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Transformers: Beast Wars #9
IDW Publishing

Comic Books

‘Transformers: Beast Wars’ #9 gives Skold the spotlight

Skold takes a stroll away from the other Predacons… and meets up with a fan-favorite.

After a hectic two-parter, Transfromers: Beast Wars #9 reels in its focus, shifting the narrative onto the Predacon Skold. Like with the Maximal Nyx earlier in the series, writer Erik Burnham, artist Josh Burcham, and letterer Jake M. Wood give some much needed depth to their creation and add to the worldbuilding of the series, even if some of the latter is a little clunky.

This is a page from Transformers: Beast Wars #9. It focuses on the Predacons as they decide what course of action to take. The page is broken up into five panels.

Panel 1 shows Tarantulas speaking with Skorponok watching on, attentively.

Tarantulas: We must remember that not all the pods were reconditioned. And the atmospheric energon radiation will also make it difficult to easily track them down, let alone know which ones are now ours.

Panel 2 shows Megatron, smiling as he replies.

Megatron: Not a problem. We hold every advantage. Despite the bravado of their leader, the Maximals would never risk one of their own in an attack. Once we acquire our new recruits, we can maintain a permanent presence at their ship, hammering away at their shields until they fall, yes.

Panel 3 shows an extreme close up of Megatron's menacing grin in profile.

Megatron: And then we Destroy them!

Panel 4: Megatron continues his monologue as Blackarachnia, Tarantulas, and Skorponok listen.

Megatron: We continue as planned --- acquire energon, mine the Golden Disk's secrets, and repair our ship. We shall return to Cybertron. Maximal Command and the Tripredacus Council will bow. My empire shall be born.

Panel 5 shows Terrorsaur leaning against a wall, not entirely convinced of his leader's bravado.

Terrorsaur: I'm starting to think it would've been easier if we'd just traveled back in time to destroy our enemies before they were even online.
IDW Publishing

Transformers: Beast Wars #9 begins in the Predacon base, the Darksyde, as the faction formally welcomes its newest member in Blackarachnia. After brief cheers though, Megatron’s subordinates begin to argue. Blackarachnia, having destabilized the orbits of a number of stasis pods has now presented the Predacons with an opportunity to add even more members to their ranks, if only they can agree upon how to go about doing it. Josh Burcham returns to handle the series’ art after a brief absence in issues #7 and #8, and his expressive lines add a lot to the characters as the bicker back and forth about how to best approach the opportunity to secure new recruits.

Less enthused, though, is the Predacon Skold, who finds herself on the outside looking in at the behavior of her teammates.

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This is a page of Beast Wars #9 that shows the Predacons arguing. The page is broken into five panels.

Panel 1 shows Blackarachnia leaning over Skold in a demeaning manner.  Blackarachnia says:
"What are you, an idiot? The fliers will cover more ground. Let them."

Panel 2 shows that behind Skold, Terrorsaur is laughing.

Terrorsaur: Hah! You know what, Blackarachnia? I think I like you after all. You could learn from her, Skold. Be less sensitive. Grow a -- what's the term? -- a thicker skin.

Panel 3 shows Megatron giving final orders to Terrorsaur and his companion, Waspinator.

Megatron (to Terrorsaur): I'd advise you to amuse yourself on your own time.

Terrorsaur (to Megatron): Okay! Okay. We're going. We'll find you those pods.

Megatron (to Terrorsaur): Good. See that you do.

Panel 4 shows Skorponok trying to console Skold.

Skorponok: There's still plenty you can do to further the cause here. I know the energon processors could use some maintenance...

Skold: No, I'm going anyway. I want to be alone for a while.

Panel 5 is a closeup of Skorponok's face, clearly confused.

Skorponok: But... But you never want to be alone.
IDW Publishing

After having enough of her companions’ infighting, Skold leaves the Predacon base and wanders on her own. Her internal computer suggests that she relax in a body of fresh water. However, this getaway is made far more urgent when Skold discovers a stasis pod preparing to release its Cybertronian occupant.

The new Maximal is Razorbeast, a character that really rose to prominence within the franchise with IDW’s 2006 miniseries, Beast Wars: The Gathering. His appearance here is a fun surprise, or at least, it would be if he wasn’t featured on an alternate cover for this issue. Or the issue’s credits page. Or the cast page. In the television series, the stasis pods offered a bit of surprise to the proceedings because you never knew what character would emerge from them, and it would have been nice if that had been preserved here, especially since it seems like Burnham and Burcham were trying to deliver an unexpected moment. Stasis pods work by scanning the environment and finding a suitable life form to serve as the Transformers’ Beast Mode. Skold finds the stasis pod at the bottom of a lake, hardly a place one would expect to see a boar, and even when she moves it to land, Burcham’s art makes sure not to show what lifeform is used until Razorbeast emerges from the pod.

Skold is apprehensive about her new travelling companion, but opens up a bit to the Maximal’s enthusiasm. Erik Burnham and Josh Burcham use a flashback to reveal a bit of Skold’s background on Cybertron prior to the events of the comic series. Unlike many of the other characters, Skold is a new character to the franchise, and so getting to see a bit of her background and why she’s aligned with Megatron offers a lot of insight to her character.

Unfortunately, the pair’s bonding moment is interrupted when they are attacked by a number of creatures set upon them by the Vok. While the Vok have played a role since the Transformers: Beast Wars began, their appearance here feels a little more forced, especially with the creatures that they unleash. The story beat is a familiar one — potential enemies learn more about themselves by fighting alongside one another, but it would have been nice for this moment to come about in a more natural feeling manner. It’s a clunky scene in an otherwise solid issue, as Transformers: Beast Wars #9 is at its best when focusing on Skold’s character development.

Transformers: Beast Wars #9
‘Transformers: Beast Wars’ #9 gives Skold the spotlight
Transformers: Beast Wars #9
Transformers: Beast Wars #9 is a solid entry when it focuses on its character moments, but the action is inserted in a way that doesn't quite work.
Reader Rating1 Vote
Skold's personality gets to shine as she interacts with most of the series' cast.
The addition of Razorbeast in the story is done well and helps add to Skold's journey.
The Vok's role in the story feels a little out of left field.
The fact that Razorbeast is featured on the cast page ruins a bit of the surprise.

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