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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
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(2002-2004)
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(1984-1994)
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MARVEL TRANSFORMERS COMICS GUIDE

Marvel UK nav: UK Intro | Story List | #1-10 | #11-20 | #21-30 | #31-40 | #41-50 | #51-60 | #61-70 | #71-80
#81-90 | #91-100 | #101-110 | #111-120 | #121-130 | #131-140 | #141-150 | #151-160 | #161-170
#171-180 | #181-190 | #191-200 | #201-210 | #211-220 | #221-230 | #231-240 | #241-250 | #252-260
#261-270 | #271-280 | #281-290 | #291-300 | #301-310 | #311-320 | #321-330 | #331-332 | Cover Images
Annuals: 1985 Annual | 1986 Annual | 1987 Annual | 1988 Annual | 1989 Annual | 1990 Annual | 1991 Annual
Other titles / G2: Action Force #24-27 | Specials & Collected Comics | UK G2 Intro | UK G2 #1-5 | UK G2 Annual

1991 Annual

| Notes | "The Hunting Party" | "Another Time & Place" | "Way of the Warrior" | "Survival Run" | "A Savage Place!" | "Cry Wolf!" | "Wolf in the Fold!" | "Where Wolf?" |

Production Notes

[cover]
Cover: Jeff Anderson

Notes: The seventh, and final, Transformers annual produced by Marvel.

Only one new story, "Another Time & Place", was included. Also in the annual were seven stories from the regular title, present for the first time in colour, and three Combat Colin strips.

Priced at £4.50.

"The Hunting Party"

[5 page strip story]

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Simon Coleby
Letters: Helen Stone
Colours: Euan Peters

Originally Printed In:
Transformers #229 [UK].

Synopsis: The new Mayhem Attack Squad - Spinister, Bludgeon, Octopunch, Stranglehold and Needlenose, are in Slaughter City. They are attacked by a huge number of Autobots, and Needlenose panics and runs for it. Spinister follows him, and is able to get him back in the fight by pretending to be attacked by Slag. Needlenose saves him, and the simulation finishes. Spinister announces to Snarler that the team are ready to hunt down Carnivac and Catilla.

Notes: No real indication of when this is set. It could either slot in "now", or be set in the Earthforce 'near future', some time after "End of the Road" [ #332]. There's nothing whatsoever to indicate Spinister and Needlenose are Targetmasters [including the gun designs, which don't resemble the toys at all].

Errors: Why does Needlenose get so scared? Surely he knows it's a simulation? And what use is a simulation that's unrealistic?

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Needlenose, Spinister , Bludgeon, Octopunch, Strangehold, Snarler. Hard light holograms of Kup, Optimus Prime, Getaway, Ratchet, Fortress Maximus, Prowl and Slag are all seen, and summarily despatched.

Production Notes: This story was now presented in full colour.

Review: A cracking little story. More of Furman's instant character, with Spinister and Needlenose easily defined without overbearing speeches, or at the expense of the narrative. There's a lot of potential here, not to mention some nice, very detailed art, and the second part of the Carnivac/Mayhem battle is set up nicely.

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"Another Time & Place"

[18 page illustrated text story]

Script:
Simon Furman
Pencils: Staz [pseudonym for Stewart Johnson]
Inks: Leslie Dalton
Colours: Caroline Steeden

Synopsis: With the Autobots suffering from the unstable Nucleon, Grimlock takes the Dinobots to Hydrus Four in an attempt to find a cure, feeling personally guilty for inflicting the unstable power source on the Autobots. When Prowl reports this to Optimus Prime, the Autobot leader is unmoved and uncaring. On Hydrus Four, the Dinobots survive a perilous journey to the Nucleon research centre, avoiding the planet's hostile, mutated life. However, once they get there they're attacked and captured by Bludgeon's Decepticons, who are forcing the centre's technicians to rebuild Megatron. Bludgeon then plans to use the Nucleon to revive all the fallen Decepticons. Prowl works out what Grimlock was planning, and Optimus apologises to Prowl for his recent self-pity. The Autobots immediately mobilise a task force to bail Grimlock out. Grimlock is able to break free when the Autobots attack, while Tote frees the other Dinobots. Grimlock takes a second dose of new, improved Nucleon, which restores his transforming abilities, and saves Prime from Bludgeon. The Decepticons have hurried the revival of Megatron, despite warnings the process is not complete. Swoop, however, manages to use the centre's apparatus to dismantle Bludgeon. Prime and Grimlock then destroy Megatron.

Notes: Grimlock used the Nucleon on himself and the Dinobots in #, and on the other deactivated Autobots in #. At the start of this story, Slag is the only Dinobot who can still transform. Hydrus Four is in the Hunfi, and was only partly colonised. Prowl states that Nucleon was created "a few years ago". Megatron's body has seemingly been recovered from the Ark at some point [either that, or it's the "clone" body from #244]. Ratchet is dead from the crash in #328. Fangry, Quake and Octopunch have been repaired since #332. The planet of Bk'n is populated by robotic partners - Grimlock once went there and had a party. Since their defeat on Klo, the Decepticons have laid low, and freed those captured in that battle. Nucleon is self-regenerating. This story's pretty irreconcilable with Generation 2, unless you accept that a) Megatron is the clone and b) Bludgeon is repaired somehow, though it does tie up the Nucleon problem nicely.

Review: Once again Furman excels in the text medium [as with "The Magnificent Six", he really manages to get across descriptions of pain in Transformers]. It's a superb Grimlock story too, with the good and bad points of the definitive Grimlock persona given light - he manages to be headstrong and arrogant without ever being idiotic. On top of this, Prowl is also excellent value [proving that he and Grimlock can be written in the same story without making one or the other horribly dull], and the sequence where he chastises Prime is as good as anything which appeared in strip form. A must-read.

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"Way of the Warrior"

[5 page strip story]

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Simon Coleby
Letters: Glib
Colours: Steve White

Originally Printed In:
Transformers #237 [UK].

Synopsis: At the Survivors' Dallas base, a frustrated Carnivac fights with Springer over the team's role, before storming off. He soon runs into a town under attack from a giant mechanical hound. Carnivac easily defeats it, but it turns out it was deployed by the new Mayhem Attack Squad, who appear and attack him.

Notes: This story is set some time after "The Hunting Party", depending on where you place that. Since #222, the Survivors have been performing rescue operations to help the humans. They're well known as heroes, as the Texan recognises Carnivac. Catilla is very much an Autobot, at least according to himself. I can't really tell if "hellhound" is a bit of drama from Snarler, or if it's a Hellhound model of android.

Errors: How exactly does the car that hits Carnivac tip to the left, but end up on its' right side? The addition of colour from White gives Broadside red arms [they should be blue]. The hellhound has an all-red head as Carnivac bites its' neck in panel 4 of page 4.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Carnivac, Springer, Skids, Broadside, Inferno, Catilla, Spinister, Needlenose, Octopunch, Stranglehold, Snarler.

Production Notes: This story was now presented in full colour.

Review: It's great to see both The Survivors and the new Mayhems back, and Carnivac is well-handled, even if his inner conflict while debating to save the town feels rather second-hand. It's a good script, but Coleby's low detail art really isn't too pleasant for the large part, though the fight scene is well done. A good, if not great, opener.

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"Survival Run"

[5 page strip story]

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Lee Sullivan
Letters: Glib
Colours: Steve White

Originally Printed In: Transformers #238 [UK].

Synopsis: An exhausted Carnivac plods though the Mexican desert, having used the arrival of a compliment of US soldiers to escape from the Mayhems. The other Survivors are trying to find his whereabouts, but Springer is unwilling to help. Catilla sets out on his own to find his friend. Meanwhile, Octopunch and the Mayhems catch up with Carnivac in a Mexican village.

Notes: The organic components of Pretender shells can presumably sweat to some extent.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Carnivac, Snarler [flashback], Bludgeon [flashback], Octopunch, Spinister [flashback], Needlenose, Stranglehold [flashback], Catilla, Inferno, Broadside, Springer, Skids.

Production Notes: This story was now presented in full colour.

Review: The story keeps piling on the pace and characterisation. Carnivac's exhaustion and desperation is tangible, and Springer's stoic, inflexible portrayal builds on the edgier character he's been post-Time Wars. The contrast in humanity between the two is played well. It's good examination of the Autobot/Decepticon conflict going on inside Carnivac, ably scripted by Furman.

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"A Savage Place!"

[5 page strip story]

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Geoff Senior
Letters: Helen Stone
Colours: Louise Cassell

Originally Printed In: Transformers #239 [UK].

Synopsis: Carnivac is saved from Octopunch by the intervention of the villagers, and continues the battle alone while Springer and the Autobots search for him. Carnivac is outnumbered, and undone protecting the villagers from Spinister. The Decepticon is about to execute the traitor when Catilla arrives. Bludgeon mortally wounds the Autobot, and the Mayhems scatter as Springer and the others arrive, leaving Carnivac vowing vengeance.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Octopunch, Carnivac, Snarler, Bludgeon, Stranglehold, Spinister, Broadside, Springer, Catilla [killed by Bludgeon], Skids, Inferno.

Production Notes: This story was now presented in full colour.

Review: Another fine script, although some of Carnivac's monologue seems a bit expositional. Already Bludgeon and Spinister are steadily developing, and it says it all for the writing that a minor character like Catilla dying is quite devastating. Senior's artwork pulls no punches, with a great fight scene. Considering the 5-page instalments, this is very good stuff, a detailed, believable story arc focusing entirely on minor characters. Also a big thumbs-up for a glorious colouring job from Cassell.

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"Cry Wolf!"

[5 page strip story]

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Pete Knifton
Inks: Michael Eve
Letters: Glib
Colours: Louise Cassell

Originally Printed In: Transformers #272 [UK].

Synopsis: An anxious Needlenose has taken to testing his fellow Mayhems' response times, afraid Carnivac will attack them. Bludgeon, Octopunch and Stranglehold are very angry, and Spinister has to step in to save Needlenose. Spinister then gives him a lecture, and Needlenose retires to his quarters. Carnivac is there waiting for him, and his team-mates ignore his alert, believing it to be another test.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Bludgeon, Octopunch, Stranglehold, Needlenose [destroyed by Carnivac], Spinister, Snarler, Catilla [flashback], Carnivac.

Production Notes: This story was now presented in full colour.

Review: Knifton articulates the characters well, and it's nice to see earlier form capitalised on by Furman. Needlenose's panic is believable, excusing the rather predictable narrative.

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"Wolf in the Fold!"

[5 page strip story]

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Staz [pseudonym for Stewart Johnson]
Letters: Glib
Colours: Caroline Steeden

Originally Printed In: Transformers #273 [UK].

Synopsis: The rest of the Survivors debate what to do about Carnivac, and whether to call in Earthforce, while their erstwhile comrade infiltrates the Mayhem Attack Squad's complex. Bludgeon detects him, however, and the pair fight. The commotion summons the rest of the Mayhems, and Carnivac is seemingly destroyed.

Notes: Bludgeon mentions Metallikato, the Cybertronian martial art of which he is an exponent [and, seeing as no-one else mentions it, or indeed seems to have heard of it, possibly its' only exponent].

Errors: Carnivac's chances of sneaking up on Bludgeon surely take a tumble when he decides to talk to himself while standing a few feet from the Pretender.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Springer, Stranglehold, Octopunch, Carnivac, Broadside, Snarler, Spinister, Bludgeon, Skids, Inferno.

Production Notes: This story was now presented in full colour.

Review: A passable second part. Not a lot happens, and it feels a little rushed, as if Furman has the conclusion all laid out, but just needs to manoeuvre the pieces to where he wants them. While Springer's jaded, more cautious character is believable, and even logical considering what he's been through, it's also very frustrating, and he comes across as a bit unsympathetic seeing as the other Survivors are all for action. It's a shame Furman doesn't go inside his head a bit more.

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"Where Wolf?"

[5 page strip story]

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Jeff Anderson
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Stuart Bartlett
Colours: Euan Peters

Originally Printed In: Transformers #274 [UK].

Synopsis: Grimlock reluctantly agrees to help the Survivors retrieve Carnivac. The rogue Mayhem has escaped death, using his Pretender shell to fool the Mayhems, before destroying Snarler. The Autobots arrive, and tackle Bludgeon, Stranglehold and Octopunch. Spinister walks away from the battle, only to be gunned down by Carnivac. He then intervenes to tell the remains of the Mayhem Attack Squad he won't kill them, but Earthforce will take them prisoner.

Notes: The destruction of a Pretender shell causes massive mental shock to its' owner.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Prowl, Grimlock, Skids, Inferno, Broadside, Springer, Snarler [destroyed by Carnivac], Bludgeon, Octopunch, Stranglehold, Slag, Jazz, Spinister [killed by Carnivac].

Production Notes: This story was now presented in full colour.

Review: The mini-arc wraps up nicely, with a crisp, brisk script. Anderson's art works well in black and white, and there's some great characterisation for Bludgeon, Spinister and Carnivac - though the ending seems needlessly brattish. It's a shame we don't see more of the main fight scene, but considering the restrictions of the five-page format, "Where Wolf?" is a successful little story.

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