My love of Hideaki Anno’s masterpiece, Shin Godzilla is crazy. Here’s both the ink sketch (done with the Pentel brush pen) and the finished colored version (done with Prismacolor, Utrecht, and Windsor & Newton markers).
Though the Great War began with the Kaon Uprising and the Fall of the Five Cities, the Battle of Iacon is usually considered to be the war’s first true battle, as it saw the establishment of many of the war’s major players. When the Decepticons first reached the city, they made major gains and advanced all the way to central Iacon. They stormed the Grand Imperium and massacred the Senate. Senator Proteus, political ally of Sentinel Prime and co-architect of the Clampdown, was strung up and crucified on the statue of Prima that stood in the building’s main atrium. Ratbat, the Decepticons’ benefactor, was spared, but humiliated by having his spark ripped out and transferred into a Recordicon body. The dissident Senator Shockwave was freed from prison and became an important member of Megatron’s inner circle.
The battle was going poorly for the Autobots. As Zeta Prime attempted to rally troops in defense of the city, he was gunned down by a sniper’s bullet (Decepticon propaganda claimed the shot was fired by Megatron himself, but the true identity of the shooter is unknown). The Autobots present were left demoralized and confused, unsure of what to do after having their leader gunned down in front of them. That is until the Matrix of Leadership called out to Orion Pax, who took the talisman from Zeta’s chest and delivered a rousing speech that reinvigorated the Autobots’ fighting spirit. Dubbed “Optimus Prime” by the crowd, the new Autobot leader led his forces into battle against the Decepticons, driving them out of Iacon after defeating Megatron in single combat at the Sherma Bridge. A number of other Autobots, such as Ultra Magnus, Prowl, Kup, Ironhide, Thunderclash, and Hyperdrive, made names for themselves during the battle.
With both sides determined to eliminate the other, the Great War raged on with a ferocity never before seen in Cybertron’s history. Hundreds of millions died in campaigns that laid waste to entire regions of the planet, and many more fled Cybertron entirely to escape the war. A combiner arms race erupted as the Autobots devised a standardized 5-bot combination system, creating Superion, Defensor, and Computron to combat the Decepticon combiner Devastator. The Decepticons promptly stole the technology and constructed Menasor, Bruticus, and Liokaiser. Recognizing the need to regulate the spread of the conflict, Optimus Prime and Megatron agreed to the Tyrest Accord, brokered by Chief Justice Tyrest. The Accord established Luna 1 and the colonies as neutral territory and restricted the sale of Cybertronian technology to other species in an attempt to limit the involvement of other worlds in the war. Following the disappearance of Elita One on a mission, Optimus had their son, Rodimus, sent away to the distant colony of Caminus for protection.
In the 11,000th year of the Great War, the Battle of Caminus took place when a Decepticon raiding party led by General Deathsaurus attacked the planet. The planet’s defenders, the religious order of knights known as the Circle of Light, fought bravely against the invaders, but all fell in battle except for one - Star Saber. The timely arrival of Autobot reinforcements led by Optimus Prime drove off the Decepticons, and Optimus used the opportunity to recruit Rodimus (or “Hot Rod” as he had taken to calling himself), to the Autobot cause. Hot Rod returned to Cybertron with Optimus, as did Star Saber, who swore his loyalty to Optimus and joined the Autobots as well. Star Saber would rise to become an important Autobot commander while also working to rebuild the Circle of Light, taking on Victory Leo as an apprentice.
Several decades later, in the Earth year 984 AD, Cybertronian probes discovered Earth, a world rich in strategic Energon resources. Eager to seize the planet’s resources for himself, Megatron assembled his best warriors and set off for Earth in his flagship, the Nemesis. Upon learning of Megatron’s plans, Optimus Prime did the same, leading a unit of troops on board the Ark. Upon reaching Earth, a battle ensued in orbit and Megatron led a boarding party onto the Autobot ship. The two ships ended up crashing on Earth - The Ark in what would be the Northwestern US, the Nemesis in the Pacific Ocean. With both leaders missing, the nature of the conflict changed. While the Autobots struggled to select a new leader in Optimus’s absence, Shockwave was able to rally the Decepticon forces and launched a major offensive that resulted in the Decepticons conquering almost all of Cybertron. The Autobots continued to hold out in Iacon and the surrounding areas, as well as on Luna 2. The battle lines remained as such for the next several centuries, and both sides began shifting their focus towards space in an attempt to break the stalemate…
To say the wandering winds that rushed through the free standing spires of inky black… a mockery of a could be forest… offered the giant any form of solace in a time of wandering fear that reared its head with the few passing hours…
Well… that would be a lie…
Proud… perhaps was a creature he could once have been called… wisened by his gentle nature… and his refusal to strike someone down for their want to rip him down… even to a fault one might say…
The faint clicking thunks of a cane’s end guard, resonated through the cavernous valley of grey spattered towers of pitch that surrounded him… he wanted little more than to hobble off and away from the sulfuric stink of the roiling sludgey bastard that wanted his head… find peace… know peace… but as his steps drew to a slow halt… his attention drifted to the familiar stranger lingering in the far distance.
He gave a faint tilt of his head before pausing, and letting loose a long melodious whistle to catch the other’s attention… was that… Eight?
The Great War, also known as the Third Cybertronian Civil War and the Autobot-Decepticon War, was a galaxy-spanning conflict fought between the Autobots and the Decepticons that lasted nearly 12,000 years, beginning around 10,000 BC with the Kaon Uprising and ending in 2056 AD with the Battle of Pinea Omicron. The death toll inflicted by the war was large enough that it may never be truly calculated - countless worlds were destroyed by the conflict and as much as half the entire Cybertronian race was wiped out.
To understand why the war took place, one must look back one million years, to the events of the Second Cybertronian Civil War, also known as the Destron Revolt. At this time, Cybertron was crippled by an energy crisis, causing its once-mighty interstellar empire to begin to crumble. Food riots gave way to a full-on revolt led by retired Cybertron Defense Force General Megazarak. The uprising was quickly defeated by loyalist forces, but the events that had transpired prompted Redian Prime and the Senate to institute Functionism and strict energy rationing to maintain order. The Functionist Era lasted for almost a million years, and was characterized by its oppressive altmode-based caste system and the increasingly corrupt, decadent Senate eclipsing the authority of the Prime. While Redian was an equal partner, most Primes of the period were firmly under the Senate’s thumb, mere figureheads with no real influence or authority.
All this began to change 14,000 years ago. Nominus Prime, who secretly wished to roll back Functionism, was assassinated in a terrorist bombing orchestrated by the Senate. His successor, Sentinel Prime, was a loyalist and Functionist hardliner. He used Nominus’s death as a pretext to initiate a “Clampdown” on civil liberties, intended to increase the power of himself and the Senate. This led to Megatron, a Tarnian miner stationed at the mining outpost on Messatine, to begin writing revolutionary anti-Functionist writings, culminating in his magnum opus, Towards Peace. Despite being swiftly banned by the Senate, the book sold millions of copies on the black market. Megatron’s message resonated with the lower tiers of Functionist society, and he became an icon, the voice of popular discontent with the regime. As they became more organized, Megatron’s followers began calling themselves “Decepticons,” after the first line of Towards Peace: “You are being decieved.”
12,000 years ago, Megatron returned to Cybertron following the completion of his work term of Messatine. A wanted mech, he settled in Kaon, Cybertron’s poorest, crime-ridden, and most pro-Decepticon city-state. He began organizing the Decepticons into a force capable of revolution, honing his combat skills in the city’s underground pit fights and gladiatorial arenas. He was contacted by Soundwave, an envoy of the opportunistic Senator Ratbat, who began providing the Decepticons with money, arms, and resources. After years of preparations, the time for revolution was at hand.
The Kaon Uprising officially began the Great War. In a rapid operation where they overwhelmed the local forces and seized Kaon’s Darkmount Citadel, the Decepticons took control of the city. The Senate Security Forces under Sentinel Prime’s command moved in to retake the city, but were routed by the Decepticons in an intense urban battle. Megatron faced down Sentinel in a one-on-one battle and beat the Prime to near-death. The Security Forces withdrew, and Sentinel died of his injuries shortly afterwards. Galvanized by their victory and the death of a Prime, the Decepticons began a march north towards Iacon, capturing Helex and Tesarus. When they reached Vos, Air Commander Starscream of the Vos Air Guard overthrew the city government and surrendered the city to the Decepticons in exchange for a spot on Megatron’s inner circle. With Starscream and his Seekers added to their forces, the Decepticons then took Megatron’s home city of Tarn.
Back in Iacon, the newly anointed Zeta Prime scrambled to find ways to combat the Decepticon threat. He disbanded the Functionist Council and and insituted token reforms in the Senate. Perhaps more importantly, he unified the Senate Security Forces, the Elite Guard, and the Primal Vanguard into a single military force known as the Autobots, which he placed under the command of Orion Pax, a distinguished and respected police captain from Rodion. This new force would endure a trial by fire, as in the 10th year of their uprising the Decepticons reached the gates of Iacon…
Still I rise
in the west
in light of our sun’s daily death
through the heavy space between the moon and the waves
collapsing at the foot of the mountain
where I spend my time
comparing my size to its sides
I fall so short
and still I climb
The plants teach us this. A seed, a life, will lay dormant in waiting until just the right relationship exists for it to grow. The right amount of water, sunlight, nutrients and pressure has to show up. And then continue to show up, or the plant will sicken. If the relationship is not restored to balance in a finite amount of time, the plant will die, perhaps short of reaching its full potential. Short of using all the gifts it was given it to share with the world.
We have to be careful in our relationships.
Colonial violence surfaces as poison in our thoughts, our words, and our actions, unless we fight it every single moment of every single day. Colonial poison causes sickness by every name. In our most intimate relationships, we spread sickness when we do not create space for the healthy sharing of emotions. We spread sickness when we gossip. We spread sickness when we take to social media as our outlet for expression, rather than having real conversations. When we are not honest. When we are so consumed by our own agendas that we can’t listen. When we project our trauma onto one another. We allow sickness to spread and fester when we are not willing to do the work, the work of fighting back.
Relationships require work.
When we fight sickness in our bodies, our minds, our spirits, and in our relationships, we fight colonial violence. Or, instead of the word “fight”, let’s call it what it really is: self-love. And so we have to find the courage to believe that we are worthy. That we belong. We have to find the courage to do the work of planting, growing, harvesting, and honouring the relationships. In this work, it is kind to ask for help. We are such pitiful beings, there is nothing we can do on our own.
Our bodies are water, our bodies are plant, our bodies are animal, our bodies are spirit. When we feed ourselves with good medicine we give ourselves the strength to do the work. We cannot fill our lives with packaged foods, booze, and television and expect to have the strength to say ‘no’ to a world that only wants to hear ‘yes’.
Relationships are the most precious gifts we have.
It is our responsibility, then, to cleanse ourselves of the heaps of bad medicine that affront us on a daily basis. To sit in silence. To fast. Sweat. Cry. Sing. Cough up grief. Forgive. That’s how we (re)discover that the strength that is already there, it’s how we hear the muffled voices of our ancestors… it’s how we decolonize.
Learn how to love, to really truly love, by fighting for that balance. And in the balance, we nurture life, according to the values and philosophies of our ancestors. And that right there? That is the work of Indigenous resurgence, my friends.