Hey, people! You are in the midst of the Super Reads zone and, holy crap, this issue of Transformers: Lost Light.
Let's drop this warning off down by the pool:
There are SPOILERS ahead.
You've all been warned. Now, let's get this on.
Megatron is one of the central figures in... well, ANY Transformers continuity. I mean, he's the ultimate leader of the Decepticons, right?
Well, IDW has an interesting spin on the typical big bad guy in the Transformers story. They made him a good guy.
Megatron is sporting an Autobot symbol and it is amazing.
Megatron started his career as a miner who wrote revolutionary works against the status quo. Cybertronian society was a mess of stupid rules and Megatron spoke out against them all in brilliant fashion. His writing caught the attention of a young police captain named Orion Pax who used it when challenging the Cybertronian Senate.
So, at THIS point, Megatron was inspiring both the Autobots AND the Decepticons. The Autobots sort of conjealed around Orion Pax, growing out of the establishment but ready to reform the existing government into something that would give freedom to... y'know... all sentient beings. The Decepticons rose up around Megatron, established around an underground gladiatorial arena and determined to smash the government and get rid of its shackles around society. At one point, both Autobots and Decepticons joined forces in open revolt against Zeta Prime's tyrannical rule.
The problem arose when moments after Zeta Prime's defeat, Megatron turned on Orion Pax, nearly killing the Autobot leader. Before Pax returned as Optimus Prime, Megatron established his own tyrannical rule. Peace through Tyranny.
From there, we get four million years of war that wrecked Cybertron and caused untold damage to the universe. After that time, Megatron started thinking that maybe he had made a mistake along the way. Like, a BIG mistake. His writings inspired real change on Cybertron but then he ruined it by having a four million year temper tantrum.
Taking all of that into account and inspired by the sacrifice of Bumblebee (at the time serving as Autobot leader), Megatron switched up allegiances and started wearing an Autobot insignia. Megs turned himself in and was determined to answer for his war crimes. Then Starscream delivered an impassioned, passive aggressive speech in his defense at the trial. Suddenly, answering for his crimes didn't seem as noble an act.
So instead of being condemned to death or whatever, Megatron made an appeal to the Knights of Cybertron, an act that was apparently still legally valid. Since no one knew where the Knights were, Optimus let Megatron join the crew of the Lost Light who were on a mission to FIND them. Which was convenient for everyone.
What follows is the weirdest path of redemption I have witnessed in comics. I mean, we all remember Magneto becoming an X-Man. You might remember Lex Luthor joining the Justice League. Bad guys become good guys all the time with varying degrees of success and permanence. The difference here is scale. Megatron was a monster for four million years. His atrocities are well recorded and continually brought up.
I've never wanted to see a bad guy continue to be a good guy more.
Megatron got caught in an alternate universe in the first story arc in Transformers: Lost Light. His separation was seen as a betrayal to Team Rodimus but it wasn't. Megatron was given bad directions to the rendezvous point by his friend and mentor, Terminus, probably because Terminus wanted him to remain in the alternate universe. Last issue, Megs returned to the regular universe, captaining a purple version of the Lost Light.
The Knights of Cybertron mystery is solved. We now know that they contracted a terminal illness and ended up on Mederi, a planet-wide euthenasia facility that used telepaths to give its patients a realistic vision of whatever they wanted to see while easing them into death. In the case of the Knights, they saw an idealized version of Cybertron that they believed to be completely real: Cyberutopia.
Living in paradise, the Knights of Cybertron wanted others to experience this, too... but they didn't want it TOO badly because they sent a map back to Cybertron that was hidden within the Matrix of Leadership. So in order to read the map, you'd have to crack open the Matrix. And the map refused to be committed to memory so you'd have to keep checking the Matrix in order to make any progress. And it didn't even lead to paradise in the first place.
Anyway, beyond selling a load of goods wrapped up in a fake paradise, the Knights are important because they were the first children of Cybertron after the Guiding Hand (we'll get to them in a moment) and they left their home planet to explore the galaxy. They didn't do this as one unit, either. When the Knights left Cybertron, they did it under six different banners which supposedly converged at Mederi.
The only one that has featured prominently is the gear-like symbol that is used by The Grand Architect. The other symbols have passed into obscurity like most information on the Knights themselves. Details have been uncovered by a collector of antiquities, Agonizer. However, any explanation on what these symbols stand for thus far has been nothing but conjecture.
Like the Knights of Cybertron, the origins of the Guiding Hand are down to myth, with many different versions floating around. The last version we heard was that told by Drift which I'm going to write down in its entirety.
From the Keening Texts, as translated by Beta Trion of the First Day Primitives:
Millions of years ago, when Cybertron and its moons were freshly minted... when the infant population were still learning about themselves and their world... and the worlds BEYOND their world...
The Guiding Hand WITHDREW. Their work done, they stepped back into the light. All except one. Mortilus- the Life Taker- wanted more. All those worlds beyond Cybertron's pristine horizon... all those LIVES crying out to be CUT SHORT... Death, he decided, should come to ALL- to every population on evry planet.
But first, he had to hone his skills. He used Luna 1 as a staging ground from which to attack Cybertron. He invented a thousand ways to kill from afar, each one more wretched and macabre than the last.
The other members of the guiding hand were forced to re-emerge. Primus. Adaptus. Solomus. Epistemus.
...and so began the God War.
But Mortilus was ready. Mortilus had thought ahead. Mortilus had LAID TRAPS.
Adaptus, GOD OF CHANGE, was flayed alive- reduced to a naked TRANSFORMATION COG. Epistemus, GOD OF KNOWLEDGE, was tricked into rejecting his body, piece by piece, until he was no more than an untethered brain module. And Solumus, GOD OF WISDOM, was reduced to a flash of thought- half impulse, half reaction- and locked inside a crystal prison.
With each defeat, Primus grew weaker. Sensing his imminent demise, he fashioned a casket- VECTOR SIGMA- and then all that he was- all that he had left- he directed at the enemy. A bolt of DIVINE LIGHT leapt from Cybertron to Luna 1... and sent it careening through space.
The God War was over and millions of Cybertronians were dead... but the Guiding Hand were not. Even Moritlus survived: first as an idea; then as an action; then- once more- as an entity. The five of them pooled their resources- merged their minds- and built a bridge to another world- a world they called THE AFTERSPARK. A place where Cybertronians would live forever- unlike those who had been killed in the God War.
This might not be the truth, but this is the general belief of most Cybertronians with some divergent details mixed in here and there.
Transformers: Lost Light #22
Crucible (Part 4): The Return of the King
Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Brendan Cahill
Colors: Joana LaFuente
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte
This issue in a nutshell: The Functionist Universe comes crashing into the regular universe with a transforming Cybertron while the secret identities of the Guiding Hand are revealed.
• Rodimus and Ultra Magnus talk on their communicators to Megatron who is freshly back from the Functionist Universe.
• He hasn't come back alone, however, as a giant robot mode Cybertron follows him through the interdimensional portal.
• In the bridge of The Grand Architect's flagship, TGA recounts seeing the giant robot Cybertron in his past (through time travel) and eventually orders his fleets to attack the big guy.
• When Functionist Cybertron destroys one of The Grand Architect's many fake Cybertrons, it destroys the ability to send the giant robot back from whence it came.
• With his plan falling apart, The Grand Architect decides it's a great time to question his prisoners.
• Within Functionist Cybertron, the Functionist Council meets inside the super-computer, Vector Sigma.
• Megatron opens a hole in the side of The Grand Architect's flagship, freeing Team Rodimus and the Scavengers just as TGA and his friends arrive.
• Drift receives a fatal wound before he and some of his companions "escape" to Megatron's ship, the Last Light.
• Rodimus, Ratchet, Nautica, Whirl, and Rung are left behind and are shocked to see The Grand Architect looking exactly like Pharma.
• The Grand Architect reveals that he isn't Pharma at all: he's ADAPTUS, God of Change!
• Megatron greets our cast members who managed to escape and uses his newly learned knowledge of cyber-medicine to heal Drift of his fatal injury.
• Megatron fills everyone in one what he's been up to and, more importantly, what the Functionist Council has done with their Cybertron.
• To sum up: They've turned it into a giant, transforming robot that serves to commit genocide on a galactic scale using the Warren to traverse the universe (and time) swiftly.
• Blowing up Functionist Cybertron turns out to be a no-go because it's populated by a whole lot of civilians.
• The Grand Architect, revealed as Adaptus, explains to Rodimus that they've met the rest of the Guiding Hand during their travels and proceeds to name them even though they might not be able to name themselves.
• Mortilus was the Necrobot, Solomus is Tyrest, Epistemus is the Magnificence, and Primus...
• ...is Rung.
Quick recap of how last issue ended. Rodimus and Ultra Magnus recieved a call from Megatron as the latter emerged through an inter-dimensional gateway aboard a purple version of the Lost Light that we just NOW learn is called the Last Light.
We need to start with the misunderstanding first. You see, Rodimus and Ultra Magnus are under the impression that Megatron abandoned them in the alternate universe where they spent the first story arc of Transformers: Lost Light. Megatron believes that HE was abandoned because he was given the wrong rendezvous point by his old friend, Terminus. Terminus apparently never cleared things up. Megatron explains his side of the situation and also makes note that they have bigger fish to fry than him, anyway.
Because behind the Last Light, coming through the inter-dimensional gate hand first, is Cybertron in robot mode.
Yeah. Robot mode. Planets have robot modes now. It's a thing.
The basic design of robot mode Cybertron is based on the Primus toy released during the Transformers: Cybertron toy line. Cybertronians also have a vague notion that Primus might actually BE Cybertron. So it should come as no surprise that when faced with a planet-sized robot like this, everyone thinks it's Unicron. Wait, I mean Primus.
Everyone thinks this is Primus.
But it's not THEIR Primus because it's not THEIR Cybertron. This Cybertron is from that alternate universe I keep mentioning. What made that universe different than the usual IDW Universe is that Megatron was killed before he came online. With no Megatron, there was no revolution or revolutionary writings. Without the writings, no one stepped up and questioned the state Cybertron was in. With no one questioning, things got REALLY bad.
How bad? Well, Cybertron might not have a corrupt Prime or Senate running things but what they've got in its place is a council of religious zealots who believed in the Functionist doctrine that your alternate mode defines what you can do in life. That means there is a caste system that keeps cars doing car things and jets doing jet things and never the two shall share jobs. You're locked into whatever you transform into, meaning that if you wanted to turn into a velociraptor but you initially turned into a memory stick, you stayed as a memory stick. And that sucks because they discontinued memory sticks, remotely killing off every Cybertronian who had that as an alternate mode.
That's the kind of thing you get with zealotry. Bad things.
And you might think, "well, that sucks for Cybertron but without that Great War, the rest of the universe must be doing well." Oh, hold your horses, you. Sure, it was doing fine for a while until the Functionist Council realized that there was a whole lot of universe out there that didn't believe what they believed. That's why they gave Cybertron the ability to transform. To kill galactic civilizations on a grand scale and prove their way of life to be true and correct.
Because most alien races don't even HAVE an alt mode. They get to be discontinued immediately.
As Megatron explains the purpose of a robot mode Cybertron, the interdimensional gateway that brough him, the Last Light, and Functionist Cybertron to this universe closes. That means that whether the Functionists are from this universe or not, they're now THIS universe's problem. So that's great.
With Megatron having caught them up to his side of the dimensional rift (more to come), he asks where Rodimus and crew even are. After all, his phone locked on to their signal but it didn't give him a location. Rodimus explains that they are prisoners aboard The Grand Architect's head Worldsweeper. The green one. It's embarrassing.
Megatron tells them that he's going to rescue them as soon as the Last Light escapes some Functionist pursuit vessels. Back on The Grand Architect's ship, Grimlock asks what the deal is with Megatron. Rodimus reluctantly admits that Megs is actually kind of ok once you get beyond that whole four million years of war thing. I haven't mentioned it thus far because it's hard to fit into this running narrative and you should know from that title image but just in case you were wondering: Yes, Megatron is still wearing an Autobot insignia.
You probably figured that out from the title image.
In the bridge of The Grand Architect's ship, TGA and his cronies watch as Functionist Primus notices Mederi floating nearby and crushes the planet. So much for Cyberutopia, eh?
The Grand Architect proclaims that this was the moment that he witnessed before. You see, The Grand Architect has been using at series of interstellar tubes to traverse the universe. He calls them the "Warren" and so does everyone else. The Warren doesn't just make travelling across the galaxy easier, it also makes time travel a reality. When you move through the Warren, you can move forward and backward through time. This is why The Grand Architect's past self was here to witness this event while his current self is here to stop it. He explains that his past self is probably already leaving so don't expect to see a past version of The Grand Architect in the remainder of this story.
I mean, unless they do more travelling through the Warren. I guess that's possible.
One of The Grand Architect's flunkies is having a hard time focusing on current events. Tyrest, the former Cybertronian Chief Justice, is unnerved that The Grand Architect looks a lot like Pharma. Pharma was a medic who Ratchet almost named Chief Medical Officer until he found out that Pharma had gone crazy. When we last saw the REAL Pharma, his decapitated head was being pulled into Tyrest's "Spacebridge to Cyberutopia."
Now, the confusion comes from the fact that Tyrest has never actually SEEN The Grand Architect before. He's only heard his voice, which does NOT sound like Pharma. This clears up why no one recognized his voice LAST issue because if it HAD sounded like Pharma, a number of people on Team Rodimus would have known it was him. Or THOUGHT it was him.
Pharma is NOT The Grand Architect. We'll get there, eventually.
For now, the ex-Autobot Flame calls us (as well as Tyrest and The Grand Architect) back to the plot. There's a giant robot Cybertron killing planets and maybe now would be a good time to deal with that. TGA gives the order to do just that.
The Grand Architect's fleet attacks with the idea of pushing Functionist Primus back into the gateway from whence it came but, as Tyrest points out, that gateway has closed. No matter. They just need to fire up the God Gun again and THEN push Functionist Primus through the gaping hole in the universe.
The God Gun was used last issue to make the interdimensional portal that brought Megatron (and friends) and Functionist Primus through to this universe. It's composed of five newly minted copies of Cybertron, capable of firing massive beams of energy in concert at a fixed point.
Tyrest notices that The Grand Architect never refers to robot mode Cybertron as "Primus." It's always "the Creature" or "the Monster." The Grand Architect explains that the massive planet-sized robot isn't "the Primus I remember."
It's about this time that Functionist Primus notices all those fake Cybertrons and starts tearing apart the closest one. It's the one colored blue. So much for the God Gun.
The Grand Architect's plan is... not going so well, is it? Faced with the loss of one of his Cybertrons, The Grand Architect decides that now is a great time to visit his prisoners. He does this while looking at the monitor of the jail cell and seeing Ratchet.
As Functionist Primus tears apart the fake blue Cybertron, we journey deep withing the planet-sized robot to the Functionist Council. They now have meetings withing Vector Sigma, the super-computer typically located at the heart of Cybertron (but I couldn't tell you WHERE it is when Cybertron transforms).
"Which one am I, again?"
The Functionist Council has very distinct robot modes compared to your typical Cybertronian. Their bodies don't look like they transform at all... but they do. When all twelve of them were together, they combined to form the key to Vector Sigma. That form is no longer necessary because they have found a way into the super-computer without using the key... and, yes, that DOES make their alt-mode useless (also: some are dead and one has defected). They can be Functionists AND hypocrites at the same time!
What really sets them apart, however, are their heads. That is definitely a one-eyed look. Typically, you see such a look on victims of Emperata. That's a Cybertronian punishment where the hands and head are removed and replaced with claws and a one-eyed head. For the Functionist Councilmembers, their heads aren't a punishment... at least I don't THINK they are. We don't really know why they look like that but it's possible that Emperata procedures have a Functionist origin.
The Functionist Council pilots their Primus from within Vector Sigma. They've seen those fake Cybertrons and think of them as a high form of sacrelege. So the focus is going to be on destroying the rest of them. Some of the Councilmembers wonder if blindly heading through an inter-dimensional portal and being stuck in another universe was a good idea but their leader, Twelve-of-Twelve, is too much of a zealot to believe that any action they take is a bad one. This is simply another universe for them to spread their intolerant Functionist doctrine. Through mass murder!
While it appeared that Functionist Primus went through the inter-dimensional gateway in pursuit of Megatron and the Last Light, the Functionist Council seem to be surprised that Megs is on the other side of the portal. They recount how many of his allies they have killed, mentioning Orion Pax, Terminus, Rung, Nightstalker, and Impactor. Megatron made contact with Orion Pax at the end of Transformers: Lost Light #6 but he was never seen on-panel. Rung was killed during the first story arc of Lost Light. Nightstalker and Impactor have not been seen in the Functionist universe but the normal universe Impactor was a friend of Megatron back in his mining days. The saddest one is probably Terminus, Megatron's old friend and mentor.
In regards to Megatron, Twelve-of-Twelve is equally convinced that their efforts to kill Megatron are working. In fact, he's thinking today is the day when all of this gets wrapped up in a neat little bow.
Meanwhile, Megatron and the Last Light have escaped pursuit. He's ready to rescue Rodimus and company, telling everyone to back away from the window, wryly explaining that it's going to look like the Last Light is attacking them. The Last Light launches a number of missiles, cracking the window...
Just as The Grand Architect and his team enter the room.
Everyone is shocked that The Grand Architect looks like Pharma. When TGA sees that they're attempting to escape, he orders his guards to "stop them." They interpret this as "shoot them." Shots are fired and Drift takes a fatal blast to the chest.
A second volley of missiles hits the window, smashing it wide open. Most of Team Rodimus and the Scavengers are sucked out of the room before The Grand Architect can close the breech with vacuum shields. Left behind are Rodimus, Ratchet, Whirl, Rung, and Nautica. That's good because The Grand Architect finally gets to tell us WHO HE REALLY IS.
Because, like I said, he's not Pharma even though that's totally Pharma's body. And, at the same time, part of Pharma's personality fights its way to the surface on occasion which is why it was the image of Ratchet on his view screen that got him to come down and visit his prisoners in the midsts of an galactic battle with Functionist Primus.
Remember that "Spacebridge to Cyberutopia" that Tyrest built back in the day? Sure, you do. Well, SURPRISE! That didn't actually lead to Cyberutopia. Instead, it led directly into The Grand Architect's mind. Which is weird but explains why we saw the five different colored Cybertrons before they would have been brought together because they were a THOUGHT in The Grand Architect's brain. TGA considers the Spacebridge to have been an attack.
After struggling to keep control of his body over that of Pharma, The Grand Architect reveals himself to be... Adaptus.
Yeah, he claims to be one of the Guiding Hand. Adaptus, the God of Change. Crazy, right?
While we digest that little reveal, let's skip over to Megatron's Last Light where the rest of our cast of characters have been picked up. Megatron greets them and attempts to shake hands with Ultra Magnus. Magnus is still processing how Megatron left, though and won't take his hand. Megs understands.
With that bit of awkwardness behind him, Megatron notices there are Decepticons in the room: The Scavengers. But he doesn't just notice that they're Decepticons. He greets them by name. Or, as Spinister points out, he calls them by their "NICKNAMES." That's the kind of personal touch that made Megatron a great leader but somehow still made him a murderous authoritarian. He's complicated.
Speaking of complicated, remember when Drift took a massive blast directly in his chest? It turns out he's dying. Velocity and First Aid are trying to treat him but he's fading fast. Megatron decides to lend a hand. First Aid tries to tell the former Decepticon leader that this isn't really a job for Megatron but the captain of the Last Light just keeps on going. Megatron takes off his fusion cannon and opens it up, revealing that it was NEVER a fusion cannon but was actually a medical tool kit.
Because Megatron has fulfilled his old dream of becoming a medic. He's pretty good at it, too, easily bringing Drift back from the brink of death. While doing so, Megatron has a little heart to heart with Drift.
Way back in the day, Drift was one of Megatron's personal recruits into the Decepticon Army. Since then, Drift has gone from being an unalligned defector to going full Autobot. Megs confesses that while Drift was a "good Decepticon," he "made a much better Autobot." As Drift gets back to his feet, he gives his savior a "thank you." Megatron turns it right back at Drift.
"Thank YOU for leading the way."
Good stuff, people!
But Functionist Cybertron is still killing fake Cybertrons.
C'mon. We're all thinking it.
Anyway, as the group makes their way to the bridge, Ultra Magnus gets frustrated about ALL THE THINGS that Megatron isn't providing exposition for. Megs originally thinks Magnus is talking about his purple version of the Lost Light and explains that it's simply the Functionist Universe's version of the ship with worst Quantum Engines (because the Lost Light's Quantum Engines were improved during Team Rodimus' jaunt through time). Of course, what Ultra Magnus wants to know is what has happened since Megatron was lost in the Functionist Universe.
And that's a more complex story requiring a lot more exposition. So let's begin, shall we? Let's!
After the Functionist Council's plan to use Cybertron's moon as a mobile weapon of universal death was foiled, the FC decided to just convert Cybertron itself to fulfill that purpose. So the planet was outfitted with huge rocket engines making it capable of interstellar travel. The Functionist Council discovered the Warren after looking through a "disputed Primal Text" called the "Book of Adaptus." Which is relevant since The Grand Architect (who just revealed he was Adaptus) uses the Warren a lot. It's also interesting to note that the Functionists might be religious extremists but their hypocritical nature allows them to read things that aren't considered religiously cannonical just to further their agenda. It's all fine for them because if THEY do it, it must be the right thing to do.
Anyway, with access to the Warren, Cybertron could close those galactic gaps in no time. Like, literally. Time acts all weird in the Warren.
Even though Cybertron could go anywhere and arrive at speed, whole planets of people were able to vacate their homes before the Functionists could make planetfall. The solution to this was to give Cybertron a robot mode so that the planet itself could attack those pesky refugees before they could make their escape. And that's when things started to get REALLY crazy. The Functionist Council moved their meeting room to the inside of Vector Sigma, giving them direct control over Cybertron (who even THEY call Primus... which is weird because they show NO reverence for their main diety). From there, the idea that non-Cybertronians were underserving of life kicked into full gear as planetary populations were killed outright. This became known as "The Purge."
Which sounds SUPER friendly.
Megatron explains that he attempted to save the non-Cybertronians but "failed." His crewmates, Clicker and Nine-of-Twelve try to boost their leader's morale, arguing that they saved a LOT of people. Their tactics appeared to be picking targets before the Functionist do so that they can achieve planetary evacuation before Cybertron could arrive. Even thought this brought some success, Megatron kicks himself for the people he couldn't save.
Megatron is complicated.
Also, you might have noticed that one of Megatron's crewmates is named "Nine-of-Twelve" and looks a LOT like one of the Functionist Councilmembers. That's because Nine-of-Twelve WAS a Functionist Councilmember until he realized they were frickin' hypocrites and had a full change of heart, joining the Anti-Vocationist League and offering up his city as a sanctuary for those deemed obsolete by the Council. A lot has happened since his defection (see above), but Nine-of-Twelve is still dedicated to defeating the Functionist Council.
So, anyway, that's what Megatron has been up to.
Which seems like a lot. Too much, actually. Megatron hasn't been gone all that long from Team Rodimus's perspective. Chromedome estimates it out to be three or four weeks since they last saw Megatron. And that checks out. The Functionist Universe adventure ended in issue #6. We're at issue #22. That's 16 issues that featured a lot of overlapping stories. Three weeks is GENEROUS. It only falls apart when you compare it to the timeline held by the rest of the IDW books and this cast's minor connections to their narrative. When you work out THAT math, you're looking at it being a little more than half a year.
Be that as it may, for Megatron, it's been much, much longer. Since Functionist Cybertron was traveling via the Warren, so was Megatron and the Last Light. The Warren doesn't obey your rules of time and space which means Megatron has been in the Functionist Universe for hundreds of years, from his perspective. Certainly enough time to become a medic.
So now everyone's caught up. Now, it's time to figure out what to do about Functionist Cybertron because that thing is smashing fake Cybertrons like it ain't no thing. Grimlock thinks they need to figure out a way to destroy the planet and the Magnificence agrees.
For those just joining us, I feel SO sorry for you. Go back and read... go back and read everything. But if you don't want to do that right now, the crib notes version is that the Magnificence is a bauble capable of answering any question it's asked. Lately, it's been NOT answering questions unless it WANTS to and even MORE lately, it's been trying to note the importance of Tailgate, Ratchet, Rung, and Rodimus. Now, we learn that is because those four are essential for its plan to destroy Functionist Cybertron.
Megatron informs everyone that making Functionist Cybertron explode is not an option. That's because all of the Cybertronian civilians that should be living on Cybertron are STILL LIVING ON CYBERTRON. The planet is full of people.
OK, we've learned all we can from Megatron for this issue. Let's move back to The Grand Architect's ship to learn how everyone is taking the reveal that he's actually Adaptus.
Huh. They're all pretty shocked. Even his loyal followers, Tyrest and Flame. Neither of them was in on any of this. We're just going to go with the idea that he's Adaptus because it makes the later reveals that much more awesome.
Adaptus can't believe they don't realize it's him. After all, he's in a borrowed body wearing a sigil no one recognizes. You know. The one that looks like this:
I'll be sad when I can't post this blurry image any more.
He acknowledges that since he's "covered his tracks" over the millenia maybe no one connects him to that symbol but he also knows that Nautica VERBALIZED it last issue. So what is their deal?
Rodimus explains that they're just a dedicated group who went out questing for the Knights of Cybertron only to be sorely disappointed with the results. Adaptus could have told them that they were chasing a myth but then we wouldn't have had all five years of fun. And they wouldn't have found Adaptus. So... he couldn't have told them.
Adaptus confirms that the Knights DID use his insignia (and probably the other members of the Guiding Hand). But even though Rodimus and friends didn't find the Knights of Cybertron, it appears they found something much better. No, not Adaptus. Well, PARTIALLY Adaptus. They found the Guiding Hand.
All of them.
It turns out the Guiding Hand probably don't remember BEING the Guiding Hand. Adaptus goes through them one by one. Mortilus, the God of Death? Well, they met him on Necroworld. He went by the name Censere but he was more commonly known as the Necrobot.
I bet he transforms into a giant skull or something.
What about Solomus, God of Wisdom? Well, that's just Tyrest.
So wise yet SO STUPID.
And if you're looking for Epistemus, God of Knowledge? Look no further than the orb around Nickel's neck. He's the Magnificence.
The funny thing is the Magnificence probably could have told us all of this. If it wanted to.
So that just leaves Primus. Where's that guy hanging out? Whirl points out the window at the massive planet-sized robot destroying false versions of Cybertron. Is that guy Primus?
Adaptus just laughs. No, it's not that thing.
Primus is Rung.
I KNEW IT (no I didn't)!
That's a mic drop.
And with that final reveal, we're done! See you next time to figure out what the hell we've just learned!