Saturday, March 11, 2006

Transformers Comic Review...

Amazing Fantasy #18
"Death's Head 3.0 - Unnatural Selection" (Part three of five)

Format: Ongoing (multi-issue story arc)

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: James Raiz

Cover Art by Lucio Parrillo

Synopsis: Death's Head slaughters all who oppose him in the African republic of Kuanga. General Tal, the dictator in charge of the country demands his forces throw themselves at it and either stop it or die trying. He kills his advisor for not having any information on the mechanoid and later kills a soldier that wants to quit the battle. GEIST watches from their satellite meanwhile but their director decides that they should stay out of things for now--Kuanga is a recognized independent republic and it wouldn't be easy to send their forces in there without good justification to his superiors. He tells Agent Braccia to let AIM sort it out--it's their mess. AIM, meanwhile, sends a force down there to try and retake Death's Head at all cost. Raymond Hidalgo continues searching through AIM's computers and finds an experiment that Goddard's grandmother had been working on--an attempt to capture the Uni-force for AIM's own purposes. When this fails, they instead attempt to mimic it for their own reasons--Goddard observes that he is too close to discovering her true intent and muses how she will stop him. In Kuanga, Death's Head stops all who challenge him and when General Tal will not surrender, his Captain shoots him so that more men will not die needlessly. Death's Head escapes and goes to Europe and some of Goddard's associates. They plug him into a computer where Goddard interfaces with him and uploads a new directive to him--kill Raymond Hidalgo!

Comments: Goddard's grandmother had been trying to capture then "Uni-force", which is the thing that occasionally shows up in Marvel Comics and bestows someone with superhuman powers. It gives them the identity of Captain Universe and they use the powers to avert some disaster or the other and then the powers leave them (it happened to Spiderman about a decade ago--that was a really bad storyline, imo). It all sounds more complicated then it really is...
Anyway, it seems they failed to capture the Uni-force and instead mimicked it somehow, calling their version the "Uni-Alias" (but it's sixty percent less powerful--so a bad copy of the original). Apparently, Goddard has used the Uni-Alias to "empower and free Death's Head".
The story seems to indicate that the mechanoid has several different things going on--that it was an alien soldier, designed to kill but that the Uni-Alias is acting as some sort of soul within it, trying to do right (which is why it tried to free the African rebel in part two). But, Goddard has programmed it with nanites to kill for her...
It's all an interesting set-up. Of course, we have to see where it all goes. I suspect, based off what's here so far, that Death's Head will be able to fight being a puppet and resist killing Hidalgo in the next part (or, failing that, will kill Hidalgo and then resist carrying out the UN assassination mission). Knowing Furman, it seems option "A" is more likely...
The art is this issue seemed a bit more generic in places, like Raiz was in a rush to get it done or something. For example, some shots of Hidalgo don't look as good as in the previous issues nor do the satellite displays have any images on them (you could argue this is a art style choice, though). The cover is also crappy compared to the last two issues--this employs a split-image, one of Death's Head and one of the back-up "New Universe" story while the two previous issues opted for Death's Head only (the last image of the DH story shows a back up image, likely the alternate, unused cover).
All in all, another chunk of story, but more interesting then part two proved to be.


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