Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #1
Writer: Nick Roche (story/script) and James Roberts (story)
Artist: Nick Roche (pencils/inks), John Wycough (inks)
(covers by Nick Roche and Trevor Hutchison)
Summary: Three years ago, the Decepticons, lead by Skyquake, attack the Garrus-9 prison installation. During the battle, Overlord arrives, kills Skyquake and takes charge of the battle. They make short work of the Autobots. After their conquest, Overlord offers Fortress Maximus (prison warden) to the convicts to do with as they please (he is presumably killed). Eight months ago, some new recruits join the Wreckers (including Pyro, Ironfist, Rotorstorm, Guzzle). They board Ultra Magnus' ship where Verity meets them. Springer comes in with the others and tells them they're going to "clean things up" beginning with Garrus-9. He then gives them a motivational speech about joining the team. Two years ago on Garrus-9 two Decepticons hunt an Autobot for sport. The Autobot (Wingblazer) is stopped but gets the upper hand on his assailants who underestimate him. Overlord decapitates the Autobot then kills the two Decepticons for being too weak. Elsewhere on Ultra Magnus' ship, Ironfist has blacked out for a moment (but it seems to have no immediate relevance to the plot). We learn Ironfist chronicled the history of the Wreckers because he's such a big fan. The Autobots talk and joke around... nearby, Kup asks Springer about Impactor--saying it must be hard not to think about him. Springer replies, "hard, but not impossible". One month ago, Kick-Off kills a Decepticon combatant as Overlord watches on approvingly. Overlord tells him to follow after--he will allow Kick-Off to choose his reward. On Ultra Magnus' ship, they encounter a badly damaged Decepticon drop ship on their way to Garrus-9. The ship explodes before they can do any more then try to hail it... one survivor emerges from the explosion--Impactor!
Comments: This is Nick Roche's third TF comic to-date. While I enjoyed the Kup spotlight and was kind-of indifferent to his AHM short, I have to say I'm not very impressed by this comic. First off, he kills Skyquake off by the third page (Skyquake is one of my favorite characters!) As I've discussed with others, this seems odd--why not have just had Overlord lead the assault to begin with? Or have Skyquake perform the role of deranged Lord of Garrus-9? Skyquake's profile was, essentially, that he loved evil and hates anything not 100% evil. If anyone should be fulfilling the role of bad-ass here, he fits the bill. Instead, he gets relegated to the role of third stringer chump so we can get Overlord into a U.S. TF comic instead (yippee!) It adds bizarre pacing to the story and seems unnecessarily fan wanky. Then, we get all the jumping around the timeline to figure out--it's three years ago, then it's a month ago, then it's two years ago, etc. In this instance, it doesn't seem necessary really (at least, not so far). We could have had the initial attack happen, then what's going on with Overlord's craziness then put the Wreckers stuff nearer to the end of the issue (or have it all about the Wreckers and then have issue two flashback to Overlord's machinations in the recent past, to arrive at the Autobots getting to the planet at the end). Not that the way they did it can't work--just that it makes a new situation a bit more problematic for the casual reader to keep track of it all. Another nitpick I have is that we know where this story is going from the get-go, at least generally. Overlord is the Colonel Kurtz (Apocalypse Now) type character, dolling out life and death as he sees fit. The Wreckers arrive, get captured and have to participate in his madness until they can find a way out and fight back. Perhaps some of the Decepticons even help them out against Overlord (Snare seems to not be happy with his actions already). Likely along the way, we loose at least one Autobot in a noble battle, making all his comrades feel more like true Wreckers, etc (also, it is Last Stand of the Wreckers, so this makes sense story-wise). I also dislike the cheesy excuse to throw a bunch of Japanese/European exclusive characters in there for no apparent reason (I didn't even know that was Pyro until someone named him in the story. The Predators, of course, are not European exclusives--they appeared in Japan and Canada as well). On the plus side, I welcome the good artwork of Roche being back. I also like seeing Verity again--I'm glad that all the writers IDW employs haven't totally dismissed the human cast Furman brought in.
(Nick Roche "A" cover)