Published on January 18th, 2024 | by Matt Fischer
Transformers 4 Review
Summary: While the art may falter a bit in this issue, the heart and soul remain the characters. It’s going to be interesting to see how the next few issues play out as we get closer to the eventual finish line for this volume.
Cliffjumper and Carly
Background – Well, that was … violent.
Writing – Picking up where we last left off, Optimus is being pursued by Starscream as he desperately tries to get Spike and his dad to a hospital. Cliffjumper and Carly provide some necessary interference, but it is not enough as Soundwave joins the fight. Starscream is about to finish off Optimus… and then JAZZ makes his debut! He comes barreling in and completely demolishes both Starscream and Soundwave. As a last resort attack, Starscream damages the hospital and retreats while Optimus plays damage control. With the damage caused, the hospital is quickly losing power, endangering Spike and every patient currently there. Seeing no other option, Optimus uses the Matrix of Leadership (against the wishes of Ratchet) to restore power to the hospital… which depletes it entirely. Back at the Ark, Soundwave informs Starscream that the metal they retrieved is still not enough to restore their comrades. Soundwave looks at Skywarp and all he can do is utter a few words before they kill the battle damaged Skywarp for parts.
Back at the hospital, Optimus and Spike’s dad finally come to an understanding. Ratchet however, is not so understanding. He’s furious with Optimus for using the matrix to help the humans. Before Optimus can defend himself too much, Jazz starts to collapse. Even when pooled together in Jazz, the remaining energon is simply not enough. Ratchet has an idea, which Optimus is extremely unsure about. The issue ends with Optimus gaining a new arm in the form of Megatron’s (!) right arm and fusion cannon as we see the remains of Megatron’s body somewhere else on Earth.
Well, at least the humans trust the Autobots now, so their interference will for the time being, be done. Now the Autobots can finally bring the fight to the Decepticon’s. The interactions here fall into one of four stories:
- Optimus and Spark Plugg: Spark Plugg pretty much died inside when his other son died in war. While he doesn’t outwardly thank Optimus, there is a palpable sense of trust growing between the two. However, Optimus’s building of bridges between them and the humans leads to the breakdown of his own teams “bridge”.
- Ratchet and Optimus: The shoe is now on the other foot. The humans trust our heroes, but outside of Optimus and Cliffjumper, our heroes don’t trust the humans… and with good reason! Ratchet doesn’t see the value in humans, All he’s seen is them reacting in fear and trying to destroy his leader. It’s going to be a very interesting journey seeing how Ratchet (and the others) are won over.
- The Decepticons: Well shoot: they killed Skywarp. My favorite Decepticon is gone! Starscream’s only worry is getting his troops up and running and to do that he is more then willing to sacrifice his brother. As evil as they are, it’s hard not feel bad for Skywarp. He literally sits there and pleads with his brother not to tear him limb from limb and use his insides to revitalize more troops. That’s the difference between Megatron and Starscream: Starscream just cares about winning and doesn’t seem to look at the big picture. He just wants to cause suffering right away. Megatron is a planner and he would know that by destroying Skywarp they are now down to 2 troops. Oh, and as for Megaron, we finally see him in the present, not a flashback. How he wound up with no arm, no head, and half buried in a mountain in what seems to be the Himalayas is a story yet to be told.
- Cliffjumper and Carly: For a kid who didn’t trust the Autobots four issues ago and a Autobot who definitely didn’t trust the humans a few issues ago, these two have made amazing strides. It seems that maybe this will be our main human / bot relationship going forward for the time being. It’s a very cute sibling relationship and is the highlight of the four storylines we get.
I’ve also seen people surmising online that now that Optimus has Megatron’s arm attached to his body Megatron is going to somehow infect Optimus. Yeah, that’s just silly. We are not getting Nemesis Prime, at least not this early into a book’s run.
Artwork – When war is brought to the hospital grounds, everything is in full display. DWJ really conveys the weight of what’s happening. These tiny humans are now in the middle of a space war that’s been going on for ages. Even with his mask, Optimus’s eyes convey his emotions perfectly. The Matrix energy though, is a little underwhelming. Maybe it’s because when I think of the matrix what comes to mind is Orson Welles being blown up in space in a literal explosion of energy. Here the matrix is just kind of generic lightning… but maybe that can be chalked up to the fact that it definitely was not at full power? Also, the tease of Wheeljack on the cover? NOPE! He’s not even in the book as a stasis locked body.
Final Thoughts – While the art may falter a bit in this issue, the heart and soul remain the characters. Cliffjumper and Carly are forming quite a bond, Optimus has finally decided to go on the offensive, and Spike and Sparky have reached a marginal level of understanding with each other. It’s going to be interesting to see how the next few issues play out as we get closer to the eventual finish line for this volume.
Final score: 4 out of 5 stars
Writer: Daniel Warren Johnson
Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Release Date: 01/10/2024