MAJOR EDIT: I duplicated the "Seeds & Payoff" to its own page. And I added issue #22. All future updates will be on that page. Thanks.
Continuing and concluding with my ranting and praise of MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE!
So here's the meat of what I'm getting at: More Than Meets The Eye is either a comic where some jokes were later turned into plot points because, "Oh yeah, I said THIS about THAT back then, maybe I can squeeze it in" OR James Roberts planted some seeds in what must have been some amazingly descriptive scripts, because artists Alex Milne (and Nick Roche, and many others) put these things right on the page and mind-blown fans have gone back and reread the book several times, only to wonder how on Cybertron they missed it the first time. (It's the latter.)
Transformer comics are not known for their subtlety. Transformers, the brand and the characters, are not known for subtlety. But these moments in the book that you giggle at, or just pass over with your eyeballs while wondering when they're going to address a lurking evil in their midst, pay off out of almost nowhere; Suddenly you GASP because their Darkest Hour is at hand, and what Lights it and saves the day was that gag you found so funny a dozen issues ago.
The plot, again: Rodimus, thinking the empty Matrix is a map, grabs a crew of disillusioned Autobots and heads into space to find the Circle Of Light, a city full of pious religious robots who moved away from Cybertron to live in peace from the war, yet still ready to defend themselves in bad-ass ways. They pick up some old (and not previously-seen) friends along the way, and run into some trouble here and there. It's the journey, not the destination for this book.
You already know from the previous posts that I REALLY like this comic book. After issue reading issue #21, where many threads were tied up (but not all resolved, of course) I have to say I'm really impressed. It's not a perfect book; there are inclusions of characters who happen to have toys being released shortly afterward (mostly in the return of the Spotlight books) and so you have to wonder if some focus had to be diverted from the planned plot to include, say, Metroplex and the Titans every so often. There's also a flashback narrative where one wonders if it was mandated by the corporate property owners to include a story about Optimus Prime, considering that he is currently out of the regular narrative in both ongoing titles (Robots In Disguise being the other)...but what is great that this narrative is in fact a story ABOUT a narrative. And the inclusion of the Titans (Metroplex sized characters, now available at Toys R Us) isn't jarring in the least bit. "Hey everyone, it's POOCHIE, the dog! He's a 1/3rd Fonzarrelli!" You know what I mean.
What follows after a jump: a summary, a few problems I have with the book, and a MASSIVE AMOUNT OF SPOILERS, because I went through page by page and tried to pick out every seed planted and where it pays off, and POSSIBLE seeds for...future issues! This last bit will be only good if you've read the comic.
Rodimus, Drift, and Ultra Magnus take the Lost Light with a crew of about 200 Autobots and a few stowaways. In the ranks are Swerve and Pipes, neither who saw a lot of action in the war, Ratchet, feeling down about his declining skills, and Chromedome and Rewind, two bots in love willing to document the exploration. There's also Brainstorm, carrying a suitcase of who knows what, Hoist, Trailbreaker, and Rung, a psychiatrist who also avoided most action but was able to observe nearly everything. Red Alert is the ship's incredibly paranoid director of security. And Whirl was dragged along for the ride when he was injured by a blast caused by Tailgate, a robot lost in time with no idea what he's missed. Cyclonus, given new life after surviving the Dead Universe and the D-Void, tags along because he feels there's nothing left for him on the nearly destroyed Cybertron.
Things go off to a terrible start when the ship quantum jumps to the other side of the galaxy, and as they try to account for Autobots injured in the accident, Skids teleports in their proximity, in a ship made out of robots who then want to crush him. And he has no memory of what happened or how he got there.
And Red Alert has no idea how Overlord was stuffed in the basement of the ship.
The adventures begin. A sparkeater is let loose; Ratchet tries to find his replacement in an old friend who has made a deal with some unsavory types; we meet some Decepticons with no purpose, only for them to come across Decepticons with a very violent purpose; a story within the story is told to help repair an injured crew member's brain, and the story connects many of the crew; there's a rescue, there a night out to celebrate, and then there's Overlord in the basement of the ship.
Some SPOILERS that follow include who put him there, why Ultra Magnus is the way he is (because he's not really Ultra Magnus), and that Tailgate also isn't who he says he was. So many other minor events in the foreground and background have yet to come to fruition. Or maybe they're things I'm personally highlighting because now I think that when a Decepticon says "that's like saying there's no more blue," I have to wonder: will a plot point be that Star Sabre shows up and removes the color blue from the light spectrum?!?!?
Like I said, issue 21 wraps up a lot of the goals of the crew and by then much has been revealed; both the obvious (like Skids' amnesia), the bizarre (and Ultra Magnus used to tell jokes...because that was a different Ultra Magnus), and of course the throwaway but memorable dialogue that ends up saving the day ( ; ).
The one big issue I have, as 21 caps off what I hope is the first part of their wild and hilarious adventure, was the shock reveal of Rodimus coming clean that he agreed to put Overlord at the bottom of the ship. I can buy that Prowl convinced some of the amoral scientist types (Brainstorm, Chromedome) to have him there for them to experiment with while he really hoped to both get Overlord off Cybertron (I'm guessing) and maybe teach the deserting Lost Light crew a permanent lesson in the event Overlord escapes (is that a stretch? To Robot In Disguise's credit, Prowl is a pretty cold and vicious character, even without the mind control). I (PERSONALLY) can't buy that Rodimus would agree/allow this to happen, on HIS ship; that he'd allow Prowl to bully him, or just plain DARE him, to have such a great risk on his quest, a quest that was less about finding the Lost Light and more about proving that he'd be a better Prime than Orion Pax. And I have to stress that most of the characterization in the writing is SO GOOD that Rodimus' reaction in #15 to Overlord showing up showed complete shock and surprise. He's clearly cockier than ever, substituting arrogance for the maturity everyone assumed he gained when he was briefly fused with the Matrix in Mike Costa's run. But in #16, he ends up ragging on one of the victims in his eulogy. Would he have knocked Tripodeca's size and altmode AT TRIPODECA'S FUNERAL IN TRIPODECA'S EULOGY if he felt remotely guilty for allowing Overlord on the ship, thus being responsible for Tripodeca's death? He's got a few morals, right? So I thought that that revelation came out of nowhere. I scoured for a hint, and other than being the one to discover Red Alert's body after Red Alert found Overlord, which if I were Columbo I would have thought it to be convenient ("'Til all are ONE MORE THING..."), I didn't see much.
And here, there's SO MUCH going on in this comic.
SO, the rest of this is selected moments in the pages of the comic; moments of foreshadowing or hints that all is not what it seems; same themes that come up in different situations; coincidences that coincide with a planned conspiracy; and conjecture that THIS moment might mean something else VERY SOON.
There are SPOILERS. There is NO EXPLANATION, and I'm not discussing the plot for each issue. This will be of no use to you if you HAVE NOT READ THE COMIC, so if you haven't read it, STOP READING THIS AND BUY MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE! NOW! (Also, watch Arrested Development.)
Please note: I've read Last Stand Of The Wreckers, but not the little extras as I bought it on Comixology and they didn't come with tidbits about Brainstorm or other characters. So if there's something planted THERE, I don't know about it. Here's a few other caveats, so bear with me:
-TF Wiki is a great source, but I did my best to NOT look at it while typing this up. They have I'm sure gotten much more than I've listed here for every issue. I didn't want to lift anything while typing this. Please check it out. And you can ruin the plot for yourself, cheapskate.
-If you have anything to correct or add, PLEASE! In the comments! And I'll change it! AND if you wanna cut and paste this stuff, PLEASE! Just link me or something.
-SEED and FORESHADOWING could mean the same thing. I'm not creating a Marvel Comics-style Index for this title.
-Some of my SEED ideas? I'm clearly theorizing, and in some cases I'm completely sleep deprived and just making something up because...why not? Why CAN'T Star Sabre remove the color blue? Huh? HUH?
-I am in fact spoiling a lot, so, you know, I told you so.
Okay, well, strap yourself in...
Page 6 - Chromedome must have agreed to Prowl's Overlord plan and erased whatever memory Prowl had that could blackmail Chromedome, as seen in #14. We will see how far back they go in "Shadowplay."
Page 7 - "All you two need to do is load the cargo." "You two" must mean Shock & Ore (will be obvious in issue 3).
Page 8 - Tailgate has a trailer. "Disposal" written on his arm is now "-osal." In issue 16, one of the bots will find an engraving for "Waste Disposal," which we find out in #13 is Tailgate's function. He is also apparently (according to #21) two weeks old at this point in the flashback.
Page 11 - Brainstorm's suitcase is a "work in progress." TW WIKI has this on it. This was from the text story in Last Stand Of The Wreckers.
Swerve hasn't been on a quest since 'Moonquest,' some sort of search for Luna 1 (discovered in #17).
Page 12 - Rung's 2nd appearance. He was in the Chaos Theory flashback in Mike Costa's run (that James Roberts cowrote).
Page 13 - "I don't trust him OR him, especially in their combined form." Ultra Magnus referring to Shock & Ore? (A previous Magnus is working with that pair in a flashback in #16.) "Never, EVER let him near a crossbow." Atomizer would later be seen with a crossbow.
Page 16 - SEED: "Everyone's shape serves a purpose," which comes in handy for Rewind much to Chromedome's dismay in issue 15.
Page 18 - Rewind buying data discs from Swindle, which are later to be revealed in #12 to be videos of TFs dying, material Rewind wants to review to see if he can find Dominus Ambus. Rodimus is "frozen" at the moment he catches Rewind with the discs in Spotlight Trailcutter (published much later); Rewind is punished in issue 6. Rewind himself has not discussed the discs with anyone.
Page 22 - FORESHADOWING - the message from the future is for Rodimus, captain of the Lost Light, the name of the robot sending the transmission cut out. If it's for his captain, something must have happened to Rodimus that hasn't happened yet. So far this hasn't been reenacted in later pages; it maybe hasn't happened yet, or the activity of the message HAS happened but "off-panel," with no need "Don't open the coffin." (No coffins yet, unless the Sparkeater in issue 3 was hiding there?) "Don't go to Delphi," Delphi being the setting for issues 4 and 5. "Do not...look in the basement." The basement is where Overlord was stashed. "For the love of the Cybertronian race itself, please don't (cut off)" Is this a panicked Red Alert? Someone who is NOT part of the crew?
Page 3 - Chromedome & Rewind supervise Hoist pulling Cyclonus from a lake. He was last seen, in their presence, face down after fighting with Whirl.
Page 4 - "You haven't escaped, they're all around you." Skids wrote it with a blowtorch in a flashback in issue 20 referring to the ship itself, made out of Legislators. He doesn't see the gun in his right hand for this page, page 11 & 12, and the next few issues, as explained in issue 20, the "bullet" wiped out his memory of his recent action, including holding the gun, and thus he would keep forgetting about it until he loses it. (The story was sold as "Arrested Development in space," so it's very fitting that James Roberts invented the "Roofie Circle" nearly two years before AD's season 4.) SEED: Wow, what a COINCIDENCE that Skids teleports not too far from the Lost Light!
Page 6 - "Nineteen eighty-four" will be 19 (80) paragraph 4, later to be revealed: thought crimes.
Page 9 - "You'll go to prison!" Whirl will be in prison during Shadowplay (for his actions in Chaos Theory)...which takes place just before the Autobot/Decepticon war. Though perhaps it's just once of many times Whirl will be in prison...?
Page 13 - Cyclonus claims to have attached himself to the hull before Lost Light's takeoff on page 21 of issue 1.
Page 14 - Cyclonus' first threat to Whirl. He imagines in issue 21 before agreeing that it's "cool," but here he says "and don't think you'll see it coming," so perhaps issue 21 was the point where Whirl lets his guard down and is killed off in a much later issue?
Page 15 - Tailgate says that the "osal" on his arm is for "Bomb Disposal."
Page 16 - Chromedome: "This again?" Rewind: "I know. What are the chances?" Referring to issue 1's battle between Whirl & Cyclonus... They also thought Skids, thrown in front of them, had died a long time ago.
Page 17 - "And it appears I even have a motto." On his G1 Tech Spec, it is "Deep down, we are more like than humans." Since he wasn't part of any comics series that dealt with the adventures on Earth and thus hadn't met the humans, is his motto "Let's dance?"
Page 18 - The handgun is pointed out to Skids. "I didn't realize it was there," and (SEED) he will not notice it again. Tailgate hears the Legislator say "Nineteen...eighty...four."
Page 19 - Drift sent Red Alert and Shock to investigate noises that other 'bots were hearing on the lower decks. Perhaps these noises are from the Sparkeater...or (FORESHADOWING) perhaps other 'bots are hearing the hum that is the slowed speech of Overlord.
Page 23 - first "Meet The Crew," with 13 characters.
Page 1 - Shock confirms that Prowl had called them in issue 1.
Page 3 - "Traditional Cybertronian Rhyme." Which happens to rhyme when translated into English. :P
Page 4 - Tailgate, having been unconscious for 6 million years, recognizes Cyclonus.
Page 5 - Trailcutter mentions "the SHIMMER," "The Necrobot," and "The SEETHING MOON." The Necrobot is seen at the end of #8? SEED: What is the Shimmer? Ultra Magnus once arrested a Decepticon named Blip; Blip will be seen in #12. Trailcutter's "strikes me as intensely wrong" line will be reused by Rewind in #16.
Page 6 - Rossum's trinity (Spark, Brain Module, Transformation Cog are interlinked) might explain the longevity and durability of Cybertronians, many seem to survive near apocalyptic situations for millions of years. ALSO, Rossum has a real-world source, a play "Rossum's Universal Robots." (I personally would have assumed that Roberts made this name up, and never looked it up, until my friend Brad Gunter directed the show recently in Chicago). Rossum is a character in #14.
Page 9 - Swerve mentions his plans with Blurr. This is a delusion that Swerve has after meeting Blurr (a flashback in #13). But at this point, after 4 millions years of Autobot comrade-re, couldn't the two have possibly crossed paths as fellow soldiers?
Page 10 - Skids asks Swerve is he listens to much music (and "music" is in bold/italics in the panel). Does Skids hear the "music" that Red Alert hears in #5?
Page 11 - "The worse the death" line is from a flashback in #12. Drift: "I don't know what the neutrals were up to but HORRIFIC things must have happened on this ship." So far the Sparkeater is the remnant of anything the previous owners of the Lost Light owned that the current crew have had to deal with.
Page 12 - Animus is the first bot (in this series) that is injured (killed) because Whirl has locked the door on him. This is Whirl's murderous M.O.
Page 16 - Bots are still trying to remember Rung's name.
Page 17 - Rung references the microphone in his thumb. SEED: This will come in handy in #6. Brainstorm also questions the Skids' Snake Pliskken-ivity.
Page 18 - Brainstorm shields himself with his briefcase.
Page 3 (part of 2 page layout of panels) - First Aid mentions that Pharma was a donor for a transplant he (Pharma) himself was performing. THEME: First Aid would later use himself to jumpstart FortMax at the end of the issue; Ratchet would sacrifice his health to transform and act as a generator to save the patients at Delphi. Ambulon is the only one who does not directly use himself to power/sustain/cure other robots; he was once a Decepticon.
Page 4 - Swerve's bar. Skids is still holding his gun in his right hand.
Page 5 - Skids' right hand is empty.
Page 6 - Rodimus is etching things into his desk with a knife. Ultra Magnus says "well, who knows WHAT'S going on with Skids." Ultra Magnus must not been checking in with Chief Justice Tyrest, and must be completely oblivious to the use of Legislators and their interest in Skids.
Page 8 - Drift claims not to be bothered by the potential presence of the D.J.D. They are unaware of him, or don't know where he is.
Page 10 - "Prowl" aka Dent later would be described as a bot who likes to hug. His attempt to hug was interpreted by Drift as an attack on Pipes.
Page 14 - the "Big Bang" is described as a possible dirty bomb. (Observation: is this is the 2nd aural event taken as a warning, the first being the music and sounds bots are hearing in the previous issues. Is 'sound as a weapon' a theme in this series? In #20/21, the crew present with Tyrest are incapacitated by a frequency that suggests they not move; Tailgate's inability to hear it due to his disease is what saves them.)
Page 20 - Ratchet holds the dying Pipes' hand with both of his. This is a comfort pose that will be used again (#5, page 3, with Drift, for example).
Page 22 - FORT MAX!
Page 3 - Ratchet once saved Drift's life; see Shadowplay.
Page 8 - Ultra Magnus had looked up Tailgate's bio, but the bot that was supposed to board the first ark six million years ago was TailPIPE.
Page 10 - Red Alert started hearing the 'noise' after the "sparkeater business," but that doesn't mean others aren't interpreting it as music either. I could be reading too much into Skids' question in #3.
Page 11 - As a matter of fact, Skids is asking Brainstorm if he likes music. Is this just Skids making conversation or can Skids pick up on the low hum and thus is asking if anyone else can hear it? Rewind is missing some data discs; Rodimus will be seen holding some over Rewind in Spotlight Trailcutter. "He won't find them," meaning Red Alert found (confiscated) them and handed them to Rodimus?
Page 12 - Grammar and punctuation are themes and running gags in this series. "Section 9 of the Tyrest Accord. Subsection 80, Paragraph Five: 19 (80) 5." So "Nineteen Eighty Four" becomes 19 (80) 4, Skids' thought warfare. Which in #20 is Skids trying to implant a thought on Tyrest (did he not see Inception?) before wiping out his own memory.
Page 15 - the monoformer Decepticons were really Duobots named "Sonic" and "Boom," and the weapon was in fact a sound and not a bomb.
Page 16 - first mention of Killmaster (with the wand).
Page 21 - "Look at that elbow: there's no way that's a load-bearing joint." Ultra Magnus is revealed to be Minimus Ambus, a load bearing bot, #19.
Page 22 - First Aid also holding Drift's hand in a comforting way.
Published much later (but before the Remain In Light arc), but events take place between #s 5 & 6.
Page 6 - Is that Killmaster, with the wand?
Page 10 - Top panel is Rodimus holding Rewind's missing data discs. "Incoming message" from Hoist on the screen, alluding to SPOTLIGHT HOIST.
Page 15 - is that G1 Lugnut at the top right of the page?
Page 17 - again, this was published more recently, well after the Annual/special and just before the Remain In Light storyarc. The Titans were being introduced in all the comics as a plot point (especially with the toy coming out). "Our Employer" would be Tyrest (#17). Trailcutter calls the piece a "thumb," and there's a Thumbquest on Swerve's list of great quests in a regular issue of the series.
Page 2 - references moments from Last Sand Of The Wreckers.
Page 4 - "We just spent SIX HOURS discussing the relevance of a SEMICOLON." SEED: The Semicolon comes to the rescue in #21.
Page 5 - Skids: "the Ultra Magnus I remember was always so CHEERFUL." Skids remembers a time with another bot in Ultra Magnus armor, still thinking it's Ultra Magnus, having not been part of the current Autobot action in thousands of years. Or made himself forget with the "empty" thought-bullet he used on himself in the flashback in #20, losing any knowledge that Tyrest was switching out bots in the Magnus armor. Trailcutter makes fun of FortMax's guns in his legs. Later in #12, Trailbreaker will have guns installed in his legs.
Page 9 - PAYOFF: Rung's thumb mentioned in #3 comes in handy.
Page 10 - FortMax is mad at Prowl. He'd be even angrier if he knew what Prowl put in the basement. FortMax can't remember Rung's name.
Page 14 - Rung's model of the ship comes in handy.
Page 15 - Red Alert did in fact find the data discs; Rewind is being punished.
Page 18 - Overlord is first mentioned.
Page 21 - Drift must be aware that Red Alert is getting closer to discovering Overlord, which is his, Brainstorm's, and Chromedome's secret (#14). It's also, apparently, Rodimus', as revealed in #21.
Page 22 - Overlord in his slow cell. Never explained out the tear between the slow cell and the basement affects the cell's power to slow things down, or if that ability seeps through the tear. (Why worry about it? Right?)
#7 Introduces the DJD
Page 2 - Tarn's body shape is comparable to that of Roller's in the Shadowplay series.
Page 5 - Sky Shadow explodes after Tarn speaks to him in a whisper, "coaxing the spark into giving up." THEME: Another sound as a weapon.
Page 7 - More hand holding, now between Red Alert and Rung. (I'm not complaining, or suggesting anything, or suggesting that it's anything wrong; this is just a common pose.) "When you wake up, please, find out what happened to me." Red Alert puts the memory stick with the sound file (SOUND!) into the hole where Rung's MICROPHONE thumb had been. Later Red Alert would be found decapitated. The little medical droid is unbelievably cute. Also, it's the only witness to Red Alert's actions. (Its blue light turns red in a panel; we find out later it's sending a message to Drift). Funny how Red Alert is unaware that the droid is watching.
Page 8 - Introducing Fulcrum, K-class suicide bomber. "You might LIKE ME! You might find me - Disarming! Yes! I'd DISARM you!" And next issue we learn that Fulcrum's internal bomb was disarmed/removed by the scavenging Decepticons. (Fulcrum in English is "the point at which a lever pivots.")
Page 9 - Misfire introduces himself.
Page 10 - Crankcase's brain is exposed due to some sort of head injury? "...if he smiles, his precarious cranial architechture will COLLAPSE and he will DIE. He's the only Decepticon who can be killed by a single punchline." SEED: He meets Swerve, and dies. Note: Crankcase says "Bah." Others around him can't believe that someone would actually say "Bah."
Page 11 - Brainstorm is making Evasive Bullets, ones that will not hit innocent targets. Throwaway joke or will it come up later? His briefcase is not attached to him in this scene.
Page 12 - Flashback page where Chromedome stole Skids' gun; it had room for two cartridges. We find out about the "bullets" in #20.
Page 14 - "That's like saying there's no more Blue, or, or the Weather's stopped!" SEED: There will be no more of the color blue in a future issue. (Probably not a seed.)
Page 15 - Phase 7 of the initial IDW Decepticon 6 phase plan.
Page 16 - someone with dark blue hands removes the sound file from Rung's thumbhole. (Drift?)
Page 17 - Necrobot is mentioned. "Roams the galaxy administering Posthumous Rites."
Page 19 - Mighty Starship IS a good name for a ship, even one that is a house of horrors as this one. Ceiling is covered in bot brains; perhaps sparkeaters tore out the brain modules, as done with Shock in #3? Not sure what SEEDS are planted here. Wooden Robot? Brains in the ceilings? SEED: the ship itself is alive? Its this the Decepticon version of an Institute, or SEED relinquishment clinic?
Page 21 - Krok hears MUSIC, some kind of transmission. It's the DJD!
Page 2/3 spread - Seed? Krok has signaled his squad. No, because of page 19...
Page 4/5 spread - Movie night! "I remember you from way back from the heist..." Chromedome and Skids will meet in the Shadowplay flashback story. Skids: "All those people I've met...who've touched my life...I hate to think I might've forgotten them." FORESHADOWING? Chromedome had been deleting memories of his best friends who died, issue #16.
Page 7 - The trap being set on Tarn is Grimlock in a box...Tarn: "Still, I never could resist a CLOSED COFFIN." In #1, "Don't open the coffin." Is the device they found Grimlock in a Cybertronian coffin? Is THIS the coffin the warning from the future refers to? SEED: the team sending the warning is Fulcrum's adopted Decepticon scavenger team? (does the coffin remind anyone of the coffin the bad guys in Voltron would send their robobeasts out to battle?)
Page 10 - SEED: Chromedome on the only recent memory in Skids' mind: "An impulse? ...the need to escape." Skids was escaping from somewhere. LATER, Chromedome will realize it was just the word "Getaway," referring to an Autobot (#20). Skids discusses the MUSIC stuck in his mind, and it's The Empyrean Suite according to Chromedome, who knows what it is and hints that it must mean trouble. (The music stuck in his head is NOT "Getaway" from Season 4 of Arrested Development...)
Page 13 - Tarn tries his whispering spark destruction thing on Grimlock.
Page 15 - Cybernaught - Ultra Magnus (one of them) will be shot down by one of these in a flashback in #16.
Page 16 - Tarn tells Fulcrum to "Face The Music." An Earth colloquialism, and more "music = death."
Page 18 - Does Tarn believe that Fulcrum exploded, just in a small explosion? Whatever, he loses interest when he discovers that Overlord is still alive, and knows where he is. He's on the Lost Light. Yet by #15 the DJD haven't caught up with him. Nevertheless, the scavengers and Grimlock are on the DJD's list.
Page 19 - Crankcase on Krok's squad: "I don't think they'll ever turn up.... Just ask him to show you what's in his hand sometime- then you'll understand." FORESHADOWING! (A hologram emits from Orion Pag's palm in Shadowplay.)
Page 20/21 spread - Misfire tries to guess at the word Grimlock is trying to say: "Mortilus? Moonbase 2?" Mortilus is part of the Guiding Hand mythos. Not sure how Moonbase 2 will play into this. FORESHADOWING: Misfire & crew are going to take Grimlock back to Cybertron. This has not played out yet, even though we still see the scavenger team engaged in some tomfoolery in #20.
Page 22 - "18 months later" Flywheels' remains are visited by...THE NECROBOT? On his list: HOUND, CHROMEDOME, DIPSTICK, DRIFT, ULTRA MAGNUS, and Flywheels.
Meet The Crew is replaced with Meet The 'Cons.
ANNUAL 2013 - takes place sometime between 6 and 7/8 apparently?
Page 3 - Nanobots were from a previous adventure, Ultra Magnus not sure from whom exactly. Were these from a previous Ultra Magnus' adventure, left over in the armor?
Page 5 - Atomizer has the crossbow.
Page 6/7 spread - Chromedome is having nightmares based on the death of Autobots whose brains he's autopsied. Swerve is looking for Red Alert.
Page 8 - Rodimus still etching on his desk with a knife.
Page 11 - Beachcomber apparently is a scholar, according to the inserted quote.
Page 12 - SOUND CUE: The robots in medbay all "squeezed their AUDIO SENSORS so hard we thought they were going to crush their own brain modules."
Page 14 - The Galactic Council is "Taxpayer-Funded." (Observation: suppress questions on who pays them, how TFs have been paying them since the war started, etc.) Rodimus hates their hats.
Page 15 - Observation: Ultra Magnus' Tyrest title finally comes into some sort of use. After 100+ issues of IDW TF comics, we're finally getting to see how this Tyrest Accord thing factors into the TF universe...and later Tyrest himself is an actual player.
Page 16 - "Our defining characteristic tends to be our four million year civil war."
Page 17 - Ore thinks that he's speaking to Pipes and badmouths Swerve.
Page 19 - Swerve: "Ever get the feeling that you've been lied to?" The Decepticon rally cry is "You are being deceived." Swerve also says he should try to cure Cybercrosis instead of playing pranks. Tailgate will be diagnosed with Cybercrosis in #17.
Page 22 - K'Gard to Magnus: "You're a law enforcement officer of a million years' standing who has shrugged off EVERYTHING his enemies have thrown at him and kept on going, driven by your belief in the law....You are LEGENDARY." Clearly.
Page 23 - "Religion is the Engex of the people." -Megatron stealing Marx.
Page 24 - Skids doesn't know what a Metrotitan is. Metroplex & co. are fabled, yet some prominent Autobots have claimed to have based in them in the early part of the war. QUEST: BRAINQUEST. Rodimus calls the group "Crusadercons," which was what Swerve suggested at the end of #2. Not sure if he's joking or if they really agreed on that name.
Page 26/27 spread - Luna 1 is destroyed in Cyclonus' retelling of Cybertronian lore. Luna 1 will be found in #17.
Page 29 - Chromedome to Skids: "Maybe there's someone who can save your life, too." Referring to Getaway, who already had (#20)? Drift to Rodimus: "You're important, Rodimus. More important than even you realize. One day, EVERYTHING will depend on you." SEED: Rodimus uses himself to save all the 'constructed cold' 'bots in #21. This could still refer to a different event in later issues, however.
Page 30 - Legislators are in Chromedome's vision.
Page 39 - Ore has disappeared, teleported from Lost Light's engine. SEED: he and the Metrotitan in this issue show up in a later issue?
Page 40 - SEED! FORESHADOWING! Galactic Council suggests regime change for the Cybertronians.
#9 - Shadowplay - it's a flashback issue.
Page 1 - Nightbeat was a favorite of Simon Furman's, both to write and to kill off. He was killed off by Hardhead in one of the Revelations comics.
Page 2 - Maccadam's Oil House. Mention of Proteus's Promise (note: is this in following with Strunk & White's Elements Of Style? Having the "'s" after a name ending in "s"?).
Page 3 - Nightbeat might have an oil/Engex problem. Also, "A Totally Epic Story Based On Real Events That Definitely Happened" reminds me of the Alan Moore line over his Superman comics, "An Imaginary Tale...but aren't they all?"
Page 7 - Chromedome & Prowl: detectives!
Page 8 - Prowl's catchphrase is "We need a full autopsy." Skids believes this Prowl to be the one "Posted at Delphi? Likes a hug?" aka Dent. Either Skids has been away for a long time, Prowl is recent to the Autobots (given his early "nail" status mentioned in #1) OR Prowl may have been involved in the activities Skids was involved in shortly before wiping out his memory in the #20 flashback. Rewind references Prowl's actions in #1.
Page 10 - Sonic and Boom are beating up pre-Drift.
Page 14 - Drift: "...I was going to the local RELINQUISHMENT CLINIC to DONATE my-" cut off by Tailgate.
Page 15 - that's a Power-Dasher turning into Blurr in the "ad." Also: "The Top 10 Metroplex Sightings."
Page 18 - Prime's Senator friend is introduced in Chaos Theory. SPOILER: It's Shockwave before he was Shockwave. SEED: Senator Shockwave is interested in finding Luna 1. Seeing as how the later evil Shockwave would be planting Energon "seeds" on other planets, like Earth, maybe finding Luna 1 was put on the botton of his list.
Page 20 - Like Crankcase saying "Bah" in #7, Prowl says "Pffft." A meta-theme of robots questioning generally-printed-never-spoken exclamations?
Page 22 - Rodimus points out to Drift that he has a witness to the discovery of a headless Red Alert. SEED: If I were Columbo, I would say that Rodimus could be pretending that they were both discovering Red Alert's body, and Rodimus already knew it was there and actually had something to do with...well, anyway.
Meet The Crew - "Red Alert (Somehow Still) Director Of Security" is one of the less subtle changes that the Crew bio change generally has every issue or so.
#10 - Shadowplay
Page 1 - is that Roller watching TV?
Page 4/5 spread - Red Alert looks a lot different in the flashbacks than he does in the current timeframe.
Page 6 - Shuttle Bay 3 houses a ship, Ultra Magnus'. "I was on Reconnaissance." In #12, the crew will attack a planet scouted by Ultra Magnus
Page 8 - First Aid: "...I know who did this - and it's NOT Cyclonus." He's working on the adorable medical droid, the only witness to Red Alert inserting the memory stick into Rung's thumbhole in #6.
Page 10 - Orion Pax: "Read My Palm." It generates a hologram of a badge. So what does Krok's palm do again (#8)?
Page 14 - Graffiti on prison wall: "Free in 63!" and "Wreck 'N' Rule." Were the Wreckers a thing before the war? Observation: Whirl seems sad as he says (SEED!) "I want my hands back." Impactor is Whirl's new cellmate.
Page 15 - Swerve: "But That's A WHOLE OTHER STORY!" It's a joke on the framing of the story and the following transition; Swerve will literally get meta when he opens up the 'narrative' weapon in #15.
Page 16 - Graffiti includes the Decepticon "You Are Being Deceived" slogan along with "Resist The Clamp" and "Free in 63" (the latter covered up by a text box).
Page 17 - Chromedome: "You'd leave Cybertron? What about me?" Prowl: "I assumed you'd come with me." Is their status deeper than 'police partners?' Rewind seems upset (and jealous?). Trepan will show up again in #14.
Page 18/19 spread - Chromedome points out Trepan's hand; Trepan has needles similar to the ones Chromedome will later use to search the minds of robots. Chromedome mentions "Whiteout Vacuums," but later it is revealed that Whiteout Vacuums aren't real. Which sucks considering that Overlord is in the basement. The scientists are working on brain modules; is the Decepticon "Mighty Spacecraft" in #7 a floating Relinquishment Clinic?
Page 20/21 spread - (Unlikely) SEED: Rewind wanted to write Optimus Prime's War Memoirs. Perhaps he is hiding more stories than Optimus would like to have known?
#11 - Shadowplay
Page 2 - Roller's body shape is similar to that of Tarn's. I credit Collecticon.org with this SEED: Roller becomes Tarn.
Page 4 - Swerve gets Rung's name wrong. Though that's a running gag, this might be on purpose, as Swerve spent the Annual feeling guilty about shooting him. METAnote: Whirl calls Rung "a HISTORICAL CONSTANT OBSERVER, but never an active participant." Along with Tailgate presumably, Rung is a surrogate for the reader to relate to the events unfolding to regular characters already living in this world.
Page 5 - Ironfist: "Somewhere around here is a bomb disposal kit once used by-" cut off. Was he going to saaaaaay "TailPIPE?" Delta Magnus is mentioned; he's a relative of Ultra M (the original?).
Page 7 - Roller lists off the varied advanced planning of their Senator pal. Like the guy is a logical, ruthless genius or something (cough: SHOCKWAVE!). "There are...other peoplle like you...he's BEFRIENDED and MODIFIED so the can carry the matrix." SEED: besides Shockwave becoming SHOCKWAVE by the end of the issue, will we meet these other Possible Primes?
Page 8 - First Aid concludes that Red Alert attempted suicide. If Rodimus, revealed in #21 to have been part of the plan to bring Overlord aboard and had something to do with stopping Red Alert from meddling, he's doing a great job of hiding it.(And is First Aid in on it?) As a matter of fact...
Page 9 - Ultra Magnus seems more concerned about Red Alert's behavior, and actually suggests keeping Red Alert from becoming conscious again. SEED MISDIRECT! Maybe in the last panel Rodimus shows remorse but...
Page 10 - Is that Blitzwing guarding Primal Basilica? Who is the other Triple Changer? Observation: The dialog boxes are also arrows. Nice.
Page 13 - Bot blowing up Roller is"Kroma," who Whirl was talking to in his flashback in #10...did Whirl tip them off off-panel?
#12 - The issue is called "Before & After" as the pages are purposely out of order. White bordered pages represent the story before the explosion; black, after. I will not put the time frame cited on the pages, but will mention if it's before or after.
Page 3 (before) - Hound: "Those engine rooms are CURSED." First time since Drift that someone mentions the bad karma of this ship. Trailbreaker now has guns attached to his legs, just like FortMax.
Page 4 (before) - Blip is introduced, mentioned in #3 as a Decepticon Ultra Magnus once arrested.
Page 6 (before) - Ultra Magnus is stepping on Slugfest.
Page 8 (after) - Spoke & Lockstock, injured off-panel, will be mentioned again in #16, injured again in battle.
Page 9 (after) - Conjunx Endura is mentioned for the first time? This might be the first time any sort of relationship beyond sibling is mentioned in the IDW TF universe, as Simon Furman had made Cybertronians genderless, all having a pronoun of "he," until Arcee was introduced as a creation of Jihaxus. There are female-looking bots (rounded curves, red lips, things like that) hither and yon, usually in the background. Conjunx Endura is defined in this issue as "significant other," a partnership for various reasons, and as seen in #16 a romantic one between Chromedome and Rewind (again, two GENDERLESS ROBOTS, but even considering that, what's the problem?).
Page 10 (before) - Overkill!
Page 11 (before) - Tailgate has "Bomb Disposal" etched on his forearm. At this point, it might be clear here that Tailgate is full of poop (robopoop) regarding his function.
Page 14 (after) - Dominus Ambus is introduced; he is related to Minimus Ambus, aka current Ultra Magnus. Observation: wouldn't Minimu/Ultra Magnus have recognized Rewind? Tailgate: "So did this attention-seeking do-goodder find a cure for cybercrosis as well? Please tell me NOT." FORESHADOWING! That's what Tailgate comes down with in #16! What SEED is being planted on these pages (Rewind searches high and low for Dominus, he befriends and falls in genderless-robo-love with Chromedome, Rewind supposedly is killed off in #15, and Dominus' robo-relative is among the very crew)?
Page 15 (after) - PAYOFF(s):Earlier seeds planted, such as "The Worse The Death" and the data discs, come to fruition. Rewind is looking through the data discs to find his lost friend.
Page 17 (after) - SEED! Who is talking to Chromedome? I assumed Drift or Brainstorm, but in issue 21 with Rodimus' revelation...
Page 18 (after) - Chromedome: "I mean it Whirl, you've saved two lives today."
Page 21 and 22 (before) - 2nd time now Whirl locks a door on someone and they are injured.
#13 - Observation: there are FOUR inkers on this issue (including guest penciller Guido Guidi doing his own), so it looks a little weird, and there might be some minor 'errors' in the art simply because it is not consistent with Alex Milne's from previous issues. There's also a text story at the end.
Page 1 - there's a list of quests, including "Thumb Quest." Swerve mentions that Pipes was injured yet again. Not sure why writer James Roberts made Pipes his punching bag.
Page 5 - Ultra Magnus: "The warning signs that Dipstick's put up in the engine rooms are RIDDLED with misplaced apostrophies." SEED: Dipstick was on the Necrobot's list; grammar and punctuation do in fact have some affect on the lives and well-being of bots on this ship (as seen in #21). Will Dipstick be killed because of bad grammar?
Page 7 - there's a G1 non-TF character drawn in the bottom right of the page.
Page 8 - Rung's fake name for this trip is "Mary Sue." James Roberts started writing TF fan fiction. A "Mary Sue" is generally the worst kind of fan fiction and fan fiction writer. Whirl's avatar is wearing an eyepatch, and so is his Autobot insignia.
Page 11 - Killmaster is mentioned again. SEED POOPED ON: Whirl admits to killing Killmaster, and in a rather underhanded, anticlimactic way. I was hoping for a showdown. THEN AGAIN, Whirl is a pathological liar. Skids mentions MISFIRE as his nemesis; not sure if he's just picking Misfire randomly, or can't remember who he had been battling recently, or if this is FORESHADOWING and we'll see some kind of fight between the two (with Skids learning how to shoot terribly).
Page 13 - Ultra Magnus likes music, and cuts himself off before explaining further.
Page 14 - Whirl has bought Rodimus a Federation hat.
Page 17 - beyond the word "brilliant" to describe nearly everything, I now know this was written by a Brit, because Ultra Magnus' steering wheel is on the right side. Or it was just drawn that way at random.
Page 18 - PAYOFF: Tailgate confirms what had happened in #12, and that he was claiming to be the bot that TailPIPE was 6 million years ago.
Page 21 - Observation: Pretty sad moment for Swerve.
SIGNAL TO NOISE - text story. Hair is apparently a huge improvement on the TF's holomatters. For some reason this makes me think of behind-the-scene extras on the Incredibles DVD, discussing how getting the hair right is the hardest for the animators. Cyclonus is apparently Old Money. Rung sees a memory stick and "I've just remembered someONE." Rung discusses Red Alert with Rodimus. Rodimus says he'll look into it. The final conversation in the text is between Rung and Ultra Magnus, with Rung asking for someone to listen to HIM for a change. SEED: Does Rung tell Ultra Magnus about Red Alert?
Page 1 - flashback, some miners on Luna 2 find the spark of a point one percenter, our friend Overlord. This means it's a super awesome TF spark. QUESTION: it's a "point one percenter." It's later written as a 0.01%. (which would mean numerically it's 0.0001; one percent is 0.01, one divided by 100). But shouldn't that be "0.1%" instead? POINT one? Or do they mean "point ZERO one percenter," which should be 0.01. Someone correct me, I took Calc 2 like 14 years ago.
Page 2 - Momus becomes a senator. Three of Twelve? The Authenticator? Seeing as how the Functionist Council doesn't really have any importance for the current Cybertronians (for NOW), will we see him again? The miners who find the spark have been exposed to the spark and have "six hours to live." Brainstorm will clumsily (improperly) dig a glowing green spark out of the ground of Luna 1 in the Remain In Light story arc, and keep it in his chest for the duration of the story.
Page 5 - the "slow cell" is introduced.
Page 8 - Rossum, mentioned in #3, makes an appearance. It will not go well for him.
Page 9 - there's a killswitch for Megatron to use on Overlord. SEED: Seeing as how Overlord is floating in space and Megatron is captive on Cybertron, well...
Page 13 - Trepan from Shadowplay is now mentoring Chromedome.
Page 14 - Chromedome's real name is Tumbler.
Page 15 - flashback, Prowl admits "there's no such thing as a whiteout vacuum."
Page 17 - beyond the lobotomies and shadowplay, Prowl hints at something else in Chromedome's past (FORESHADOWING!)...is he referring to Chromedome's other Conjunx Enduras (including, possibly, Prowl)?
Page 19 - The Project names include "Project: Total Insanity" and "Project: Asking For Trouble." This is in Brainstorm's workshop on the ship? After the events in #12? So Drift was the one speaking to Chromedome on page 17 of #12. But Drift says "the three of us were supposed to keep an eye on you," meaning himself, Chromedome, and if not the Duobots Shock & Ore acting as 1, then Rodimus.
Page 20 - Drift: "Brainstorm loaded a speech recognition program in...the medibots." So it was Drift who came in and took the data slug from Rung's thumb (most likely).
MEET THE CREW - is kind of ominous next to page 22, where you know Overlord is going to kill as many of them as he can.
Page 2/3 spread - Overlord has arrows in his chest, so he was shot by Atomizer's crossbow.
Page 4 - the asteroid blasting bit is a set up for the end of the issue. Pipes wants to send a message to Hubcap, "just checking. Just having the old checkity check," a line I will be using in my regular day to day conversations with anyone. SEED for issue 22: Pipes is going to watch the documentary of the ship. Issue 22 is going to be the documentary; I can imagine that the only way we'll watch it is if we're watching it from Rewind's mind, floating in space or at the mercy of Overlord. Right? Right?
Page 5 - OBSERVATION: poor Pipes.
Page 6 - You broke my heart, James Roberts. Oh, and Pipes' speach after getting stomped on and just before dying and making me cry has a few 0 and 1 (binary) combinations. SEED: I WILL USE MY LIMITED BASIC PROGRAMMING SKILLS TO BRING PIPES BACK TO LIFE.
Page 7 - The Meta Bomb officially turns Swerve into a narrator of the story. He is aware that he did something off-panel but is unaware of what comic book panels are.
Page 8/9 spread - the map is "copy protected," meaning no one can copy it nor even remember what the map looked like after looking away. In issue 13, bots needing a break have mused/complained that they weren't even sure why they were on the "quest(s)." Rodimus congratulates Perceptor for not using the word "Hermeneutics." SEED: The theory of text interpretation, also known as "Exegenesis," will come into play; it might already have what with Tailgate saving the day in #21 by using a semicolon. Tailgate is making something. It must be a horn Cyclonus that he left in their hab suite in issue 21, to replace the one he lost in Chaos.
Page 11 - In the event of his death, Ratchet bequeaths his hands to Whirl. SURELY they can't just build or find a pair of hands for the guy; they rebuilt legs for Tailgate and gave Rodimus new forearms & hands in #3.
Page 12 - Rodimus is either stammering and can't make up an excuse or is in a full panic over how in fact Overlord got on board.
Page 13 - Overlord to Ultra Magnus: "The macho posturing masquerading as guilt." Masquerading is quite the word here, does Overlord somehow know about the history of Ultra Magnus?
Page 14 - First Aid: "...but no one can save a severed spark." SEED: Sounds like a dare to me! Swerve continues with his comic book narration.
Page 19 - PAYOFF: "Every shape serves a purpose." The door to the slow cell closes quickly and slices off Chromedome's arm, trapping Rewind inside with Overlord. In #16, Rewind will be shown to have thrown a small memory stick out the door. How did he have time, I thought? What a lazy retcon. And then, DUH, he's in a SLOW CELL. Time moves differently there, slower (duh, again) compared to outside the cell. So he had time to throw the stick out there after removing the sword, stuck in regular time.
Page 22 - setup from page 4, payoff.
MEET THE CREW - chilling placement, with "x"s over Ultra Magnus, Rewind, and (sigh) Pipes. For the first time this page really seems like part of the story in this particular issue. We know Ultra Magnus isn't dead; Rewind is probably alive, we'll see in #22...but poor, poor Pipes.
Page 1 - Swoops and I'm guessing Grimlock are aiding Impactor against the Decepticons.
Page 2 - Heretech is a phase sixer. Looks like all the phase sixers are there, including Killmaster? I think he's called Heretech because he's a heretic: he's wearing something akin to the Matrix on his head. Ultra Magnus shoots him. Ultra Magnus' hand twitches.
Page 3 - Shock, Ore, the Powerdashers, mention of the Jumpstarters...Ultra Magnus' Autobot symbol is CROOKED. K-class Decepticons rain down up on them, including Fulcrum in his ill-fated attack? Ultra Magnus hand twitchy.
Page 4 - Ultra Magnus likes to make banter, apparently. Cybernaught from issue 8 appears.
Page 5 - Swerve is playing the Empyrean Suite, one of Ultra Magnus' favorite pieces of music.
Page 6 - Drift: "No one should know exactly when they're going to die." SEED? Drift will find himself in a situation where he knows exactly how long until he dies.
Page 7 - Who is Rodimus talking to? "I WILL get to the bottom of this." Personal observation: I've seen no hint that he was part of this. "How did this happen? How did Overlord escape a WHITEOUT VACUUM and find his way on board?" Rodimus is pretending to believe there's such a thing as a whiteout vacuum?
Page 10 - Rung tries to bring up the memo from Ultra Magnus, "Red Alert," but Rodimus dismisses it as a pointless memo. Rung may have spoken to Ultra Magnus about Red Alert in the text story in #13.
Page 11 - Brainstorm brings his suitcase. Looks sad. Swerve comments on CASE QUEST, finding out what's inside the briefcase: "I'm gonna look inside if it KILLS me." FORESHADOWING: Swerve is killed by looking into the case. Though he may have been successfully warned off in the text story in #21. Also, don't kill Swerve.
Page 12 - Rodimus can not help taking a swipe at "lesser" bots, even when giving a eulogy.
Page 14 - Brainstorm finds a "waste disposal" sign in Rewind's box of stuff. Did he grab it when he and Chromedome found Tailgate? Chromedome thinks that Drift will name names to Rodimus. Meaning that perhaps Chromedome and Brainstorm didn't know that Drift had gotten permission from Rodimus to put Overlord on the ship.
Page 15 - Brainstorm rattles off the names of Brainstorm's previous Conjunx Enduras.
Page 16 - In the first panel, Brainstorm talks about living with the pain of losing someone close, "take it from someone who knows." He has the briefcase on a flat surface, in view. SEED: There's someone's spark IN the briefcase. Brainstorm gives Chromedome a data slug FortMax found that Rewind threw out of the slow cell. This might be a bizarre set up for the rest of the issue, or one of those weird retcons just one issue later, "how did Rewind know he was going to be stuck in the cell with enough time to compose a message made out of video clips of other bots talking?" Well, DUH, he's in the SLOW CELL. The split second outside could be time enough for Rewind to make it. Or Rewind was making it when they ran into the basement.
Page 17 - Ultra Magnus's hand goes fisty fisty. We find out later it's a reflex action designed to turn the suit on when the wearer is dying, to bring it back to Tyrest. So, between pages 10 and 17, and really between 10 and 11, Drift comes up with a plan to take the fall FOR Rodimus, as described in the text story in #21?
Page 18/19 spread - moments from this series are included.
Page 20 - Atomizer throws a pipe at Drift. Atomizer is Daredevil apparently. Ratchet helps up the fallen Drift.
Page 21 - the first "I love you" in a Transformers comic? IDW TF comic?
#17 - Remain in Light
Page 1 - "I've just had some stupid news."
Page 2 - the Medibot likes hanging out with Spoke and Lockstock. OBSERVATION: The way Rodimus compares himself, Magnus, and Drift to "Rossum's Trinity" is not far from the relationship between Star Trek's Kirk (ego), Spock (superego,) and Bones (id).
Page 3 - Tailgate has been diagnosed with a terminal case of Cybercrosis, the same disease that Dominus Ambus set out to cure, that Tailgate hopes never happens. SEED: They meet Dominus Ambus and he cures Tailgate.
Page 5 - SEED: okay, no idea where the slicing of Cyclonus' face comes from, or is going to go.
Page 7 - Rung: "Is anyone else getting a sense of Deja Vu?" Rung was conscious for the accidental quantum jump in issue 1.
Page 8 - Luna 1, aka the Seething Moon.
Page 9 - the unread memos from Ultra Magnus are "meeting request, struggling, meeting request, for your urgent consideration," and "ignore previous memos." SEED: Well, there's something in there.
Page 10 - That's a model of ED-209 in Brainstorm's lab. AWESOME. Skids is staying behind but asks Chromedome to be on the lookout that will jumpstart his memories. Is the command to "escape" from #8 subconsciously keeping him from setting foot on Luna 1? "Every problem solved, every question answered..." this is the event that ties up a lot of plot points starting from the first few issues. Ha ha.
Page 17 - "Nineteen Eighty Four" callback from issue 2.
Page 18 - Hilarious bit where Perceptor freaks out over Brainstorm trying to harvest a point one percenter spark; see #14 for the fate of the two miners who discovered Overlord's. Brainstorm's mind is blown over the idea of putting the spark in his briefcase.
Page 19 - Lockdown & his team of Deluxe Insecticons show up, last seen in Spotlight Trailcutter.
Page 22 - PHARMA! And he has chainsaws for his hands. CHAINSAWS FOR HIS HANDS.
#18 - Remain In Light part 2. There's a lot of action in these pages, but a few things do get explained.
Page 2 - Skids is Swerve's best friend.
Page 3 - Hasbro has to make sure that "My First Blaster" is included with the upcoming Legends Swerve figure. Or someone's gotta make a custom.
Page 4 - did the Legislatures get the little medical droid guy?!? Dipstick is injured in the battle.
Page 6 - Pharma: "Our lord and master..." Well, HE'S not in charge.
Page 10 - that's a Vehicon from Transformers Prime. (Lockdown was an Animated character, worked into the IDW G1 series.)
Page 12 - HOLY TYREST! It's a Hole-y Chief Justice Tyrest. I who Tyrest intended to wear the Magnus suit next.
Page 13 - Minimus Ambus, who Rodimus has been explaining this story to since #17, introduces himself properly to the prison crew.
Page 14 - And he's related to Dominus Ambus. (And, uh, he's Ultra Magnus.)
Page 15 - Brainstorm, explaining the Attention Deflector to keep people from checking out his briefcase: "You wouldn't understand." Rung: "You'd be surprised." SEED: Rung knows science-y stuf.
Page 16 - Pharma is still infected with the rust from #5, and can't transform himself or he'll activate the virus.
Page 19 - Is this a tribute to the movie Se7en.
Page 20 - Rung is 90% secret compartments. SEED: Rung's compartments will come into play. We discover what the Tyrest Accord is, after all these years of it being a vague set of rules that Ultra Magnus would show up and enforce.
Page 21 - SEED: The Aequitas trials will be a plot device to tear up the Autobots into separate factions. Or something like that. They're hush hush top secret can't let it out or everyone will lose faith in the Autobot brand, according to the SPOILER end of Last Stand Of The Wreckers. Minimus Ambus is really curious about Skids, but c'mon, he was Ultra Magnus.
Page 22 - PAYOFF - mind blown. Ultra Magnus is a little guy in a suit. Revealed.
#19 - Remain In Light part 3.
Page 2 - in the Repository, on the screen, is the 19 (80) 4 code for Thought Warfare. SEED: the codes are amendable.
Page 4/5 spread - PAYOFF as Minimus Ambus explains the history of the armor, including how the clenched fist activates a recall. Minimus is also a "load bearer."
Page 7 - 17 (21) is harboring a criminal suspect. (Rodimus thinks it's Whirl.)
Page 15 - PLOT MACGUFFIN REACHED! Circle of Light FOUND!
Page 17 - Seed PAYOFF: Chromedome misinterpreted Getaway's name as "the need to escape."
Page 19 - Is Nova Prime's plan to repopulate is similar to Megatron's Phase 7. Would Megatron have tapped into the Matrix to create more life? ALSO: In the Marvel G1 comics, the Matrix could create new sentient life. In the G1 cartoon and season 3, it just contained all knowledge.
Page 20 - SEED? Foreshadowing? Everyone constructed cold is "predisposed toward sin."
Page 21 - Whirl makes the "pffft" sound. He calls the sword a GREAT sword. A nice trick in comics is that all the letters are capitalized. And Cyclonus would just think "great" is an adjective. Seed for later.
#20- Remain In Light part 4
Page 1 - Rung is really chowing down on those energon sticks.
Page 2/3 spread - Seed Payoff: Cyclonus thinks everyone just likes his new sword. Take away the capitalization, make it a PROPER name. "Great Sword." Ha ha. SEED: Cyclonus is tied to the cult in a spiritual way he didn't know. Or something like that.
Page 4 - "Bomp." Info about Getaway's "crime" was too valuable to kill him...SEED: either Tyrest didn't know everything about Getaway's crime, OR Getaway was privy to the Aequitas crimes mentioned in Last Stand Of The Wreckers. (the latter is a stretch.) "Knockoff" is a term referring to toys that are direct, albeit usually cheaper, copies of TF toys, or competing brands trying to make a quick buck on the transforming robot market (not so much the latter, considering that TFs are a mish mash of several toy lines).
Page 6 - It was Tyrest who saved Pharma in issue 5. PAYOFF: We learned who really kidnapped the Cicle Of Light. Oh, it was Tyrest. Duh.
Page 7 - Getaway: "We've been searching for Tyrest for years...pressing his associates...The boss didn't want Magnus to know what we were up to." Not sure who the boss is here. Drawn in that panel is Galactic Council's K'Gard, with Skids and Getaway talking to him." Seeing as how the Tyrest Accord covers dealing with other species for the sake of the Galactic Council, is K'Gard an associate that Skids & Getaway are 'pressing' or is he 'the boss?' (Angela is not the boss here, shut up.) If K'Gard IS the boss, and in the Annual there's a SEED planted that the Galactic Council might intervene with the Cybertronian RiD story... DOUBLE SEED! Galactic Council is manipulating the Autobot Special Ops? Someone clarify so I can delete this speculation. SEED: The boss is some other guy.
Page 8 - Seed PAYOFF! The gun fires THOUGHT bullets! And only TWO of them!
Page 9 - Plot thread REVEALED! BOMP! Skids escapes in a shuttle made of Legislators (hence "they're all around you") and activates a homing device to bring him to his nearest "handlers," Shock and Ore. (Okay, WOAH, I am realizing this NOW.) So THAT'S why Skids just HAPPENED to teleport to the same planet the Lost Light landed on (to pick up bots who fell out of the ship in the quantum jump). Okay, Let me revamp that SEED from page 7. SEED: The boss is PROWL. Ugh.
Page 10 - Flashback Seed PAYOFF: Skids shoots himself with the remaining thought bullet, forgetting everything, including the gun, even after he's looked at it or someone points it out to him. He also doesn't know who THE BOSS is. Rodimus even points it out. Duh. I'm just going to leave all that stuff up there so you can laugh at me.
Page 13 - Getaway is really McGuyver.
Page 15 - are Cyclonus' self-inflicted scars healing up? SEED: The Great Sword heals. Dai Atlas: "The Legislators never give up. They CAN'T. It's not in their programming." Foreshadowing!
Page 17 - Brainstorm's briefcase becomes unattached from Brainstorm when he is shot by Pharma.
Page 18 - Tyrest broadcasts a message telling the Lost Light crew they can't move.
Page 19 - Killswitch activated. The "guilty:" Getaway (crimes Tyrest didn't want to lose track of?), Chromedome (the new institute)...
Page 20 - ...Blaster (not sure of any crimes), Red Alert (is paranoia a crime?), Hardhead (not sure), Prowl (manipulative scheming knowitall), Ravage (Decepticon), Starscream (Starscream), Kaon (part of the DJD)...
Page 21 - ...Crankcase, Krok, & Spinister (scavenging low life Decepticons). So on these three pages, these bots were constructed cold and therefore more likely to commit serious crimes. You be the judge if there's any actual connection to these particular characters showcased here. It's quite a stretch. Page 21 features the scavenging Decepticon crew from issues 7 & 8. Misfire had just been rescued from a Galactic Council outpost "ten miles from death row." Grimlock is playing a Jenga-style game as the crew on the ship suffer. SEED: We're going to get SOME story, whether they cross paths with the Lost Light or return to Cybertron, but not sure if it will be during Dark Cybertron or later.
Page 22 - Tyrest, believing all the mystic figures in Cybertronial lore are calling to him: "Can you hear them SINGING?" More DEATH, amiright?
#21 Remain In Light part 5
Page 1 - TAILGATE TO THE RESCUE! PAYOFF: Tailgate can't hear the frequency Tyrest's "don't move" message was broadcast on.
Page 6 - PAYOFF: Minimus: "I said I was a Loadbearer, I didn't say how many loads at once." Minimus Ambus is the Cybertronian equivalent to a Russian doll.
Page 9 - PAYOFF: Drift told Rodimus that one day everthing would depend on him. Right now half the 'bots lives depend on him, as he assumes a Jesus Christ Pose.
Page 10 - Minimus: "And as for your staggeringly immature reaction when Thunder-" SEED: Issue 22 is a retcon issue. Or a flashback issue. The ad for #22 has someone holding a picture of/signed by "Thunderclash."
Page 11 - BIG REVEAL! Rodimus brought OVERLORD aboard! And Prowl basically dared him to do it. Personal observation: I find this just to be a strange reveal. He was shocked more than anyone that Overlord was on the ship, his guilt would have been less dismissive of the victims who died at Overlord's hands. Of all the clues and seeds and foreshadowing, I never would have guessed this. That he ignored Ultra Magnus' messages about Red Alert?
Page 12 - Skids in "Cyberutopia." It is surrounded by moons. Four moons. Or, it's ONE of five moons, judging by the 'conversation' with the glowing ball: "Skids ! Autobot Decepticon silhouette of Lost Light. No silhouette of Lost Light. Five different colored moons surrounding symbol."
Page 13 - The map breaks as Rodimus saves all the sinners.
Page 14 - Lockdown has run off, presumably with his Decepticon pals.
Page 16 - some tentacled thing pulls Pharma's body into Cyberutopia. He couldn't make in through the portal when he was alive and with a guilty conscious. FORESHADOWING.
Page 17 - Tailgate reprograms the Legislators by changing the laws...WITH THE SEMI-COLON!
THE SEMI-COLON! SEED BLOOMS INTO FOREST!
Page 18 - Tailgate reveals where he was born, and that he was two weeks old before being trapped underground.
Page 20 - Tailgate's reflex action from his right arm reveals he changed "bomb disposal" to "waste disposal."
Page 21 - Brainstorm hid a point one percenter spark in his body. The back of Luna 1 has five engines and that little symbol from the glowing ball's conversation with Skids.
Page 22 - the Great Sword does have healing powers. I'm assuming that in #15 Tailgate had made Cyclonus a new horn to replace the one he was missing.
Text Story - There's just a few loose ends tied up here, as well as some things that are more like deleted scenes from this issue than seeds or foreshadowing. I didn't intend to sum up the plot of this story, but when Red Alert doesn't show up in #23 or so after laying on a slab with his head detatched for almost a dozen issues, well, here's where you know where he went. Half the Circle Of Light is dead, either from Tyrest's experimenting with the killswitch or from the battle with the Legislators and Star Sabre. "Rung looked up from the table at the sound of breaking glass and saw Fortress Maximus pulling his boot from the remains of a displaced engex canister." Boot? Is FortMax a load-bearing bot as well? The flashback (retcon) between Drift and Rodimus regarding the inquest in #16 suggests that Prowl had Drift there when Project: Total Insanity was proposed so that when things did go wrong, they could blame the ex-Decepticon. And that Drift takes the blame because he had a vision that Rodimus needed to find the Knights of Cybertron to save everyone (or did he mean the Circle Of Light?). Swerve may have opened up The Briefcase, but says that if someone did open it, to "look for the guy with no head." Look for a character with no head. This was between pages 19 and 21. Ratchet knew that there was a little person in the Magnus uniform, or at least that there was a series of Ultra Magnuses. Getaway "bomps" Rodimus. FortMax is the new Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord (should they call it something else?). Red Alert is fixed. Some Circle members are staying behind, and Red Alert wants to stay with them. They get a communication with Cybertron set up and instead of reaching Bumblebee, they find Starscream in charge of Cybertron, as is the plot in Robots In Disguise. Oh, and Tyrest has escaped from his holding cell on Luna 1. Way to go, Red Alert. Way to go... SEED: Tyrest's fist reaction, similar to that of Ultra Magnuses when they die, takes him to HIS boss. Who could that BE?!?!?!?!?
End massive story arc.