Posts Tagged ‘Dark of the Moon’

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:

 

 

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!

This is the second act to my Transformers 3 treatment/screenplay.

The first act can be found in my previous post.

I also acted it out with my toys here:

Issue 3

Optimus and Ironhide return to the destroyed Sector Eight headquarters. They see the last of the Decepticons following the call to flee. Grimlock stops to peel Mudflap’s Autobot insignia off and meld it to his shoulder.

Skids is bawling about the loss of his “brother.” He pours a 40 of oil on the ground in honor. Optimus says a few words about the losses they suffered this day: Mudflap and the two humans. The three remaining Sector Eight Pretenders are too damaged to use. Someone says they’ll have to get the 2.0s online instead. (For headcount purposes, this means that Mudflap, Megatron and Bombshell are dead, and Windcharger, Inferno, Warpath, Smokescreen and Tracks are out for the rest of the story.)

Ironhide’s mad at Prime for risking lives, and losing Mudflap, to further the humans’ Killswitch project that ultimately could be used against them. It sows the seeds that makes him rebel later.

Sector Eight people are packing up the two Decepticon bodies: Megatron and Bombshell. The Autobots were surprised to see the Decepticon leader’s corpse. “Maybe it wasn’t us who dealt the killing blow,” Prime tells Ironhide. The human forces vow to dismantle the bodies so that the Decepticons can’t rebuild Megatron again. Ironhide, Jolt and Arcee will stay behind to help after they rendezvous with reinforcements coming from Cybertron.

Meanwhile, Starscream flies toward a mountain. He goes right through it, an illusion. He transforms and marches through Decepticon headquarters. The other Decepticons look at their new leader strangely.

Starscream heads down one of the stark metal hallways. He hears Megatron’s last words echoing throughout the halls. Starscream’s getting scared, until Soundwave appears. He recorded their fight, and is threatening to expose him. If Starscream attacks Soundwave, Buzzsaw will broadcast the message. If Starscream attacks Buzzsaw, Soundwave will broadcast it.

“Are you challenging me for leadership, now, Soundwave?”

“No. The real power is behind the throne.”

“Then,” Starscream asks, “what do you want?”

“The Key.”

“Never. I need it for my troops.”

“Correction, Starscream. My troops.”

Angrily, Starscream turns over the Key to Vector Sigma. It had been found on Cybertron, and Starscream was holding on to it to create soldiers to overthrow Megatron.

Bumblebee returns to the lake to pick up Sam and Mikaela, who made the best of their time alone.

Bumblebee brings them to a prepared place in the desert where the rest of the Autobots are awaiting a space bridge jump.

They watch as a group teleports in. They are led by the commander of Autobots of Cybertron, Alpha Trion, a wise old Autobot engineer. He has space bridge technology. With him is defensive strategist Trailbreaker, espionage agent Mirage, and young warrior Hot Rod.

Alpha Trion tells them of a great battle that took place on Cybertron. We watch glimpses of the battle, but don’t get a real good look at anything. Unless, maybe this is the time to cameo other characters just for fun. But the point is that the Decepticons on Cybertron, led by Shockwave, made a push and eradicated the Autobots. He suspects the Decepticons had a spy that gave away their location. “We are the last Autobots.” Shockwave is really built up here as a threat who personally exterminated hundreds of the last Autobots, either directly, or through his servant Menasor, who we don’t see yet.

Head Count: Autobots: Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Ratchet, Sideswipe, Arcee, Jolt, Skids, Wheelie, Alpha Trion, Trailbreaker, Mirage, Hot Rod. Decepticons: Starscream, Soundwave, Kickback, Shrapnel, Grimlock, Buzzsaw and whatever Decepticons are still on Cybertron who haven’t come yet. That’s it. No more since the Allspark is gone.

“Vector Sigma is cold,” Alpha Trion says. Without the Allspark to give it power, the Vector Sigma computer can no longer give life to any machines. They need to discover a way to bring life back to Cybertron. (Remember? The plot from the first movie that never got resolved.)

“We need the Key to Vector Sigma. This, and the creation matrix within you, Optimus Prime, is the only way we can continue our species.”

“But what kind of Transformers will it create? Will they definitely be Autobots?”

“Can’t say for certain. Legends say that whoever holds the key can place elements of their personality inside. But, legends are not always true.”

As evening falls, the Autobots are trying to blow off steam after their memorial for Mudflap. They have a cavern in some mountains far away from civilization. Here they can have a home without endangering civilians. They’re having fun. Relaxing. We get a chance to see what they’re like when they’re not shooting at each other.

Only Ironhide is grim. He says something very ominous about how this is just the calm before the storm and as he turns to give a dramatic exit, he slams into a force field.

“Very funny, Trailbreaker.”

Ratchet says he has plans to reconfigure five Autobots so they could have an alternate mode like that Devastator creature they fought before. Several hands go up as volunteers. He begins preparations right away.

Sam sees Optimus leave the group and goes to talk to him. We get a few minutes of conversation to show their mutual respect and emotion between them. Prime feels he failed his team, and the race of Cybertronians in general. Sam helps pep him up, tells him he’s saved his planet (Earth) many times. “Maybe that’s what you’re meant to do. Maybe Earth is meant to be your home.”

And speaking of home, he’s got to head back. Bumblebee gives Sam and Mikaela a ride.

Since the gathering is kind of breaking up, no one notices Mirage leave on his own. No one, that is, except Hot Rod.

Mirage drives to a pre-arranged spot and transforms. He looks around, rocket dart rifle ready, until something catches his eye. It’s Buzzsaw. He’s not sure what to do until Soundwave emerges.

“Welcome to Earth, Mirage.”

“Soundwave. I came alone. You?”

“I’m never alone,” Soundwave says, Rumble crawling out of his chest cavity. “What news do you have?”

“First, you.”

“Megatron is dead. Starscream now rules the Decepticons. But he’s under my…supervision…”

“Good. Alpha Trion, Trailbreaker and Hot Rod are here now. That’s it for us.”

“And the other…”

“I found the forgotten library before we left Cybertron. I downloaded all the files that weren’t corrupt. One mentions something that would be of interest to you. The Decepticon Matrix?”

“Where is it?”

“Megatron’s body.”

“Can you get it?”

“Do you have what I need?”

Soundwave shows Mirage a vaguely key-shaped mechanism. “The Key to Vector Sigma.”

Mirage asks why Soundwave would want the Decepticon Matrix without the Key? The Key is needed to create new life. The matrix will guide that life.

Soundwave explains that the Decepticon Matrix has power of its own. He lists a few, but notes specifically granting one the ability to change into nothing more than a stream of energy: a ghost in the machine. Soundwave doesn’t want to create more Decepticons. Why have competition? (Besides, with Shockwave guarding Vector Sigma, there’s no chance of the Autobots taking it. Especially with the Stunticons coming to Earth to take down Prime.) He only likes the Decepticons that are a part of him, he says, Buzzsaw perched on his shoulder.

Soundwave asks why Mirage would want to give the Matrix to him. Why would an Autobot do that? Mirage said he’s been fighting this war for millions of years. He’s burned out. He wants it to end any way he can end it.

As Mirage leaves, he doesn’t notice Hot Rod spying on him.

Meanwhile, Bumblebee drops Mikaela home. Wheelie is waiting for her, pacing back and forth like a nervous wreck. He’s talking to the alarm clock. “When is she going to be home?”

Bumblebee brings Sam home. Judy Witwicky is anxiously awaiting the lovebird at the door. “Well, honey? How’d it go?”

“Mudflap’s dead, and so is Megatron and some other big bug guy. My best friends are an endangered species.”

He heads upstairs, and Judy just looks confused. Ron says “Ah, just like us when we were young.”

Back at Autobot base, Mirage is confronted by Hot Rod in front of the others. Doubt is cast upon his loyalty and people ask Prime to make a decision. Prime stands by Mirage. Not to insult Hot Rod, but he doesn’t want to sow chaos right now. Mirage is more useful as a soldier than as a prisoner. Several Autobots stand by Prime’s decision. Hot Rod, Ironhide, Sideswipe, and a few other tougher warriors are leaning away from him. Prime asks Alpha Trion, privately, what he knows of Hot Rod.

“Hot Rod was the last Transformer to be given a spark. He’s a little quick to action, but he has great potential.”

Meanwhile, Simmons and Leo are working in the Sector Eight lab to perfect the Killswitch. Gen. Morshower is there, asking for a status update. He was the nervous little bureaucrat from the last movie. They want to make it worldwide. Morshower gives him a deadline of one day, and Simmons says it might be ready then.

Mirage sneaks into the base and finds Megatron’s body. The Sector Eight guys haven’t dismantled it yet. They want to unlock its secrets first. Invisible, he opens Megatron’s chest cavity and removes the Matrix. He steals away into the night.

Issue 4

We see Lennox and Epps working on the 2.0 Exosuits, but we don’t get a good look at them yet. The third survivor (Furman) of the opening battle is winded. He doesn’t look too good. He’s nervous and scared.

Lennox hears about the new timetable on the Killswitch project and calls the Autobots. He tells them, basically, that they’ve got a day to leave Earth.

This helps finalize the rift that’s been forming among the Autobots (caused by doubt over Mirage, deaths of their friends, and just the weariness of continuing this fight when Prime seems unable to end it). Prime promises to leave Earth, hoping the Decepticons will follow. The tougher ‘bots want to take the battle to the ‘cons. Ironhide and a few others seem to be growing apart from Prime.

Sam is at his new job at NASA. He works in the astronaut training center. His biggest dream these days is to take to the stars. But he’s called into his boss’s office. Things are not going as well as he thought. A lot of the guys in the office are talking behind his back. His boss refers to it as “concern.” They ask him to take a psychological test. We know right then and there that he has no hope of passing.

Finally, we get our first good look at Cybertron. Shockwave and his troops (the Stunticons) are searching for something, and they find it: Vector Sigma.

“With this, we can finally make more soldiers!” Shockwave says.

“What’s the point? They’ll all just die in battle anyway,” Dead End mutters.

Shockwave upbraids Dead End for his sullenness. His pessimism is illogical. He contacts Starscream, telling him he found Vector Sigma. But it’s empty. It needs a matrix to fuel it. Starscream decides he’s going to need the one from Prime, not realizing yet that there is such a thing as a Decepticon Matrix. Shockwave also finds something else: about a hundred empty shells. These are Transformers that Alpha Trion built, waiting for the Allspark or Vector Sigma to give them life. Basically, these should have been 100 new Autobots, but now they’re going to be made into Decepticons.

Starscream wants a new army to command. He wants to create soldiers that he knows will be loyal because he’s the one imparting their personalities. Soundwave pits Starscream against Prime, to try to get him to steal the Autobot Matrix. Soundwave tells him that the Autobot Matrix is the only thing that can get Vector Sigma to breathe new life into those machines.

Starscream tells Shockwave to stay there and guard Vector Sigma, but send the Stunticons down to Earth to create enough havoc to lure Prime and the others away. Motormaster is more than happy with this. He has a score to settle with Prime.

Starscream sends Shrapnel to NEST headquarters to use them against the Autobots. Grimlock is ordered to stay by Starscream as his bodyguard, but Grimlock just scoffs at him. He calls Starscream a coward for using puny humans to attack his enemies. After centuries of being on Earth, he doesn’t like the humans, but he pities them. He sees the Decepticon way as backward. The only ones on this dust ball who fight honorably are the Autobots, he says.

Grimlock breaks ranks with the Decepticons. Starscream challenges him, but in an offhand way, because he’s scared.

Grimlock looks at the rest of the Decepticons in the room (Soundwave, Buzzsaw, Rumble, the two remaining Insecticons) and knows he’s outnumbered if an actual fight starts. He walks confidently up to Starscream and pulls off Starscream’s Decepticon insignia, then says “I’ll be back for the rest of you.”

As Grimlock walks out, none of the other Decepticons challenge him. But he is outnumbered if they should all fight. Starscream calls after him, calling him a coward. Soundwave says “Maybe he’s just using strategy.”

Sam goes to Mikaela for help. He still has a job, but there’s no way they’re ever going to let him on a flight now, even when he was training so hard.

Mikaela gives him a pick-me-up speech about how he’s smart, and he’s destined to go places. It’s in his blood. His great-grandfather was an explorer.

“Look at me,” she said. “I’m still working in my dad’s old shop. Not like you. You’re going somewhere. You’ve already done stuff that people only dream of,” as Wheelie is playing with a flashlight. Every time it goes off, he thinks it’s dead.

Mirage meets with Soundwave in their predestined spot. They trade their items. Mirage holds out the Decepticon Matrix and Soundwave holds the Key to Vector Sigma.

“I sense that is the real Decepticon Matrix,” Soundwave says. “The readings I’m picking up….wait….you mean to double-cross me!”

Mirage takes a bomb out from a hidden compartment and hurls it at Soundwave. Soundwave dives out of the way at the last minute, dropping the Key. The bomb explodes in a sphere of electro-static energy.

“You’re a fool, Mirage. When you fight Soundwave, you’re always outnumbered,” Soundwave says, as Buzzsaw and Rumble eject, slamming into Mirage with the force of a rocket. “Buzzsaw, Rumble: Eject. Operation: Destruction!”

Buzzsaw turns into a circular saw, mounted on Soundwave’s forearm. He flings his arm, and the blade flies off, cuts through Mirage, transforms into a condor, turns around, fires, then transforms back into a saw and cuts through Mirage again.

Mirage can get shots at him, but he’s overwhelmed. He hides the Decepticon Matrix back in his compartment. Rumble rips the compartment open to grab it and toss it to Buzzsaw. Buzzsaw flies it back to Soundwave, but Mirage’s shot knocks it out of Buzzsaw’s claws.

Rumble jumps on Mirage. His pile drivers cause a quake on his body. Chunks of armor fall off. Then Mirage grabs Rumble, who writhes in his hand. Then he turns his hand into a missile launcher and fires. Rumble, at the tip of the missile, is launched and collides with Soundwave, killing them both.

Buzzsaw gets away, grabbing the Decepticon Matrix on his way out.

Mirage returns to the Autobots, severely damaged. He tells Prime he did everything he asked him to do. But the mission was only a partial success. He retrieved the Key to Vector Sigma. The Decepticons have their Matrix. Mirage gives Prime the Key to Vector Sigma. Ratchet gets him stable, but he’s still hurting.

This is how we learn that Prime was aware of Mirage’s actions the whole time. Prime informs the rest of the Autobots that Mirage had to appear to be acting on his own because the Decepticons have spies everywhere. Hot Rod sheepishly apologizes.

Buzzsaw returns to Decepticon base and provides Starscream with the Matrix. Starscream’s very surprised, but very happy that Soundwave’s schemes ended badly. Starscream puts the matrix in and energy crackles over him. He uses the Matrix’s power to augment his robot and jet modes. Whenever there’s a close-up, his eyes gleam bright red with purple lightning crackling all around.

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

I wrote a part 3 to the Transformers live action movies. What came of it was a 15 page treatment. I tried to stick to the story, and the characters, and keep everything in line with what has come before, but…better…

Then I took out my toys and acted out the first part and put it on YouTube here:

 

What follows is the first and second parts.  I hope you enjoy it.

Transformers

The Last Autobots

Opens at Sam’s house. It’s early morning. They’ve got a new house, rebuilt with government funds. The alarm goes off. Sam’s eyes were open anyway. He’s very excited. Everything’s going great with his life: family, girl, new job at NASA. But today is special, but he hasn’t said why yet.

Sam goes downstairs. His mom is up to her usual shenanigans. The house was rebuilt by a reincorporated Sector Seven, now called Sector Eight. Because of this, there are tons of gadgets. Everything’s at a push of a button. But she can’t get anything to work. He’s having a blast. He gets whatever it is working with just one push of a button.

“Wow, Honey. You’ve got the touch,” she says.

He confidently walks outside. “They shoulda built us a lawn that mows itself,” his father says in the front yard, as Sam runs out the door. He’s trying to fix the lawn mower. “Where you running off to?”

Sam can hardly speak. “Today’s the day.”

His mother comes out. “Today’s the day!?”

“Yes, Mom.”

“Oooooh! Today’s the day!” She hugs him.

“The day for what?” his father asks.

Sam is smothered by his mother. “Mom…Mom.”

“I knew this day would come!”

“Is anybody going to tell me what’s going on?”

“Mom…one of us is going to die if you don’t let go…”

“I’m so sorry. It’s just that…Oooooh!”

The father just shakes his head and goes back to tinkering with the lawnmower. Sam’s mother gushes over him a bit longer, then is interrupted. Something jams in the lawnmower. It was turned on its back, and the automatic thrust kicks in and the blades spin. Sam’s dad has a second to get out of the way as the chopping blades charge past.

“Bumblebee!” Sam calls. True to form, his protector launches out of the garage and blasts the lawnmower to pieces.

In the aftermath, they look around. Sam’s mother offers her advice. “Y’know, honey. Just because a major appliance is broken doesn’t mean it’s a Decepticon.”

Across town, an alarm comes on, and Mikaela drags herself out of bed. Throws a robe on. Stumbles to the kitchen where Wheelie is smooth-talking the coffee machine. Then, when he sees her, he tells the coffee machine, “Act natural.”

Mikaela knows what’s going on. “The TiVo’s going to be jealous.”

“That was just a fling. This…this is special. This is love.”

“Yeah, well, I love my coffee maker, too. Move over.” She gets past Wheelie to make some coffee. Wheelie has a Tailgate thing going on, not realizing that inanimate objects are not alive. On her way out, she steals a line from a great YouTube video: “By the way, that’s a Mister Coffee.” Wheelie just looks at it.

Bumblebee pulls up in front of Mikaela’s. She’s dressed and ready to go. Although she’s not terribly thrilled to be going on a picnic or whatever insane thing Sam has planned this time.

So they go to the lake where he first “picked her up.”

As they look out over the lake, Sam bends down on one knee and fishes a ring out of his pocket. “Mikaela. There’s something I want to ask you…”

He cues Bumblebee, and he starts playing “If you think I’m sexy and you like my body, come on baby let me know!”

Sam waves the song off. “Real funny, ‘Bee! C’mon, we practiced this!”

It doesn’t matter. Mikaela says “Do you really think I’m going to be a little housewife with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence?”

“The fence is optional.”

“You really think this is for the long haul?”

“Sure. Don’t you?”

“Well, most of our relationship is about almost getting blown up. If you really want me around, you’re going to have to keep our lives that exciting.”

Cut to Optimus Prime leading Ironhide, Ratchet, Mudflap and Skids into an abandoned town in a desert. There are mountain ranges nearby. Prime warns them to be on the lookout for anything.

Suddenly, five Transformers spring out of hiding from several vehicles that appeared to be abandoned on the side of the road. A red sports car and a faded race car chase the Autobots, funneling them down a path toward a big tank. The faded race car emits a trail of thick smog. Wings flip out of a blue Corvette and it takes to the sky, raining down black beams that blind them. A huge fire truck hits them with freezing fluid.

The Autobots match them in battle. But it becomes clear really quickly that the weapons each side are using are not doing any damage. They are tagging each other with electrical impulses. There’s even some playful banter between both sides.

In the end, the Autobots win, with only receiving a few tags. We see inside the new robots, and learn that they are Major Lennox and his crew. Sector Seven might be no more. But there is now Sector Eight, a worldwide anti-Decepticon team that has reverse engineered their own Transformers. The Autobots have been training the soldiers to use these battle mechs to help them in the war against the Decepticons. They used to do remote control, but the one-on-one interface is much better than remote. They found that remote control was easily tapped. The new Sector Eight NEST Transformers are Windcharger (piloted by Lennox), Inferno (piloted by Epps), Warpath (piloted by a new guy), Smokescreen (piloted by a new guy) and Tracks (piloted by a new guy, Sgt. Furman).

The Autobots and Sector Eight NEST crew are called back into a nearby compound. Giving high-fives and pats on the back. Mudflap and one of the other soldiers even give each other a chest bump.

Prime tells Lennox that the new ‘bots performed well. Lennox said that if you liked these, the 2.0 models are almost complete.

What they don’t see is a small, metallic insect stowing away on one of the Sector Eight robots.

Inside, Agent Simmons, now back in charge of things, welcomes them back into the base. He makes a derogatory comment about his assistant, who we find is the hyper tech-head Leo. Simmons proudly shows them Sector Eight’s newest toy: A Killswitch designed from Transformer parts that can remotely shut down aggressive robots. It hasn’t been tested yet on real Cybertronians.

Prime, of course, volunteers. Ironhide steps up. “Let me go instead, Optimus. You know I’d take a bullet for you any day. We can’t afford it if something goes wrong. You can lose a grunt like me and keep fighting.”

Prime: “You’re my right hand for a reason, Ironhide. Besides, there isn’t any sacrifice I’d call on you to make that I wouldn’t make myself.”

Simmons nervously pull the switch. Prime goes into a mechanized coma. Then Bombshell, the little insect, injects a cerebro-shell into Simmons. He turns the Killswitch on Ironhide next, shutting him down. Leo gets the Killswitch away from Simmons. But they can’t figure out a way to reverse it.

Then Decepticons attack. Lennox and his troops first pick up what they think is a dust storm gathering outside. They get a visual and realize that it’s actually a plague of Insecticons. Millions of tiny little metal bugs have swarmed the facility, sneaking their way into every little crevice. They pour into the building. They rise up, insects stacking and climbing over each other, until they form three distinct characters: Bombshell, Kickback and Shrapnel. Their armor is a blur of crawling insects. When they transform, it’s like all the bugs crawl into a new place. Then they look like giant insects made up of millions of smaller insects. Whenever they take damage, several insects crumble off. When they talk, it’s like each insect is talking, giving their voice a creepy whispering echo.

Taking instructions from Ratchet, Leo crushes the cerebro shell, and Bombshell goes crazy, like every insect in his body screams. He’s a big blur for a few seconds, and can’t hold himself together well. Lennox, driving Windcharger, takes this opportunity. He uses his magnetic powers to spread the insects apart, keeping Bombshell from coming back together. He then uses the magnetism to crush them.

Prime and Ironhide are left in limbo while the others try to bring them back. Ratchet radios for help while trying to get Prime back on line.

Back at the lake, Bumblebee tells his friends there’s trouble and leaves to help. Plays “Hold On, I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave.

“Our ride just left to fight evil,” Mikaela says.

Mudflap asks where these guys came from, and Skids answers. They are Seekers. There were five Seekers who were searching for the Matrix of the Primes during the last movie. They all took ancient forms. Jetfire was one. Here’s three more. Well then, where’s the fifth?

A huge explosion racks the place. You can hear heavy footsteps. Building tension. Until finally, we see Grimlock in all his glory tear a whole through the place. They see dozens of Autobot insignias all over Grimlock’s body and for a second they are hopeful. Until Grimlock informs them that the insignias are his “scalps,” trophies of Autobots he’s killed. Megatron, Soundwave and Starscream are right behind him. Even with the Sector Eight NEST bots, the Autobots are badly outnumbered.

Issue 2

Soundwave ejects Rumble and Buzzsaw to help in the fight. Rumble causes an earthquake that wrecks havoc on the NEST robots. Buzzsaw ejects as a circular saw and carves into Tracks. Buzzsaw transforms and tries to claw and peck at the human inside (Sgt. Furman). When he can’t, he transforms back, and continues to slice deeper. Tracks tries to grab the spinning blade, and loses a hand. Megatron blasts the Warpath Sector Eight NEST bot and destroys it, killing the driver. Soundwave and his henchmen tear apart Smokescreen.

We see some Autobot back-up coming, but they won’t be here in time. Bumblebee is leading a troop of reinforcements: Arcee, Jolt and Sideswipe.

Ratchet tries to protect the lifeless bodies of Prime and Ironhide, but is having trouble. Mudflap and Skids step up to the plate against Grimlock. And this ends badly as Mudflap is literally devoured.

Megatron sees this as his opportunity to strike Prime while he’s down. Ratchet bravely stands between them, but is knocked away by Megatron, trying to get to his prize. Just as Megatron is about to deliver the killing blow, he’s stopped by Grimlock. “There’s no honor in a victory like this.”

Magatron is furious. “You’d defy me? Do you think you should be giving commands?”

“No,” Grimlock says. “I’m not the one who wants your crown,” as he looks at Starscream.

The other Autobots finally get there, and the battle is rejoined. Bumblebee and Sideswipe team up to take on Megatron. Grimlock looks at Ratchet and tells him to get the others back online so that he may have a real battle and that Prime may “die a warrior’s death.” He goes off to fight someone else, letting Ratchet work.

Bumblebee sings “Welcome back” from “Welcome Back, Kotter.” Megatron doesn’t know why he’s making that infernal noise until he sees that Optimus and Ironhide have risen. They soundly pummel Megatron, and he’s forced to sound a retreat. Megatron and Starscream are chased out of the compound by Prime and Ironhide. During this fight, Starscream sees an opportunity to help Megatron against Prime, but chooses to let Megatron get defeated.

Megatron and Starscream break away from Prime and Ironhide. Megatron is severely injured and asks for Starscream’s help in getting him out of the battle.

“Help, mighty Megatron?” Starscream taunts. “It seems I’m always helping you. You landed on this dirtball, and got yourself frozen. I had to thaw you out. Then, you let a fleshling defeat you. I had to find your body and bring you back. And now, another of your failed plans brings us low.”

“Starscream! You wish to take my place? You’ll draw a target on your back for every Decepticon beneath you.”

“I’ll tell the others you died valiantly,” he tells Megatron.

“Only a coward would wait until now!”

“It’s not fear, Megatron. It’s strategy. Too bad you never heard of it.”

With this, Starscream fires a set of missiles and ends Megatron’s life. Starscream transforms and flees the scene, but he doesn’t see Buzzsaw watching the entire scene.