sufficiently rallied, Scarlett grabs Roadblock's hand and gets on her feet. With the old battle cry of "YO JOE!!" the duo get ready to face insurmountable odds.
Except those odds have already been eliminated by the cavalry.
Yes, it's still weird that Skywarp is a member of G.I. Joe.
Skywarp, Snake Eyes, and Helix were apparently not on site for the initial attack but the trio made short work of the Maximals and now everything is good forever!
Skywarp grouses about how hard it was to GET to the Lemuria but admits at least everyone on board isn't dead so the trip wasn't a waste of his time. Helix tells him he's a terrible person. Skywarp agrees but notes that being a member of G.I. Joe isn't a matter of being a nice guy. You just have to be good at your job. And Skywarp is SPECTACULAR at his job.
As the two bicker, Roadblock and Scarlett slide back behind their makeshift fortification, smiling at each other. They've lived for another day. For now, that's enough.
I imagine that's what they're thinking, at least.
And with that, we've reached the end of the stories in Transformers: Unicron #2! We've got four more main issues to go so I hope to see you again real soon!