After the initial surprise earlier this year when it was revealed that new sci-fi comic Void Rivals was a part of the wider Energon universe, the series has been relatively light on direct Transformers references.
There were a few intriguing deep cuts in #3, but if you're not au-fait with the intricacies of the lore then they'd be easy to miss. It makes sense - the comic has to establish a tone of its own without relying too heavily on the past, especially with Daniel Warren Johnson's Transformers launching next week.
Well, it's hard to miss the link in #4, which publishes today! We'll put a spoiler warning here, but suffice to say that fans of the wider universe that's being established won't want to miss this one. More after the cover below...
The issue begins with Darak and Solila returning to the Sacred Ring. Solila brings her former foe before the Zertonian Premier, who declares that Darak will be held hostage.
When Solila accidentally lets on that she's seen Darak's face, however, she is tossed in a jail cell with him. It seems like the fact that the Agorrians and Zertonians are basically the same species is already known by the authorities of both worlds and there is a conspiracy amongt the ruling classes to keep them at war.
The big reveal, however, comes - slightly jarringly - midway through the issue. Seriously, you turn the page and are unexpectedly presented with a glorious splash page of the infamous Decepticon, Shockwave, beautifully drawn by Lorenzo De Felici and colored by Mat Lopes.
We learn that Skuxxoid is on Cybertron, bringing the Quintesson we saw last issue to sell to Shockwave - though he makes it clear he's not interested in buying. It turns out that Energon is too scarce and he just does not have the financial resources right now. Honestly Shockwave, mate, we sympathize.
It's a fairly brief scene, but it's clearly not the end of the story and it's going to be fascinating to see how this seemingly barely-connected plot thread ties back to Darak and Solila's adventures.
In other news, writer Robert Kirkman confirmed in the letters pages that the timelines of Void Rivals and the forthcoming Transformers comic are more-or-less in sync, saying of Transformers #1, "that issue picks up the thread with Jetfire after we last saw him in Void Rivals #1."
We'll have more on that comic when it arrives next week.
Void Rivals #4 is published by Skybound and is available to buy now.
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