Welcome back, all! I've got to rush this because I really want to get to the spoiler part of things.
There are SPOILERS ahead.
RUNG IS PRIMUS HOLY CRAP THAT IS AWESOME. See? I had to get that out of my system.
And now, you might be asking yourself: who the hell is Rung and why should I care. You would not be alone in that question or that feeling.
This is because Rung is super forgetable. He is often overlooked and people rarely remember his name. Even though all that is true, he has proven an essential part of Cybertron's history. Rewind, an archivist who tends to look at historical tapes, has noted seeing Rung all over the place, calling him a "universal constant."
Now, SOME of those appearances can be boiled down to that time Team Rodimus traveled through time. Even so, Rung finds himself at the center (or the nearest corner) of key historical events. Serving as a psychotherapist, Rung did write ups on prospective members of the elite shock troops in the Wreckers, offering up his approval or disapproval as the case may be.
Besides serving in an official capacity for the Autobots, Rung would offer up his services to those who needed therapy. Let's face it, after a couple million years of war, pretty much EVERYONE needs therapy. He wasn't the only psychotherapist, of course. One of his oldest professional acquaintances was a bot named Froid. Froid ended up stealing a lot of Rung's work and then worked to get him discredited in his field of study. Rung suffered silently and after a further confrontation with Froid where Froid proved just how awful he really was, Rung retired from psychotherapy.
And yet the adventure remained. Rung continued on as a member of the Lost Light crew and ended up on the Rodimus/ Megatron side of Getaway's mutiny.
All in all, Rung has proven to be a thoughtful, unbecoming Cybertronian with a capacity to heal broken souls. He can also produce photonic crystals that have the ability to hold spark energy. And in another universe, an alternate version of Rung inspired a rebellion against the authoritarian Functionist Council.
To this day, no one knows what he transforms into. The closest anyone has gotten is "ornament."
For a nigh immortal race like the Cybertronians, you might wonder why they have legends and myths at all. Because it's VERY likely that some of them have been around since close to the very beginning and would have first hand experience with dudes like Primus and the rest of the Guiding Hand. That isn't the case and the reason is Information Creep.
Information Creep is a condition where the memory of a long-lived Cybertronian degrades over time. They literally can't remember their own yesterdays.
Cybertronians forget past relationships and past actions. They can't properly recall their own origins. As such, they recreate it with half-remembered thoughts of what they think the past was like. It's gotten better now that they've started writing things down and even with Information Creep, a Cybertronian can remember back to events that happened millions of years ago.
It's just if they go back FAR enough, things get more and more unclear. Like me trying to remember what I did yesterday.
The Omega Guardians have had a long history with the Transformers in the IDW continuity. They were initially seen as a civilization that was in possession of a MacGuffin called "the Magnificence." While the Omega Guardians themselves had disappeared, they had left... guardians... on the planet Ki-Aleta in order to keep others from accessing the Magnificence. Rodimus got it, anyway, back in his Hot Rod days.
Recently, we've learned more bits and pieces about this enigmatic race of unseen beings. For example, they're the ones who build the planet-wide euthanasia clinic on Mederi which was franchised throughout the galaxy.
It was also revealed that the Omega Guardians were friendly with Shockwave back in his Senator days. That was back before he went super evil so, y'know, it's a thing that happened.
Finally, the reason the Omega Guardians don't show up in person, like, ever is because they are no longer around. At all. The entire race has "ascended to the Higher Realms." Basically, they've transcended to another plain of existance. So they are very special!
I bet they look exactly like magic.
Transformers: Lost Light #23
Crucible (Part 5): The Unremembering
Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Jack Lawrence
Colors: Joana LaFuente
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte
This issue in a nutshell: Our favorite Transformers come up with a plan to save the universe from Functionist Cybertron as things just keep getting revealed... and RUNG IS STILL PRIMUS.
• Functionist Cybertron keeps on destroying copies of Cybertron with extreme prejudice.
• Rung acknowledges that IS Primus and we learn some of the secret history of ancient, ancient Cybertron, including why Rung didn't know he was Primus until now.
• Adaptus tells everyone how he put some rocket thrusters on Luna-1 and took it on a trip through the interstellar pathways known as the Warren only to arrive at this moment in history, witnessing a giant robot Cybertron attacking multi-colored copies of Cybertron.
• Which would be a hell of an acid trip, man.
• Adaptus returns to the threat at hand, giving orders to further attack Functionist Cybertron before he is brutally attacked by Tyrest who blames Adaptus for stealing his life and glory.
• Adaptus and Tyrest manage to kill each other.
• Rodimus uses Tyrest's teleporter (located in his severed hand) to teleport out, rescue everyone still inprisoned, and then meet up with Megatron and pals.
• With everyone back together again, the Magnificence begins talking up a storm, unveiling a plan to destroy Functionist Cybertron that involves Rung making three Matrixes and having those Matrixes lit in specific areas on Functionist Cybertron.
• The Magnificence eventually reveals that the Omega Guardians are talking through it and have manipulated events to play out as they have.
• Megatron and Rodimus reject the Omega Guardians' plan because it would lead to untold deaths on Functionist Cybertron.
• After a new plan is formed involving TWELVE Matrixes lit on Functionist Cybertron but with a distinct lack of planetary explosions, the Magnificence loses its crap and kills Froid, Sunder, and Nine-of-Twelve in a temper tantrum.
• Rung is shuffled off to safety by Rewind and Chromedome.
• The Magnificence starts monologuing about how the Omega Guardians controlling it are unstoppable evil that just want to consume the universe.
• Nickel crushes the Magnificence.
• The Lost Light escapes the destruction of the last Cybertron copy, immediately turning around to face Functionist Cybertron and save the universe.
So... a lot of stuff went down last issue and in this last storyline in general. To sum things up, the Guiding Hand has been revealed! Adaptus is walking around looking like the old, crazy doctor Pharma but is TOTALLY not really Pharma. The Magnificence is Epistemus! Tyrest is Solomus! The Necrobot was Mortilus!
And RUNG IS PRIMUS! Did I mention that yet?
Meanwhile, the Functionist Universe has invaded the regular IDW universe through a tear in space/time in the area known as the Benzene Cluster. They came aboard their own planet Cybertron which is not only mobile... it has a robot mode fashioned after their vision of Primus.
It doesn't look ANYTHING like Rung.
The Functionist Council wastes no time directly their robot planet to kill all those fake Cybertrons. It's currently working its way through the red one. While that's happening, The Grand Architect's fleet of World Sweepers is pitifully attacking it. Funtionist battleships clash with other ships from The Grand Architect's fleet. It's all very familiar, somehow.
I mean... not EXACTLY like it but you get the idea.
From a safe distance, The Grand Architect's flagship World Sweeper watches all that chaos. Megatron's Last Light flies nearby.
The Last Light is a purple Functionist Universe version of the regular universe's Lost Light. It has inferior quantum engines and a purple color but is otherwise the same ship.
Aboard The Grand Architect's Worldsweeper, everyone is responding to the news that Rung is Primus with suitable disbelief. Whirl is especially amused by the idea that he's been talking to Cybertron's god on a regular basis for years... and he once tried to choke the presumed diety! Ratchet, ever the atheist, is even more unconvinced than everyone else. But, MAN, is Ratchet in the wrong book. This is the book where every legend and myth proves true in some way. It's the Optimus Prime series where everything gets to be based on a lie.
Through all the disbelief, only Nautica thinks that maybe they should ask Rung if there's anything to this whole "god" thing.
It's important to note that Rung's right arm was destroyed a couple issues back. No one has had a chance to patch him up. However, before everyone's eyes, Rung reforms his arm from metalic skeletal structure to outer exo structure. With this small miracle accomplished, he admits that there might just be something to him being Primus.
Even Ratchet is amazed by this. The Grand Architect... I'm calling him Adaptus from this point on... explains that Primus has the ability to heal himself and tries to tell everyone more of his secret plans but Rodimus shushes him. Rung being Primus is WAY more interesting than everything else ever.
To answer all the questions, Rung never knew he was Primus but he had suspicions that something was wrong with him. He has proved unkillable for one thing. Way early on in the More Than Meets the Eye series, Rung ended up surviving a head shot that really should have killed him. Beyond that, Rung has a whole wall of model ships that he has served on that have been destroyed in one manner or another. He's survived without a scratch. In the second issue of MTMTE, Ratchet remarked how Rung was in pristine condition, having never seen him in a med bay before. Self healing, man. It is a perk.
With Adaptus having called Rung "Primus," Rung has started remembering BEING Primus... as though this reality has suddenly been unlocked. All this however, hasn't CONVINCED Ratchet. After all, Rung bears the serial number of "100 000 000." He's the one hundred millionth Cybertronian. Not the FIRST.
Rung explains that everyone, including HIM, has been reading it wrong. In robot mode, it's upside down and is only read properly in his as yet unexplained alt-mode. That means his serial number is ACTUALLY "000 000 001." I don't know who was marking Cybertronians with serial numbers (it's a weird natural thing to have), but Rung's is number one.
So now we're left with a final (for now) question: WTF?
No, but really. Why did Primus NOT KNOW he was Primus?
And here we go...
In the beginning, Primus and his people lived in peace on Cybertron. Because, in the beginning, Cybertronians weren't completely awful people. How could they be? Rung is absolutely decent and if he was the first of his kind (he is), then things started off really well. But that wasn't good enough for Adaptus. The Guiding Hand's God of Change saw this peace as "stagnation." He saw the mechanical race of Cybertron as unable to evolve like organic races and as such, unable to GROW.
Believing that the only way Cybertronians could get to the point where they could transcend reality was through conflict, Adaptus proposed expanding outward. All warlike. When the rest of the Guiding Hand disagreed, Adaptus attacked them. Thus began... the ACTUAL God War.
True story, bro.
Look familiar? That's because we already saw a version of the God War. In the story that Drift told, it is Mortilus who was cast as the aggressor. Gods of Death always get a bad rap. That version shows the Guiding Hand in the forms with which they're more typically associated.
Now, you might be thinking that Adaptus' idea is completely bunk and you'd be right. The Cybertronians can't go three years without some intergalactic conflict and it had decidedly NOT made them a better people. It's pretty much made them worse. Rodimus brings this up and Rung totally agrees. Adaptus, faced with ALL THE EVIDENCE, still appears unmoved. Some people have bad ideas and are unwilling to change. It's just funny to see that in the God of Change.
Back to the God War: overwhelmed by the other four members of the Guiding Hand, Adaptus ran off to Luna 1 where he had already prepared his defenses. He fired a weapon that would erase the minds of those on Cybertron so no one would know what he had done. It essentially started everyone over. Everyone forgot who they were. Adaptus gave the entire population of Cybertron Information Creep.
Primus tried to prevent this by standing in the way of the blast but this just concentrated its effect on the bot who would be Rung. Not only did he forget he was Primus, he became continually forgotten. People never got his name right to say nothing of personal friendships.
In the absence of history, the people of Cybertron took the little they could piece together and added their own flourishes, leading to the idealized version of the Guiding Hand that passed on to the present day.
Adaptus, left to his own devices, added some rocket engines to Luna-1 and made it portable. In time, he found the Warren, a series of pathways between space and time. With all his prepatations made, Adaptus flew off into the Warren in Luna-1. His first trip led him right to the future, to this moment in time where a mad robot Cybertron crushed everything in its path.
They should have built more Cybertron copies as distractions.
Oh yeah, that's still going on. Adaptus' lieutenant, Flame, informs him that his Grand Fleet is going down in flames. Adaptus realizes that while revealing all of this secret history has been fun, he should really get down to the business at hand and destroy Functionist Cybertron. While issuing new orders, Adaptus ends up getting blasted through the torso.
Through all of these revelations, Tyrest has been noticeably silent, processing all of this information. You see, Tyrest was revealed as Solomus, God of Wisdom. This was a surprise to him as he was equally affected by Adaptus' Information Creep attack. Realizing that his identity was stolen from him, Tyrest takes out his anger on the thief. That would be Adaptus.
Unfortunately, Tyrest isn't much of a fighter. At all. Even injured, Adaptus clocks Tyrest in the face, twice (fully deserved?), laying the God of Wisdom flat. Trying to employ his usual strategy of running away, Tyrest tries activating the teleporter he has installed in the palm of his right hand but Adaptus sees what's going on and chainsaws off Tyrest's hand before driving that chainsaw directly into Tyrest's chest.
Adaptus goes off on a rant that brings Pharma's personality to the forefront. While he struggles to regain control, Tyrest takes advantage of Adaptus' confusion, popping a drill out of his pointer finger (on the hand that's still attached to his body) and driving that drill right into Adaptus' brain. The two members of the Guiding Hand explode in a cloud of grey smoke.
So... that's a thing that happened.
The problem with Adaptus dying was that he locked the room that everyone is in. So everyone's trapped. Rodimus picks up Tyrest's hand (the one that was chainsawed off before Tyrest and Adaptus exploded) and thinks that he SHOULD be able to access the teleporter in its palm, port out of here, get on board the Lost Light, shoot everyone out, and then they can rendezvous with Megatron and the rest of their friends to figure out what to do next.
Which is exactly what he does.
The Lost Light and the Last Light land on one of the nearby Cybertron copies and crews of both ships assemble on the bridge of the Lost Light to share information and come up with an actionable plan that will rid the universe of Functionist Cybertron. You can see it in the background, still destroying other fake Cybertrons. That means landing on one of those Cybertrons is... gonna be trouble sooner rather than later. So make your plans fast, guys!
To be fair, Megatron has had centuries to paint that thing.
And don't think I missed that moment in the group shot where Ratchet and Drift hugged upon reuniting! That... is adorable.
It seems that everyone is coming up with variations on a theme: since Rung is actually Primus, he can just go god-mode on Functionist Cybertron and the threat will be over in moments! It's so simple! It's also not possible. Rung is Primus but beyond having a healing factor and spitting out photonic crystals that can serve as repositories of spark life, he doesn't have many special abilities. Neither of those things is going to help in this situation. His good old frenemy, Froid, makes certain to insult Rung's uselessness.
Except he isn't useless at all.
The Magnificence starts talking and, really, it won't stop from this point on. We learned last issue that the Magnificence, that bauble with an eye in it that can answer any question asked of it, is really Epistemus. The Cybertronian God of Knowledge. But instead of answering questions, here, it makes RUNG answer one of the biggest questions of the series.
What is Rung FOR?
Now, that's way more Functionist than I'd like to admit. Functionists believe that your alt-mode defines every aspect of your life. So if you turn into a car, you do car things. Whatever they define those to be. The idea is that Primus has crafted you to fit into society. So you better fit. Megatron challenges this not by saying your alt-mode doesn't matter but by saying that it's not ALL that matters. You have a choice. But I'm getter way off topic. What is Rung, PRIMUS HIMSELF, for? What does his alt-mode DO?
He made the Matrix.
If you're at all familiar with Transformers mythology, you'll probably know what the Matrix is. It's an ancient Cybertronian artifact that, when opened, can light the darkest hour. In various continuities, it has the power to create new Cybertronian life, upgrade its bearer's form, bestow accumulated wisdom, or serve as a token of ultimate leadership.
In this case, a few Matrixes can be used to kill a monster planet.
Now, Rung has only made one Matrix at this point. That's ONE in several million years. The Magnificence claims that he can make three more. If they are opened at various points on Functionist Cybertron, they will lead to the destruction of that Cybertron's Vector Sigma. That's where the Functionist Council is so that'll win the day. Since this Cybertron has a robot mode, that means it has a brain, a transformation cog, and a spark. Lighting the Matrixes in those locations will do the trick.
Who will open those Matrixes? The Magnificence has named them before: Ratchet, Rodimus, and Tailgate. Why those three? Because the Matrixes are locked by a system called the Morality Lock and you need to be "worthy" enough to open them.
So plan made? No, plan NOT made. Cyclonus objects because this plan not only puts Tailgate at risk, it'll lead to his death (and also the deaths of Ratchet and Rodimus but Cyclonus has priorities). Using the Matrixes in this fashion will result in Functionist Cybertron detonating. Everyone on the planet will die horribly.
The Magnificence claims that Cyclonus should enjoy the extra time he and Tailgate were able to spend together because without its assistance, Tailgate would have already died. Earlier in the series, Tailgate was attempting to heal himself of his excess strength (it was proving fatal to him and his love life) when he was left in a hole to die of accute radiation poisoning. Instead of that happening, the Magnificence teleported Tailgate to Mederi where he rejoined Cyclonus and the rest of Team Rodimus.
So that mystery is solved.
But wait, there's more! The Magnificence claims that it also maneuvered everyone else to Mederi. With this reveal, the Magnificence almost shows its whole hand, admitting that they spoke through one of team, Ten, in order to direct everyone here. It's the plural there that should be telling. "We" did this.
Before anyone can get any clarification on who "we" is, Functionist Cybertron sets its sights on the last remaining Cybertron and everything starts shaking. Megatron prepares to return to the Last Light with his crew but Rodimus objects. Megs thinks this is because of a lack of trust but it's not. Rodimus just thinks the only way this is going to work out is if he and Megatron stick together.
Back to the Magnificence: Ultra Magnus hasn't forgotten that whole "we" comment. He asks what that means and the Magnificence explains that it is a conduit for the Omega Guardians, speaking to them from the Higher Realms because they care so much for what happens on the lower plains of existance. They would return to help out but once you go Higher Realms, you don't go back.
This is all well and good but as far as the plan to blow up Functionist Cybertron goes, Megatron nixes it completely. He's already explained that no one is going to blow up the planet because it's still populated by a lot of non-combatants. Rodimus agrees. They need a plan that isn't full of genocide.
After giving it some thought, the smart guys in the room come up with a plan to attack twelve different focal points in order to "overload Vector Sigma." If this is done simultaneously, they'll be able to demolish the super computer at the heart of Functionist Cybertron without making anything go boom. As they're asking if twelve Matrixes is even a possibility, the Magnificence goes nuts, losing all pretense that it's there to help everyone.
A bolt of energy fires out of the Magnificence, killing Froid, Sunder, and Nine-of-Twelve. The Omega Guardians have planned all of this too carefully and aren't willing to let all of that time and effort be wasted. After all, they aren't here to save the lower universe from Functionist Cybertron. They're here to see a planet destroyed in a threadbare part of the universe so that they can pass back through from the Higher Realms.
But what number am I thinking of?
To make sure that Rung isn't critically injured during this stand off with the Omega Guardians, Chromedome and Rewind usher him off to a quiet corner of the Lost Light. With Rung relatively safe (Functionist Cybertron is still bearing down on the last fake Cybertron, after all), the Omega Guardians are questioned through the Magnificence. Honestly, it's hard to get that thing to STOP talking now.
OK, the Omega Guardians want back into the lower plains of existance but they're barred from entry, even in the Benzene Cluster where the forces holding each universe apart are particularly strained. It was here that one of the Omega Guardians attempted to return and it was here that they died. After dying, that being became a connection between various times and places.
It's the Warren.
But why would the Omega Guardians want to return? Oh, that's easy. They want to "eat EVERYTHING." They've become monsters, essentially.
Megatron defiantly proclaims that there's no way that anyone in this room is going to allow that to happen and the Omega Guardians wonder how they can be stopped. After all, from where they are, they have access to every fold in reality. They've already shown how easily they can manipulate events. It's only a matter of time before they return and...
Nickel crushes the Magnificence, ending the threat of the Omega Guardians. For now.
Since the Magnificence was actually Epistemus, that means four members of the Guiding Hand have been killed. Only Rung remains.
That's all the distractions covered. With Functionist Cybertron doing its best to destroy this one last Cybertron copy, the Lost Light had better get off the planet fast. After all, the Last Light has just bought it. Thankfully, that ship was unmanned.
Crankcase gets the Lost Light airborn with no time to spare. Functionist Cybertron rips the last Cybertron copy apart. It's weird that destroying all those copies of Cybertron hasn't torn a hole in space/ time and unleashed the Omega Guardians, what with all those pretty explosions but what do I know about ripping a hole in all existance to free an unholy monster people on the universe? Nothing? Nothing.
Now that the Lost Light is free, there's only one things left to do. Turn the ship around and face Functionist Cybertron. And save the universe!
I guess that's three things. No big deal. They've got this!
And we'll find out how they DO that next issue. See you then!