The plot thickens as Regeneration One #83 continues the story of Megatron's Earth, and shows the full cost of Optimus Prime's attempts to cling to a peace that was not as solid as he believed it to be. As before, the team that finished off the Marvel run are in place: Simon Furman scripts, Andrew Wildman pencils, and Stephen Baskerville inks. They're joined by John-Paul Bove on colors, and Chris Mowry doing lettering.
Spike is not happy. Who would be?
After his big reveal last month, Spike "Circuit Smasher" Witwicky is identified by the Wreckers, and we learn that he's not the only human survivor as both sides come to the conclusion that they may be able to help one another. Circuit Smasher fills in the Wreckers on how Megatron was reactivated and the Earth was laid waste. Somehow, Megatron was able to reanimate all the Decepticons killed at Underbase back around Marvel issue #50, and turn the world's nuclear arsenal against its owners- feats the Wreckers feel should be far beyond even him. As the new allies plan to retake or destroy the Ark, Optimus Prime finally takes Megatron's bait and heads to Earth with most of his best troops, leaving Hot Rod in charge of Cybertron. Unfortunately, Soundwave has spies everywhere...
There's some interesting things going on in this issue. We continue picking back up on old continuity threads with the re-introduction of G.B. Blackrock; naturally he's the one behind the Circuit Smasher technology. While Circuit Breaker is never mentioned by name, she is shown and referenced, both in a way to give enough wiggle room for IDW. (Circuit Breaker was included in Secret Wars II
before her origin in Transformers so that Marvel would have sole ownership of the character. And they've used her so much
since then!) But probably the most obscure Transformers reference in the book is referring to the Ark's computer as "Auntie," a name dating back to Marvel's original proposal for the Transformers, and only used very rarely in the comics. There's another reference in the book to a different comic- one that took me a minute to put together, but I quite enjoyed. You'll spot it.
While Simon Furman's making some attempts to keep his famous Furmanisms in check, his writing definitely has a certain style and feel to it, and this issue lives up to that. The story to date doesn't quite
feel the same as where we left off way back when... which makes the decision to skip 20 years into the future a smart one. I'm happy with the pacing, though- the story is progressing, we're getting solid information on what happened in the intervening years, and the comic's not afraid to be dense with dialogue and exposition in that `80s Marvel way. Wildman and Baskerville seem to have settled back into their old gig nicely- I think they might be back in the old groove even a bit more than Furman, in fact. It's solid art, and the book flows easily from panel to panel and it's not at all difficult to follow what's going on. My only qualm is a stylistic one that comes down to personal taste: Wildman's faces have gotten a bit more angular, but still make the Transformers look very human and organic in most cases- which works from a stand point of relating to the characters, but not so much in a "these are robots" sense. For that, Geoff Senior was my favorite, and I'm happy to see him providing alternate covers to ReGen One. I think John-Paul Bove has dialed it back on color complexity compared to the first couple of issues, and this is an extremely good thing. The colors more than anything looked very modern and out of place early in, but here they're looking slightly flatter and more comic-booky- in a good way.
This entire issue is one that's primarily building to other things. While that can be tricky to do and unsatisfying if done incorrectly, it's in the nature of the story's 20-year timeskip that we, like the Autobots, need to get caught up. Even so, there's enough interesting new information here to make it fun on its own. I definitely want to see where this is going!
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