Archive for the ‘Transformers’ Category

Perceptions

Posted: October 20, 2011 in All, Mosaics, Scripts
Tags: , , , , , ,

Perceptions

Page layout: Panel 1-4 is very small, so small they could fit across the top, in one row of pictures at the top of the page. Panel 5 is as big as it can be.

Panel 1. Small panel. Perceptor is diligently tinkering with a contraption. He is oblivious to what’s going on around him. He’s trying to solder together a microchip.

Panel 2. The same basic scene, but it shakes a little.

Sound                                 FX BOOM!

Panel 3. Same basic thing again, but it looks like he’s gotten it fixed. His concentrated expression should be unchanged.

Panel 4. Also a small panel. Close on his face. Brushes away a drop of mechanical fluid as a laser goes past his face. We don’t see where the mech fluid is coming from. His concentration hasn’t changed.

Panel 5. Big panel. There’s a huge war erupted outside Autobot base. On the Autobots side: Sky Lynx is leading Perceptor, Hardhead, Highbrow, Wheelie (yes, Wheelie), Fastlane and Cloudraker. The Decepticons are lead by Sixshot, and contain Apeface, Snapdragon, Weirdwolf, Slugslinger, Triggerhappy, Ruckus, Crankcase, and Cindersaur.

Sky Lynx’s wing is cut. He’s in mid-battle with Sixshot. Maybe Sixshot is in wolf mode and is clamped on, tearing his wing off, and shredding with his claws. Fastlane is down, and his twin is holding him, trying to protect him, firing into the cluster of Decepticons that are surrounding them.

Perceptor is in the middle of it, but not fighting. He’s working on some kind of machine. It looks like it’s part of the Autobot base’s defense systems.

Cloudraker                        Fastlane’s down! We’re being overrun!

Hardhead                          Perceptor! You’ve got 3 guns! Use ’em!

Panel 6. Perceptor, without saying a word, fuses two wires together. The machine hums to life. Now, we can see his full face, and we can see that he’s got a huge gash across his forehead, and that’s where the mech fluid is leaking from.

Sound FX WWOOUUMMMMMMM

Panel 7. An EMP pulse erupts from the machine, going through all the Transformers.

Sound FX                              TCHOOOOOWWW

Panel 8. The Decepticons drop, incapacitated. The sound FX is from Decepticons falling out of the sky. The Autobots are unaffected.

Sound FX                               Crash! Crunch!

Hardhead                              Heh. Still like my way better.

Panel 9. Perceptor looks around at the wounded, he has his welder in his hand. Slight smile on his face.

Perceptor                           On to the next task. Who is in the most dire need of repair?

The pen is mightier than the sword!

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I was very surprised when the Hasbro 2011 Transformers Hall of Fame Fan Choice Winner was Waspinator. But then again, I’m not.

Obviously, there was a pretty organized groundswell of voters pushing for him. In a way, that’s a shame. It shows the process can be tampered with the way Howard Stern urged listeners to vote for Antonella Barba on American Idol because some nude photos of her emerged. (Since then, she hasn’t been the only one who’s had pictures show up, to be fair.) And it seems like every time there’s a public contest, someone tries to jury-rig it. And that’s too bad that people feel the need to do this. So on one hand, vote early, vote often for who you really believe in and don’t listen to people who are trying to mess with things.

However, Waspinator is actually not a bad choice. When I think about Beast Wars, I think about Dinobot’s fall, and Tarantulas’ deceptions, and the changes in the characters when they went to Beast Machines. And inevitably, any Beast Wars conversation features “Oooohhh, Wazzzpinatorrrr!”

And it’s also a good thing to broaden the mainstay characters. The line is going to become stagnant if we only honor the same dozen or so characters. We need to encompass all factions if we are to keep the franchise fresh. Welcome to the inner circle, Waspinator.

 

On a side note, I make silly movies and post them here:

 

It shouldn’t be hard to make a good Transformers movie. It’s giant robots fighting each other. Have a plot or two, well-rounded characters who actually do stuff, and some comedy and action. So, I made my own Transformers 3.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE4cmophXmY

 

The script for this starts here:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/transformers-3-screenplay/

 

 

I decided I didn’t want to watch Transformers 3. (Here’s why: https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/why-i-wont-see-transformers-3/)

But I’ve been reading reviews to determine if I’m making a mistake.

Here’s what they say:

It’s much better than Rise of the Fallen, but it still had plot holes.

Wheelie wasn’t as annoying, but they gave him a pet. A sidekick should never have his own sidekick.

Shockwave was cool. But he was only in it for a few minutes and was upstaged by the wormy thing that came out of his hand.

John Malkovich was a good actor, but he wrestled a robot.

Some of the new characters were interesting, but completely unnecessary.

So, it seems like the problems I had with the first two are still problems, and maybe I’m correct in skipping this one.

By the way, here’s a silly “live action/stop motion” version of what I think Transformers 3 should be:


By the way: My nephew also told me all about Transformers 3. This is his version:

“When the movie starts, Megatron is like king of Africa. He’s talking to an elephant.”

I’d like to coin a new phrase: Michael Baywatch: When beautiful people run through explosions in slow motion.

 

The Bad:

 

I watched Transformers: ROTF because I felt obligated. The G1 series informed so much of my childhood, I had to go. Granted, the 1980s cartoon movie, if watched at a distance, is pretty cheesy. My emotional connection to my childhood is what makes it my favorite movie.

The high point of the movie for me was the trailer for Harry Potter.

 

Just like the first one, the changes in Transformers are not what bothered me. At first, I was upset that they actually made Bumblebee cooler by turning him into a Camaro. But now, I’ve come to expect some changes.

What bothered me was poor scriptwriting, sloppy scifi, continuity problems, lack of plot, lack of character…

Basically, if it wasn’t a Transformers movie, I wouldn’t have watched it. Or cared enough to post about it.

 

A lot of people are saying to ignore the plot holes and just enjoy the fun ride. But Iron Man and Dark Knight showed us that you can have both: A whirlwind action-adventure thrill ride that has great characters and story.

Saying that “It’s just giant robots fighting, don’t expect much” insults Transformers.

Again, the cartoons I grew up with weren’t Shakespeare. But they had characters and stories.

I still think this movie, and the last one, are monster movies. Giant aliens with no discernible personality are trying to destroy the world. It ignores the fact that the best thing about the toys when I was a kid was that there were personalities. Example: G1 Swindle. Toy was decent but it was the personality that was great. Mirage. Wheeljack. I could go on and on.

In monster movies, a person gets about 3 lines of dialogue and is killed. They don’t have a character, they have one character trait. Sound like ROTF?

 

Roger Ebert’s review is very poignant. It’s where I grabbed the Iron Man and Dark Knight thing from. He also said how a child can hold a Transformer toy and use his imagination to craft wonderful stories. And that ROTF was certainly not the work of a vivid imagination.

 

Some questions:

-If the Allspark created all Transformer life, why does it only make evil robots?

-Why does it take a Matrix of Leadership to bring Prime back to life, but Megatron can just be rebuilt on the ocean floor?

-Why is Megatron such a putz? He shows up on Earth, gets frozen. Gets thawed out, killed by a fleshling. Wakes up again only to kowtow to some ancient Cybertronian. I want my villains better than this.

-During the first fight, a human died. They showed his coffin. Was he in the first movie? Was he supposed to be important?

-How is Optimus a descendant of the primes? Do they have babies?

-Was Ironhide British in the first one?

-How did the government scramble a huge attack force to come in what seemed like seconds?

 

When Megatron called to Starscream for help at the end of the movie, Starscream should have looked around to make sure no other Decepticons were looking, then said “I’ll tell the others you fought bravely.” Then killed Megatron. That one simple action would have changed a lot of my opinion about the movie.

 

This should have been a kids’ movie.

A Bot firing a crotch-mounted cannon; constant testicle jokes; dogs humping; a bunch of cursing; an impossible to ignore drug scene; John Turturro’s thong (OK, that part was kind of funny, but still). The ratings board must have been out for popcorn during some of this.

I would be mortified to have my nephews here. My daughter is 2 and loves Optimus Prime. (She calls him Op-pa!) I think, when she’s older, I’ll have her watch G1 but not the new movies. Kind of like how I’ll have her watch Star Wars Eps 4-6, not Eps 1-3.

 

It’s kind of bad when Turturro had to actually ask Jetfire what the plot is.

Plot derives conflict: Character A wants to do something, but Character B wants to stop that. To a degree, there was some of that. But what we got was “There’s some big thing we have to destroy before it blows up the sun.” When Hitchcock was asked to define a MacGuffin, he said the audience doesn’t care what it is, as long as it drives the story.

Iron Man had a MacGuffin in it, too, the rings that created his power-core-heart-thingy. And the first Batman had the microwave emitter. Dark Knight didn’t have a MacGuffin, and that’s why it was brilliant.

There was comic relief, but no comedy.

The difference is that comedy flows naturally out of the story or characters. Comic relief is injected, forced into a movie. A robot calling a human a “pussy,” for instance. Jetfire’s routine “My father was a wheel….” was hilarious. But it shouldn’t have been in the movie. A lot of the gags, like a robot humping a girl’s leg, should have been in the Scary Movie franchise instead.

 

About the Jar Jar Bots. Much has been made to say they were racist black stereotypes. I didn’t get that. I hated them, yes. But I thought they were rednecks. I didn’t see the correlation.

 

The Good:

I think I’m being overly critical, so I’ll talk about what I liked.

I think Sam and Mikaela are very charismatic. They’re not necessary to the movie. But they’re likable.

I enjoyed Sam’s parents (minus the drug scene.) I liked them in the first one, too.

 

Any fight scene with Prime was amazing. If he wasn’t there, it was kind of blah. But whether it was slo-mo or what, you could really see what the characters were doing. It was a lot of fun to watch those fights. The 3-on-1 where Prime died; his return to take on Megatron and the Fallen; even Jetfire vs. Scorponok; Bumblebee vs. Rampage and Ravage.

And Bumblebee is making up for lost time. He stopped getting his butt kicked and started kicking butt.

There was one point where Ironhide was hurting pretty badly. No incarnation of Ironhide has ever been my favorite, but I was actually sitting there hoping he wouldn’t die.

Megatron and Starscream playing the roles that we’re used to seeing.

Soundwave and Frank Welker’s voice. Soundwave was always one of my favorites. I was curious to see how they were going to use him. The satellite was an interesting idea.

Ravage. Another one of my favorites. Done very well, I think.

 

This is a version of Transformers 3 I made myself based on what I think the script should be:

 

 

Spider-Man got revamped before his time….

Dare I hope that the Transformers license can get relaunched?

The concept is solid: Giant robots that turn into things hiding among us fighting a secret war that quickly becomes not-so-secret. But instead of a movie full of plot holes and forgettable characters, can I hope instead for a reboot within the next ten years?

A movie where you actually care about the humans? And the robots? Where it’s a science fiction war drama, not a monster movie?

Hasbro has said that they have plans to keep the Transformers line in the public consciousness indefinitely. They’ve gone to great lengths to streamline the story and develop the core characters.

Perennial toy lines and constantly retooled cartoon shows are part of this. But how about a new movie trilogy? The animated Transformers movie came out in 1986. 30 years later, there was 1997’s live action movie. Would it be too much to ask to see another series by 2027? 16 years from now?

That works generation-wise. The kids in 1986 (me included) have kids now to show the movie to. The kids watching the Michael Bay movies now will have kids in 2027. And so forth forever.

In the immortal words of Simon Furman: “It never ends.”

 

By the way, here’s a silly “live action/stop motion” version of what I think Transformers 3 should be:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppG3ZtyIiJs

 

 

Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”

I make silly videos and post them here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

 

As a movie comes to theaters, we’re teased, we’re fed trailers, we’re made to find the stars interesting.
In the coming months before the first Transformers live action movie, I learned some spoilers. Some, like the robotic cast, thrilled me. Some, like the changes in Transformations, irked me. But I learned about a lot of the changes (Even Jazz’s death) before the movie, so I was not upset when I saw them in theaters.
Leaving part one, I was very conflicted, but had a mostly positive review.
Part two was awful. I never saw The Matrix 2 because people told me: “The only reason to see Matrix 2 is to understand Matrix 3, which sucked, so don’t bother.”
Transformers 2 was so terrible that I vowed that there would have to be something amazing to get me to see it. Some friends even said, “It’s got Shockwave in it!” Yeah? The last one had Soundwave. You saw how great that was.
There’s a hint that the humans have been working with Decepticons. OK. Marissa Faireborne (the daughter of Flint from GI Joe) and Carly. Whatever. Anything good that they bring in is just met with skepticism: “How are they going to mess this up?”
Instead I’ve made these movies, to show that it shouldn’t be that hard to make a good Transformers movies, even though mine are ridiculously cheesy and self-effacing:

What I Learned: If you have to win over an audience, it’s not enough to give them more of the same. Especially if they’ve lost confidence in you.
You have to answer their concerns. And the promotional material has to be clear that you’ve made some changes, without pandering to the crowds.

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Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”
I make silly videos and post them here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

A movie I made based on what Transformers 3 should be, starring Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Grimlock, as well as Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox.

 

 

A silly little movie I made with my toys, printouts of characters I don’t have, and way too much time. Super cheesy fun!

 

The full 15-page treatment begins here:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/transformers-3-screenplay/

 

Hope you like it!

In an effort to save Transformers 3, the producers have called the lead actors back to reshoot the film in my latest news parody:

http://youtu.be/bvWR60EnJOk

Disclaimer:

I upload one new video to my channel every week: http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

Also once a week, probably on Tuesday, I will write a little about each entry.

All of them are silly. Some are offensive.

Here’s the beginning of it:

 

And here’s the end:

Issue 5

 

Grimlock goes to the Autobots. They think he’s there to fight. He’s not. He tells them he renounced his allegiance, showing Starscream’s insignia.

Prime takes Grimlock to task. If he’s such a noble warrior, why did he kill Mudflap?

“I did you a favor.”

Skids goes ballistic at this and launches himself at Grimlock. Grimlock just steps out of the way. He doesn’t want to waste an ounce of energy on him. He doesn’t even make eye contact with him, he has such little respect.

Grimlock tells the Autobots that the Insecticons are mounting an attack on the Autobots’ human allies. Some of them think it’s a trap. Ironhide respects Grimlock as a warrior, no matter what stripe. He says they’d be lucky to have him. Alpha Trion says “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”

At the very least, they try to warn the humans. Ratchet attempts to open a line of communications. Unsurprisingly, their secure channel is jammed. “It could still be a trap, Prime.”

“Then it’s one we’ll have to risk if innocent lives are at stake. Roll out.”

Everyone but Grimlock transforms. Prime opens the back of his truck. “Coming, Grimlock?” Grimlock steps inside.

For the first time, we see the inside of Prime’s trailer on the ride down. There are missile turrets, a repair bay, and various other sci-fi stuff. The turrets are keeping a close eye on Grimlock.

Bumblebee is with Sam, Mikaela and Wheelie when he gets word that the Autobots are on route to intercept the Decepticons. He goes to leave, but Sam wants to come.

“Hey, I actually beat Megatron once. That’s gotta count for something.”

Bumblebee gives in and lets them all come.

Switch to the Autobots on the road. Arcee pulls up close to Prime. “I’ve got five clicks coming in-fast. 200 miles northwest.”

“Coming in? From where?”

“Based on trajectory…Cybertron.”

We flash to five meteors streaking through the sky. They pound into a bay area. It’s an oceanfront city, with a shipping port, lots of bridges, and a skyline of skyscrapers. The five meteors rip through everything they hit. As they make impact, Starscream, Buzzsaw and Kickback fly in and transform, welcoming their new friends, the Stunticons. Motormaster and crew take their new forms and cause some chaos on the highways expressly to cause damage. Some real Bayhem.

“If there’s five of them, it’s got to be the Stunticons,” Alpha Trion says.

“We’ve only got, what, half of an Earth hour,” Hot Rod says to Prime. The Killswitch is going on soon.

“The Stunticons could level a city in that time. I don’t care if this is our last stand, we’ve got to save those people’s lives.”

Bumblebee arrives at about the same time as the others. The Autobots have to split up, because the waterfront area where the Stunticons landed is nearby but not close enough. So they split: Fighting at NEST HQ: Bumblebee, Wheelie, Sam, Mikaela, Sideswipe, Ironhide, Ratchet, Mirage.

Fighting at the bridge: Optimus Prime, Arcee, Jolt, Skids, Alpha Trion, Trailbreaker, Hot Rod, and Grimlock.

When the Autobots arrive at the NEST base, it’s definitely a case of quiet….too quiet….

Suddenly several Transformers spring out of hiding. A super-fast blue race car, Blur, a white fighter jet, Silverbolt, a military construction drill, Nosecone, a green truck, Brawn, and a white sports car, Wheeljack. The Autobots have gone into full battle mode. But Ratchet scans one of the enemies and alerts the others that there are human pilots. “Non-lethal combat only!”

Ironhide looks at his huge arm cannons. “Is there any part of me that isn’t lethal?”

Ironhide turns into a truck and slams into one. Mirage turns invisible and dodges another so that it rams into a rock. Bumblebee cranks his stereo and disrupts one.

Bumblebee plays the line “What is your major malfunction?” to one of them. He opens up the machine, and it’s Lennox. He explains that the controls are locked up. Like someone’s controlling them.

Bumblebee spots Shrapnel using his antennae to direct electrical impulses and override the controls. He and Sideswipe chase after Shrapnel.

They follow him to an abandoned building in that empty town they were in earlier for training. He could literally be anywhere. They both spot Shrapnel mini-insects and give chase, getting separated.

Sideswipe finds the rest of him. When he fires at him, Shrapnel dissipates into the smaller insects, so he can’t get a good shot. He punches Shrapnel, and Shrapnel dissipates slightly, and reforms, closing around the Autobot’s hand. Sideswipe turns his hands into cutting blades, which shred a bunch of the bugs. Shrapnel then calls lightning down, and the electricity flows through him and into Sideswipe. He’s fried, but just wounded. Shrapnel then bites Sideswipe’s neck open, rears back a second, then dissolves, pouring his insect plague into the hole he made in Sideswipe’s neck. We pan back, and the insects eat their way through, making holes.

Bumblebee manages to squish the single Shrapnel he followed, but by now he realizes it was a distraction. He returns to find just pieces of his friend.

Suddenly, Shrapnel swarms Bumblebee. Tearing pieces off of him right and left. He is chanting horrible things at him in his insidious echo. “We killed your comrade….and you were helpless….and now you’re next…” One of them tears open Bumblebee’s fuel pump. The fuel splashes everywhere. Bumblebee aims it like a hose and splatters them all. He leaps back and fires, making a huge explosion and destroying the swarm. But he’s severely wounded and running low on fuel.

When he returns, Lennox, Epps, Furman and the others have regained their control of the Exosuits. The humans have come out of the suits and are talking to the Autobots. Simmons comes out and reminds them that there’s less than a half hour until the government triggers the Killswitch. Bumblebee tells them about Sideswipe’s death.

The Autobots get ready to meet their allies at the bay city to stop the Stunticons. The human Sector Eight troops want to come too. They’ve fought this long, they want to finish this.

There are five Sector Eight 2.0 Exosuits. (The first ones were either destroyed or damaged by Decepticons early in the story.) There are only three soldiers. So Lennox offers Sam and Mikaela a chance to each pilot a bot. They jump at the chance.

Lennox says their names: “Brawn, Blur-”

Sam interrupts. “I want Blur. That sounds fast.”

“No. I get Blur,” Lennox says.

“Then I want Brawn. That…sounds like it….fits me…”

“I’ll take Brawn,” Mikaela says, and Lennox gives him to her.

“Then who do I get?” Sam asks.

“Wheeljack,” Lennox says.

“Wheeljack? She gets a Brawn and I get a Wheeljack?”

“Yeah, we named him that because he kept breaking down. Good luck.”

Lennox and Epps suit up, but Sgt. Furman hangs back. The other fights really got to him, with Buzzsaw picking into his Exosuit and other things. He doesn’t want to freeze up in combat. He feels he’s a liability.

So there’s another spot. Leo is about to step up when Agent Simmons talks over him. He’s been studying aliens for all his life. Now he’ll know what it’s like to be one.

They suit up. At first, Sam is very unsure on his big, metal feet.

“Just think about what you want to do before you do it,” Lennox tells him. The interface is completely thought-guided. It’s meant to be an extension of you, not just a weapon. You don’t have to be able to fly in order to fly Silverbolt. So, for reference: Blur (Lennox), Nosecone (Epps), Silverbolt (Simmons), Brawn (Mikaela with Wheelie inside), Wheeljack (Sam).

Meanwhile, the Stunticons are tearing up the city until they see the Autobots approach. Starscream, Buzzsaw and Kickback are there, too. The scenes should probably bounce back and forth between the NEST base and the bay city.

The Stunticons cause havok on a road, and the Autobots have to do some amazing maneuvers to not only stop them, but save innocents caught in the crossfire. For instance, the fight starts to destroy a bridge. Trailbreaker forms a shield to support the bridge while Alpha Trion repairs it. Also, Trailbreaker’s shield catches humans being flung from the undulating bridge.

Motormaster sees Prime and his troops approaching. He transforms into truck and targets Prime. They talk some smack to each other as they approach. Motormaster knocks empty cars off the bridge as he charges. The two trucks rush toward each other on the bridge. There’s no way they’re not going to smash. Then, at the last minute, Prime veers off ever so slightly and scrapes by Motormaster. As they pass, Prime’s back opens and Grimlock leaps out. Grimlock grabs onto the back of Motormaster and is enough of a weight that Motormaster, with all that speed built up, falls over and jackknifes, falling off the bridge. Grimlock rolls harmlessly to a stop.

Jolt drives really fast at Drag Strip, transforms and releases his electrical whips. He wraps one around Drag Strip and with the momentum he’s built up, drags the ‘con a few hundred feet.

Hot Rod launches himself off the bridge, transforms into robot mode, and lands on Starscream, who is transformed into a jet. The sudden weight throws Starscream off balance, and he flails around for a bit. Hot Rod takes advantage of this. His hand turns into a circular saw and he cuts up Starscream’s wings. Then Starscream transforms, they throw a few fists/shots in mid-air, Hot Rod holding himself aloft with his jetpacks, before Starscream blows off his jetpacks and he falls. On the way down, he pleads for help from Trailbreaker, who has his hands full holding up the bridge and catching humans. So Hot Rod lands in the water. He stands underwater, and sees Motormaster barreling toward him on the bottom of the river. He gets rammed and goes flying out of the river.

The remaining Insecticon, Kickback, transforms into his giant insect mode and kicks Grimlock so hard he flies across the street. He swings his sword, but it goes right through Kickback. He transforms, and the bugs easily maneuver away from his tail. He has more luck with the spray of his fire breath, but it’s still not enough. The Insecticon keeps breaking himself down into the little insects every time big, slow Grimlock strikes.

Grimlock’s starting to get worn down. Kickback’s actually getting too many shots in. He’s not seriously wounded, but he hasn’t made a single successful shot yet. Kickback is doing damage, but it takes a lot to bring him down. Kickback tries doing what Shrapnel did, and just swarms all over him. Thousands of tiny bites. It’s starting to work. Grimlock’s tiny forearms can’t clean himself off.

Grimlock spots an oil tanker. He runs at it as hard as he can and cannonballs into it. The tanker explodes in a fireball. Grimlock then calmly walks out of the blaze, smoking, scraping dead insects off him.

The time is almost up. The Killswitch is about to go off. Prime tells Starscream this in order to scare Starscream away, hoping he’ll order the Decepticons to leave on their own. The plan works all too well.

Motormaster, back on dry land, orders the Stunticons to merge, but Starscream tells them to halt. There’s no need.

Starscream, using his new powers from the Decepticon Matrix, opens a space bridge. He gets his Decepticons out safely. Knowing that only Alpha Trion has the ability to teleport the Autobots away, he blasts a hole in him. Then Starscream grabs Prime and disappears into the space bridge. Now the Autobots are left on Earth, leaderless, with no way to go after Prime, with only a few minutes left before they all get deactivated.

(Maybe Shockwave opens the portal from Cybertron….There’s no reason for Starscream to have powers that Megatron didn’t have.)

 

Issue 6

 

Starscream has teleported his Decepticons (the five Stunticons and Buzzsaw) outside the building where Vector Sigma is housed. Shockwave comes out of the building, greeting Starscream.

Motormaster and Wildrider hold each of Prime’s arms, and Starscream uses Buzzsaw to literally cut the Autobot Matrix out of him. Starscream, holding the Autobot Matrix triumphantly, is about to finish off Prime.

Shockwave warns Starscream that Vector Sigma has been completely unresponsive to him. Perhaps they need a live Autobot to do this. Reluctantly, Starscream grabs Prime’s arm out of Wildrider’s hands. He drags Prime inside with Shockwave. He orders Buzzsaw and the Stunticons to stand guard outside.

“For what?” Breakdown says.

“Yeah, the Autobots are done,” Dead End says.

“The Autobots have a habit of being very resourceful,” Starscream says, as he leaves.

Back on Earth, the Autobots gather around Alpha Trion, who is just barely alive. The clock is ticking. Only a few minutes left. Ratchet works feverishly to fix him. “Work on my space bridge, Ratchet,” Alpha Trion pleads. “Let me die if I have to.”

“Forgive me, Alpha Trion, but that’s what I am doing.” Ratchet gets his Space Bridge technology back on line, and Alpha Trion opens a portal. The Autobots, and their human allies, all go inside, just as the Killswitch goes online, sealing their way back forever. Trailbreaker has himself, Ratchet and Alpha Trion in a bubble shield, to protect them while they go through the violent warp. Ratchet is actually working to keep Alpha Trion alive during the jump.

When they land on Cybertron, they are far away from where they wanted to be. The jump was not perfect, since Alpha Trion was strained. But he’s stable, now.

Head Count:

Autobots: Prime (wounded and captured), Bumblebee (very wounded), Ironhide, Ratchet, Arcee, Jolt, Skids, Alpha Trion (very wounded), Trailbreaker, Mirage (wounded), Hot Rod, Grimlock. Pretenders: Blur (Lennox), Nosecone (Epps), Silverbolt (Simmons), Brawn (Mikaela with Wheelie inside), Wheeljack (Sam). Decepticons: Starscream, Buzzsaw, Shockwave, Motormaster, Dead End, Drag Strip, Wildrider and Breakdown.

The humans take a look at the grim, cold world of Cybertron. It’s like nothing they’ve ever seen. Arcee senses the Decepticon signatures quite a distance away. Everyone’s worried what they should do. They feel all hope is lost.

“Weaklings,” Grimlock mutters. “If you wanted to be deactivated, you should have stayed on Earth. While you’re licking your wounds, the ‘Cons are celebrating their victory. They think the war is over but it’s not. They don’t know we’re here. They don’t know we outnumber them.”

“So what are we waiting for?” Hot Rod says, leaping into action. “Let’s go save Prime!”

“Prime’s probably dead,” Grimlock growls. “I’m in charge now.”

The Autobots and even the humans look around at each other, not knowing what else to do.

“Autobots,” Grimlock shouts. “Transform and roll out!”

They all follow Grimlock’s lead, some more reluctantly than others.

In the chamber of Vector Sigma, literally hundreds of lifeless Transformers stand motionless, awaiting the spark. Starscream and Shockwave bring Prime in. Starscream now has both Matrices.

“This is it, Starscream: Vector Sigma,” Shockwave says. Starscream approaches it, first with wonder, then with contempt, as it is just another thing to bend to his will. Shockwave’s still holding Prime.

“Well? Where is it, Prime?”

“I don’t know what-”

“Don’t lie to me. Since I received the Decepticon Matrix, great powers were unleashed. I can sense the Key. You have it in you somewhere. Do you want me to cut it out of you like I did the Matrix?”

Starscream’s standing a bit away from Prime, leveling a cannon at him. Prime looks at Shockwave and Starscream for a long time. Then he opens a container in his body. Starscream warns him against any trickery. But he doesn’t expect what happens next. Prime holds the Key to Vector Sigma out toward Starscream, then gives it….to Shockwave.

Meanwhile, the Autobots and humans are racing toward the chamber of Vector Sigma for the final battle.

Back in the chamber, Starscream asks Shockwave for the Key. Shockwave hesitates. Starscream turns his cannon toward him. Shockwave lets go of Prime’s hand and turns his own into a cannon.

“Don’t shoot, Starscream.”

“Then give me the Key!”

“I’ve been looking for this for ages.”

“Hand it over, Shockwave. So that I may make my legion.”

At this point, Prime starts to slink back into the shadows, ignored by the two Decepticons. He’s diverting power to his self-healing processes.

“Whoever uses the key places some of himself into his creations. It is only logical that I-”

“Slag it, Shockwave! The only reason you’re still standing is that I need all the warriors I can get. But I warn you not to stand in my way any longer. I killed Megatron, what makes you think I won’t kill you!”

“You…killed Megatron…?”

Meanwhile, outside, Buzzsaw comes screeching down toward Motormaster.

“What’s he squawking about?”

“What else?” Motormaster asks, stepping up and looking at the horizon. “We’re under attack.”

“Heh. Starscream was actually right,” Dead End says.

The Autobots race in to attack. The fastest are on point: Arcee, Jolt, Blur (Lennox), Silverbolt (Simmons), and Hot Rod. The slower guys, Ironhide, Skids, Trailbreaker, Ratchet, Nosecone (Epps), Wheeljack (Sam) and Brawn (Mikaela) are providing cover fire. Mirage and Alpha Trion are still wounded, so they hang back a bit. Bumblebee’s hurt, too, but nothing stops him. Some of Sam’s cover fire becomes friendly fire, but he’s just given a look and he tries harder next time.

Inside the chamber, Starscream and Shockwave hear the fight outside and Starscream realizes there isn’t any time. He grabs the Key to Vector Sigma, and Shockwave shoots him. They start to fight in the chamber, as Prime slinks deeper into the shadows.

Grimlock races toward the chamber of Vector Sigma, knocking Stunticons out of his way as he goes. Motormaster barrels down on him in truck mode. He’s about to make contact when a missile explodes in front of him. It’s Agent Simmons, riding Silverbolt, hooting with Han Solo-like joy from above.

The Stunticons tear into the Pretenders. “They’re the weak link!” Wildrider tells the others.

Lennox’ Blur has the speed over the Stunticons, but this becomes a detriment on Cybertron’s unpredictable landscape. He winds up being rammed into a building by Breakdown. Still functioning, but hurt.

Sam’s about to get scrapped by Wildrider when Mikaela’s bot comes charging in, spin-kicking and launching missiles.

“How did you do that?”

“You just have to think about it, remember? You don’t have to be able to do it in real life.”

Bumblebee, Sam and Mikaela fight side by side, and there’s great camaraderie. Wheelie is inside the cockpit with Mikaela. Mikaela’s bot gets damaged, and Wheelie crawls out and does some repairs on it, like an insane, backwoods version of R2D2.

Bumblebee and Sam knock back a Stunticon or two, but are ambushed by Buzzsaw. Buzzsaw speeds at Bumblebee in saw form, cutting up his shoulder as he flies past, aiming next at Sam. Bumblebee spins and shoots him as he heads toward Sam. The blast knocks him off balance and he has to transform. That’s when Sam claps him to the ground and stomps him flat.

Back inside the chamber, Starscream guts Shockwave, leaving his lifeless husk on the ground.

“Don’t worry, Shockwave. I’ll put a new spark into you. One that won’t ask so many questions.”

Prime watches, waiting for the right moment.

Grimlock’s hunting his way toward the chamber. He transforms into Dinobot mode to sniff it out.

Motormaster gives the order to merge. Dead End and Motormaster combine. The Autobots do their best to try to keep them separate. Trailbreaker throws a shield between Motormaster and Wildrider. But that leaves him vulnerable. Breakdown blasts him and the shield goes down. Motormaster and Wildrider merge. Mirage, invisible, tries to grab Drag Strip, but he breaks free and joins the merge. Jolt wraps his electro-whips around Breakdown, but he joins the merge and becomes the last arm.

Now Menasor is formed and Jolt’s whips are wrapped around him. Jolt dangles helplessly. Menasor swings his arm and Jolt becomes a flail, knocking back several Autobots. Trailbreaker puts up a shield, and Menasor flings Jolt down on it. The shield is transparent, so Trailbreaker sees Jolt’s face as it’s slammed into the shield over and over until the lights in Jolt’s eyes go dim.

The Autobots are trying their best to hold off Menasor. Mirage snipers him and flees. Menasor shoots in the general direction and obliterates anything Mirage was hiding near. Trailbreaker tries to trip him with a shield, but it doesn’t work.

They have to attempt a combine, Ratchet shouts.

“But we haven’t tested it yet!”

“We have to try,” Ratchet says. He calls the team together. Ratchet. Hot Rod. Arcee. Trailbreaker and Skids. They merge to form Defensor.

A mighty gestalt battle on Cybertron erupts. They are trying their best, but it’s tough. They can barely hold their new form together for long. And they have none of the experience that Menasor has.

Alpha Trion gets an idea. Defensor is able to hold Menasor at bay (possibly using Trailbreaker’s force field) long enough for Alpha Trion to open a space bridge. Menasor is charging away from it.

Alpha Trion is suffering. It’s taking all his energy to open this huge portal.

“What are you doing?” Mirage asks. “He’ll be a threat to whatever planet you send him.”

“He’s not going to a planet…”

We see huge flames on the other side of the space bridge portal. Defensor picks Menasor up and throws him through. Menasor plummets into the sun. Huge flames shoot through the portal before it closes. Alpha Trion falls to his knees, exhausted. Defensor, now beaten down pretty badly, can’t hold himself together any longer and falls back into Ratchet, Arcee, Hot Rod, Trailbreaker and Skids.

The Autobots and humans race toward the chamber.

Inside the chamber, Starscream’s about to put the Key into Vector Sigma, when he looks over and sees Prime holding a gun on him. Starscream just sighs. He’s tired of this. “How many do I have to kill to make an army?”

“Add one more,” he hears, and looks over at Grimlock. Starscream’s standing in front of Vector Sigma. Prime’s holding him at gunpoint on one end, and Grimlock the other.

“I’m surprised to see you alive, Grimlock,” Prime says.

“Same here.”

“Oh, I’m not,” says Starscream sarcastically. “This is the kind of day I’m having.”

“Can it, ‘Con. Hand over the Key. There’s no way you can use it before one of us guns you down.”

“Fine. You win, Optimus.” Starscream takes a step back and looks at the Key. He holds it toward Prime, then smiles, and gives it to Grimlock. He steps back from Vector Sigma, laughing. Because now, Prime and Grimlock’s guns are still pointed to where he used to be. But with him no longer there, they are pointing at each other.

Prime quickly corrects his, keeping Starscream at gunpoint. Grimlock just lowers his gun and stares at the Key.

Meanwhile, Alpha Trion is leading them toward Vector Sigma, where he stored all those robots he built. Even without his directions, they could have followed Grimlock’s trail.

An argument escalates between Grimlock and Prime over who should use the Key. Legend has it that the recipients of the spark will have a piece of the personality of whoever holds the Key. Legends have a way of turning out to be false, Optimus says. Prime, as leader of the Autobots, is humble but still thinks it should be him. Grimlock thinks Prime’s too weak, and that the new legion of Transformers should value strength.

Starscream watches from the sidelines. Absolutely loving this. Grimlock turns his back on Prime and points to the legion of empty Transformers that they’re arguing about. While his back is turned, Starscream blasts him. Grimlock thinks the shot came from Prime and goes into an unthinking rage. The two titans tear into each other. Prime’s trying to contain him, but it’s not working. Grimlock’s in too much of a rage. And his ferocity is threatening Vector Sigma’s safety.

Grimlock finally listens to reason. Prime, holding his jaws open, tells him it was Starscream taking a potshot. Grimlock comes to his senses and sniffs out Starscream. Besides, Prime says, one thing we can agree on is destroying Starscream.

A three-way fight is formed. Prime vs. Grimlock vs. Starscream. Grimlock and Prime are at an uneasy truce, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take shots at each other after Starscream’s knocked back. The surviving Autobots and humans have made it into the chamber of Vector Sigma, but are wisely staying back.

Prime’s hurting. He’s the only one who’s holding back, at least as fighting Grimlock is concerned. Just as Optimus is about to get fragged by Starscream, Ironhide jumps in and takes a bullet for him. He dies in Prime’s arms as Starscream just cackles.

Grimlock steps up to avenge him. Starscream is ready for him.

“No!” Prime shouts. Grimlock stops to look back. Prime walks past him. “Starscream’s mine.”

Now, Starscream’s scared.

A savage battle ensues. A stray missile from Starscream heads toward Skids. Grimlock jumps toward him and pushes Skids out of the way, saving his life. They look at each other. They still don’t like each other, but they’re not going to be fighting anymore.

Showing great ingenuity, cunning and even ruthlessness, Prime utterly destroys Starscream.

After the battle, Prime is winded, and it’s Grimlock who offers a hand to help him up. He offers him Starscream’s Decepticon insignia that he had ripped off of him from before. Prime takes it and throws it to the ground and grinds it under his foot. Grimlock laughs and claps him heartily on the back.

Alpha Trion looks at the hundreds of inanimate troops in the chamber of Vector Sigma. “I made their bodies. But that’s all I could do. We need Vector Sigma to give them life.”

Grimlock gives Prime the Key to Vector Sigma, finally acknowledging his leadership. Optimus pushes the Key and the Autobot Matrix into Vector Sigma. It glows wondrously.

“Welcome, Optimus Prime.” An emotionless voice says.

“Vector Sigma …as leader of the Autobots, I ask you to take the wisdom contained in the Matrix of Leadership and share it with these creations.”

“I cannot do that.”

“What? But…” Optimus is stunned, but is not disrespectful. He speaks with the awe that would come of someone talking to their god.

“Life needs more than just wisdom. It needs ambition if it is to thrive. All Transformers are constantly evolving. It is the nature of your species. Thus, my creations must have both the wisdom of the Autobot Matrix and the ambition of the Decepticon Matrix.”

“NO!” shouts Hot Rod. “We can’t do it. I don’t care if we’re the last ones! We can’t make more Decepticons!”

“Autobot and Decepticon are just your names. They mean nothing to me,” Vector Sigma says. “Each Transformer must make their choice.”

“And we will be there to guide them,” Prime says, looking at his comrades, stopping at Grimlock. “For anyone can change their mind.”

Ratchet and Bumblebee go to Starscream’s body and remove the Decepticon Matrix. A little bit of red light with crackling purple electricity jumps through the air when they do it.

Prime puts the Decepticon Matrix into Vector Sigma. “We honor your command, Vector Sigma.”

“Then let these new creations live, with the spark I give them.” Energy flows from Vector Sigma. A golden light bathes the area, lighting up the darkness literally and figuratively.

One by one, the automatons move. Look around. Look at their hands. Transform. Speak in Cybertronian. They are no longer dark. They are rich with color. Vibrant. Each one different and unique.

“Fellow Transformers,” Prime greets them. “We are the Last Autobots. Welcome to Cybertron, your home.”

It’s time for goodbyes.

The Autobots will stay on Cybertron, and guide the new life there. Bumblebee will return to Earth. He likes it there. And Earth needs a protector just in case. Prime grants Bumblebee’s wish, calling him “Autobot Commander of Earth.”

Agent Simmons says he’ll stay on Cybertron and help the Autobots. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and there’s enough air in the exosuit for months at a time. He’ll just go home for refills. And he won’t have to see his mother again.

Lennox and Epps will relay Simmons’ order that they’ll get the Killswitch shut down so that Bumblebee…and Wheelie…can come back.

Sam says goodbye to Optimus. Bumblebee says goodbye to his friends. Then Arcee and Bumblebee share a tender embrace before they leave. It’s meant to be funny, catching you off guard. Sam has this look on his face like “When did this happen?” Mikaela says “Oh, come on. It was so obvious.”

Alpha Trion opens a space bridge to Earth, and Mikaela, Sam, Lennox, Epps, Bumblebee and Wheelie step through.

Prime then turns to the new troops. They are all looking around, confused.

“My friends,” he begins. They all stop to look at him. “I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots.”

“Leader of Cybertron,” Hot Rod corrects. Prime looks at him, surprised.

“I suppose so. But leader or not. I need your help. Cybertron is at the end of a dark time. You are the first lives to be created here in millions of years. Our war…is over. We must rebuild what has been lost. For inside each of us is great potential that has yet to be tapped. We must work together and bring forward a Golden Age of peace and prosperity.”

Some of Prime’s speech is used as final narration here, as he has narrated each of the movies. We watch all the people go back to their homes and see their loved ones. Sgt. Furman welcomes back Lennox and Epps. Their families and Leo are there. Back on Cybertron we see the Autobots standing valiantly. And we get one last sweep of the new Transformers listening to Prime’s motivational speech. The camera stops on one last Transformer. We get a close-up of his eyes. They glow red with purple lightning.

 

 

 

The End

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”

I make silly videos and post them here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge