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Doubledealer makes his move for the Magnificence as the Autobots reach a critical stage in their investigation of the Expansion.
Hot Rod wonders aloud about the recent strange events which he has learned about since the Autobots left Earth. Dealer tells him the answers lie in the Magnificence. Hot Rod also thinks about finding Sunstreaker and his failed mission where his teammates died. He finally agrees to take Dealer to the Magnificence.
Meanwhile, in the Jiangxi Province of China, Straxus bombards the ground, getting it ready for a drill to harvest energon. He tells Grindcore to mind his own business, which should constitute assembling a Space Bridge. As the two go about their tasks, they muse that Earth energon is due to Jhiaxus's understudy, Shockwave.
In the Benzuli Expanse, Galvatron and Cyclonus are tasked to destroy anything that might interfere with the Expansion. They see Cloudburst's ship, the Mirror-Manifold, and Cyclonus calls "dibs" on destroying it.
On Garrus-9, Optimus Prime tells Fortress Maximus that Nova Prime has arrived and to call off his men before Nova destroys them.
Hot Rod and Dealer travel to Ki-Aleta, the planet upon which Hot Rod first found the Magnificence, and where he has hidden it as well. Dealer muses to himself that Hot Rod may suspect he intends to steal the Magnificence and sell it to the Decepticons. He also thinks about how he killed Hot Rod's original crew, but he tells Hot Rod not to blame himself for their deaths.
On the cargo vessel, Nightbird, the Technobots travel to the Benzuli Expanse while creating carapaces for Cloudburst's crew. They speak with Jetfire, and he comes up with the idea to control Thunderwing via the Axis Cradle, as Bludgeon had done on Cybertron.
Optimus Prime faces down Nova Prime, who tells him he's now called Nemesis Prime, and that the Matrix was a leash, limiting his abilities. He uses The Darkness to attack Optimus and explains that it found him in the Dead Universe and will grant him dominion over that which survives after the Expansion.
On Ki-Aleta, Dealer and Hot Rod must climb a rocky tower guarded by ionic storms. Hot Rod still wonders about his failed mission, and Dealer can't help but think Hot Rod's onto him. When they reach the summit, the Magnificence is waiting, and Dealer suggests asking it something, planning to shoot Hot Rod in the back while he does so. Hot Rod's question, "Did Dealer betray us," is answered with a resounding "Yes!" and Hot Rod turns around just in time to blast Dealer, knocking him off the tower to his destruction. Using the Magnificence, Hot Rod tells Ultra Magnus much-needed information about the Nega-Cores, their locations, their guardians, the energon supply on Earth, and the Space Bridge portals on Gorlam Prime.
As Jetfire prepares to take control of Thunderwing, Jhiaxus activates his backup guardian—Bludgeon!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- There's a printing error on cover B—there's an extra Decepticon insignia right next to the Magnificence.
- Hot Rod blasts Dealer off a mountain top to fall to his death, but one of Dealer's alt modes has wings, so couldn't he just transform and fly? That being said, we have only seen Dealer's ground alt mode up until now in this continuity, so maybe he hasn't acquired the other one yet?
Items of note
- Cameos: Springer, Whirl, Roadbuster, Twin Twist, Broadside, Topspin, Leadfoot, Headmaster clone, Download, Omega Guardian, Fastlane, Cloudraker, Catilla, Stepper, Searchlight, Cosmos, Hoist, Skyfall, Gizmo, Backbeat, Silverstreak, Skram, Hound, Warpath and Road Rocket.
- Crackshot, a fan character who had a Cameo in the Hot Rod Spotlight reappears again, this time as an Autobot
- The Technobots' ship, Nightbird, is obviously an homage to the female ninja robot, whilst its colour scheme is a homage to Tidal Wave
- Sometime in between Spotlight: Hardhead and this issue, Thunderwing has transformed into his wing kibble-utilising Ultra mode.
|Specifics: alt covers|
- Cover A: Doubledealer amongst rubble, third part of 4-issue image by E. J. Su.
- Cover B: Doubledealer on a playing card motif, holding the Magnificence. Art by Nick Roche.
- Cover RI: "Virgin" cover B (art only with no titles or publisher info).