Okay, here’s an insider look at the thought processes and deliberations behind the second batch of UK-exclusive (new movie continuity) stories for Titan’s Transformers comic/magazine, and specifically TF-UK #7 and the story ‘Starscream’s Militia’. Issues #1-6’s lead stories (of which, by now, you’ll have seen/read #1-4… in fact, #4 is out today) focused (within a larger framing story) on Optimus Prime and Megatron and then some of the characters that maybe didn’t get much screen time/characterization (in the movie itself), such as Jazz, Ironhide and Devastator. This interlinked mini-story arc was set during the early stages of the Prequel material established in the IDW Movie Prequel series. All well and good, but somewhat limiting, in that the characters could only appear (apart from the odd flash-forward) in their pre-movie/Cybertronian (protoform) forms, and if they transformed it either had to be into their spacegoing ‘meteor’ mode or some alien variation on their (eventual) Earth mode. Fine for older readers, but maybe confusing for younger readers who wanted to see the trucks and cars and jets from the movie proper. So, issues #7-12’s lead stories really had to be Earth-based. The question was, how? Where? Given the limitations (sequel in the works, more IDW movie-based stories to come in all likelihood), the stories couldn’t just ‘continue’ on after the end of the movie without possible story contradictions ensuing (later). So, we decided to squeeze our next batch of stories into the very tail end of the movie, exploiting the ‘unseen’ time between the end of the battle in L.A. and the sort of epilogue scenes. Issue #7’s ‘Starscream’s Militia’ picks up directly (moments) after Megatron’s final downfall, and has a distinctly ‘Night of the Living Dead’ type vibe, as Starscream makes decidedly unconventional use of such downed/deactivated Decepticons as Barricade, Blackout and Devastator. ‘Starscream’s Militia’ is written by me, with art from a relative newcomer to TF-strip work (apart, I believe, from a back-up strip in Panini’s Transformers Armada #9) Simon Williams. Simon’s been a regular artist on Panini’s Spectacular Spider-Man comic, as well as supplying new art for the recent Death’s Head collections and a few TF-promotional pieces. Really looking forward to seeing his take on the TF-movie cast. TF-UK #7 hits stores (in the UK only I’m afraid) on 3rd January 2008.