I know, I know. This thing is a long time coming so let's get it started! You're in Super Reads territory, now, and that means:
There are SPOILERS ahead.
And with that gentle warning out of the way, we can get to specifics.
I've talked about Shockwave in depth over in my coverage of Optimus Prime #22 but I think it's important to talk about just how crazy his master plan is.
So let's get at it.
In the distant past, a time lost Shockwave killed and usurped Onyx Prime. After taking Onyx's place, he brought together the Primes of Cybertron, ensuring that two of those Primes, Megatronus and Liege Maximo, were actually his underlings, capable of enacting his long term strategies in the millenia to come.
All of this went just as Shockwave had learned it had happened. So he wasn't so much making history as FOLLOWING history as it happened. As Onyx, Shockwave read his historically accurate lines, setting up the Cybertronian attack on Antilla that would lead the planet down the horrible path of becoming Unicron. This event also led to the end of the rule of the Twelve Primes, the creation of the Dire Wraiths, the destruction of the Visionary homeworld of Prysmos... basically, all the bad stuff that happens in the IDW Hasbroverse happens because of the Antillan invasion.
We're getting to the crazy bits. After settling his followers on the planet Eukaris, Shockwave took some of his most loyal followers (the Maximals) and made the journey back to Antilla. While here, he uncovered the power source of the doomsday device that killed the planet, the Talisman. Selecting the members of his entourage who looked the most like some of the most popular future Autobots and Decepticons, he sent them on a journey with the Talisman to Earth. This took them several million years.
Road trips, am I right?
From here, the Talisman spends a few hundred thousand years on Earth, eventually getting involved in some adventures that would place it on Cybertron. This is where Shockwave wanted it to be in the first place but he apparently didn't want to make its journey there EASY. Or linear.
Once the Talisman had made it to Cybertron, it was used by General Joe Colton in an attempt to kill the planet and all life on it. Instead, it summoned the survivors of Prysmos with its magic. Then, it called back to Antilla which had taken on a distinctly Unicron look, just covered in all that Antillan surface details.
If you're thinking "all according the plan," then you are totally Shockwave. He intended to get the Talisman to Cybertron through indirect means and it seems like he KNEW that Antilla was going to turn into a planet eating monstrosity that would one day threaten all Cybertronian life. And he was just, like, "cool."
You might be thinking "well, he WAS a time traveller." And, yes, he was. But the furthest on in the timeline he had gotten was the Dark Cybertron crossover. That was well before Unicron was even a THING. Maybe he was more involved in Unicron's creation than has been shown but, again, this is a slow burn for ultimate revenge, isn't it? I mean, it took Unicron millions of years to activate. That is someone playing a very, very long game.
From here, Shockwave gets his Maximals to land his flagship, the Nemesis, on Unicron to give the planet an eye even though... planets don't NEED eyes. Unicron was doing fine eating planets without one. All it did was give Unicron access to a transformation cog so it could change into a bipedal robot mode. In space! And this wasn't even part of Shockwave's plan! Unicron's robot more was an accident!
So, Shockwave's plan was to uncover the Talisman on pre-Unicron Antilla, ship it to Cybertron by way of Earth, wait millions of years for Unicron to activate, give Unicron an eye for some reason, allow Unicron to devour Cybertron and the Talisman, wait for the Talisman to poison and kill Unicron because apparently that is what the Talisman DOES even though it was initially found ON Unicron, teleport to Earth, and restart the Cybertronian Empire there.
It's foolproof. Wait, no, it's foolish. What the hell, Shockwave? You're supposed to be the smart one!
All this and Shockwave also thought trusting Bludgeon was a genius idea.
So, let's get into why Shockwave's plan fails. It's because no one thinks his ideas are any good. Not even Starscream! Windblade ends up asking the Visionaries for help. They're conveniently located on Cybertron and everything.
The Visionaries' leader, Leoric, decides to use the Talisman to teleport everyone on Cybertron to Earth. A ribbon of energy rips across the planet and everyone it touches teleports off-planet. Since that ribbon isn't super effective at hitting people, it takes a little help from hero-of-the-hour, Blurr, to get everyone sent on a fantastic voyage. He's able to do this for everyone except himself.
Oh, and everyone inside Metroplex. That energy ribbon avoids the Titan city completely. That's ok because Metroplex is equipped with a spacebridge that allows him to teleport himself and everyone inside him to Earth.
When I say everyone teleports to Earth, this includes the Talisman itself. When Unicron tears the planet apart, the Talisman isn't there to be consumed. So Unicron doesn't die.
That allows the planet eater to continue its trek across the galaxy. Unicron's next stop is Earth. That's good for our story because it's exactly where everyone else IS! The refugees from Cybertron start showing up at Mosi-oa-Tunya near Victoria Falls. This is on the Zambia/ Zimbabwe border in Africa.
That's all great but Unicron is coming and they need a plan. What's Optimus Prime's brilliant idea?
"The only plan I've EVER had. WE FIND A WAY."
Can we have Shockwave's plan again? It looks good compared to... whatever that is.
Transformers: Unicron #5
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Alex Milne
Colors: David Garcia Cruz
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: David Mariotte
This issue in a nutshell: The heroes, villains, and... others... of the Hasbroverse put aside their differences in order to combat the threat of Unicron and the Maximals as a final plan of attack is implemented against the monster planet.
• Shockwave sees all his "well laid" plans being foiled and takes steps to get things back on track while his trio of Maximals continue to cause devastation in Toronto.
• Thundercracker saves lives in Los Angeles before placing a call to Marissa Faireborn...
• ...who is in a very important meeting with a collection of Earth's various defenders and villains.
• Windblade and Chromia are reunited in Mosi-oa-Tunya and witness the Decepticons turning on Starscream before Prowl arrives with some friends.
• Jetfire calls a very important meeting where he discusses how Unicron is killing stars in its quest to purge the galaxy of Cybertronian life.
• Shockwave updates Bludgeon on his revised plans and learns that the Maximals under Bludgeon's command are working for Unicron, now.
• Optimus Prime and Arcee share a quiet moment before all the action starts.
• Earth's defenders try to hold back the Maximal invasion and fail.
• Before the Maximal army reaches him, Metroplex spacebridges away with help from Destro's Mass Device teleporter.
• Thundercracker hands his dog, Buster, over to Marissa Faireborn before flying off to do his part to fight Unicron.
•In Toronto, Snake Eyes and company get some reinforcements from Prowl and Stardrive.
• In high Earth Orbit, Starscream and Skywarp are joined by Thundercracker on a mission to deliver the Talisman to Unicron.
• Clearing the way to Unicron means going through the Decepticon Justice Division but the way is cleared by Metroplex, Trypticon, and all the Cybertronians and Solstar Knights you would need to do that sort of thing.
• It is revealed that Optimus Prime and Arcee are ALSO being transported by Starscream and company.
Our story starts in Toronto, Canada. This is the city where Shockwave and his trio of loyal Maximals teleported and immediately started wrecking the place in a volley of destruction because... Shockwave wanted to purge the area of human life? Sure. Let's go with that. It's messy but Shockwave is insane so it works.
How insane is Shockwave? Full on. He's absolutely mystified that his plan to destroy Unicron on Cybertron failed. That plan was convoluted as all HELL, as detailed above. After coming to grips with the fact that his plans are quickly unravelling, Shockwave rallies, remembering that he gave Unicron an eye for some reason. It's his flagship, the Nemesis, which turns out to be a Titan. Titans are city-sized Cybertronians who usually serve a specific Prime. Shockwave masqueraded as Onyx Prime for millions of years so he rates.
Now, this explains why the Nemesis had a transformation cog that Unicron was able to access in order to transform into a robot mode. However, Onyx Prime's (meaning: Shockwave's) Titan, Chela, was left on Eukaris. So whose Titan was Nemesis? Did they even BELONG to a Prime before Shockwave claimed them? After all, we've seen a LOT of Titans who didn't have a Prime to call their own. However, if I'm allowed some conjecture, Unicron was once the planet, Antilla, and was named the colony world of Alpha Trion by Onyx Prime (who, again, was Shockwave). Alpha Trion never colonized the planet but it's likely he had his own as-yet-unnamed Titan who would then be attached to the planet. Let's just pretend that Alpha Trion laid as much claim to his Titan as he did Antilla, meaning that both were pretty much Shockwave's from the start.
Since Nemesis is Shockwave'sTitan and turns into a giant eye-shaped starship, Shockwave can remotely access the eye's visuals and find the Talisman. With that Talisman, he can once again attempt to destroy Unicron with it. His plan can STILL succeed!
As Shockwave plots, it appears that help has finally arrived in Toronto. We see Snake-Eyes and Helix from G.I. Joe as well as Tempest (the second Storm Shadow) and a host of Red Shadows (ninjas). Finding it odd that the good guys and the bad guys are working together? This is the end of the world, people. It's all hands on deck.
In Los Angeles, California, we find one of the most awesome Transformers ever. Thundercracker.
Watch this be gently massaged to be factually correct. From a certain point of view.
Regardless of what his caption says, Thundercracker is no longer a Decepticon. Those days ended when he helped thwart (hahaha "thwart") Megatron's plans to nuke the United States' eastern seaboard. His parting gift was nearly getting killed by fellow Decepticon Seeker, Skywarp.
Thundercracker IS a writer, though. Particulary, he's a screenwriter. While helping to save some lives, he shows how frustrated he is that the big bad threat, Unicron, is WAAAAAY out of his weight class. Thundercracker's pet dog, Buster, cheers him up by giving him an idea for a new screen play involving a dog hero.
Yeah, Thundercracker has a pet dog and, yeah, he can talk to her. Or, at least, we assume that Thundercracker is ACTUALLY talking to his dog. He could be just talking to himself but it's been established that whatever translation system Cybertronians use is capable of at least some rudimentary translations for animals. Thundercracker usually brings Buster wherever he goes and right now, she's occupying his cockpt which is still possible even in his robot form.
The big blue jet Transformer realizes that he forgot to return a call to his best human friend, Marissa Faireborn, Earth's representative on Cybertron's Council of Worlds. She answers the phone but admits that she's not able to chat at the moment because she's in the middle of a very important meeting. She should have just put that phone on silent.
That very important meeting is taking place within the Titan, Trypticon and everyone is invited. EVERYONE! Even Krake, the second Cobra Commander whose sudden disappearance and replacement has never been explained or even touched upon. But there he is!
It turns out Krake was just taking a REALLY long nap. He's as surprised as we are how things have turned out.
Besides having a trio of surviving Cobra Commanders and a few other Cobra representatives, we see Joe Colton (still chained up as a result of his incarceration), Sergeant Savage, Action Man, numerous G.I. Joes, Miles Mayhem, the Dinobots (excluding Grimlock who is showing up over in Lost Light), Skywarp, Centurion (a Eukarian Cybertronian who was forced into believing he was Bumblebee and then got fused with a human), and Blackrock (a billionaire who thought he was a human being until learning he was actually a Titan Master sleeper agent). In the middle of the room is a pit containing a metric butt ton of unharvested Cybertronian sparks. The building blocks for Cybertronian life.
It's an odd place to hold a meeting.
At the front of this ecclectic assembly of the best and worst the planet Earth has to offer is the leader of G.I. Joe, Scarlett. Behind her? The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, The President of the United States, the President of China, Stalker (from G.I.Joe), and the earlier mentioned Marissa Faireborn.
Missing from this very important meeting are the recently arrived refugees from Cybertron, Matt Trakker, and the rest of M.A.S.K.. Blackrock explains that the M.A.S.K. team is busy in Detroit. This was related in the M.A.S.K. farewell back-up story from Transformers: Unicron #3.
Destro mentions that he's fixed "G.I.Joe's Cybertronian," finally resolving a plot point from the G.I.Joe series. Skywarp (who is currently a Joe) had lost his ability to teleport. G.I.Joe was working on the issue but hadn't been successful. It makes sense that Destro would fix Skywarp since Destro's whole introductory storyline involved creating the MASS Device, a way to teleport assassins and armies anywhere they were required.
This meeting is barely underway but is interupted by Soundwave, Ironhide, Swift, Rom, and Livia. They're here to properly explain what kind of threat Unicron is but before that can even get STARTED, Rom and Livia notice Dire Wraiths in the crowd and get ready to eliminate their life long enemies. Before shots are fired, Rom holds her former and, hopefully, future lover back. They'll have time to deal with the Dire Wraiths later. Right now, Unicron takes ALL the priority.
And that goes DOUBLE for Slug. The leader of the Dinobots isn't too keen on taking advice from Optimus Prime, especially after his team of colonist followers attacked the Dinobots and a contingent of G.I. Joe over in Optimus Prime #23. It's Trypticon who gets Slug in line. Like has already been said, they've got bigger fish to fry at the moment and it's time to let go of all those petty rivalries.
If you were expecting to learn about any master plans in this meeting of minds, forget about it! We're already gone. This time, we set down in Metroplex, the last Titan city of Cybertron. Since Cybertron is dunzo, Metroplex has set himself down on Earth. Specifically, he's resting in Mosi-oa-Tunya on the Zambia/ Zimbabwe border in Africa.
Windblade, the leader of Cybertron's Council of Worlds, is busy directing Cybertron's survivors, trying to get a quick but accurate census on a survival count. In the midst of this, she is finally reunited with her former bodyguard, Chromia. These two haven't seen each other since way back during the TitanWar on Cybertron and they're both happy for this little moment. Unfortunately, they're still a lot left to do. Windblade explains that Metroplex needs a whole lot of rest before he can do a lot of spacebridging again. So it doesn't look like they'll be able to escape Unicron THAT way.
Before she can continue her exposition, Windblade is interupted by angry Decepticons. This time, they're SUPER PISSED at Starscream, the former leader of Cybertron and its Council of Worlds, former Decepticon leader, former senator. You name it, Starscream has probably "former'd" it. Why are all these Decepticons so angry at ol' Screamer? Oh, pick a reason.
But specifically, they're mad because Starscream tried to convince the Council of Worlds to spacebridge off of Cybertron, leaving everyone in the Decepticon ghetto behind. That intel got back to the Decepticons via Soundwave and caused riots in the streets. Starscream tries to weasel his way out of the Decepticons' totally justified fury but is, himself, interupted by the arrival of Prowl's spaceship, the Peaceful Revolution.
When the ship lands, Optimus Prime's colonist followers exit first, pushing Jetfire aside and displaying a distinct lack of courtesy. Kids.