Beast Wars: The Gathering
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Beast Wars: The Gathering is a comic book miniseries from IDW Publishing and is based on the Beast Wars animated series while featuring characters from the Japanese exclusive spinoffs Beast Wars Second and Beast Wars Neo. It is set during the third season of the Beast Wars cartoon and is followed by Beast Wars: The Ascending.
After a brief summary of the events of Beast Wars leading up to the book, the Predacons under Magmatron arrive on prehistoric Earth, where they observe Depth Charge emerging from the nearby surf. Due to their time travel process leaving them out of sync with the local timestream, they cannot be registered by him or any of the other combatants, a precaution taken by Magmatron to insure that their plotting goes unnoticed. Dispatching Manterror, Iguanus, Spittor, and Transquito to find nearby Stasis pods containing Protoforms while he seeks out a suitable location for his transmitter array with Drillbit and Razorbeast. He then flashes back to Cybertron, when he first began recruiting like-minded Predacons who were tired of the Tripredacus Council stalling the promised efforts of the Predacon Alliance to crush the Maximal Imperium and thus avenge the defeat of their Decepticon ancestors at the hands of the Autobots.
Magmatron's flashback continues with the council assigning him to keep an eye on Maximal communications, for fear that their interference with the transwarp wave generated in season 2 of the animated series may not have stopped the Maximals on Cybertron from detecting it, as they are awaiting news from Ravage. The Council then praise Magmatron's "understanding"-lacked by Megatron-that they must wait before striking at the Maximals. In private, Magmatron expresses his contempt of the-in his mind-overly cautious council members, before gratefully receiving a tactical scan of prehistoric Earth from his secret ally Ravage. Back in the present-from his perspective-Magmatron oversees Razorbeast's construction of an array intended to activate the stasis pods across the planet, unaware that Razorbeast has ulterior motives. A flashback then reveals the Predacon agent is in fact a Maximal spy commissioned by Lio Convoy, head of the Maximal black ops unit known as the Pack.
Charging Razorbeast with a secret mission-so secret that any discovery by the Maximals will result in him being deemed a traitor-Lio reveals that he considered Magmatron to be a greater threat than Megatron, and instructs Razorbeast to take whatever action he can in the event he's unable to report of Magmatron's scheming. Back in the present Razorbeast sends the activation signal, and Magmatron's scattered minions witness the activation of Retrax, Snapper, and Sky Shadow as Predacons. However, Magmatron's glee is cut short when Spittor reports the activation of a new Maximal, Polar Claw, who quickly attacks and defeats him. Realizing that his time of secrecy is over, Razorbeast transforms into beast mode and attacks Drill Bit before making his escape. He then transmits a signal to the newly awakened Maximal forces, hoping to assemble reinforcements; the Predacons take note of this new opposing force and prepare to engage them.
Magmatron addresses his newly assembled Predacon forces, determined that they will conquer Cybertron once they had stamped out Razorbeast and his fellow Maximals. He then takes a small squad with him while the rest are organized into units, and sets out to find Razorbeast before he can contact Cybertron, with his only means of doing so being retrieving equipment from Ravage's destroyed Transwarp cruiser. Razorbeast then explains the existence of this craft to his small team of new recruits: B'Boom, Bonecrusher, Wolfang, Ramulus, Optimus Minor, and Snarl. He goes on to reveal that he didn't have time to alert Lio Convoy of Magmatron's plans before traveling back in time to Earth, and thus resorted to implanting a viral code into Magmatron's signal array in order to insure that not all of the protoforms were turned into Predacons. However, he is distressed by how few Maximals they've found thus far, unaware that several other small parties are endeavoring to link up with them.
Magmatron's party-thanks to intelligence from Tarantulas-reaches the site of Ravage's apparent demise first, and Magmatron splits into his three beast forms in order to set up an ambush for Magmatron's forces. Meanwhile, B'Boom expresses mistrust of Razorbeast, who-due to alterations made on Cybertron-continues to register as a Predacon. The Maximals decided to proceed anyway, but soon run into trouble as Ramulus is attacked by Spittor and B'Boom runs afoul of Magmatron. While Razorbeast engages the Predacon leader, Optimus Minor makes his way to the wreck of Ravage's cruiser only to run into Drill Bit, who has already recovered the transwarp amplifier device the Maximals are looking for. Razorbeast manages to temporarily stop Magmatron's Giganotosaurus component with a rockslide, while cloaking Snarl comes to Optimus Minor's aid.
The Maximals then examine their salvage and discover that the device is damaged but could be repaired, and Razorbeast then suggests a likely spot for tools and components: the Ark. The Predacons then contemplate what to do next when Magmatron arrives with Ravage's dismembered torso. Revealing that the former Decepticon's Spark survived the mangling of his body, Magmatron suggests that it may be just what they need.
At the gate to the Maximal base protecting the Ark, Optimus Primal conveys to Cheetor and Rhinox a sense of "Something familiar, but at the same time...wrong." His two subordinates dismiss it, unaware that Razorbeast's force is slipping into the base unnoticed by them due to their differing temporal phase, which Magmatron employed in an effort to make off with his new army without disrupting the timeline. Razorbeast then explains that this same concern is why they need to use technology from the Ark rather than the Axalon crew's supplies in order to repair their transwarp amplifier. Elsewhere, Transquito leads a force of Predacons into a swamp, where they run afoul of the Mutants, who handily defeat the Predacon interlopers. Elsewhere still, Magmatron and his forces locate a stasis pod containing a blank protoform, which Magmatron intends to use to revive Ravage.
Drill Bit and Iguanus express their concerns, as Ravage is a Tripredacus Agent, but Magmatron insists that he will work with them to serve his own advancement and will take care of Razorbeast's forces while Magmatron's crew allays the council's suspicions by capturing Megatron. Back at the Ark, the Maximals run into a snag: the Ark's technology can repair the amplifier, but the differences between the technology will render the device useless within a very short period of time. Snarl then reports that he's discovered Magmatron is heading for Megatron's base, much to Razorbeast's horror. The Transmetal Predacon commander orders Inferno and Rampage back to base with their recent acquisition-the Maximals' old security system-after getting a strange sense, and is then attacked by Magmatron. Megatron recovers from the surprise quickly and fights back, expressing disappointment at the council's latest attempt to apprehend him and Magmatron's willingness to serve as their agent.
Megatron is then surprised and taken down by Magmatron's subordinates and pulled into their chronal phase, concealing their actions from the returning Inferno and Quickstrike. Razorbeast then explains to his force that capturing Megatron means that Magmatron will be returning to Cybertron, which will destroy any chance they have of stopping him. Assigning most of the crew to get their message out and protect the amplifier, he takes Optimus Minor to try and delay Magmatron's efforts, hoping that his signal has drawn in other Maximals to help. Unbeknownst to him, Ravage and the rest of Magmatron's minions have zeroed in on the location of their base and are preparing to attack. Arriving at Magmtron's facility, which is set to explode once he and Megatron have been sent back to Cybertron, Razorbeast hits upon a possible plan that only lacks a distraction, which arrives in the form of Grimlock.
Sky Shadow pinpoints the exact location of the Maximal base-a small cave-and Ravage and his forces move in to attack, while Grimlock attacks Magmatron's transport site. Annoyed at his interference, Magmatron offers him a chance to leave-when Grimlock declines, the reptilian titans clash in beast mode, allowing Optimus Minor to steal a device from Magmatron's stash. The Maximals are preparing to send a message back to Cybertron-one that has to be short and precise-while Grimlock at last falls to Magmatron's onslaught. As he contemplates the fallen Megatron, Magmatron notes that the renegade may even have a place in Magmatron's plans, but is then confronted by Razorbeast. Ravage's force then attacks Razorbeast's fellow Maximals, who are vastly outnumbered and left with no choice but to hold off the attackers while one of them tries to get the message out.
Razorbeast surprises Magmatron by using the stolen device to move himself in an out of chronal phase with the Predacon leader, preventing Magmatron from touching him but allowing him to attack Magmatron. The Maximals, backed into a corner, are about to be massacred when help arrives: their long-awaited fellows activated by Razorbeast's efforts and summoned by his gathering call. An all out brawl ensues, while Razorbeast's antagonism of Magmatron enables Optimus Minor to transport Megatron away. Razorbeast then blasts his transwarp pad while Magmatron is standing on it, with the resulting energies consuming the Predacon leader and apparently destroying him. Back at the Maximal base, the Predacons have been driven off, and the leader of the new arrivals-Torca-introduces himself to his new comrades and explains that they've been trying to link up with them for some time.
With the signal apparently sent, the Maximals get ready for a long wait, knowing that the Predacons are still at large and it may be some time before any rescue force can arrived. Some time later, with a rough fort in place, Razorbeast contemplates whether he was wrong to let Megatron rejoin the conflict, aware that his machinations continue; a shot is then shown of Megatron in his Transmetal 2 form battling Optimus Primal's crew. However, new ally Prowl expresses confidence in his choice to respect that portion of the Beast Wars, while their band focuses on their own.