Let us here at PoP! guide you through a minefield of books that seem full of win from the word go, but which once you crack them open have you shouting… It’s a Trap!
Just recently, I reviewed Last Stand of the Wreckers, a story which spins out of the current IDW Transformers Universe but which has strong ties as well to the pre-existing Marvel run of Transformers books. Ties so strong, in fact, that a few fans of the book’s UK run popped up to question my stance on the book. Seems they much preferred its great-great-grandpappy, a little book recently re-released by IDW, entitled Target: 2006.
Target: 2006 consists of two interwoven tales, one taking place on Earth, one on Cybertron, and neither in 2006. The story takes place, instead, in the year 1986 – a fortuitous year for the Transformers, to be sure! This was the year that the animated film hit theaters; the animated film which was set in (yes, you guessed it) 2006! Dun dun dun!
As you may have guessed from the timeline (or the cover) this story serves as something of a prologue to the movie. Sort of. I guess. It’s kind of awful, actually, because it actually takes place within the timespan of the movie. So you see a Galvatron who’s recently been given form by Unicron, plotting his master’s downfall, when the movie shows us the eventual fate of OrsonWellsocon. I suppose this would have packed more punch if I’d read the book prior to having seen the movie, but then I would’ve known Megatron becomes Galvatron and Starscream gets obliterated. It’s a lose/lose proposition.
The b-story, and what makes it relevant to my LSotW review, is one of the Wreckers (then led by Impactor, one of the stars of the new mini) plotting a sneak attack against the Decepticons’ worst killers by luring them into a trap (HA!) baited with Cybertronian Emirate Xaaron. Yeah, I don’t know who he is either. The plan hinges on the involvement of Ultra Magnus, but Magnus is compelled to journey to Earth in pursuit of answers – Optimus Prime has vanished! And here’s where the stories begin to interweave (and, for that matter, fall apart).
The flaws with this story are far from cosmetic, and read like a laundry list:
- Galvatron’s entire bid in this story is to travel to the past, where he is free from Unicron’s influence. That’s great, but… Unicron uses his powers of mind control to send three Autobots to the past to stop his minion.
- Wouldn’t the Autobots have done this on their own?
- The three Autobots are Kup, Blurr, and Hot Rod. If Unicron has the ability to take control of Hot Rod’s mind, how is it that Hot Rod ends up being his undoing?
- The trio show a reverence for Magnus that isn’t there in the film, at all.
- When Cybertronians travel back in time, their time machine randomly picks three other beings of similar mass and displaces them in time and space. Uh… why? If anything, shouldn’t they end up when and where the travelers had come from?
- Unicron’s plan is to have the Autobots trick Galvatron into believing he had killed Starscream, which would then lead Galvatron to assume he was in an alternate reality and return to his own time. This is not only the dumbest plan ever, considering the degree of supposition upon which it hinges – it also works!
- Unicron also makes a cryptic reference to planting the idea for Autobot city in the mind of one of the ’86 Autobots, again undermining the concept that Unicron could not exercise his power in the past. It’s fine to assume that Galvatron didn’t know this, but why didn’t Unicron simply reassert control over Galvatron? Why the games?
Meanwhile, in the b-story, we have far fewer problems, but the one big one is a doosie:
- When Ultra Magnus is unable to fulfill his obligations to the Wreckers, the triple changers – Springer, Broadside, and Sandstorm are set to take his place. Despite the fact that the entire mission goes south and none of the Triple Changers ever actually serve in battle alongside the Wreckers, Impactor – fatally wounded by a single Decepticon sniper – promotes Springer to command of the Wreckers. This is just over 97 hours after their first meeting, and yet Impactor assures the team that “Springer is ready to take over.” I’ve been passed over for promotions before, but damn… if I was One of the Wreckers who had served under Impactor, I’d be PISSED! This is worse than Hot Rod’s meteoric rise to leadership in the movie.
- Moreover, Megatron’s order to rescind the assault on the Cybertronian Senate comes seemingly out of nowhere. One minute, Lazerbeak’s freeing him from a pile of scrap metal, and the next he’s calling off an attack he hasn’t been shown to know anything about. This one’s a minor gripe, but the sloppiness taken along with all of the issue’s other flaws certainly doesn’t help matters.
At the end of the day, Target: 2006 IS a fun read and certainly does make me curious to pick up some of the other TF books from the Marvel run, but I really can’t help but question the pedestal on which stories like this have been placed. I suspect it’s an issue – no pun intended – of nostalgia having created a false memory the original material simply can not live up to. To you younger TF fans out there, should someone pique your curiosity regarding this old standby, all I can say is… be careful. Your shields may not be able to repel plot holes of this magnitude.
Transformers – Target: 2006 receives 2 out of 5 Wreckers with anvil hands.