A heck of a lot of major plot lines are wrapped up in this month’s issue. I could dance around the details but I really want to talk about this, so fair warning: I’m gonna spoil all the things. Click the jump for preview pages and a review of Transformers – Till All Are One #4.
Some things you’ll need to know, if you want this issue to kick you in the teeth the way it should:
Windblade’s been covering for Chromia ever since Chromia set off the bomb that killed three Cybertronians. Chromia is humiliated by that, party because she regrets what she did, but partly because she’s Windblade’s protector, a job she takes extremely seriously. Windblade shouldn’t be protecting her, especially since Starscream is ridiculously fond of blackmail.
Also, the Combaticons have fallen on some pretty tough times since Starscream took over. Onslaught blames Starscream for everything, and wants all the revenge. He’s also been obsessed with finding Swindle, who Starscream did away with. I’d thought it was just to get whatever information Swindle had that Starscream didn’t want getting out, but now I think it’s also because for Combiners, combining is kind of a drug. It’s a hell of a powerful high, and adding a new combiner to the gestalt doesn’t seem to do well for anyone’s brain. (Prowl I’m looking straight at you.) I think he still wanted to form Bruticus, and it turns out he’s willing to use the Enigma of Combination to let the Combaticons combine with a brain-dead Swindle.
It goes about as well as you’d expect.
Bruticus starts rampaging all over, even though Blast Off’s trying to be the one voice of reason in the gestalt. He gets a little snip of poor Swindle’s memories, and he tries to let Onslaught know that Swindle recorded Starscream paying him to stir up trouble. Blast Off tries to wave the memory of the tape like a flag at Onslaught, a promise for justice. Onslaught charges the flag and goes right through it: he wants the tape all right, but he’s going to smash into tiny bits anyone who gets in his (well, Bruticus’) way.
I’m sure poor Ironhide didn’t sign up to be an independent security overseer just to stop rampaging Combiners, but there you go. He sends off the troops to get people to safety. Windblade would sure like to help him, but she’s at Starscream’s beck and call because of that blackmail I mentioned. Starscream had wanted her to find Swindle first, to get the information he was pretty sure Swindle had: proof that he’s a lying, conniving dictator who shouldn’t ever be in power. (We all knew that of course, but now there’s recorded evidence.)
Since she couldn’t stop the information from getting to the Combaticons, he orders her to kill them. She draws the line at murder of course, which doesn’t impress Starscream at all. (Principles schminciples, toe the line or else.)
“That’s too far, Starscream, I won’t kill to protect your secrets.”
“Then kill to protect yours.”
I knew eventually Starscream would push her too far, and today’s the day. She contacts Ironhide and Chromia, tells them that it’s really important that they not kill the Combaticons, tells Chromia to head back to Caminus so when Starscream blabs it won’t take her down too, and heads out to talk Bruticus down.
I’ve always thought this is a neat idea: she’s a cityspeaker, one of the few people who can communicate with Titans, wouldn’t she have a special bond with the giant Combiners too?
Well maybe, but not when they’re revenge-crazed, one-fifth brain-dead Combaticons. Bruticus literally swats her out of the air.
Bruticus….well really it’s Onslaught: he never wanted anyone else but the Combaticons. That’s all there should be, they only need each other and anyone else can be ground underfoot. Chromia jumps in front, and is perfectly ready to die to save Windblade.
And that’s the breaking point for Ironhide, what pushes him too far. I don’t know if he would have done it to save Windblade, maybe. But he can’t watch Chromia die. He’s got a Combiner-killing canon strapped to his shoulder. The blast hits Bruticus in the head and kills them all.
(I think. You never can be sure with Transformers. But Blast Off’s last words just ripped my heart out.)
(Sorry, it’s the one line I won’t spoil in this review. You really need to go read it.)
And now we’ve hit the breaking point for Chromia. Windblade wouldn’t kill for Starscream, Ironhide wouldn’t stand back when Chromia was in danger, and Chromia can’t let Windblade take the blame for something that wasn’t her fault, not anymore. She films a confession of what she did, and lets Ironhide arrest her. We get to see her with her helmet off for just a moment: she’s carved the names of the three Cybertronians she killed into her scalp.
Ironhide says he hopes the confession was worth it, and the smile on her face could be interpreted a lot of different ways: yes it’s worth it because it saves Windblade. Yes it’s worth it because she doesn’t have to keep the secret any more. And yes because I think she cares about what Ironhide thinks almost as much as she cares what Windblade thinks, and she wants to be worthy of their company.
TL:DR – excellent story by Mairghread Scott from beginning to end, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Do I need to say it? Of course I do. It’s the Pitre-Durocher/Lafuente team again, and it’s so pretty it makes my heart hurt. And Starscream is such a jerk, such an underhanded little weasel. But boy does he look good.