We're wrapping up things in the IDW Hasbroverse with the penultimate issue of Transformers: Lost Light! Things are getting crazy right now!
There are SPOILERS ahead.
So let's keep on keeping on.
While this isn't the final issue of Lost Light, it is the final issue of this storyline (the last issue wraps everything up as sort of an aftermath story). So if you're jumping into the deep end and starting things off with this issue... I am SO sorry. The MTMTE/ Lost Light series is DENSE with continuity to the point that single panels from previous comics might contain hidden significance that is only revealed much later. It's a gem of a series that just doesn't seem possible in this day and age and you, hypothetical person, missed out on a lot of goodness. The best thing to do is tackle this beast from the beginning or at least from the beginning of this final storyline in Transformers: Lost Light #19.
But let's pretend you aren't going to do that. This is the Short, Short version of what you've missed.
The monster planet with its own robot mode that is terrorizing the universe is Unicron Primus Functionist Cybertron doing its best classic Primus impression. I specifically call this thing "Functionist Cybertron" because it's not the Cybertron native to the IDW Hasbroverse continuity. Rather, it is the Cybertron from the Functionist Universe.
The Functionist Universe resulted from a time travel escapade where Megatron was killed before he was techically "born." Without Megatron, things went even more downhill than you would imagine. That's because, before Megatron became a power hungry despot throwing a temper tantrum throughout the known universe, he was a thoughtful pacifist miner who wrote politically charged articles challenging the status quo. A lot of that was directed at Cybertron's corrupt Senate and their ineffectual puppet Prime. Some of it, however, was directed at the concept of Functionism which was quite prevalent in pre-Great War society.
Functionism is the idea that whatever you transform into shapes what you can DO in life. So if you turn into a jet, you get to do... things that a jet does. And then Functionists make up what that actually MEANS. Now, as weird as that is, there's a sense or logic to it. No, really. Megatron didn't challenge that there might be things that your average car could do better than someone that could change into a memory stick because if you could transform into a car, you'd probably make a better courier than someone that couldn't move in their alt-mode. HOWEVER, his thoughts on it went more into the fact that you should STILL have a choice on how you contribute to society and shouldn't be tied down to specific career paths simply because you turn into a dinosaur.
Besides, maybe that memory stick courier can get a jet pack. Or maybe he just gets the choice to change his alt-mode.
Anyway, without Megatron bringing up the idiocy of rampant Functionism, Functionism went even more rampant, toppling the Senate and ruling society with an iron, evil, crazy fist. At the top of this pecking order is the Functionist Council, a group of twelve bots who together combine into the key to Vector Sigma, the super computer at the heart of Cybertron.
The Functionist Council began to get even more insane, discontinuing whole groups of alt-modes and remotely killing anyone who still possessed these obsolete forms. They planted cameras in citizens' eyes so they could track those talking about open revolt. Finally, they decided to take their fundamentalist message to the stars, converting other civilizations to their way of life.
You see where this is going? Most life in the universe is organic. They don't have alt-modes. That makes them immediately obsolete. This is galactic genocide.
To accomplish this, they bulked up Cybertron's mass, popped a few thrusters on it, and made it into a mass instrumental of divine judgement. Through an earlier adventure, the IDW Hasbroverse version of Megatron found himself trapped in this world that he literally never made and he attempted to make some changes to the status quo. That means he gathered up a group of like-minded followers and went out into the universe, trying to prevent Functionist Cybertron from killing other civilizations. To counter this, the Functionist Council gave their home world a robot mode in the image of Primus so that it could reach out and crush anyone looking to escape judgement.
And now, it's crossed over into the regular universe. Good times. And, yes, that's the Short, Short version. Don't ask about the long version. It'll make you cry.
When you're faced with a monster planet bent on murdering other worlds, then you're going to want to face it down with a little MacGuffin known as the Matrix of Leadership. Or the Creation Matrix. The point is, a Cybertronian Matrix of some type is GREAT at killing robot planets.
The original Matrix was emptied out years ago and the half that Rodimus held on to was destroyed a year or so after that. So that's out.
Fortunately, they've got options. Option. They have one option.
We've recently learned that the original Cybertronian, Primus, has been walking among his people, all undetected even by himself. This entire time, he's been Rung! Rung is the unassuming one who rarely gets recognized. Some of the perks that come from being the oldest Cybertronian are:
1. SUPER LONG LIFE SPAN.
2. Healing factor.
3. Can make Matrixes.
That last one is suddenly very important because to take down Functionist Cybertron without blowing up a populated world requires TWELVE of these things lighting up simultaneously at the twelve known hot spots on Cybertron. This will then lead to a chain reaction that will funnel down into Vector Sigma, destroying the super computer (and the remaining Functionist Council Members that are in constant meeting inside it), and saving the universe.
Like putting too much air into a balloon.
Um... I think that's all the back story we need? Let's see.
Functionist Cybertron is smashing things in its robot mode while being controlled by the Functionist Council who are inside Vector Sigma. We talked about that.
Big plan to ignite twelve different Matrixes on twelve hot spots in order to destroy Vector Sigma (and the Functionist Council within) and, thus, stopping the threat of Functionist Cybertron. Went over that, too.
Did I explain what hot spots are? No? OK! I can do that.
So you might know how little baby Cybertronians are made? Well, when a mommy Cybertronian loves a daddy Cybertronian VERY much, they get together for some "special hugging" and then... No, but seriously, there are fields on Cybertron where sparks ignite to life. These sparks are harvested with a certain amount of natural sentio metallico (basically birth metal) which then shapes itself into a simple protoform body that grows in time (let's not get into sparks that are constructed cold- it's different). When the process is done, you're left with a brand new Cybertronian life.
The fields where these sparks typically appear are called hot spots and they are directly connected to the heart of Cybertron. Which is where Vector Sigma is located.
So the whole point of opening a Matrix at a hot spot is to direct the Matrix's energy towards Vector Sigma. Simple, right?
Transformers: Lost Light #24
Crucible (Part 6): A Spark Among Embers
Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Brendan Cahill
Colors: Joana LaFuente
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte
This issue in a nutshell: The Lost Light cast fights nigh impossible odds in order to open twelve Matrixes and save the universe.
• As the Lost Light charges towards Functionist Cybertron, Tailgate realizes that they're plan to destroy the Functionist Council won't work unless Functionist Cybertron is in planet mode.
• Which it is NOT.
• Rung leaves Chromedome and Rewind at the door to his quarters with the advice to forgive each other.
• Luna 1 appears from out of the Warren, smacking Functionist Cybertron on the back of the neck, automatically reverting it to planet mode.
• Rung deletes his case files while recalling one of his first meetings with Skids.
• Transforming to alt-mode, Rung sets about making twelve Matrixes.
• Rodimus shows up, opens up Rung's door and finds twelve Matrixes but only dust and spectacles remains of Rung.
• Twelve teams are transported down to Functionist Cybertron with a Matrix and someone who Rodimus REALLY hopes is capable of opening the device since it came equipped with a Morality Lock.
• With Functionist troops overwhelming their positions, the potential Matrix openers find that they are unable to... y'know... open their Matrixes.
• While Rodimus delivers a motivational speech, Ultra Magnus is taken out of the fight, leaving his Matrix in the questionable hands of Whirl.
• After Rodimus gives them a good pep talk, everyone opens their Matrixes.
• Yes, even Whirl.
• Unfortunately, Rodimus is hit by Functionist fire before he can get his open, leaving the job to Megatron who finds that even with his change of allegiance, he hasn't forgiven himself NEAR enough to open the thing.
• Rodimus returns and opens it up using one hand and his mouth since his other hand was destroyed in the recent attack.
• The Matrixes' power hits the Hot Spots and is directed down into Vector Sigma, destroying the super computer and the Functionist Council occupying it.
• A blast of Matrix energy hits Luna 1, reactivating its Hot Spot and displaying the message "DON'T FORGET ME."
• The universe is saved but the adventure isn't QUITE over... until next issue.
• See you there!
Super Reads Transformers: Lost Light #19
Super Reads Transformers: Lost Light #20
Super Reads Transformers: Lost Light #21
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Super Reads Transformers: Lost Light #23
We begin this issue with our awesome cast of characters barreling down on Functionist Cybertron in the Lost Light. It's only after they've fully committed that Tailgate points out a fundamental flaw in the plan of attack:
All twelve of those hot spots they're heading for? They're connected to Vector Sigma... but only in PLANET mode. With Functionist Cybertron rocking a robot mode, all those connections are out of wack. If they light the Matrixes up now, their plan won't succeed.
As this revelation hits Rodimus, he freaks out.
So everything is doomed.
Last issue, Chromedome and Rewind escorted Rung to his office so that he could start using his special abilities to make all those Matrixes. They've reached that room but Rung asks for some privacy while he... you know... does his thing. Before he enters those fateful doors, he takes a hand from Chromedome and Rewind and then puts them together, pleased that these two have found each other.
He leaves them with some advice: "You need to learn to forgive yourselves."
Meanwhile the ship they're on isn't anywhere NEAR out of the danger zone but they REALLY wish they were. The Lost Light bobs and weaves through Functionist Cybertron's fingers trying desperately to survive. Suddenly, the Warren opens up behind Functionist Cybertron's head.
Oh! The Warren. I didn't explain that earlier, either. The Warren is a series of interstellar tubes through time and space that connect various parts of the universe. Last issue, we learned that it's made from the dead body of an uplifted Omega Guardian who tried to return to this plane of existance from the Higher Realms.
Anyway, the object coming through the Warren is Cybertron's mobile moon, Luna 1, piloted by Autobot Red Alert. With him are Fortress Maximus, Cerebros, and lesser knowns Outrigger and Beak. They are here to smash Luna 1 into the back of Functionist Cybertron's neck. Which is what they do.
I feel a little sorry for all those innocent Cybertronians living on Primus' neck.
You might be thinking to yourself: "Why did that just happen?" Well, as established earlier in the MTMTE series, you can trigger an involuntary transformation in a Cybertronian by jabbing them in the back of the neck. Since Functionist Cybertron has a robot mode, now, it operates under the same principles... except it's much LARGER and needs something like a moon to do the jabbing. The result is what we expect: Functionist Cybertron impulsively transforms into planet mode.
That restores all those hot spots to the proper alignment meaning that the plan to light up Matrixes at twelve hot spots is on again with the added benefit of Functionist Cybertron no longer trying to swat the Lost Light out of the sky. Within Vector Sigma, the remaining members of the Functionist Council scramble to return their planet to its insane robot mode.
Back inside the Lost Light, Rung sits down in front of his computer terminal and opens up his patient files. While doing so, he fondly remembers that time Skids saved him from a Sparkeater. Skids was not only one of Rung's only friends, he was also one of the few people who seemed to pay attention to his presence. He's dead now. It was very sad.
After his brief stroll down memory lane, Rung deletes all his files. With that important business attended, Rung transforms into his alt-mode...
It's a Pez dispenser, right?
...and begins to create some Matrixes.
With the plan back on like Donkey Kong, Rodimus is here to collect Matrixes from Rung's quarters. What he finds is Chromedome and Rewind lovingly embracing. It seems they've taken Rung's advice. Rodimus moves past them and opens the door to Rung's office. Inside he finds twelve Matrixes scattered around the room and no Rung.
Well, I SAY "no Rung" but I don't really mean it. The strain of creating twelve Matrixes was too much even for his incredible healing factor. Rung's body has turned to dust all over the room. It's a lot of dust. All that's left of him are his spectacles, discarded on the desk. With that, Rung of the Pious Pools, the first and last member of the Guiding Hand, Primus himself, is dead.
Moment of silence, people.
Rodimus, Chromedome, and Rewind rejoin the others on the bridge where the plan to get down to Functionist Cybertron is being worked over in more detail. Flame, the last standing member of Adaptus' inner circle is directing the remainder of Adaptus' forces, the Infinites, to deliver Team Rodimus (and the Scavengers... and Megatron's Anti-Vocationist League members) to the surface where they will hold off Functionist personnel long enough to light those Matrixes up and, y'know, kill Vector Sigma and the Functionist Council. I'm sure with their leaders dead, the rest of the Functionists will see the futility in their worldview and surrender, right?
Rodimus loves this plan except for one little hitch: The Matrixes are sealed shut. This is the Morality Lock that was mentioned last issue. Since it was ALREADY established last issue, I'm shocked how surprised everyone is by this. But they totally are. There's discussion around the room about how you would UNLOCK that Morality Lock. Grimlock shuts everyone up (momentarily) by simply saying they "just need to pick the BEST OF US." But what does THAT mean?
Thunderclash thinks it means picking Autobots because they are ostensibly the "good guys." Rodimus doesn't know if that's true. With Megatron and Cyclonus behind him, he wonders if it ever was. However, with time being of the essence, he chooses the teams and sends everyone on their way.
OK, let's break down our various teams.
At Rivet's Field, the Matrix bearer is Tailgate. With him until the end is his lover, Cyclonus.
At Vespertine Blue, the Matrix bearer is Ratchet. Guarding him is Drift. They have an unspoken thing going on but we all saw them hug last issue. These two are adorable.
At Automica, the Matrix bearer is Thunderclash. Watching his back is the Scavenger Spinister. They are not in love.
At the Pious Pools, our Matrix bearer is First Aid and his bodyguard is the Scavenger Crankcase.
At Vauvaire, Nautica holds the Matrix and one of her best friends, Brainstorm is manning the gun. They hold hands as they face their fate.
At Sansaw Sanserre, the Matrix is held by Lug. She's being protected by her girlfriend, Anode, and their friend, Wipe-Out. Before the action happens, Lug and Anode kiss, a rarity for Transformers. They declare their love for each other and get ready to do this thing.
We get to Warrior's Gate as the Functionist engage our heroes. Here, Swerve holds the Matrix and providing him cover are his new partner in quip, Misfire, as well as Grimlock.
Roller is the Matrix Bearer at Port Residua. Chromedome and Rewind are their to keep the heat off.
At Eugenesis (named after James Roberts' unofficial Transformers fan fiction story), Velocity has the Matrix and the Scavenger leader Krok is doing all the shooting.
In Alyon, the Matrix is held by Riptide and his guards are Fulcrum and Nickel.
Mesmerica sees Ultra Magnus holding a Matrix with Whirl providing cover.
Finally, at Nova Point, Rodimus has a Matrix and Megatron is trying his best to keep the Functionist away. With his tool box.
In each of these cases, every team is aided by a platoon of Infinites. Those are Adaptus' specially made soldiers. Not only can they transform into anything they want to transform into, they also have healing properties like Rung. So they're good guys to have on your side. However, we've already been told (last issue) that those healing abilities have limits. This is the home turf of the Functionists and the odds are overwhelming.
To hurt things further, no one seems able to overcome the Morality Lock. Those Matrixes won't open. Last issue, the Magnificence had planned on having three Matrixes created and lit at certain points on Cybertron. It named the three who had the most likely chance of lighting up a Matrix as Rodimus, Ratchet, and Tailgate. Rodimus hasn't attempted to open his yet but Ratchet and Tailgate are having the same luck as everyone else.
Rodimus panics at this point because THIS SHOULD WORK. He's given the Matrixes to the best people he knows. Megatron agrees, citing all of them as the entire REASON he has continued on his path of redemption. They ARE worthy of opening a Matrix. They just need to believe it. It's time for Rodimus to deliver an inspiring speech that'll get all those Matrixes lit.
It's not one of his greatest speeches and HOLY CRAP DOES HE TAKE HIS TIME DELIVERING IT. But it'll get the job done. Unfortunately, time isn't on anyone's side. Ultra Magnus is caught unaware by a Functionist and hit at point blank range by a rocket. This demolishes his outer armor, releasing his inner armor which falls apart revealing the inner robot, Minimus Ambus. Minimus hits the ground hard with his head and is knocked unconscious. His Matrix lands nearby.
If you're wondering, this not only immitates Ultra Magnus' attempt at opening the Matrix from the animated movie, but it also shows you what's going on in the cover for this issue.
He's not the only potential Matrix bearer to face troubles. Swerve gets his right arm shot off before he can get his bauble open. As others start to get their Matrixes to light up, Misfire grabs the other side of Swerve's Matrix and helps him out.
But what about Ultra Magnus' Matrix? Well, there's only one guy who is close enough to step up and break that casing. Whirl. As he runs in to grab the Matrix, his legs are shot off by Functionist fire. He still manages to pick the Matrix up and open it, remembering a more inspiring speech Rodimus delivered a few issues back by weakly saying, "Even... Team... Whirl..."
His people fully motivated, Rodimus thanks Megatron for cluing him in on giving a speech and then gets ready to open his own Matrix... before getting hit by Functionist cannons. As everyone else opens their Matrixes, Rodimus' remains closed. Megatron picks up the discarded Matrix but has some troubles working past that Morality Lock.
Oh, man, if that had only worked! But it couldn't have. It seems a primary component of those Morality Locks are how you feel about yourself. That's why Rodimus needed to give a motivational speech. Megatron, however, will NEVER feel worthy to open that thing up. He knows what he and the Decepticons have done and he will never forgive himself.
It's ok, though. Rodimus was knocked down but not out. Even with one hand blown off, he asks Megatron for the Matrix and when he's handed the little bauble of light, manages to open it with his remaining hand and his teeth.
Functionist Cybertron crackles with energy that channels down into Vector Sigma, destroying the super computer and the Functionist Council inside. A bolt of energy leaves the planet and hits Luna 1, reactivating the dormant hot spot we witnessed back when the Lost Light first visited the once lost moon of Cybertron. Rodimus and Megatron look up in the sky and see a message written in the reactivated sparks.
Am I the only one who thinks it's bizarre that it's written in english?
And with that, the day is saved! No, I have no idea why the remaining Functionists stopped fighting. Maybe they just got tired? Maybe without the Functionist Council to goad them on, they just lacked the will to be ridiculous fundamentalists driven by a dodgy worldview? Whatever the case, the battle is over and the universe isn't going to be destroyed by this particular giant transforming planet.
There's some questions about how Fortress Maximus knew to bring Luna 1 to this battle. It was only because Luna 1 got Functionist Cybertron to return to planet mode that this became a happy ending. Fort Max explains that Rodimus will get in touch with Luna 1 and send them through the Warren where they will travel back in time to exactly when they first appear in this issue so that they can hit Functionist Cybertron in the back of the neck and help save the day. That explanation is so surreal that they have to repeat it to Rodimus so he knows what he's going to have to do to close that particular causal loop.
Time travel, man. Time travel.
But the questions don't stop there! Tailgate wonders where they go from here. After all, the mysteries are all solved. The quest is over. All the t's appear crossed and all the i's look dotted. Is this... THE END!?
Swerve, still suffering from the effects of a metabomb blast he took long ago, sees the words "TO BE CONCLUDED" hovering before him and declares that this party isn't over just yet. No, seriously. That's what's going on. Look it up!
And with that, we have one last issue for everyone to say goodbye and for me to cry. It's gonna be great. See you there!