This is the story of the Wreckers’ last stand. The story of ten soldiers and a stowaway who rode into the valley of death. Cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them, cannon in front of them, volley’d and thunder’d.
It’s a story of sacrifice and betrayal, and of good people dying in stupid, pointless ways.
I am an enormous fan of Transformers. When I was a kid, I had a ton of toys, comics, books and videos of the eponymous transforming robots, because, let’s face facts, the Transformers are incredibly cool and iconic. Yes, the concept of them is silly and a blatant toy-selling gimmick, but who cares, that tank is also a giant robot, SQUEEEEEE. In terms of franchises, G1 is by far and away my favourite, because it’s the one I grew up with (that being said, I also really like Animated, and Robots in Disguise was a guilty pleasure back in the day).
For me, the real joy of Transformers is all the backstory guff, the best of which came from all the comics and writer/incarnate god Simon Furman. Before the comics introduced the lore, Unicron was just some giant robot planet dude. In the comics, Unicron is established as being the literal embodiment of universal chaos and entropy. Minor toys like Thunderwing, Skids, and Nightbeat have become cult favourites because of the focus they got in the comics. It was great, but unfortunately the original G1 Transformers comic finished its run in 1990 (we do not speak of the G2 comic).
And then about six years ago, I was late to the party finding out about the Transformers comics being published by IDW, and things were good once again. I was a good little fanboy and read through Infiltration, Escalation, Devastation, Stormbringer, the Spotlights, All Hail Megatron, Maximum Dinobots… I loved them all. Yes, even All Hail Megatron.
Enough about the history. On to Last Stand of the Wreckers.
This story is written and drawn by Nick Roche, a guy who seems to me to be the Transformers equivalent of Aaron Dembski-Bowden in that they’re both sexy Irish nerds who have fresh new takes on long-standing and much-loved franchises. Seriously, Nick, Aaron, you guys should hang out.
As you may have gathered, Last Stand stars the Wreckers. Who are the Wreckers? Well, the Wreckers are essentially the Dirty Dozen, if the Dirty Dozen were robots who could transform into armoured vehicles. They’re a group of Autobot commandos who get all the insane high-risk black ops missions. Due to said insane high risks, they have a pretty high turnover of new members. In Last Stand, we follow four new Wrecker recruits; stumpy brawler Guzzle, cocky flyboy Rotorstorm, deluded gloryhound Pyro, and fanboy scientist Ironfist. This was enough to get me interested in the story; Guzzle’s had some coverage in the old comics, but Rotorstorm, Pyro, and Ironfist all came along in the last few years of the G1 toyline’s lifespan, and are therefore pretty obscure. For years they only existed as brief tech spec bios and bad artwork. No longer!
They join the existing team of Springer, Kup, Perceptor, Topspin and Twin Twist, and “hey-remember-me-from-an-earlier-storyline” Verity Carlo, who fulfills the story’s T&A quota.
The Wreckers have been assigned a mission to go and find what’s going on at Garrus-9, which is essentially the Autobot equivalent of Guantanamo Bay. Yeaaaah, the IDW ‘verse Autobots are a bit more morally grey. We’ve seen Garrus-9 before in Spotlight: Arcee and it’s been established that it’s a tough nut to crack, a high-security prison run by Fortress Maximus and a load of disposable Autobots like Kick-Off and Jackpot (though no Jack-Off). There’s been no communication from the prison for over a year, and it’s feared that the Decepticons have overrun the place and freed all those crazy prisoners. However, only a few of the team know the real reason for the mission; to find and retrieve the mysterious Aequitas.
On the way to Garrus-9, the Wreckers encounter a Decepticon dropship. While debating what to do about it, the ship explodes, and we get a nice fanwanky tribute right to the face.
Awwwww yeah. You can’t have a G1 Wreckers story without Impactor. He’s the ex-leader of the Wreckers, before he got imprisoned in Garrus-9 for doing something pretty gosh-darn naughty. He’s never had a toy, and he only had a few appearances in the original comics, but god damn, the mech’s a legend (then he got shot, then got resurrected as a zombie, which was harrowing for 9 year old me).
Once aboard, Impactor tells of his escape from Garrus-9, and informs his ex-squad what’s really happened; Overlord, a bored and sadistic rogue Decepticon “phase-sixer” (aka walking genocide) has taken over Garrus-9 and is running the place as his private kingdom, torturing prisoners and staging brutal gladiatorial pit-fights for his amusement.
With that information, the Wreckers are suddenly a lot more apprehensive about the mission, but they’ve got a job to do, and Wreckers always get the job done, no matter the odds. As they approach Garrus-9, the Wreckers split into two teams, load up in drop-pods and make their descent, punching through the energy shield and crash-landing in the prison. Springer’s team lands safely, but Perceptor’s team ends up landing in Overlord’s throne-room. Things proceed to go a bit pear-shaped.
I absolutely love this story, and will continue to gush about it, because there’s still a lot to cover. Until then, here’s another shot of Overlord being an atrocious person.
’til next time.