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Super Reads Transformers: Unicron #3

Written by SuperginraiX on Tuesday, September 18 2018 and posted in Features

Super Reads Transformers: Unicron #3

Secret histories are revealed as Unicron sets down in the suburbs of Cybertron.

Welcome one and all to the latest and greatest Super Reads article on the internet!

We've got a lot of ground to cover but before we do that, I need to lay down this sweet warning:

There are SPOILERS ahead.

So when I spoil things, you shouldn't get angry. That's literally what this is.

OminousPrime.pngSo we need to start things off by sharing the story thus far because we are DEEP into this story and you need to get the 411 straight before I begin introducing new elements.

Unicron is looming over Cybertron and the monster planet has transformed into its robot mode. That's something it hasn't done before previous planetary feedings but you've gotta admit that Cybertron is kinda special.

Last issue, Starscream had his secret Decepticon Fleet engage Unicron but that didn't work out AT ALL. It could be because he entrusted the entire venture to Bludgeon. Now, Decepticons in command positions have been notoriously untrustworthy but even so, Bludgeon has never made having an alternate adgenda that much of a secret. Heck, when you look at things, Starscream starts looking like one of the more loyal Decepticons. Which is weird.

Anyway, the Decepticon Fleet was overrun by Unicron's Maximal army and it was revealed that the Maximals are actually some type of Pretender. Within their techno-organic outer shells is another robot-ish mode modelled after the trickster Prime, Liege Maximo. The fall of the Decepticon Fleet was exactly what Bludgeon wanted. So that's nice for him.

We also learned a bit more about Unicron's origin story when Bumblebee received a vision from a dying Omega Supreme. It was pretty unclear but what we learned is that Unicron was the result of a bomb detonating in an attempt to end all war on an unspecified planet. Oh, Unicron IS that planet. This bomb is also responsible for creating the Dire Wraiths (enemies of Rom and the Spaceknights) and destroying the Visionaries' homeworld of Prysmos.

Now, we just have to learn what that all means.

ElitaOne.pngWith Unicron eating Cybertron's colony worlds left and right, there aren't many left. One of the few remaining is Carcer... which is less a world and more just a Titan.

And not a GOOD Titan. Carcer was initially known as Vigilem and served Liege Maximo. As I mentioned above, Maximo is kind of the Transformer version of Loki, dealing in lies and death. Vigilem was not only loyal but shared many of the same traits. When Liege Maximo was subdued for causing the death of one of the thirteen Primes (Solus), he was imprisoned within Vigilem and the Titan was stripped of control of his body. Serving as jailers for both Maximo and Vigilem were members of Liege Maximo's tribe. But don't worry! These were the ones who didn't agree with the path taken by their Prime. Serving on Vigilem was their way of paying penance for the crimes of their leader.

And because of his new role as a prison ship, Vigilem was rechristened as Carcer.

Which brings us the the leader of Carcer, the "First One." Elita One. I'm betting when Elita One was first introduced in the original cartoon show, her description notes probably just read "leader of the female Autobots and Optimus Prime's romantic interest." None of that is true for this version of the character.

Because of her tribe's unique relationship to their OWN Prime, Elita One holds no Prime in any sort of reverence. She's a pragmatist who rules with steely determination, believing that she is the only one who can guide Cybertron and its colonies through these turbulant times.

While these comics list her as Carcer's representative on the Council or Worlds, that is a role that was originally held by her lieutenant, Obsidian. However, it looks like she's taken a stronger interest in Cybertronian affairs since her failed campaign to become its leader. You'll still see Obsidian in some scenes in this book but he doesn't have a prominent role in the plot.

Windblade.pngFinally, let's take a more in depth look at the bot who WON the election and serves as current ruler of Cybertron: Windblade.

Windblade was originally from the colony world of Caminus where she trained up as a City Speaker. That's someone who specializes in understanding the complicated inner language of the Titans. This became important because when Metroplex returned to Cybertron, he was too damaged to speak in normal words. Windblade became the only person on planet who could communicate with the Titan that would become Cybertron's only city.

In this capacity, Windblade helped restore Metroplex's functionality, including his Spacebridge which connected Cybertron with a number of its lost colonies. From there, Windblade helped establish contact with those colonies, developing a foundation for the eventual Council of Worlds in which she would serve as Caminus' representative.

During the Titan War (a time when a buttload of Titans were revived to attack Cybertron), Windblade ended up using her City Speaking abilities to get Carcer to land on Cybertron and assist defense efforts on the planet's surface. Unfortunately, this also reactivated Carcer's higher brain functions and released Liege Maximo from his prison.

Windblade was incapacitated for a while following this incident but when she was returned to functionality, she almost immediately defied the Council by revealing to the public that Liege Maximo was out there and that they needed to prepare. The repurcussions of this event led to her running for leader of Cybertron. She won the election pretty much because Starscream used a public debate to admit to all the illegal activity he had committed as Cybertronian leader. This killed Starscream's chances in the election (and got him arrested) but it secured Windblade the votes she needed.

Since that time, Windblade has presided over a Shockwave's Maximal invasion of Cybertron and Unicron's threat to Cybertron and its colonies. So she's had some challenges.

Fortunately, she's frickin' Windblade. And that means she's awesome.

TransformersUnicron3.pngTransformers: Unicron #3
"Our Finest"
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Alex Milne
Colors: Sebastian Cheng & David Garcia Cruz
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte

This issue in a nutshell: The defense of Cybertron begins as the Cybertronian Fleet pushes against the Decepticon Vengeance Division, Victorion fails to reach Unicron, and Arcee reveals the secret history of Cybertron that lead into the creation of Unicron.

Bullet Points:
• Cybertron's Fleet hastily prepares to attack Unicron who is now lurking over Cybertron.
• Elita One teams up with Pyra Magna and the Torchbearers in order to succeed where Optimus Prime failed to destroy Unicron.
• Cybertron's leaders differ on how they think they should proceed, what with Unicron in range to gobble the planet.
• Starscream is REALLY pushing his whole "run away" strategy even though it would mean abandoning 70% of Cybertron's inhabitants.
• Bumblebee and Aileron enter the meeting in order to relate the vision Bumblebee had last issue detailing the origin of Unicron.
• Arcee reveals the war that led to the fall of the planet Antilla which would eventually lead to the creation of Unicron (its Antilla).
• When the Cybertronian Fleet finds itself hampered by the Decepticon Vengeance Division (now mutated and working for Unicron), Victorion diverges from her mission to destroy Unicron from within and attacks the DVD's flagship.
• After decimating the flagship's bridge crew, Victorion finds herself in an unwinnable fight against a mutated Monstructor.
• Shockwave fills in more blanks in Unicron's origin story while providing a more detailed history of the Talisman device that CREATED Unicron and caused chaos on both Earth and Cybertron.
• After hearing all the atrocities committed by ancient Cybertron, Windblade blows up at all the Cybertronians in the room and when learning that these acts led to the formation of her colony (and the others), she decides she can't deal with this right now and flies off.
• Arcee follows, attempting to force Windblade to deal with the situation instead of running but it turns out Windblade wasn't REALLY running away from her problems and was in the midst of enacting her plan to make everything better.
• Better than it COULD end up at least-- we'll see how this all ends.
• When Soundwave finds out that they might be abandoning 70% of the population in order to flee, he sends a message to all the Decepticons who would be left behind, causing a riot on the streets of Metroplex.
• Arcee returns to the meeting room to tell everyone that Windblade has a plan, which causes Starscream to switch his decision to flee and to trust in the leader of Cybertron.
• Unicron starts raking the surface of Cybertron with its claws.

Super Reads Transformers: Unicron #0
Super Reads Transformers: Unicron #1
Super Reads Transformers: Unicron #2

When we left off last issue, Unicron had just transformed into its robot mode and loomed over the planet Cybertron. This freaked people out. Like, a lot. Still, it seems completely different from Unicron's usual M.O. where it would visit a planet in its planet mode, cause lots of gravimetric disturbances, tough out a few inconsequential attacks, and then devour the planet like a boss.

Here, there's no crazy gravity lifting things off the ground and there's a distinct lack of anything resembling an attack. Still, the many residents of Cybertron, some VERY recent refugees from the worlds Unicron has already eaten, are understandably freaking the F out.

Cybertron's fleet is hastily assembling. Bots with jet modes are flying right up into combat range. Battleships are being boarded and prepped for launch. Amidst the activity, Pyra Magna leads her loyal Torchbearers calmly, announcing that she knows EXACTLY how to handle things.

For those who have read my Super Reads articles to this point, you'll probably know that Pyra is a massive asshole. She's essentially the Autobot's answer to Starscream: a lieutenant trying to undermine Optimus Prime by questioning his every move. Now, granted, THIS Prime has a LOT to justifiably question since he's a very wishy washy leader but Pyra Magna goes about it from a smug place of superiority that she hasn't shown any signs of earning.

Anyway, she has a plan but doesn't have the means to reach Unicron to enact those plans. That's where Elita One comes in. As the leader of the colony of Carcer (the Titan is conveniently orbiting Cybertron) she would see this ended. Pyra lays out her plan: Do what Optimus Prime did in issue one but succeed.  That means entering Unicron and destroying whatever is keeping it alive.

As plans go, it's not exactly... original? But, hey, good luck with that!

The Torchbearers teleport up to Carcer with Elita One.

Meanwhile, the residents of the Decepticon ghetto see all those spaceships flying off and think that they're being abandoned while everyone else flees the planet.

I still don't know when these guys stopped being law enforcement.

The Decepticons gather at a barricade and question the guards stationed there. One of the guards, the Autobot Tracks, tells them that this isn't an evacuation. The Cybertronian Fleet is staging its last defensive effort of Cybertron.

Tracks is all over Cybertron, lately. He has been working at the ship yard, logging flights to and from Cybertron. He's got duties running the Spacebridge within Metroplex. And, here, he's standing guard at a barricade set up to... keep the Decepticons out? Law and order, man. Law and order.

While the Fleet flies up to greet Unicron, Chromia and her crew aboard the Sabre have gone about this from the opposite direction, essentially chasing Unicron to Cybertron. Chromia was tasked with tracking down another threat to Cybertron, a villainous Prime known as Liege Maximo, but that mission didn't go as planned. The Sabre eventually came across Unicron instead and began reporting on the Decepticons' failed assault on the monster planet last issue.

Speaking of, the Decepticons from that attack, the Decepticon Vengeance Division, are here as well but their ships have been altered, appearing more spiky with jagged edges... like they read a whole batch of comics from the nineties and were forever changed. And they HAVE been forever changed. The DVD (hahaha) has gone from opposing Unicron to JOINING its armies.

So yeah, everything's coming up Unicron.

Meanwhile, Optimus Prime, Starscream, Windblade, and Rom meet with Jetfire to talk more about Unicron. Since Wheeljack died in issue #0, Jetfire has had to step up and do all the science that needs sciencing on Cybertron. He explains that Unicron is much bigger than Cybertron at this point but it is utilizing some sort of gravitational control to keep Cybertron from breaking into little bits. Jetfire theorizes that this has something to do with Ore-4, something the monster planet would have gobbled up upon eating Caminus last issue. Every Cybertronian colony world has its own energon derivative Ore, initially planted by Shockwave, that has a unique property such as Caminus' gravity control and Earth's strength enhancement.

Jetfire realizes that while what he's saying is really interesting and possibly important for future issues, no one really cares too much considering the world eater is looming over the planet as he speaks. Starscream has seen his plan to kill Unicron using a hidden Decepticon army crumble to dust and announces that his new plan is all about running the hell away as fast as possible. Rom thinks that they should sic Cybertron's Titan, Metroplex, on the world eater but Windblade explains that 1) Metroplex is a person and isn't someone she just orders around and 2) in the battle of planet vs. city, planet wins.

Talking about Metroplex reminds Starscream about the Titan's spacebridge. They really COULD run away but, as Jetfire points out, only 30% of Cybertron's population is within range of that Spacebridge. They could escape but it would mean sacrificing all recent refugees as well as the Decepticons living outside city limits. These are sacrifices Starscream is willing to make. He's fun like that.

As the leaders do their talky talk, other Cybertronians prepare to engage in mortal combat with Unicron. While the planet eater isn't responding to their advance, the Cybertronian Fleet finds the space between them and Unicron filled with altered Decepticon Vengeance Division's fleet. Before battle can be joined, Chromia makes an attempt to stop the Cybertronian Fleet, appealing to Elita One personally. Chromia explains what happened when the DVD tried to fight Unicron and worries that the same thing will happen here.

Elita will not be dissuaded. She knows how close Optimus Prime got to Unicron's core and has faith that her own champion will succeed where the Prime has failed.

Her champion is, of course, Victorion, the combined form of Pyra Magna and her Torchbearers.

Before we see the results of sending a combiner in to do what Optimus couldn't, we switch back over to Optimus Prime and company. Bumblebee has just been helped into this meeting room (pretty sure it's Metroplex's brain chamber... which might just be weird for me and not them) by Aileron. Bumblebee just had a sweet vision last issue, provided by the dying Omega Supreme. It vaguely detailed the secret origin of Unicron. And also the Dire Wraiths. And the Visionaries' home planet!

It was a pretty concise vague vision.

Anyway, Rom disputes Bumblebee's retelling of the Dire Wraith's origin. In the retelling, the Dire Wraiths were the "survivors" from whatever planet became Unicron, forever corrupted by the insane power of that world's world-ending bomb. This conflicts with the Spaceknight's version where the Solstar Order destroyed the Dire Wraith's home planet which was decidedly NOT Unicron.

Be that as it may, Bumblebee believes his version to be solid, citing past experiences with the Dire Wraiths and how the Visionaries' magic is a huge weakness to Cybertronian life. Besides, it's entirely possible that the Dire Wraiths moved from Unicron to a less dead world in order to stage their infection of the universe. The only REAL question he has about the whole thing is why any society would think setting off a world destroying device would ever be enticing.

To answer that question, enter: Arcee.

Arcee is REALLY old, having been around since the era Cybertron was ruled by The Thirteen Primes which was about ten million years ago, give or take a couple thousand years. Back in those days, one of those Primes, Onyx, decided to turn the burning warlike rage felt by pretty much every Cybertronian "OUTWARD." So they went from fighting amongst themselves to creating the first Cybertronian Empire. Before we get too far into this, I should also mention that Onyx Prime wasn't the REAL Onyx Prime. He was a time traveling Shockwave. Because no comic should be easy to understand.

Anyway, the first planet set for Cybertronian enlightenment was a little old place called Antilla. It seems like they just flew on over and then waited for an excuse to conquer the place. Like, when some of the locals tried to fight back against Cybertron's expansionist ways. When that happened, Onyx Prime unleashed Omega Supreme and the Omega Sentinels upon the people of Antilla and killed then en masse.

So it turns out that the war the Antillans were trying to end was the one between them and Cybertron. And it was a slaughter. As the Omega Sentinels set about murdering everything in their path, the Prime we know as Alpha Trion stopped watching the festivities. When later retelling these events, he'd omit pretty much all the details. We also know from other issues that Onyx Prime ended up naming Antilla for Alpha Trion.

With all of this information out there, Optimus and Starscream theorize that the Antillans didn't just set off a bomb to purge their planet of life, they made their planet into an instrument of EPIC REVENGE. It only took ten million years for the pin to be pulled on the grenade that is Unicron. Despite the time gap, once Antilla transformed into Unicron, it started swallowing up Cybertronian colonies like an all-you-can-eat buffet, each one adding to its bulk and strength.

It's at this point in the conversation that Windblade begins to lose it. She sees this entire situation as Cybertron's fault and conveniently separates herself and the other colonists from the "problem" part of this equation.

But we'll follow up on that in a moment. For now, let's rejoin the space battle between the Cybertronian Fleet and the mutated fleet of the Decepticon Vengeance Division. It is NOT going well for what we'll call the "good guys." We watch as a ship manned by Autobots Scattershot, Fastlane, and Cloudraker explodes while still trying to maintain systems for the fight. Many other ships are experiencing similar situations.

And that's the main reason that Victorion never makes her way inside Unicron. Despite all Pyra Magna's talk about finishing what Optimus Prime started, the combined form of Victorion can't stomach all the death around her without at least attempting to turn the tide of battle. While Elita One screams at her to continue the mission, Victorion lands on the Decepticon Vengeance Division's flagship, intent on cutting off the head of the Decepticon's defense of Unicron.

Victorion tears her way into the ship's bridge, slaughtering Decepticons left and right. Captaining the ship is a mutated Bludgeon who seems unphased by this assault on his command vessel. He seems impressed by the combiner but not her actions and certainly not defining this conflict as a battle between Autobots and Decepticons. No, those days are over. Bludgeon claims that "now begins the era of BEASTS- and of Monsters."

Aboard Carcer, Elita One curses out Victorion for not doing her job. The Titan sustains heavy fire from Bludgeon's vessel. Within his ship, Victorion faces Monstructor.

These guys are gonna get along just fine.

Monstructor was a combiner created by an old amoral scientist named Jhiaxus (one of Bludgeon's old masters). Unlike Victorion, the process that created Monstructor wasn't "natural" and resulted in a large, uncontrollable weapon of mass destruction. In the past, Monstructor was only defeated by Omega Supreme and even then, a city was demolished in the process. Another time, Optimus Prime helpd Omega secure the ancient combiner by exploiting a weakness built into Monstructor's design. Since then, all the old weaknesses have been plugged up and you'll notice that this version appears to have the same mutations affecting Bludgeon and the rest of the Decepticons. So this is probably a MUCH more powerful Monstructor than we've seen before and that is bad news for Victorion. We watch as Monstructor tears off one of Victorion's legs.

You want more background on Shockwave and Antilla? Good! Because you're going to get it. Even though it's probably a bad idea, Optimus Prime visits Shockwave in his cell in order to talk ancient history. Like, how did that invasion of Antilla go?

Shockwave explains that the Antillan death bomb went off as intended, killing everyone on-planet at the time. Fortunately, he and the rest of the Primes had departed by then. Like I've mentioned earlier, Shockwave, as Onyx, named Antilla for Alpha Trion. Here, he explains that he did this because Alpha Trion was known as the "Storyteller" and Antilla was representative of something that makes the best stories: "conflict."

For a long time after that, Antilla was left alone until the end of the age of The Thirteen Primes. When Shockwave (again, as Onyx Prime) left Cybertron, he took with him his followers. While most of those settled on the colony world of Eukaris, the most loyal joined him in exploring the wasteland that was Antilla. After some searching, Shockwave discovered something he would call the "Talisman." This was the original doomsday device or at least what powered it.

Logically, Shockwave loaded the Talisman on a ship crewed by a group of Maximals that looked a LOT like Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and other recognizable Autobots (seen in a couple panels here). They flew it to Earth where they became embroiled in a mirror conflict of the great big Cybertronian Civil War between the Autobots and Decepticons which was already in progress (this was set up by the non-time traveling version of Shockwave who discovered this crew on Earth, noticed the similarities, and did monsterous Shockwave things- as detailed in the Hearts of Steel mini-series).

While the Maximal crew was occupied, the Talisman was used... somehow... to make Earth a great place for Cybertronians to live once Unicron devoured their home planet. It was also used to do lots of messed up things in the pages of Revolutionaries, most of which mimic Unicron's abilities in one way or another. The Talisman was also used to recreate the Visionaries' capital city on Cybertron as well as a hundred square miles of terrain native to their home planet of Prysmos. Finally, Shockwave used the Talisman to corrupt Cybertron's supply of energon so that when Unicron eventually consumes the planet, it will be poisoned.

Now, that all sounds... great? But... stay with me here... why would energon poisoned by the device that initially created Unicron KILL Unicron? And what the hell Shockwave? How much of this is something YOU set up? Since Shockwave BEGAN time traveling before Unicron raged across the galaxy, did Shockwave even know Unicron would be a thing? Is this all part of his deliciously circuitous plan? How many steps ahead is he? Like, REALLY? Because it really feels like he's bluffing his way through some really stupid decisions by claiming that it's all going according to plan.

Time will tell, of course.

Optimus listens to Shockwave and straight up calls him insane. Because what Shockwave has set up is insane. The entire diatribe has been heard by Windblade and company who stayed behind in Metroplex's brain chamber. After hearing all of this, Windblade blithely comments that it's a typical "Shockwave-plans-to-destroy-everything" plan. Starscream continues to call for an evacuation of the 30% of Cybertron's population within Spacebridge range. Bumblebee is incensed by Starscream's ability to abandon a huge chunk of people just to save his own neck.

This leads into Windblade EXPLODING on everyone. To her, this is CYBERTRON'S FAULT. She and the colonists suffer because of what Cybertron has done.

This... is a narrative that isn't truthful. Arcee gently confronts her on this but I'll say it in more direct terms because, well, I don't gotta worry about anyone's feelings here. Anyway, the attack on Antilla took place prior to the colony world's establishment. It was literally their first attempt at building a colony. Keep in mind that besides Arcee and Shockwave, no one here was a PART of the Antillan campaign. They were all "born" after the event. So pretty much everyone is equally culpable because Cybertronian society was built on events like this.

It also makes you wonder if Windblade's colony of Caminus had been populated prior to Cybertron's expansion. How many other civilizations were destroyed to make room for the Cybertronian Empire? Not everyone can build a doomsday device capable of ultimate vengeance, after all.

While no one in the room is going to point a finger at the one Cybertronian in the room who was actually WITNESS to the Antillan invasion, Arcee doesn't pull any punches on her own involvement. She totally blames herself for her part in Cybertron's awful past and she thinks that Omega Supreme probably did the same for his own actions in the slaughter.

Looking upset with everyone and everything, Windblade transforms to jet mode and flies off. However, since she's the leader of Cybertron, Arcee chases Windblade down, intent on not allowing her to leave her post no matter what Cybertron's past sins are. Arcee needn't have done so. Even though Windblade is pissed off as all hell, she knows her responsibilities and is certainly not leaving Cybertron to its fate. No, Cybertron's Commander in Chief has a plan.

Hopefully it's better than everyone else's plans up to this point. Because we've had a lot of failed plans.

In the skies above Cybertron, the Titan Carcer continues to take heavy fire from Bludgeon's command ship. On board, it looks like Elita One is all that remains of the bridge crew. She curses out... pretty much everyone. Victorion, Optimus, Unicron. They are all to blame for being simply the worst. Elita barks orders to her remaining crew to prepare to run right into Unicron. Maybe that'll kill the monster planet.

On the Decepticon flagship, Victorion can no longer maintain her combined form and splits into her component parts. Unfortunately, it looks like her leg didn't make it as no one can sense Stormclash's presense.

As far as Elita One's suicide run goes, it ends in failure. Before Carcer can get near Unicron, the big monster opens up its right eye and unleashes a blast of green energy and detonates the Titan. That's another colony down. If you're counting.

Back in Metroplex's brain chamber, Soundwave joins everyone and he's brought the Enigma of Combination to the party!

"You aren't a cop, are you.  Because you gotta tell me if you are."

The Enigma of Combination is a device that, like almost every Cybertronian device, managed to wind up on Earth. There, it was used to create all sorts of technological advancements... kind of immitating the AllSpark from the Transformers live action movies. Its real purpose, however, was joining together Cybertronians into combined forms. It's been used to make combiners like Victorion and Defensor as well as "fixing" existing combiners like Devastator and Superion.

Of course, it's no help here. Jetfire explains that even if every Cybertronian were to form up into one gestalt form and they used their crazy science to enbiggen the combiner to maximum levels, that form would still be too small to effectively deal with Unicron.

Left with very few viable options, Aileron finally admits that maybe Starscream is right. Maybe they should Spacebridge away. Or, maybe this is where they all need to die in order to correct a great wrong committed by their ancestors... and the few still alive who directly contributed.

Metroplex chimes in, asking if they wanna activate his Spacebridge and while everyone remains undecided, the conversation itself makes an impression on Soundwave. He sees that his people, the Decepticons, will be one of those marginalized groups that won't be teleporting away to safety and he does something a bit drastic.

To find out what that is, we return to the barricade separating the Decepticon ghetto from polite society. Up to this point, the Decepticons have been upset but not hostile. One of them, tall Tankor, ends up flying off before Soundwave's little plan can play out. Tracks' sparkbrother, Needlenose (a guy who ended up on the Decepticon side of the war), tries to make his way up to the front of the barricade to try and get some intel from Tracks.

Before Needlenose can talk to his Autobot bro, a message is beamed to every Decepticon on Cybertron, telling them that the powers-that-be plan are going to Spacebridge away, leaving them to die. And. Things. Go. Nuts.

Which is too bad because the guards at the border don't have a clue what has just provoked the Decepticons. They don't know about any plans to evacuate. Hell, they would probably be equally left behind. For now, that little detail doesn't matter as their positions are quickly over-run by the violent Decepticon mob.

From Shockwave's prison cell, Optimus Prime views the conflict rising below and asks Shockwave if THIS was a part of his stupid plan. We already know it wasn't. But I bet he could work it in.

In Metroplex's brain chamber, Starscream gets Soundwave's message (because he's a Decepticon) and confronts the communications officer on it. Riots are overcoming the city. Soundwave isn't sorry. He's given his people an equal chance to escape Unicron or to ensure no one leaves. Soundwave is fine either way.

OK. If it was THAT EASY for the Decepticons to get within range of Metroplex's Spacebridge, maybe they just needed to have an orderly evacuation? Or was Jetfire's calculation including that in his percentage of survivors? Eh... Seems they could have tried a little harder at an evacuation effort, regardless. Everyone just spent all their time TALKING instead of planning.

Anyway, Decepticon riots. Nothing new.

Arcee shows up to tell everyone that Windblade was TOTALLY not abandoning them and has some crazy plan for saving everyone.

From the top of Bludgeon's command ship, Pyra Magna watches as Unicron reaches out to crush Cybertron.

In the prison back on Cybertron, Shockwave queries Optimus. Should they stay or should they go?

On the planet, the Decepticon riots halt as everyone looks upward, including not only the rioters but all the colonial refugees.

Back in Metroplex's brain chamber, Starscream rescinds his plan to run away. If there's someone he believes in, it's Windblade. He tells everyone that they should stick around and let her save everything.

She better hurry up because Unicron digs its claws deep into the planet.

You do you, Unicron.  You do you.

That's gonna leave a mark.

M.A.S.K. Back-up Story
Writer: Brandon Easton
Artist: Juan Samu
Colorist: David Garcia Cruz
Letterer: Curtis Fandango
Editor: David Mariotte

This issue in a nutshell: MASK reunites to help out people from the oncoming threat of Unicron and they are SO HAPPY TO BE BACK TOGETHER!

Bullet Points:
• As Unicron and its forces attack Earth, Matt Trakker, Gloria Baker, and Brad Turner race down the road in an outdated Thunderbird as the street erupts in front of them.
• While equipped with M.A.S.K. helmets with a limited power supply, the trio leaves their car in order to use their powers to help people caught in the explosion.
• The three drive on to meet up with their last former team member, Julio Lopez, who has assembled a little makeshift medical center to help alleviate pressure on the larger hospital facilities.
• Matt meets a kid who considers him a personal hero and it turns out that a lot of people helping out in Julio's medical facility were inspired by M.A.S.K.
• As the former team helps out around the center, Gloria apoligizes for not sticking with Matt when the team was just down to the two of them.
• The quartet of former M.A.S.K. members share a happy reunion as Brad's helmet displays images of their past exploits.
• Unicron is still probably going to devour the planet, though.

M.A.S.K. stands for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand. They were a strike force assembled to deal with the Cybertronian threat by using vehicles and equipment derived from captured Cybertronians. Until they decided that maybe the Cybertronians weren't just robots but might just be sentient, living beings. And maybe they decided that was kinda unethical. Y'know. Tearing apart living people to make your technology.

After a couple adventures, the team ended up breaking up because of... reasons. Mostly because their leader, Matt Trakker, wasn't being the kind of leader they wanted to be. And Julio Lopez was hospitalized. And Brad Turner was still captured somewhere.

So it was basically Gloria Baker breaking up with Matt Trakker.

Beyond team dynamics, M.A.S.K. is also lost their vehicles and their powered helmets are unable to recharge. This is why Matt, Brad, and Gloria are driving around in a Thunderbird that looks a lot more like the original toy than the car that featured in the recent comics. Because this Thunderbird was an earlier prototype that had been mothballed. They aren't even pulling that from no where because we've seen this classic version in the M.A.S.K. origin story.

If you're wondering how Brad Turner is back with the team, HOLY CRAP YOU WERE PAYING ATTENTION TO THE ORIGINAL SERIES! I read that whole thing and totally forgot that he was still captured when it concluded. But anyway, no, they aren't going to explain why he's here. As far as we're concerned, they rescued him behind the scenes even though they broke up and only reluctantly agree to team-up in this story.

This tale takes place some time in the near future from the main story. Unicron is clearly already above Earth. There's gravitational effects, crazy weather, and I swear that's a Decepticon Seeker jet taking pot shots at the Thunderbird as it speeds down the road. It's not the jet's fire that stops our protagonists, though. A gas line erupts in front of them and the street is engulfed in flames.

Matt hits the brakes and the Thunderbird screeches to a stop. From here, the former members of M.A.S.K. are gonna have to do some foot work. Trakker reminds his friends that their helmets only have a couple of uses before they're dead forever (Gloria confirms because she's the smart one). These guys might not be a team anymore but they still work well together, using the limited powers they have left to keep the first at bay long enough to save lives.

This impromptu rescue mission brings back all the old memories of how they used to work together for... like, thirty minutes? It was only a ten issue series, guys. Blink and you miss it.

With the civilians saved and the trio finished with their trip down memory lane, they get back inside the old-school Thunderbird and drive down the... ACTUAL lane to their destination. It's a makeshift medical facility being operated by the final former member of the M.A.S.K. team, Julio Lopez.

After a happy reunion, Julio explains that he got this place running just before the last series of assaults. It's totally necessary because larger, more established hospitals are either not functioning or are filled past capacity. Matt complements his friend, telling Julio that what he's managed here is amazing. Julio shows his appreciation for the kind words by introducing Trakker to a sleeping kid.

Agree to disagree?

This kid is actually one of Matt's biggest fans, proving that even though Trakker has doubts about his contributions to the world, there were people who looked at his five minutes of fame with admiration. The boy wakes up, excited to meet his hero.

But there's no time for that. An explosion rocks the facility and threatens to take down one of the walls. As Matt and his friends move to assist, they're beaten to the punch by a plucky group of civilian volunteers. Julio explains that these people were all inspired by M.A.S.K. which seems... unlikely considering the team's length of tenure. But whatever. Let's paint a pretty picture and pretend that M.A.S.K. had a long and illustrious history where they inspired people during their four or five adventures.

Faced with all these guys who were somehow inspired by their existance, Gloria Baker expresses her regrets to Matt Trakker. Maybe he wasn't a complete loser. Maybe she was just so angry at the team's main nemesis, Miles Mayhem, that she didn't see just how great he and M.A.S.K. were.

The former teammates move around Julio's medical center and help out where they can. Matt and Gloria's masks are already out of power at this point but Brad's helmet has "about ten minutes" of time left to project some "memories" on the wall for the enjoyment of all.

That's just enough time to cover EVERY moment M.A.S.K. spent together!

As the ten minute M.A.S.K. movie plays, our heroes smile. Matt realizes that these guys are his best friends and "new family."

Maybe Brad is still Zartan in disguise?

Oh, yeah, Unicron is still gonna eat the planet but maybe I should cut these guys some slack and let them enjoy a little reunion before the end. They just look... TOO HAPPY.

So that's Transformers: Unicron #3! I hope you enjoyed the read and we'll be back very soon (hopefully) with the next exciting Super Reads!

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