Thursday, 26 February 2009

Transformer UK Comics - The Legacy Of Unicron

Now I shall gear up into exploring another of the Titan Transformer trades, in this case The Legacy Of Unicron which collects two storylines set in the future, and two smaller stories set in the present that continue the tale of Galvatron

The Legacy Of Unicron
We kick off with Headhunt, a very cool two-parter set in the future and featuring everyone's favourite homicidal killing machine, Death's Head! Last we saw him, Rodimus Prime forcibly transported him back to the future to prevent him killing Galvatron, but more importantly in Death's Head's eyes, cheating him out of his bounty. Death's Head is a robot, so I'm not really sure what he spends all this money on, but I would like to think that it is on cheap whores. Or hoovers, whatever the robot equivilant is.

So Shockwave, the future Decepticon leader pays Death's Head to kill Rodimus Prime, a mission the mech is only too happy to comply with. Unfortunately this doesn't sit too well with Galvatron's lieutenants, Cyclonus and Scourge who since Galvatron's departure have been reduced to lacky status in Shockwave's court. Throwing a hissy fit, they storm out on Shockwave, and the following laughter scene is one of the most eerily effective I have seen. Shockwave really is badass.

Inspecting his troops, Rodimus Prime manages to lose his guards, and then rather hysterically (or horribly, since this bit gave me nightmares as a kid), Death's Head starts throwing the severed heads of the guards at Prime. These little touches are what makes Death's Head such a cool player.

Death's Head fights Prime in the sewers of Cybertron, only to be shot in the back by Scourge seconds before dealing the killing blow (Scourge having had a score to settle with Death's Head, who blew a very large hole in him last time they met). Whilst the first part is seem as unrelentingly grim, the second is played for laughs, and more importantly this works, as an enraged (and singed) Death's Head gives chase to Cyclonus and Scourge.

And no-one cares about poor old Prime. Aaaaw.

This tale leads directly into The Legacy Of Unicron, the cornerstone of this collection as Prime, having turned the tables and offered Death's Head a very very generous bounty on Cyclonus and Scourge tracks the two to the planet of Junk, last seen in Transformers: The Movie.

Death's Head very soon cripples the two, but is waylaid by a Junkion who needs (and more importantly will pay for, yes) Death's Head's help in defeating an evil presence which has invaded his planet. Unfortunately this turns out to be...

...Yes, in case you had not guessed (and that would make you astonishingly slow readers) it is Unicron's head. He is using his mind control powers to force the Junkions to slowly rebuild his body. As a special bonus plan he is also building a time travel doorway so he can go and grab Galvatron whose sneaky plotting against him is really upsetting him. Unicron uses his powers to force Death's Head and the two Decepticons on a suicide mission - kill Shockwave!

No matter what you think of Shockwave, in the comics he was a tough cookie, and this story is perhaps one of his best. Within minutes he has worked out Death's Head's trick and instantly turned the tables, seperating our bountiful buddy from Cyclonus and Scourge.

As Shockwave stalks Death's Head alone through the Decepticon stronghold, there is a very real sense of threat. The guy's lack of any face and gigantic gun arm just ooze power and coolness, and it is a real shame that Death's Head manages to outwit his foe.

Shockwave gets a good death scene though, as Death's Head blasts him several times and then crushes his mind with his bare hands, just to make sure. I actually really felt sorry for Shockwave at this point, and given that he is a mercilless tyrant with a lust for power, this is good writing on Furman's part. Setting Cyclonus and Scourge in charge of the Decepticons, Unicron gives them his order - lead the Decepticons in a full-scale assault on Cybertron in a bid to wipe out both sides and get his revenge.

Back to Junk, and three Autobots: Smokescreen, Inferno and Wreck-Gar discover Unicron's head alive and barking orders. Unfortunately Wreck-Gar is left behind, and a damaged Inferno throws Smokescreen out the crashing ship in order to die a hardcore death and land on as many Decepticons as possible. Poor Smokescreen really had a lot to angst about that day.
Warned about this menace, Prime takes a small force including the Dinobots to Junk to investigate. Sensing the danger, Unicron summons Cyclonus and Scourge back to Junk, and with them out of the way, Soundwave (next in the chain of command, I hope you're taking notes!) promptly calls off the attack. Well, he's not stupid!

Anyway, here is the really interesting part, as Unicron tells Death's Head the story of his creation and of the Transformers. This is *the* point around which just about every other Transformers story has hinged, it is the Excalibur to the King Arthur myth, so listen up.

Billions of years ago when the universe was young, the Chaos God Unicron was primal force given form, a whirlwind of destruction that threatened to end the creation before it was begun. Only Prime, Lord of the Light Gods could stand in his way. They fought, and in their battle they risked annihilating the cosmos Primus sought to protect. Taking the battle to the astral plane, Unicron continues to best Primus until Primus lures Unicron into a trap in a last ditch attempt at victory.

Both are trapped in lifeless asteroids, floating helpless through space. But over time, Unicron manages to form his into the planet eating robot we see today. And Primus? He transformed his into a world which became known as Cybertron populated by sentient robots whose greater purpose was to destroy Unicron. And the Matrix contained the essence of Primus himself.

A very very cool story, suddenly injecting myths and a greater gravis to the Transformers tale. The art is not the best here, and it does look better when Furman later retells it in the US comics (since it is illustrated there by Geoff Senior, one of my favourites of all time). But thats just a minor quibble, here is where it all begins. Oh, and as another note of interest, thats the only picture we have of Sentinel Prime, who came before Optimus. (His severed arm, which we see at the beginning of the Dreamwave The War Within series even looks the same, now there's continuity!)

Prime and Death's Head team up to face Unicron and... well I'm including this because its a picture of Death's Head holding the Matrix. Heh.

Prime, who is a spitting image of Primus (he is the Transformer's chosen one after all) takes the battle to the astral plane and fares as well as Primus did, which is to say not very well at all. And beneath them all is a gigantic cavern full of explosives... 'Nuff said!

Better be careful, looks like that thing could put someones eye out...

The volume also contains two very nice short stories set in the present day which continue the tale of Galvatron. Ladies Night sees the discovery in a volcano of the trapped bodies of Magnus and Galvatron. The Decepticons set out to blow the thing up, since they can't risk Galvatron getting out. And the Autobots? The Autobots are content to let this happen, even sacrificing Magnus to stop the deranged Decepticon.

Of course, things don't go according to plan and the Autobots find themselves between a group of humans with a small rifle and a group of Decepticons with a very large bomb. And oh... it looks like someone is freeing himself (told you he was indestructible!)

Enemy Action follows the newly freed Galvatron as he starts to plot and stir things up a bit. First port of call is Shockwave's underwater base. Shockwave, unwilling to have Galvatron overthrow him, sets the Seacons on him, who are promptly thrashed. And Galvatron? Oh, he bursts in, apologises then leaves.

The sneaky bastard wasn't planning to attack, just to undermine Shockwave. Upon emerging from the water, he is met by a group of Decepticon who have been sent by the High Command to offer their services (he laughs them off) and a group of Autobots, sent to stop Galvatron.

Rather awesomely, Galvatron punches one of them, leaving the rest to stand there like lemons. Yes, they're not stupid either!


  1. You forgot to mention that this collection manages to make a complete arse of a double page spread by having it split over two sides of the same sheet.


  2. Can't go wrong with the creation of Unicron beating the shit out of robot fish!