The guy the series is named after vs. some guys we've never seen before. This can only end in tears.
Starscream's Decepticons await the Autobots' incoming attack on their base on Mars and send out their drones as a welcoming party. Smokescreen temporarily disables the first attack wave, which Cliffjumper and Camshaft use to destroy a few of them. Hardtop, who previously warned Thundercracker of the impending Autobot attack, prepares to snipe Smokescreen, but is instead sniped himself by Arcee. But just as the Autobots appear to gain the upper hand, a heavily damaged Air Raid is dropped by Thundercracker, who attacks the Autobots with a sonic blast.
Thundercracker makes his way through the Autobots, slicing Camshaft in half and knocking down Cliffjumper. Just as he is about to kill Clffjumper too, Arcee, guilt-ridden for having failed to prevent Bumblebee's mutilation at the hands of Megatron, attacks Thundercracker, inflicts some damage on him and then continues to attack him together with Cliffjumper. However, Cliffjumper is suddenly shot in the back by Starscream, who then transforms and proceeds to blow up Smokescreen, who is trying to carry the wounded Air Raid to safety. Starsceam returns to Arcee, who is tending a heavily wounded Cliffjumper, and takes her out with one punch. Starscream then returns to his base and prepares a ship for launch, setting course back to Cybertron.
Meanwhile, on a base in the Nevada desert, an arriving Sector Seven commander is informed about Starscream's abduction of Agent Salazar and in turn provides a theory about how the Transformers create weapons from their own bodies. Unbeknownst to them, they are eavesdropped by Barricade, who is standing on a mountain ridge nearby the base. The Sector Seven commander instructs his people that the President of the United States wants to have the vehicles that were given life by the Allspark in Mission City destroyed.
An unspecified amount of time later, Starscream's Decepticons return to Cybertron, landing in the city of Trypticon. Starscream and Thundercracker are greeted by Ramjet, while Dreadwing prepares to transfer the data retrieved from Frenzy's body. Starscream makes some "renovations" by destroying a giant sculpt of Megatron's head when he's informed by Stockade that construction of a new All Spark Cube is progressing on schedule.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"They're determined, I'll give them that. It seems to be a trait with the Autobots. Prime brings out the best in all of us, and all we want to do is make him proud. But right now, all I want to do is end this war."
- —Arcee has clearly been spending way too much time smoking out with Beachcomber.
"Oh, come on, Smoke. What do you think? Skids was a better sparring partner than these guys!"
- —Camshaft demeaning Skids and his fighting skills.
"The past will not repeat itself, I promise."
- —Arcee reminiscing on her inability to help Bumblebee when he was almost killed by Megatron.
"For a time, I thought of Thundercracker as a worthy second to my command. That thought has now vanished."
- —Starscream muses on Thundercracker's faults and shortcomings.
- In issue 1 (page 10), Starscream states that the humans' technology is "anything but advanced". Yet on page 12 in this issue, he suddenly praises his "new form", claiming that it grants him new power, "as if all of [his] abilities and strengths are somehow advanced." Considering that all modern technology allegedly originated via reverse-engineering from Sector Seven studying Megatron, this begs the question: What exactly makes an F-22 Raptor so special that scanning and mimicking it actually improves Starscream's abilities?
- The vehicles seen inside the Sector Seven base which have presumably been given life by the All Spark in Mission City include Salvage, Longarm and at least two Landmine units, one of them still caught in mid-transformation after having failed in an attempt to be used as a weapon against Starscream in the previous issue.
- The Decepticon capital city is called Trypticon, an obvious homage to the original citybot. It remains to be seen if this one also transforms into a giant dinosaur. Given the structure (and the fact it is destroyed at the end of the story arc) it seems unlikely, but some features of the city do hint to the G1 version (spiky protrusions seem on walkways do bare some resemblance to sharp pointy teeth).
- The floor of Megatron's palace is covered with pictures of Kremzeek on page 20.
Items of note
- Hardtop — shot in the head by Autobot sharpshooter Arcee.
- Camshaft — cut in half by Starscream's second-in-command, Thundercracker.
- Air Raid — killed in an explosion from Starcream's missiles.
- Smokescreen — killed, along with Air Raid, in an explosion from Starscream's missiles.
- Cliffjumper? — Heavily wounded after being shot from behind by Starscream. His fate is currently unknown, but it seems things may have turned out for the worse.
- Cover A: Starscream vs Arcee; art by Alex Milne & colors by Espen Grundetjern
- Cover B: Optimus Prime and Arcee; art by James Raiz & colors by Josh Burcham
- Incentive Cover RI: Uncolored lineart of Cover A
- The Reign of Starscream #4
- Spike: After the Fall in the IDWords section
- Sparrow art books
- Journey: The Adventures of Wolverine McAlistaire
- Star Trek: Mirror Images
- The Dreamland Chronicles
- Doctor Who: The Forgotten
- All Hail Megatron
- Wormwood, Gentleman Corpse: Calamari Rising
- Speed Racer: The Next Generation and other DVDs (back cover)