Transformers: The Stargate Battles, Part 4 of 4

“Transformers: The Stargate Battles, Part 4 of 4”
Article and Translation: Hydra
Formatting and Photoshop: Might Gaine
Source: Super Robot Magazine, October 2003

Note: This manga reads Right to Left.
Hydra’s comments

With the fourth chapter of The Stargate Battles, Tsushima’s compact but powerful series comes to a close. As usual, the wraparound nature of the story is very good, with the data thief from earlier in the series revealed to be Starscream’s ghost, who was investigating schematics for the creation of his new body. Probably the final reveal that the phantom Starscream was actually Starscream’s ghost from the future was not much of a surprise to anyone who has watched Beast Wars, but the idea that it was the Trigger’s wormhole that allowed the ghost to travel into this era was kind of a nice explanation, as opposed to simply “I just dropped by” or something.
Once again, despite being a bully, Starscream is depicted as in a sympathetic light. Seeking to free himself from Megatron’s tyranny and secure a future where he will not be destroyed, you find yourself rooting for him in some respect (although of course the outcome is a given). There have been many works of canon depicting the dysfunctional relationship between Starscream and Megatron, but it seemed like Tsushima’s implications that Starscream’s desire to overthrow Megatron was brought about by Megatron’s inability to give him praise and respect brought a new element to the table.
Also, I think that The Stargate Battles was on par with the current Transformers Animated in terms of creating likable, fun human characters that are useful and you don’t hate to have around (something that previous series of recent years have failed miserably with). From engineer Makoto to partly robotic army inventor Prof. Able and his daughter Katua, to geologist Dr. Ohnishi, each of the characters brought something useful to the Cybertrons and had their own distinct personality. To me, Makoto’s ending monologue was very poignant as well.
On another interesting note, being that this series was written in 2003, one wonders if the conclusion with Convoy, Megatron, and many of the Transformers going temporarily offline was a conscious effort to lead into Car Robots, which takes place in 2000 whereas this series is said to the tail-end of 1999. When Takara sought to assemble its series into one comprehensive timeline that’s exactly where The Stargate Battles ended up. Was that tidy lead-in born from careful thought on Tsushima’s part, or just a lucky break of sorts?