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Prime Directive (IDW) issue 4

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Starscream is a capable leader for once.


2003, Nevada: An F-22 pilot out of Nellis Air Force Base detects an intruder. On investigating, he is promptly shot down by Starscream, who assumes the jet's form. Blackout and Barricade also report successful planetfall; they plan to rendezvous and begin their hunt for the All Spark.

In New Mexico, Sector 7 has prepared a decoy All Spark, using an isotope derived from it. Agent Simmons mentions that the last time anyone tried this, the result was Three Mile Island. They hope to lure N.B.E.-2 into a trap.

In Louisiana, Bumblebee finds that the Psychopathic Institute for the Long-Term Insane is long abandoned and in ruins. He heads onward.

In the Nevada desert, Sector 7 has been waiting for two days, as their quarry draws closer through sightings in Louisiana, Missouri and Colorado. Simmons explains to another agent that the original founder of Sector 7 was his great grandfather, and the whole tracking-aliens thing runs in his blood.

In Colorado, a smoking and damaged Bumblebee takes a rest by the roadside, before gathering his fortitude and continuing the hunt.

In Tranquility, Nevada, Sam Witwicky consults with his buddy Miles about the value of his "legacy". Miles advises him that an online auction is about his only hope for wringing any cash from the artifacts.

Sector 7 sights Bumblebee incoming, but as they prepare their trap, a mysterious police car intrudes on their turf. They soon recognize it as another alien invader. A helicopter and a jet soon arrive as well, attacking Sector 7's bunker. Blackout and Starscream easily handle the humans' military craft; Blackout remotely hacks their computers. Simmons cuts the hard lines before Blackout can acquire more than the name of Sector 7 and America's department of defense. Barricade has been sparring with Bumblebee, but lets him go so they can track him.

Simmons and his troops are left amid smoking wreckage, as the various pieces begin to come together...

Featured characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Decepticons Humans


  • Considering how thoroughly Blackout later wipes out SOCCENT, it's a bit unclear why the Decepticons don't bother to finish off their Sector 7 opponents.
  • The time frame of this story is quite wonky. The early events of this issue are set in 2003, a timeframe featuring a 12-year-old Sam. The end of the story, however, leads directly into the live-action movie, with a driving-age Sam. What the heck did Bumblebee (and the Decepticons, and Sector 7) do for the intervening four years?
  • What's more, Sam's hair has grown tremendously since the last issue, from nearly military-short in issue 3 to a much longer, curly hairstyle on page 11 in this issue. Even though, supposedly, the two scenes are set merely two days apart. Both issues were drawn by Don Figueroa, so... what happened?
  • If we are to assume that the events of Interlude are set in-continuity with this issue (see below for details), Barricade's comment to Blackout that Bumblebee "got wise to [him]" doesn't make a lot of sense: If he's referring to the events at the end of Interlude, then the fact that Barricade transformed (for no apparent reason, after Bumblebee had also just transformed for no apparent reason) and attacked Bumblebee should have been reason enough for Bumblebee to realize that a Decepticon is after him; if he's referring to a recent attempt to chase Bumblebee in secret, then the fact that Bumblebee should already be familiar with Barricade's disguise following their previous encounter should have also been an obvious clue.

Items of note

  • The events of Interlude occur part-way through this story, beginning after Bumblebee scans the abandoned Psychopathic Institute. That story ends with an attack by Barricade that (presumably) leaves Bumblebee smoking and damaged, as seen when he stops by the roadside in Colorado.
  • The songs Bumblebee plays on his radio feature lyrics that are similar, but not quite identical to those of existing songs, possibly to avoid licensing issues. The original songs are:
    • Ghost in this House, originally by Shenandoah
    • No One Said It Would Be Easy by Sheryl Crow
    • Tubthumping by Chumbawumba
    • Everyday Is A Winding Road by Sheryl Crow

Covers (3)

Let's see what you can see...

This article is in need of images.

Specifics: Alt covers

all by Don Figueroa

  • Cover A: Wraparound battle
  • Cover B: Uncolored sketch of left portion of cover A
  • Cover RI: Uncolored sketch of cover A, full wraparound


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