Marvel Comics’ Transformers Issue 24 uses video game and computer lingo that’s actually sounds possible. This is something I have found poorly described in entertainment mediums before. Issue 24 brings us head on into a fight between Optimus Prime and Megatron thanks in part to one boy’s access to 1980s super computer. But first, lets check out this cover art.
Issue 24 is a dark cover. The Transformers’ logo at the top is a bright orange on a black background. As we look down the cover we see Megatron and Optimus Prime engaged in a fight with each other on a screen. With “Game Over Optimus Prime” in black near the bottom of the screen and the image of a person holding two joy sticks below that, its easy to assume the person was playing some kind of video game and controlling the Optimus Prime and or Megatron. The comic background lights up near the bottom where the person is sitting and gives the impression that he is sitting in front of some kind of super computer console. The cover art is only slightly miss leading and once you read the story you can see how it fits together.
Issue 24 entitled ‘Afterdeath’ opens up on a young programer by the name of Ethan Zachary at Energy Futures Industries. He has been working on a device called a hydrothermocline. It’s ment to draw energery from all the different thermal layers of the ocean. It’s seen as an endless power supply for the whole world.
Megatron learns of the hydrothermocline and seeks to obtain it, but Optimus Prime and the Protectobots show up to stop the Decepticons. While the two leaders are debating each other, Ethan is captured and it is clear that if the Autobots fight the Decepticons they wend end up not only destroying the hydrothermocline, but also take several human lives along with them. Ethan comes up with an idea. Have the Transformers fight their battle in a video game called Multiworld.
Megatron agrees to Ethan Zachary’s idea, but only if along with the gydrothermocline the losing leader also loses his life. Prime agrees to the terms.
In the game world the Protectobots fight the Combaticons while remaining true to their beliefs by helping and saving the lives of the virtual world’s inhabitants. The Protectobots win the battle.
By the end of the comic Optimus Prime and Megatron fight each other. Megatron is with out his Combaticons. Prime still has the Protectobots who have now formed Defensor. The giant Autobot kills Megatron, and himself in the game world. Megatron, true to his character finds a way to cheat by using a back door pass code ‘AFTERDEATH’ which allows himself to respawn in the game world. He appears again behind Optimus prime and shoots him in the back. Prime manages to not fall by holding on to a ledge. Prime manages to still defeat Megatron at the cost of the lives of the computer generated characters within the game world.
Even though Optimus Prime wins the game he feels that he has cheated by sacrificing his principles. He mostly feels this way because he is not aware that Megatron cheated previously so he could respawn in the game. Prime tells Ethan to destroy him instead. With that, Ethan presses a button and prime is destroyed.
Megatron and his fellow Decepticons leave with the hydrothermocline while the Protectobots gather up the remains of their leader. As they are leaving, Ethan Zachary reveals to the reader that he has saved a copy of Optimus Prime’s character on a five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disk.
My Thoughts On This Issue
I know at the start of this review I said that a lot of the tech lingo was plausible. I still feel most of it is. More plausible than a lot of the tech lingo I hear in modern day shows and literature. But the thought that a saved copy of Optimus Prime’s being, his essence, his life, can be stored on a five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disk is laughable. It actually took me a little bit to realize this is what the they where implying to me as a reader. Current time me was just thinking that maybe some random game data was being stored away about Optimus Prime, but HE IS REALLY DEAD! THEY KILLED OPTIMUS PRIME. However, if I look at the story from my 1986 perspective, I probably would have figured it out right away that Optimus Prime was saved to a floppy disk.
Sometimes the only way to win, is not to play.