Original release date: February 1985
When did I read it first: Around August 1991 when it was published in Hungary (with issue #6 bundled in the same comic book)
The cover-image shows a rather menacing-looking Shockwave, with the weapon-hand smoking, as if it had just been used recently. Behind him, the words “ARE ALL DEAD” are visible on the wall, showing what the weapon was most likely used for. And he even took the time to burn in a full stop at the end, heh.
On the bottom left corner, there’s a white rectangle with a black Spiderman head, which is rather out of place as it has nothing to do with the comic itself.
The bot depicted in the top left box is Optimus Prime again, holding his weapon tilted upwards and pointing at the reader with his free hand. Something he is in no position to do at this point in the story, as we will soon learn.
After having defeated the Autobots last issue, Shockwave surveys the current situation, declaring the conquest of Earth to be a simple task, after analyzing broadcasts ranging from gameshows to movies and (most importantly) a report on G.B. Blackrock’s newest oil-drilling platform. He makes it clear to Megatron that he intends to lead the Decepticons from here on out, as logic dictates (considering the outcome of the battle last issue had Shockwave not shown up, it’s difficult to make a case against his argument). Megatron obviously is not happy about this, but he doesn’t protest outwardly. In a later conversation between the two, it is revealed that Optimus Prime is in possession of the “Creation Matrix”, a computer program with which one can construct new Transformer life (this was unknown to Megatron). Shockwave intends to create more Decepticons to help with his plan of conquering Earth. After his talk with Megatron, Shockwave heads out to begin putting his plan into action. Meanwhile, after having a talk with his dad, who is on his way to recovery from a mild heart attack, Buster makes his way back to the Ark with Ratchet. When they arrive, they notice Frenzy and Rumble standing guard at the entrance. Buster manages to sneak by them and discovers the (rather gruesomely depicted with them hanging upside down from the ceiling, inactive and damaged) fate of the Autobots, including Optimus, who is shown in the last panel as a disembodied head, attached to a machine that is (presumably) keeping him alive.
Thoughts and Conclusion
Besides giving new readers a neat little recap at the beginning, the issue sets up what went on to be a long running rivalry between Megatron and Shockwave as well as establishing the Creation Matrix. The beginning and end parts of the issue really hammer home how bad the situation is for the Autobots. Really makes you guess how this will be resolved, what with Ratchet (THE MEDIC), being the only one left active and free, while the Decepticons damaged during the previous issues are quickly recovering. And Shockwave’s plan of creating even more Decepticons does not improve the situation at all, either.
The art in the issue looks better overall in my opinion, the Transformers look close to their cartoon versions, unlike the previous issues. Though there are quite a few coloring and model errors, again. The humans look a bit better as well, though there are some panels that are a bit weirdly drawn.
The combination of the cliffhanger image with Optimus and Buster, plus the preview text “Megatron vs. Shockwave – TO THE DEATH” would have definitely made me get the next issue, but as the Hungarian comics packaged 2 issues into one, I was lucky and could continue reading on right away.
Issue #5 gets a definite “thumbs up” from me.