Just released is the Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen prequel novel THE VEILED THREAT by Alan Dean Foster. clocking in at 281 pages for $7.99 US, it promises to bridge the gap between the first and second movie s.
Just released is the Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen prequel novel THE VEILED THREAT by Alan Dean Foster. clocking in at 281 pages for $7.99 US, it promises to bridge the gap between the first and second movie
But before we get into the novel, just to catch everybody up on where we are, I’ll summarize the relevant portions of the IDW prequel comics stating with
In the distant past the Allspark created a race of interdimensional beings on the planet that would become Cyberton. After beginning to cyberform their planet, they learned that the Allspark needed to be periodically renewed, and that the only way to do this was through the energies of an exploding star, so, being unable to search themselves, the Allspark provided by creating the Transformers. Seekers like Jetfire were sent to find suitable stars and constructors like the Constructicons were then sent to build harvesters to reap exploding stars’ energy to channel into the Allspark. A harvester was built on Earth, but before the sun was destroyed, one of the interdimensional beings, The Fallen, betrayed his brethren and destroyed their sarcophagi, which apparently house their essences, but before he could seize all the power for himself, his fellows managed to entomb him within his own sarcophagus artifact. The Harvester failed to activate and had an Egyptian pyramid built around it by the natives.
So, fast-forward to Optimus Prime and his archeological team finding The Fallen’s sarcophagus on Cybertron. The Fallen begins talking to Megatron and orders him to begin a war of conquest and a search for the Harvester. Decepticon/Autobot war ensues and the Nemesis is built to aid in the search. The Fallen’s sarcophagus leaves onboard with Soundwave and most of the other Decepticons as the war rages. When the Allspark is launched into space, Megatron follows but stops to answer a distress call from the Nemesis, which appears to have crashed landed on an ice world and been abandoned, except for The Fallen’s artifact. He orders Megatron to continue his search for the Allspark, which ultimately leads him to Earth.
The events of the older prequel comics and the movie take place, as well as the Reign of Starscream miniseries before going right into
The Autobots clean-up the remaining Allspark-created mechs from the
The events of the novel seem to take place within the middle of the
The novel opens with Megatron, dead, at the bottom of the sea, and this is where he stays throughout the book, no miraculous resurrections here. Cut to the Gulf of Aden where pirates attack a freighter which just so happens to be ferrying Epps,
Meanwhile, we find that Agent Simmons is now, with the disbanding of Sector Seven, working in his mother’s deli in
The NEST team soon arrives in
The Autobots and their human allies soon realize that Starscream may try and destroy a series of dams along the
After a short scuffle, Prime manages to knock Macerator over the side of the dam before dispatching his dangling foe with his built-in sword. Ratchet takes repeated hits from Payload while trying to melt the fissures in the cracking dam back together. Both Ratchet and the dam are ultimately saved when the humans enter the dam and open the flood gates, knocking Payload downriver and out of the book. A damaged Dropkick escapes and everyone returns to Deigo Garcia.
Again, we cut back to Simmons in his basement, experimenting on Frenzy and brooding that that punk kid Sam Witwicky has a hot girlfriend and is going to
Back at NEST headquarters, two more Decepticon presences are detected and a pair of teams are readied to head out and take care of them. Epps and Russian scientist Petr Andronov accompany Longarm and impetuous young motorcycle Knockout to
Arriving at a uranium mining site, the NEST team discovers a trio of construction vehicles which, naturally, turn out to be Decepticons. The leader, Kickback, takes Prime on and is quickly run through with the Autobot leader’s sword. The other two, Tread and Trample, are quickly killed through the combined efforts of the rest of the team.
Back at DG, a small crab Decepticon infiltrates the base and hacks into the NEST computers before sneaking back into the sea and an unknown accomplice. Despite the break-in, the NEST team continues their usual business, discussing different ways the Decepticons could draw massive quantities of power to revive Megatron.
Prime and the Autobots enter the ancient structure, and Prime promptly falls through a trap door to a subway tunnel extension and into a strong set of restraints arranged by Carrera. Starscream then proceeds to attack the remaining Autobots while a helpless Prime is confronted by a vengeful Barricade. Before the Decepticon can dispatch Prime, the humans attack Barricade and Prime manages to work himself free. He easily hands Barricade his skidplate and returns to the surface where Starscream has fled.
On his way to whatever scheme he has cooked up next, Starscream takes the time to visit Carrera at this villa, where he pays him back for his “failure”.
Finally, Epps and
Overall, the book isn’t bad. The Transformer fights are pretty well written and exciting, and the characterization of the robots is as complete as that of any of the humans. The story is fast-paced and there is very little filler. That being said, the story is more pointless than the last Movie prequel novel. The first 250 pages of the book seem to be about Starscream consolidating power while a second cabal of Decepticons works to undermine him and revive Megatron, but in the last 30 pages the story takes a hard left turn into the
Events in the book mesh pretty well with what has been established in the two IDW prequel series. Some plot points and character appearances are a little cumbersome when you try to reconcile the novel with the comics, but nothing directly contradicts anything else.
Some items of note:
The battle in
The acronym NEST is never explained in the book. I know I've seen what it stands for online somewhere, but it escapes me at the moment.
At the base at Diego Garcia, Ironhide is stockpiling Energon, which is described as a Transformer energy source. Energon is manufactured from existing energy sources and does exist naturally in the universe in a more unstable form. There is evidence that it exists naturally on Earth, but the Autobots don’t have the time or resources to search for it. Energon doesn’t figure in to the story at any point, and the mention seems more like a nod to G1 and Beast Wars.
At one point when Epps and Ironhide are talking shop, it’s revealed that each Transformer has a specialty, and according to their specialty, they create ammo, supplies, etc through nannoengineering, quantum alteration of volatile compounds, and subatomic metaflux metallurgy. Essentially, eating scrap and creating stuff internally.
Quite a few words are spent describing how extremely hot Kaminari Ishihara is. This, coupled with her being super-smart and a skilled martial artist, serves to turn her into nothing more than some sort of fantasy figure for dudes instead of a viable character.
As for the Transformers…
Optimus Prime - Prime is Prime. This Prime, however, is a little more direct and brutal than usual, impaling two Decepticons with his sword with no hesitation.
Ironhide - Ironhide’s direct approach and habit of wanting to solve every problem by blasting or crushing it is still amusing. He does seem to have warmed up to humans a bit since the Movie.
Ratchet - Ratchet again proves that he’s the most action-oriented, battle-tested Ratchet yet.
Longarm - The obligatory grizzled veteran, Longarm does seem to genuinely enjoy being on Earth and interacting with the planet’s fascinating organics, even to the extent of playing with feral cats using his Tow-truck mode’s headlights.
Don't make Longarm slap you!
Salvage – A new arrival to Earth, Salvage has no real personality to speak of. Sharing the name and pickup truck mode of his toy version even if he wasn’t created by the Allspark like the toy bio says.
Knockout - Another new arrival, Knockout is the Movieverse’s version of Cheetor/Hot Shot/Animated Bumblebee. A young, impetuous motorcycle with a desire to prove himself, he endangers the team on the
Bumblebee is too seasoned and competent, so make way for Knockout!
Beachbreak – The little commando jetski that could. His completely original name betrays him as cannon-fodder at the outset.
Starscream - Starscream is the devious, power-hungry schemer we’ve come to expect. A lot closer to his G1 version here than in any previous movie material, a quick mention is made of his recent time on Cybertron in the Reign of Starscream comic miniseries.
Barricade - Not dead.
Frenzy - Not dead either, just an angry little head.
Dropkick - Another pickup truck, Dropkick is pretty much you basic Decepticon. He exhibits none of the manic-depressive traits his toy bio points towards.
Macerator - Macerator is a garbage truck with a massive shredding mechanism mounted to him. He’s a mean little brawler who likes to tangle with Prime, and get his skidplate kicked for it.
Payload – Unlike the armored car toy version, this Payload is an anti-aircraft tank that spends most of his time using his weapons systems to the utmost.
Ruination – A V-22 Ospery with a bad attitude. No mention is made of the established Osprey Decepticon Incinerator.
Blademaster – An undetermined type of helicopter, Blademaster isn’t around long enough to matter.
Kickback – Kickbak is the seeming leader of the small band of “constructicons” intent on reviving Megatron. He’s brash and confident, in no way hesitant when attacking Optimus prime. He uses his Bulldozer blade in robot mode as a shield, and his other hand is a huge warhammer which can emit a devastating sonic blast.
Tread and Trample – A identical pair of excavators who are an example of Transformer twins. The sometimes speak in perfect unison and are very aware of each other’s actions and situation. Sort of like the Crimson Twins for GI Joe, but without finishing each other’s sentences.
Swindle - A mean Decepticon street-racer, only slightly beyond his drone origins.
Deadend - Not really all that different from Swindle.
Deadend - Fast and Furious?
Decepticon Crab Infiltrator – An unnamed tiny spybot. He doesn’t speak and seems to be a mech not unlike Scorponok or Frenzy.
Overall, the book is a light and mostly entertaining read. The Transformer battles are the high points, and make up for the lack of any substantive narrative. It’s great beach, airplane, or lunch break reading. It’s probably by no means essential to a greater enjoyment of the Movieverse, but I do feel comfortable recommending it to any Transfan with a few hours to kill.
But that’s just my take, if you’ve read it, let me know what you think!