Decepticons wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the... Autobots?
Emerging from a dimensional portal, Cliffjumper arrives, to his shock, on Cybertron. Almost immediately, he is jumped by an oddly colored Triggercon named Ruckus. Ruckus tries to make a getaway, when he's blasted by Rodimus. Rodimus takes Cliffjumper to see Optimus Prime. Optimus escorts the by-now-nervous Cliffjumper to the smelting pool to see Rumble's execution. Quite unwisely, Cliffjumper tries to talk some sense into Optimus and gets blasted for his pains. As a test of loyalty, Optimus dumps Cliffjumper into the Rad Zone. While unconscious, Cliffjumper's body is found by Protectobot-colored versions of Scrapper and Long Haul. Cliffjumper wakes up to see both Hook and Scrapper working on him. Needless to say, he freaks out and makes a run for it, only to collide into Megatron, accompanied by Sideswipe. Sideswipe asks to see Cliffjumper alone. Upon further inspection, Sideswipe concludes that the Cliffjumper standing before him is not the same Cliffjumper he knew; after all, his Cliffjumper was killed right before his eyes during an ambush. Cliffjumper asks what the slag is going on, and Sideswipe condenses his universe's history.
In this universe, Optronix was absolutely obsessive about knowledge. Feeling unsatisfied in his original position, he backstabbed and betrayed countless others to become one of the more influential members of society. He began preaching intolerance for Cybertron's peaceful lifestyle, and others who agreed with this philosophy, mainly those who were similarly dissatisfied, joined him. In time, Optronix declared himself and his followers autonomous from Cybertron, and thus, they took the name Autobots. Optronix then upgraded his followers, but, of course, he kept the most powerful mods for himself. When he finished upgrading, he renamed himself Optimus Prime. Then, one day, the Autobots began their reign of terror. Those who refused to join the Autobots were scrapped. Eventually, Optimus's sanity was shattered with a shocking revelation, but no one, not even his closest friends, knew what that was. The Autobots did not go unchallenged; other Cybertronians who managed to escape the initial massacre formed a loose resistance, but without a strong leader to guide them, the cause was sure to sputter out. That's when Megatron emerged from Polyhex, uniting the resistance fighters into a tightly knit army. Megatron had only one equal on the battlefield, namely Optimus, but had the additional advantage of being able to transform. Armed with the technology of hiding themselves in plain sight, the resistance became the Decepticons. Optimus, however, managed to reproduce the technology for his own troops to use. Because of that, morale has been sinking.
Cliffjumper, quite out of his league, asks why an Autobot in his universe would be a Decepticon in this one. Sideswipe confesses that he was once an Autobot, but over time, he stopped believing in Optimus's cause and was subsequently left for dead after a staged ambush. That was when he joined the Decepticons for the sole purpose of revenge. Cliffjumper isn't exactly convinced, but decides to stick around before he makes a final decision.
Back in Iacon, Blurr reports to Optimus (while Prime spars with holo-drones, no less) about the status of the Ark, but is concerned about the launching platform's stability. Optimus is unconcerned and even welcomes a Decepticon attack. At Decepticon HQ, Starscream reports on the Ark's status as well, with a highly concerned Megatron listening in. As Cliffjumper and Sideswipe enter, Megatron informs them that Optimus plans to head to other planets to plunder their resources. Cliffjumper exclaims "By Primus, he can't be allowed to do that," leaving the others slightly confused. Cliffjumper then provides a highly condensed version of the Transformers' origins. Megatron is somewhat relieved to learn that a god may have been behind their creation, but says that he needs to concentrate on a plan to get past the guards at the launching platform. Starscream then comes up with the brilliant idea of attacking the platform itself. With the platform's destruction, the Ark will collapse under its own weight, stranding the Autobots on Cybertron, albeit temporarily. To destroy the platform, Starscream plans to use Cliffjumper's "Glass Gas" to weaken the steel, making it vulnerable to regular weapons fire. Cliffjumper agrees to assist Starscream with replicating the formula as Megatron and the others plan the new attack.
At sundown, Razorclaw and Rampage dispatch the guards, allowing Screamer, Divebomb, and Whisper to deploy the "Glass Gas Bombs", but while the bombs hit their target, their weapons fire fails to destroy the platform. It soon becomes an all-out brawl between the two sides, as Megatron and Optimus trade barbs. When Optimus spots Cliffjumper, he attempts to destroy the "traitor", but Megs takes the hit. Finally spurred into action, Cliffjumper finishes the job, destroying the platform and crippling the Ark. Megatron orders the 'Cons to retreat, but Optimus, enraged, attempts to exact revenge. Megatron gives Optimus a parting gift before flying off into the sunset with Cliffjumper, who finally agrees to join the resistance.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- Cliffjumper, though portrayed as such in the story immediately prior, is not in his actual Classics color scheme. His silver car deco was dropped by the colorist for no reason. Instead, he is portrayed in his Henkei style.
Items of note
- This is also Don's first Transformers work since his hiatus.
- Evil Autobots Goldbug, Rodimus and Blurr by Dan Khanna (pencils).
- Though several of the crowd-fillers in this comic are fabricated versions of previous characters, Shattered Soundwave does exist as a toy. He's the "Sonic White" version of MP3 Soundwave. Quite a few of those got sold on that BotCon weekend.
- Shattered Perceptor does exist as a toy, too. He's Generation One Perceptor in his original pre-Transformers Microman colors.
- There's a Diagnostic Drone helping Hook and Scrapper fix Cliffjumper. Amusingly, it's wearing a little nurse's cap.
- Sideswipe's history of Shattered Cybertron closely mirrors (so to speak) the version told in the very first Transformers story, and even Optimus Prime's initial rallying cry to his troops is an homage to Generation One Megatron's in that issue. However, Optimus Prime's early name, Optronix, is a reference to Dreamwave's The War Within.
- Shattered Glass Nightbeat, BotCon 2008's customization class figure, appears briefly at the Ark launch.
- Cliffjumper mutters "Ponderous, slaggin' ponderous" after Sideswipe tells his tale as part of a semi-elaborate convention callback. There is an infamous set of outtakes of Casey Kasem (the original voice actor for Cliffjumper) having... well, violent meltdowns while recording American Top 40 ("Ponderous, f***in' ponderous, man."). Clips of these outtakes were edited with footage of Cliffjumper attempting to sniper-shot Megatron from "More Than Meets The Eye, Part 1" for the closing credits of MSTF at OTFCC 2004.
- Artist Don Figueroa started a trend in his early Dreamwave days by killing off cameos of Tonka GoBots Cy-Kill. Suitably enough, in this mirror-verse tale, an evil Leader-1 (in Cy-Kill colors) is cannon fodder. Oddly enough, though, Cy-Kill's fist is one of those raised in support of Optimus Prime's revolution.
- Jazz blurts out "I ain't gettin' bombed by no plane!", a reference to the oft-repeated mantra of B.A. Barackus (played by Mr. T) from the A-Team; "I ain't gettin' on no plane!".