Universal Soldiers – First Strike #5

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Title:  First Strike #5

Publisher:  IDW Publishing

Writers:  David A. Rodriguez, Mairghread Scott

Artists:  Max Dunbar

Story Rating: 10 

Art Rating: 10 

Color Rating: 10 

Overall Rating: 10 

IDW Publishing brings us back to war on Cybertron as the planet’s core is nearly reached. The Joes and the Autobots race against time to stand against the source of evil Joe Colton, Baron Ironblood. Scarlett and her team must face off with their deadliest foe or witness the destruction of everything. 

Mairghread Scott and David A. Rodriguez deliver an action packed masterpiece in this installment of man versus machine in First Strike. Optimus Prime must betray his own people to ensure the safety of the planet. The Cybertron Council continues to undermine the humans and suffer the consequences. Optimus Prime recruits the help of Arcee and Soundwave to liberate Scarlett and the Joe’s from prison. 

Once the Joes are free Windblade becomes aware of this treachery. Therefore, Windblade and other robots take side with Starscream and Elita One on the Cybertron Council. The council aims to place Optimus and his associates for treason against Cybertron. The council’s decision will either result in death or exile for all parties involved with the prison break. 

Scarlett and the Autobots manage to defeat every obstacle and trap set up by Colton and his unit of evil. In the tunnels underground they battled countless robot ninjas, sentry guns, and holographic illusions. Colton and his squad encounter the inner core defenses facing off with numerous Insecticons before reaching the final core chamber. On the other side of the passageway Colton and his unit encounter Scarlett and her team face to face. 

Max Dunbar continues to push the boundaries of imagination with sophisticated color and line work within the art. All the artistic elements work coherently to present an image full of emotion, action, and power. The link work is neat and clean there is no trace of exaggerated lines or unnecessary pencil streaks. The surroundings hold great shapes and basic lines to create solid structures as the heroes fight across the pages. 

Color enhances every page and panel inside this comic book. The machines and robots wield an abundance of color to present an individual nature applying to both power and appearance. Each Autobot is colored according to their complex armor and weaponry. The Joes share different flesh tones on their faces in lack of pencil lines to create full facial structures. They too are colored specifically to emphasize weaponry uniforms. The energy and lasers to come out of the conflicts hold bright hues of red, blue, and orange. The artwork is overall appealing at every stage of the human eye and formula of the comic book style. 

In the end of the comic book both sides of the war finally meet. Will Scarlett and the Joes prevail and take down Baron Ironblood and save Cybertron? Will Baron lead his unit to victory and crush his enemies to destroy the Cybertron planet? Will the Cybertron Council intervene and destroy both factions in one swift motion? Find out in the next issue of First Strike as the final battle begins.

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