COUNTDOWN: 10 noteworthy moments from Skybound’s Transformers #5

It’s hard to believe we’re five issues into Skybound’s new Transformers series. Admittedly, a lot has happened, but the story has been so enjoyable that it feels like the time has flown by!

This latest chapter was no different, of course, delivering blow after blow of hard-hitting, jaw-dropping action alongside plenty of insightful character beats. There’s a lot to talk about, so today, purely and simply, here are 10 noteworthy moments from Transformers #5!

WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Transformers so far, including #5!

#10: The heart to heart

When this series began, it seemed Spike would take centre stage as the main human protagonist alongside a major focus on his blossoming friendship with Optimus Prime. Yet after his shocking life-threatening injury in #3, he’s largely been taken off the board, allowing the story to give his father, Sparkplug, more time to shine. So it is in the sombre but impactful opening pages of #5 that both he and the Autobot leader relive their war experiences, including some harrowing and largely silent panels dominating the first two pages with scenes from various battlefields thrown into stark parallel. Of course, there are some intriguing nods in the Cybertronian parts, including the apparent past destruction of characters like Blaster and (a miscoloured) Perceptor. Yet the real meat and potatoes of this scene comes from the brief but telling conversation that follows, as both characters share their dismay at such conflict, with Optimus even sharing his fears that he is becoming the very thing he is trying to fight against. No doubt the irony of him now wielding Megatron’s right arm, complete with the highly destructive fusion cannon, is weighing heavily on him as he considers the coming conflict. It’s a solemn beginning to what is otherwise a highly action-heavy issue.

#9: The kick

The pace of this chapter immediately goes up a notch once we quickly cut to the Decepticons aboard the Ark, as they’ve succeeded in getting Teletraan I operational again, using the spare parts they harvested from Skywarp at the end of the last issue. It’s only a short time before they have several of their warriors up and functioning again, including classic names Frenzy (in his cartoon colours, in case you were wondering!) and Reflector (here presented as a single robot instead of a trio). However, perhaps the most shocking moment – and the one which has certainly caused plenty of comment online – is when Starscream viciously kicks Ravage’s comatose body across the room, violently punctuated by a sizeable “PUNT” sound effect! We’ve already seen the level of affection Soundwave holds for his minion, and despite his apparent willingness to fall in line behind Starscream for now, one suspects this is a definite step too far for the Decepticon Seeker, who is hightailing towards the most brutal kind of comeuppance by making enemies all over the shop, even amongst his faction. Similarly, Thundercracker’s horror at Skywarp’s fate is palpable. Although Starscream swiftly changes the subject, this may be another grievance that comes home to roost before too long.

#8: Wheeljack’s back!

As the Decepticons head off to attack the Autobots, we cut to our heroes who are setting up a newly constructed power turbine machine to siphon the energy from the local dam. Ratchet has brought his engineer comrade Wheeljack back online using their limited energon supplies. Although only half the Autobot is functional, with his upper torso all that’s active for now, it proves to be more than enough to get the machine operational. What’s great about this scene is Sparkplug’s involvement again, as not only did he have the initial idea of using the natural resource to harvest power, but we also get to revel in his amazement at how Wheeljack’s device will be able to fuel the local town for up to a decade. It’s a small beat but just another potent reminder of how out of this world the giant robot aliens truly are.

#7: Reviving the fallen

However, it’s not long before more characters come back to the land of the living, as, despite the suggestion from Wheeljack that they use their new energy reserves to repair Optimus, the Autobot leader instead insists they revive their other fallen warriors. First up for the process is Arcee, who is brought back online within mere moments and immediately goes to embrace her old friend, Ratchet, hinting at a bond between these two we’ve not previously seen in other G1-focused media (unless you count their interpretations in Transformers Animated, of course!). Unfortunately, it’s a very brief reunion before the Decepticons arrive and immediately attack, with Arcee pushing the doctor out of harm’s way as the battle unfolds. At this point, the breakneck pace of the issue becomes all too apparent!

#6: Optimus obliterates the Decepticons

The resulting fight is visceral, with both sides dishing out plenty of heavy fire and some dramatic panels ramping up the tension. However, despite using his more traditional blaster initially, it’s once Optimus fires up Megatron’s fusion cannon that the first major “HOLY S**T” moment of this issue is forcefully delivered! Prime unloads the full force of the weapon into an advancing Reflector, who barely has a moment to deliver some torturous camera-related puns before realising the immediate fate that awaits him. Megatron’s cannon has often been portrayed as supremely powerful, but this panel does everything necessary to firmly sell that premise, as the photo-themed Decepticon is quite literally blown to smithereens from a single blast, all colourfully accentuated by a rather beautiful pink and purple background. Optimus swiftly follows up that performance by grabbing Frenzy’s foot and slamming him quite definitively into a wall, swiftly bringing both bad guys to an end mere pages after they were resurrected! No doubt such an example will fuel some people’s critiques of the series being quite keen to utilise shocking character deaths, although in this case, there’s no doubt it delivers the necessary punch to get the battle underway and demonstrates the threat of the fusion cannon quite effectively into the bargain.

#5: Arcee transforms!

As the action continues, the Autobot’s human friend Carly is unwittingly put into harm’s way as a stray shot from Starscream knocks her over the dam’s edge. Fortunately, the newly animated Arcee springs to the rescue as she hurtles herself up the dam wall by quickly changing into her alternate mode and hitting the accelerator before slamming on the brakes and skidding to capture Carly inside! It’s a breathtaking beat captured by some stunning artwork, instantly standing out as one of the more memorable moments from the whole issue. However, another aspect that immediately got people talking was Arcee’s updated vehicle guise. Gone is the future-styled form from her traditional G1 appearance, here to be replaced by what strongly seems to be a modern Lamborghini! It’s a sleek new look, no doubt.

#4: Jazz returns

We barely get a moment to recover before the action continues, with a freshly revived Rumble mounting a would-be sneak attack on an unsuspecting Cliffjumper. Fortunately, in another fist-in-the-air triumphant moment, Jazz returns to save the day, offing the Decepticon via a single shot and a stylistic music-themed pun to go with it! After putting in an exhilarating but brief turn last issue, it’s a genuine thrill to see the fan-favourite Autobot quickly return to the pages of the comic. Hopefully, he’s here to stay this time!

#3: Optimus vs Starscream

The continuing fight naturally leads to a one-on-one confrontation between Optimus and the current Decepticon commander, Starscream. It ends with Prime again unloading the mighty power of Megatron’s cannon into his rival, but in many ways, that’s not the most noteworthy moment here, nor the biggest blow the Autobot lands. After Starscream admonishes him for using the cannon for his own “evil purpose“, Optimus barbs back that the Decepticon had been cowering in fear before the weapon, which is “a constant reminder” of what he’ll never be! This hits home as intended, as Starscream howls with rage before opening fire at random, showing how Prime’s words have the harsh sting of truth. Trash talk has always been a sizeable part of Transformers, as this scene demonstrates perfectly!

#2: The transformation

Our penultimate moment is quick, but it is still worth highlighting for how it answers a looming question in the most ridiculous but undeniably awesome way possible. I admit that when we saw Optimus wielding Megatron’s arm in the previous issue, I had wondered if he might be able to transform at all, but I put it to one side as the kind of pedantic nerdery not really necessary for the ongoing storyline. Anyway, yes, he can transform, and the cannon naturally ends up in the most appropriate place possible as a sort of makeshift smokestack! It’s inherently silly in every regard, but I’d be lying if I didn’t chuckle.

#1: Devastator!

Anyway, our final entry is surely no surprise for anyone who has read the issue because really, what else could it be? As the Autobots follow the retreating Decepticons back to the Ark in the hopes of continuing their apparent winning streak, they’re met with a nasty surprise as it turns out Starscream is capable of employing some effective strategy, after all! Having fixed himself up, he’s also revived the Contructicons, who swiftly enter the fray and make quick work of the Autobots, severely wounding Optimus as they go! It’s worth noting the sheer stature of the green meanies in this scene, as their vehicle forms are depicted in a more real-world scale than we typically see in Transformers media, allowing them an intimidating presence as they pose a genuine threat to the good guys. Even better, it’s not long before they perform their signature move and merge into the combined form of Devastator in a series of panels that effectively communicate the awesome presence of the process. It leaves us on a major cliffhanger as things look pretty dire for our heroes, and it no doubt represents the largest instance of raising the stakes we’ve seen in this series thus far!

So that’s our list! Did you enjoy #5?


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About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at or on YouTube at


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