Welcome to the final issue wrap-up for Transformers: Lost Light! This is it, people. Let's get it done.
Last warning before we get going:
There are SPOILERS ahead.
With that out of the way, let's go over the backstory.
IDW's first Transformers issue, The Transformers: Infiltration #0, came out on October 19, 2005. The issue was heavily human-centric, with two Cybertronians showing up only in vehicle mode and a third appearing in heavy shadows.
Be that as it may, the first Autobot we encountered in that story was Ratchet, the Autobots' Chief Medical Officer, who had taken a personal interest in saving human lives and uncovering whatever Decepticon plot was happening on Earth.
Ratchet has a heavy influence on the Transformers franchise. He was one of the first Autobots to receive the spotlight in the original Marvel Transformers story and kept on coming back to that spotlight through the course of the series. In a similar way, Ratchet has been a mainstay cast member in a number of Transformers books published by IDW.
But his most defining appearances are, arguably, the ones in More Than Meets the Eye and Lost Light. James Roberts took the original concept character who had been appearing previously in IDW books and combined it with the more cantankerous version of Ratchet who first showed up in the Transformers Animated cartoon (with another version of that character appearing in Transformers Prime). What we got was an amazing medic who was counting his days towards obsolescence with an unshakeable belief that all myths and legends were totally bogus.
And, along the way, he fell in love with Drift between the scenes. Drift is basically his polar opposite, having never met a belief or concept he didn't like.
Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #1 hit stands on January 11, 2012 and featured the exploits of the Lost Light crew on their various hijinx and adventures. The series is so dense that it would be impossible for me to summarize things. So I let Rodimus do it for me.
"Do you have any idea what we've been through together? What we've achieved? We've seen off a Phase Sixer, cured an army of sparkeaters, survived a mutiny, traveled in time, gatecrashed a universe, and saved half our race. (...) We've liberated planets, defeated the D.J.D., found Luna 1 and the Necrobot, rescued two Metrotitans, been erased from existence, and stolen a moon... and a few hours ago, we died and broke heaven."
That probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense to a casual reader but, trust me, this book and these characters have done some things. While John Barber's Transformers books have focused on continuity management, James Roberts has written a book that has done a WHOLE lot of universe building. He's established a lot about pre-war life and just how Cybertronians live. What they like. Who they are.
But, the most important thing to remember when reading this series is something Ratchet said in the very first issue: "Look, it's not about the DESTINATION so much as the JOURNEY." Repeat that like a mantra. The quest and its ending were always superfluous compared to the adventures and interactions that happened on the way.
And that's true of this final issue, too. It's a very definitive ending... but it also celebrates these characters and what they've done. While also doing some last minute universe building. ;)
Meanwhile, over in the other Transformers books, the end is NIGH.
If you aren't reading Transformers: Unicron or Optimus Prime, then you are probably only tangentally aware that those books are focusing on ending the entire IDW Hasbro-verse. To do this, they brought the planet eater, Unicron, into the story and let the big guy zoom across the universe, eating all of Cybertron's colony worlds. As of issue #5, Unicron is poised to devour Earth with the survivors of Cybertron and the colonies (as well as all those Earth natives) staging a last stand to save Earth and the rest of the universe.
They also delve into the nightmarish past of the Cybertronians and how they have basically caused all of this. And, by "they," I mean a time traveling Shockwave. But still! Cybertron has an awful history.
Anyway, this is the part where THAT storyline intersects with the Lost Light story. Except barely. Like, this story takes place AFTER Transformers: Unicron #6 which hadn't been released at the time. Don't worry TOO much. You don't learn the fate of Earth or anything, other than that it survives. You just learn that the entire universe doesn't come to an end. And Prowl lives.
So does Windblade.
But that's it! Light spoilers at best!
Transformers: Lost Light #25
How to Say Goodbye and Mean It: Part 2
Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Jack Lawrence
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.
• FUTURE: The former crew of the Lost Light get together for the funeral of Ratchet, reconnecting after centuries apart.
• PRESENT: Prowl visits Functionist Cybertron to assess the situation, requisition the Lost Light's quantum engines to repower the planet to harvest Luna 1's sparks, and see that Megatron goes back on trial for crimes against the universe.
• PRESENT: Rodimus gets Prowl to agree to one last day for the Lost Light to fly around the universe.
• PRESENT: The Lost Light crew talks about how things end and then end up drinking at Swerve's before industrial machines tear the ship apart.
• PRESENT: Everyone splits up as Megatron is taken into custody.
• PRESENT: Leading up to Megatron's sentencing to one of two sucky fates, Rodimus meets with him to say goodbye.
• FUTURE: Rodimus arrives late to Ratchet's funeral and Ratchet's husband, Drift, accuses him of drinking.
• FUTURE: Cyclonus offers Whirl a place to live when he gets out of prison.
• PRESENT: Before the Lost Light is torn apart, the crew engage in some crazy experiment that sends a duplicate of the ship and crew into another universe that is bereft of a Lost Light so that they can continue their adventure forever.
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So Ratchet is dead.
No, really! But don't worry. This is the future, right now. You can tell because I'm using this crazy color for the font. This comic's story takes place soon after last issue as WELL as an undetermined time (but at least several centuries) in the future. Our issue starts at Ratchet's funeral in the future. These first few issues were released early as a preview, making readers wonder who had died.
I guess I already answered that for you, though.
Anyway, it's notable that, besides Prowl (who might supposed to have been Bluestreak), all the shown attendees to Ratchet's funeral were fellow crew members from the Lost Light. Transformers: Unicron has some casualties! Also: some people have probably passed on SINCE that series ended, what with this being the future and all.
The only people we don't recognize are the guards escorting Whirl here from Garrus 10 (it's a prison), and the guy in a helmet delivering the eulogy. The eulogizer will turn out to be one of the new sparks brought to term from Luna 1. Those were activated (again) towards the end of last issue, probably as a result of all those Matrixes being fired off.
It's also appropriate to mention that this funeral is taking place on "New Cybertron." This is important because "Regular Flavor Cybertron" was destroyed by Unicron in Transformers: Unicron #4. New Cybertron is the Cybertron from the Functionist Universe that stormed into the regular Hasbro-verse with its own robot mode. The threat of this Cybertron was defeated last issue.
Anyway, everyone is sad that Ratchet is gone even though the former Chief Medical Officer had sufficient time to put his affairs in order. However, no one is more aggrieved than Ratchet's "long-time Conjunx Endura," Drift, who sets a vial of his innermost energon down on a stand near Ratchet's memorial. Yeah, Ratchet and Drift got married.
Written on Ratchet's memorial is the phrase "THERE IS NO MEANING" which is something that the athieistic doctor would have appreciated. But we'll circle back to that, later.
See this regular black text? That means you're in what passes for the "present" in this story.
On what will become known as New Cybertron, Rodimus and Megatron meet with Prowl. Yeah, Prowl survives the final battle with Unicron. He's here to assess the danger of this rogue Cybertron for Windblade. That means she ALSO survives Unicron. Beyond that, we don't get any clue as to how the BIG EVENT ends except that it seems like none of the Cybertronians stuck on Earth are particularly interested in resettling on Functionist Cybertron.
Prowl might have survived Transformers: Unicron.
Unless they're just waiting for Prowl to assess whether or not it's safe? That's probable.
Beyond that, Prowl also takes a look at how many sparks have suddenly activated on Luna 1 following last issue ("a little under a billion--" and a large number of those are super sparks) and looks at how feasable it would be to provide all those sparks with bodies, what with the energy shortage that's going on on Functionist Cybertron following its rampage across its own universe AND this one.
Prowl's also here to address the elephant in the room: Megatron. Before Megatron joined the crew of the Lost Light as co-captain, he was standing trial for... well, ALL THE THINGS. He was all set to accept whatever verdict was set down until Starscream got under his skin and made him totally rethink the whole thing. Megatron appealed for a judgement from the Knights of Cybertron and was sent on a quest to discover what happened to them so they could judge him. Only, it turns out the Knights all died on the euthenasia planet Mederi, believing they had found paradise.
So they aren't gonna be judging Megatron. Which means...
He's gonna have to be judged by others. Prowl has set up a trial run by the Galactic Council which is sort of the biggest conglomeration of united planets in the universe. In exchange, he's hoping they allow... Earth? New Cybertron? Prowl wants to join the Galactic Council with whatever is left after Unicron rolls over Earth.
Rodimus objects to all of this since he's become quite fond of Megatron after all these adventures. Megatron, on the other hand, is back to accepting his fate and paying for all the lives he's destroyed.
The final item on the agenda is the Lost Light. Prowl believes that the ship's quantum engines could be harvested and used to bring even more of Luna 1's sparks to fruition. Without engines, he suggests that the remains of the ship be set up as a monument to all Rodimus's team has accomplished. Rodimus reluctantly agrees that the engines should be used to bring more lives into the world but bargains for one more day to fly around in the ship with his crew as a "lap of honor."
In the future, the former crew of the Lost Light treat the post-funeral as a sort-of reunion. A lot of these guys haven't seen each other in centuries. I'm gonna go over the big details first. Well, the big details to ME. Cyclonus and Tailgate are still together after all these years. So are Chromedome and Rewind even though Rewind has seen better days. Being an archivist, Rewind delved deep into the history of Functionist Cybertron and then had a hard time reconciling the different historical accounts between the two universes. This led to him suffering from "Delta's Malady," eventually forgetting how to change shape. So he's stuck in memory stick mode. Even though he can talk and everything, Rewind is usually plugged directly into Chromedome and they share a much deeper, more intimate relationship as a result.
But it's still really weird.
Less important, relationship-wise, Swerve started a franchise of bars. They failed (all 113 of them because Roberts needs to remind us all that his first issue of Transformers was UK issue #113) but he was able to keep one open and that's really all he needed. Nautica wrote an autobiographical book about her experiences on the Lost Light. Swerve says it has a "pretty glaring OMISSION at the end" but is otherwise a good read.
This is the moment we start to realize who everyone is forgetting. He's the guy who made all those matrixes last issue and who flared up those sparks on Luna 1 to spell out the words "DON'T FORGET ME."
Rung. They don't remember Rung. He also went by "Primus."
In the present, the Lost Light has almost finished its last day of flying around. It's been pretty uneventful. Swerve comments that Rodimus should have demanded more time but as Ratchet explains, "There'll always be AN ENDING- and if you're lucky, you'll get to see it coming." Prophetic, meta words, Ratchet.
Megatron, who was allowed on this last journey, is happy for this last day. He seems at peace.
Chromedome and Rewind return to the bridge, having walked all around the ship to record the entire thing for posterity. It seems like that would take more than a day given the size of this place but still: job done. They remark that they found an office filled with model ships that they'd never seen before and wondered what it was all about. Again, they've totally forgotten about Rung and it is sad.
Talk goes around about the future of the Lost Light ship. Rodimus doesn't want it to become a monument because it would just "get VANDALIZED by some Neo-Functionist- and they'd end up replacing it with something CHEAP and SMALL and WRONG." We might be getting a little too meta at this point.
Rodimus decides that if this voyage is the end, then it's going to be the end of the ship as well and everyone decides to celebrate with a final drink at Swerve's bar. Specifically, they're going to drink the Nightmare Fuel that Trailcutter (Trailbreaker) brought aboard the ship way back at launch.
The bar is filled with little toys (created by Ten before his death) that depict any of our main cast members who aren't alive to show up in this last issue. With the toys is a model of the Lost Light taken from Rung's forgotten office.
Behind the bar is Smokescreen which is significant because Ratchet shot him back in Transformers: Lost Light #19 and because he was a Sparkeater at the time, he EXPLODED. I guess he got better. Which is nice. Lug and Anode are talking to him about that whole uncomfortable affair and when they're done, Anode suggests that instead of galavanting off to their next adventure, maybe it's time to settle down on Luna 1 and raise the next generation of Cybertronians.
In another section of the bar, Drift is explaining how he kept having visions of the future. Thanks to Ratchet, he's got a new theory for why he was having those. Ratchet postulates that it was the telepaths on Mederi who were projecting those visions backwards in time thanks to their close proximity to the Warren (which has time-travelling properties). Ratchet explains that this is him "meeting half way" between his and Drift's different outlooks on the universe. The two hold hands. It's adorable.
The map to Cyberutopia is carried into the room by Thunderclash and everyone gathers around to tell stories about there they have been and what they have done. Most of this happened behind the scenes so it's a little look into the adventures that hadn't been told until now.
As the reminiscing dies down, Megatron and Ultra Magnus share some poetry. Magnus learns that the lines he is quoting are actually Megatron's. He wrote some poetry under another name. When he talks about it, Megs becomes depressed, thinking about what a mess he has made of everything.
Ultra Magnus looks at his friend empathetically and then gets the attention of the room to propose a toast. It's an especially good toast about how he went on this quest for the professional connections he would forge and instead, found a group of friends that he has loved spending time with. He even uses the word "fun" which has caused him trouble in the past.
When Magnus' toast is done, Swerve freaks the F@#$ out, not wanting this journey to ever end. But it's too late to turn around because the Lost Light is already parked and large industrial claws are already starting to tear the ship apart, giving it a final rest.
"The Lost Light and the Adventure of Getting Torn Apart by Industrial Machinery."
As the walls start coming down, Rodimus tells the room "drink up, everyone."
With the ship taken apart, all that's left are the good-byes. The Scavengers (including Grimlock) take off together. They're heading back to Troja Major to pick up that weird Decepticon organic baby that Scorponok made and that they stole away from him. Seeing all the love going on with the crew of the Lost Light, Crankcase has decided to take Cyclonus' advice and tell the one he loves that... he loves them... which means calling up a Dire Wraith he knows, Cons4Eva, and having him meet them on Troja Major.
Everyone starts to go their separate directions, some to settle down here and others to head to Earth (Nautica and Velocity are meeting Chromia for the trip). Promises are made to keep in touch. It's a lot like the last day of high school. Or university. Or a really good job.
Before leaving, Cyclonus stares Rodimus down, kisses him on the cheek, and says "thank you." That done, he grabs up Tailgate, bids Rodimus farewell, and flies off.
And then there were three. Rodimus, Ultra Magnus, and Megatron. But not for long. Prowl shows up with some guards to take Megatron away. Rodimus protests Megatron's treatment but the big guy is ok with this. Ultra Magnus goes with Megatron with Rodimus' encouragement. Rodimus tries yelling out some final words to Ultra Magnus ("'Til all are one") but he does this too late to get a response. And then Rodimus is left alone.
Meanwhile, in the future, Nautica is giving Minimus Ambus a copy of her book. He's reluctant to accept but he eventually acquiesces. With the gift given, Nautica looks up at Luna 1 and asks Minimus how the "Bronze Harvest" is going. Minimus says that they've already brought 500 million sparks to full life. That's half way done and things are going REALLY well. The only problem Ambus has is that the new Cybertronians have a tendency to get lost in the crowd and aren't really known for standing out.
OK, just in case you aren't in the know, the Bronze Harvest is all about bringing all those sparks on Luna 1 to life. It's known as the Bronze Harvest because it follows the Silver Harvest, a time when a massive number of sparks were brought online nearly five million years ago. While there's been no mention of a Golden Harvest, that would probably refer to the time when the first sparks came online following the creation of Primus and the rest of the Guiding Hand.
Also: Minimus Ambus is what you call Ultra Magnus when he's not wearing tons of armor. He's a little guy with a metal mustache.
In another corner of the post funeral, Drift meets with Whirl. Whirl thanks Drift for getting him a day off from the grueling life of being a prisoner at Garrus 10 but Drift explains that it was super easy because Whirl is apparently a model prisoner. Anyway, Drift is here to give Whirl a gift straight from Ratchet. We don't see what's in the box yet but it's Ratchet's hands (which he took from former colleague-turned-villain Parma when his own started failing). Whirl lost his own hands (and head) to Empurata torture/ punishment well before the Great War began and Ratchet had intended to give Whirl his hands upon his death since at LEAST as far back as Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #15.
You might have noticed that Brainstorm has his briefcase again. Well, "a" briefcase again. This one isn't a super secret time machine. Oh, no. THIS briefcase is a portable life support system that Brainstorm needs after an experiment went horribly wrong. He's showing off its inner components to Tailgate when he mentions that the clock within was built by Whirl while in Garrus 10. The fact that Whirl is officially in jail is new information for Tailgate who... apparently didn't notice the big "G10" shuttle and Whirl's guards.
Hey, speaking of Garrus 10, in the present (or a reasonable facsimile thereof), Rodimus and Ultra Magnus meet outside Megatron's cell at that very prison! Magnus served as Megatron's Orator for the Defense during this most recent trial (and also the LAST trial) and just like before, Megatron is totally guilty. At this point, it's all down to either death or SUPER PRISON. Super prison is like regular prison except it's more like solitary confinement. Forever.
So either one will suck.
Before the sentence is delivered, Rodimus is meeting with Megatron for the very last time. Like, he's the last visitor Megs will ever get, either way. Before he's let in, Ultra Magnus tells Roddy that his evidence for the defense helped since he admitted that Megatron opened up one of the matrixes when Rodimus found himself incapable of doing so. That is, of course, a lie. Megatron wasn't able to open a matrix and Rodimus totally could even without a hand. But Rodimus doesn't want to see Megatron doomed even though, as Megatron will reaffirm shorty, Megs believes he's getting off lightly.
Besides that little tidbit, when meeting with Rodimus, Megatron reveals that he's been carrying around a souvenir ever since he was separated from Team Rodimus during the first Lost Light storyline. It's a tattered Rodimus Star. Rodimus gave him this ostentation award off-panel "for abandoning his evil ways." It has reminded Megatron of his "best life."
Ultra Magnus returns to bring Megatron to the Sentencing Chamber. On their way out, Magnus has one last heart to heart with Megatron.
"That was a joke. Laugh. LAUGH I SAID."
In reality, Magnus reveals that he's going to take Megatron's advice and scrap his Magnus armor. This is why he's not wearing it in the future at Ratchet's funeral. He's going to live as Minimus Ambus full time. Megatron is happy for his friend, saying, "Good. Because you're so much bigger WITHOUT it."
Well, guess who's late for the funeral? It's Rodimus! He arrives in a orb shaped shuttlecraft, apologizing to Drift for not getting here on time. The ship he serves on, the Exitus, was own some mission or other and word didn't reach Rodimus that Ratchet had died in time for him to be... timely. Drift gives Rodimus one look and accuses him of coming to the funeral drunk.
Whirl is getting on board the shuttle back to Garrus 10 when Cyclonus confront him about being in and out of prison. Cyclonus thinks that when Whirl gets out THIS time, he should come and live with Tailgate and himself. Whirl is so overjoyed by this offer that he gives Cyclonus a giant hug.
If you're keeping track of all the callbacks, this mimics when Cyclonus gave Whirl a big hug back in MTMTE #2. At that time, Cyclonus had whispered that he was eventually going to kill Whirl but he's WAY past that, now. In fact, Whirl became one of his best friends. This book, man. It's amazing.
So... let's get back to the awkwardness. Rodimus stands in front of Ratchet's monument and drops something off that we don't get to see just yet. Drift walks up again and Rodimus explains that he's not drunk, he just had a little liquid refreshment to "steady his nerves." Drift starts talking about how Rodimus misses his old adventurous life but Rodimus nervously laughs that he's LIVING that adventure right now aboard the Exitus. Except those adventures are more... "running errands" than the craziness that happened on the Lost Light. When Drift hits THAT nail on the head, all Rodimus can do is stare in silence.
Whirl is all loaded up on the bus back to Garrus 10 but he's so filled with hope for the future that he flags down the bot who gave the eulogy. Since he doesn't know the guy's name, he fumbles through a bunch of different identifiers to get the eulogizer's attention including "Lunarian 113." That is the last "113" reference I can find in this book. Whirl hands him the package containing Ratchet's hands, telling the eulogizer to give them back to Drift because Whirl won't be needing them. "Say it's a lovely gesture, but I'm not BROKEN- and I don't need FIXING."
Speaking of that unnamed eulogy giver, he removes his helmet to reveal a mug that looks a LOT like Rung's.
As everyone starts taking off, Drift grabs Rodimus' attention one last time to ask him if some old nutty plan of their's worked way back in the past. Rodimus is upset because they're never supposed to talk about this particular plan but when Drift presses him, he honestly doesn't know if that plan worked out. And that's works for him because it means they can always act like it did. After making promises not to lose touch, Rodimus boards his orb shaped shuttle and tells the pilot to take off. The pilot, who ALSO looks a lot like Rung, makes a call to their captain, Thunderclash, to announce their imminent arrival.
On their way out, we're given a good view of Ratchet's funeral monument. Among a lot of vials of innermost energon, we see that Rodimus left Megatron's Rodimus Star badge. We also see the entire phrase engraved on the monument. It doesn't JUST say "THERE IS NO MEANING." In full, it says "WITHOUT LOVE THERE IS NO MEANING."
Ratchet died happy, people.
So you might be asking yourself: In a universe where Transformers change their looks every time they turn around, how come everyone in the far flung future looks exactly like they do in the present? And also: What was that vague plan that Drift and Rodimus were talking about in the far flung future?
OK, I can't answer the first question. Maybe everyone just became content with everything?
But that second question! Let's head back to the last day of the Lost Light. Rodimus had just finished talking about how he'd like the Lost Light to meet a final fate before they relinquish those quantum engines and everyone was talking about getting drunk in Swerve's bar. But before Rodimus could get his drink on, Nautica, Perceptor, and Brainstorm pulled him back so they could tell him about a "magic trick" they've been working on.
Way back when the Lost Light first left Cybertron in More Than Meets the Eye #1, an accident in the quantum engine room blasted the Lost Light in two directions at the same time, creating two version of the ship and its crew. Things only fell apart when those two Lost Lights met and the universe had to make a choice on which version of the ship and crew it was going to keep. The universe chose the ship with the dead crew and only some timely intervention from newer members of the crew who hadn't been on the Lost Light when it got split in two (including Megatron) got back "our" version of the ship and crew.
Well, Perceptor, Nautica, and Brainstorm propose they do the same thing but on purpose. To make it so these two versions of the Lost Light and crew will exist without cancelling the other out, the "second" Lost Light will be sent to another universe where they don't originally exist. It's a crazy plan with low chance for success.
So, after putting it to a vote, everyone on board the Lost Light unanimously agrees to it. When the Lost Light jumps back to New Cybertron, the plan is enacted.
Future Rodimus might not know if this worked or not but WE do and it totally did. The Lost Light arrives in a universe they didn't make, free to continue their adventures forever. Brainstorm and Perceptor bond over their combined success with Perceptor finally agreeing that the two are "Simpatico." This is pretty much all Brainstorm has ever wanted: Perceptor's validation.
As the Lost Light flies off to face the unknown, Rodimus asks his co-captain how Megatron feels about doing this until the end of time. Megatron smiles, saying, "I think forever sounds about right."
And that, my dudes, is the ever lovin' blue eyed end! I'm not lying when I say that I have loved the crap out of the entire More Than Meets the Eye/ Lost Light series. It's definitely the best continuous comic storyline I have read while it was happening and quite possibly the best I've ever read. Granted, I love Transformers and I love comics. So it combines two of my favorite things in the best possible way. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in creating this excellent story.
And thank YOU for taking the time to read my gushing walk-through of the final Lost Light story. We've still got Unicron and Optimus Prime to finish up but I'm happy to get the best one done. I hope you'll hang out to see how this crazy Hasbro-verse ends.