COUNTDOWN: 10 noteworthy moments from Skybound’s Transformers #8

Though slightly later than planned, we’re back for another look at the ongoing Transformers series from Skybound!

And my word, this comic continues not to disappoint. With a breathtaking pace wrapping up action beats and sincere character moments aplenty, there’s a lot to unpack after this chapter, as always. All that said, here are ten noteworthy moments from #8!

WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Transformers so far!

#10: Carly & Cliffjumper

The issue begins on a sombre note as Carly and Spike hang out by the water and talk about their current situation. We’re given a clear reminder of how both our human protagonists have lost their fathers in the initial six-issue arc, which naturally frames many of the events unfolding from now on. The former’s reaction to Cliffjumper demonstrates this as soon as he enters the scene when, despite his attempts to be friendly and re-build their bond, Carly leaves him in no doubt as to how she feels about him following his refusal to kill Starscream in #6, going as far as to say she cannot trust him any more. It’s a sad state of affairs that can’t help but leave you feeling sorry for Cliff, especially considering everything he has been through. Yet, it’s clear his human friend is still in the midst of grief at the same time, and whilst it’s a dynamic perhaps not expected for this series, it will be intriguing to see where it goes from here!

#9: Cybertron – again!

A lot of this issue involves rapid cuts between the various ongoing threads at play in the wider story, and sure enough, we briefly revisit Cybertron and Elita-1’s ongoing quest to rescue our mystery character, too! However, we’re none the wiser as to who this is meant to be, although it’s made overtly apparent they’ve been through a hellish experience, having endued 150 years of constant torture. Despite seeing more of them in action, there’s still little clue as to their identity, although my Triple Takeover colleagues seem firmly convinced it could well be Ultra Magnus. For my part, I think this bot is too small, but no doubt we will found out before too long!

#8: Thundercracker’s dilemma

One of my favourite bits of this issue comes as the Decepticons attack the USS Henry Harrisson. Despite carrying out his orders and destroying much of the machinery on board, Thundercracker is moved to spare the life of the ship’s captain, expressing a sense of wonder for his small organic state. Although he claims to pity their ‘fragility’, it’s evident the Decepticon feels no strong malice towards humans and even briefly attempts to protest Soundwave’s decision to kill them all to prevent any witnesses from the scene. Ultimately, he is overruled, but this surprisingly heartwrenching moment is undoubtedly a callback to the character’s classic 1984 toy tech spec bio, which suggested he was not entirely sure of the Decepticon cause. It’s also beautifully portrayed in terms of art, with the panel above a direct mirror of an inverse moment featuring Starscream in #1, directly contrasting Thundercracker’s behaviour with that of his more menacing counterpart. Let’s hope we get to see a follow up on this moving forward.

#7: The Autobots and Skywarp

After Starscream and Soundwave mercilessly pulled Skywarp to pieces and used him as spare parts to repair Teletraan I back in #4 (which feels like a lifetime ago now!), it seemed that might be it as far as seeing the purple and black Decepticon cropping up in this ongoing storyline. That’s turned out not to be the case, as some remnants of his brain continue to function. However, he’s now essentially hardwired with the Autobot computer and is shown blocking Wheeljack’s every attempt to gain access, even laughing in his signature style throughout. Weirdly, though, after Optimus Prime shows some degree of compassion and Arcee intervenes to prevent an impromptu attack by Carly, Wheeljack finds his legs being unexpectedly repaired! Could it be that Skywarp might end up assisting the Autobots somehow? It’s certainly an intriguing development!

#6: Arcee & Carly

Although her relationship with Cliffjumper may still be sour, Carly does find another ally in this issue, as we see Arcee looking to create a bond between the two. We had the first hints of such a thing last time, but it’s majorly expanded upon here after the Autobot attempts to console her before later offering the role of ‘Iron Apprentice’. This traditional Cybertronian relationship is the beginning of a clan in Skybound lore, and although we don’t know much about the specifics of it yet, it’s not hard to glean the overall context. Again, it’s another beat in the issue that is only briefly touched upon but promises to pay off further down the line.

#5: The Nemesis!

Soundwave boldly asserts in this issue that he intends to do things differently to Starscream’s chaotic tenure in charge of the Decepticons, and no one could say he’s not putting his money where his mouthplate is! It quickly transpires that the second part of his plan is to raise their fallen warship, the Nemesis, from the bottom of the ocean, thus giving them a major leg up in their plan to plunder Earth for its resources. It’s an exciting reveal – mainly thanks to some gorgeous splash-page artwork and the ship’s design, which looks very similar to the recent Titan toy! – and is sure to change the power balance in the ongoing conflict.

#4: Optimus’ visions

Here’s another thread picked up from the previous issue, as Optimus Prime continues to experience visions of what is clearly Spike’s childhood, though from his perspective. It’s no doubt influenced by Sparkplug having sacrificed himself to revive the Matrix, with his wisdom and knowledge now being communicated to the Autobot leader in this strange way. How it influences the wider story will have to be determined another day, however!

#3: Jetfire’s fate

No doubt one of the most unexpected developments from #8 is the return of Jetfire after his untimely death in the first chapter. However, he’s a shadow of his former self, only existing in his shuttle form as a means of transportation for the Autobots and rather grimly lacking the ability to see, thus making him essentially an inanimate object with some haunting sense of consciousness. The moment is incredibly bleak but is beautifully played in how Optimus interacts with his fallen comrade, not to mention how the other Autobots are so respectful of him. Series creator Daniel Warren Johnson gave us some incredible insight into how this scene came about when he joined us for our recent Triple Takeover discussion, and suffice it to say, it ended up being far, far darker than what he originally had in mind! Still, it gives a new perspective on the idea of robot death in this series and maybe means that other offed characters might also reappear further down the line in some manner.

#2: Astrotrain

As we cut back to the Decepticons aboard the Nemesis, it quickly becomes apparent that there is someone – or something! – lurking within, and it turns out to be a hulking Astrotrain! The gigantic Decepticon certainly knows how to make an entrance, tearing open the doors to his prison and attacking an unfortunately placed Thundercracker in the process. Though many of the characters in the series have major echoes of their classic depictions, this is a totally new take on the triple changer in question, and it becomes quickly clear that he has a score to settle with Megatron for some unspecified reason. One thing’s for sure: between the Nemesis and this guy, the prospects of the Cons just went up a major notch.

#1: Shockwave!

There’s one more surprise in store, however, as Soundwave manages to get the ship’s communications antennae working again and puts in a call to home… with Shockwave answering on the monitor! Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the mono-eyed bad guy in the Energon Universe. Still, it’s a major bridge between the ongoing storyline on Earth and the situation on the Transformers homeworld of Cybertron. Oh, and it’s safe to say this is bad news for the Autobots, eh? All in all, it was a fantastic cliffhanger to a busy issue and has me hankering to see what comes next!

So that’s our list! Did you enjoy #8?

TTFN

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About Sixo

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

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