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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
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(2003-2007)
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MARVEL TRANSFORMERS COMICS GUIDE

UK #31 - #40

| #31 | #32 | #33 | #34 | #35 | #36 | #37 | #38 | #39 | #40 |

#31 - "The Wrath of Guardian!"

[cover]
Cover: Will Simpson

Cover Date: 19/10/85

Writer: S [Simon] Furman
Art: B [Barry] Kitson
Letters: A [Annie] Halfacree
Colours: G [Gina] Hart

Later Reprinted By: Transformers Collected Comics #6 [UK], Transformers Holiday Special 1994 [UK].

Synopsis: Despite Ratchet's warnings, Grimlock, Slag, Snarl and Sludge charge Guardian, and are easily beaten back. Ratchet is, however, able to make Guardian withdraw by shooting a weak point on the back of the robot's neck with a laser scalpel. Ratchet and Grimlock have a brief showdown over Swoop's place on his repair list, before the medic sets about restoring the other Autobots left on the Ark. The Dinobots then set about tracking Guardian. Meanwhile, Shockwave has used the last vestiges of the Matrix energy left in Optimus Prime's head. Elsewhere, Buster has another fit, this time simultaneously fixing a broken stereo. Back at the Ark, Prowl and Wheeljack are already back online, and as Grimlock and the Dinobots catch and beat Guardian, realise the robot is a walking thermonuclear bomb.

Notes: Prowl swears by "Iacon's Great Dome". Ratchet is familiar with the workings of Guardian units, which are also known as Omega Class Battle Droids.

Errors: Snarl's dinosaur head is coloured grey instead of yellow. Grimlock's twice the size of Ratchet. The kibble on his back in robot mode disappears on page 6. Prime's body is also twice the size of Ratchet. In the top-right frame on page 10, the lower part of Snarl's torso is yellow instead of black.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Swoop [knocked out by Guardian], Grimlock, Slag, Snarl, Sludge, Ratchet, Optimus Prime [body and head separately], Shockwave, Prowl [repaired by Ratchet], Wheeljack [repaired by Ratchet].

Notable Others: Guardian.

Extras: Inter Face has a profile on Bombshell.

Back-Up Strips:
Machine Man - "If This Be Sanctuary?!" Part 1
Matt and the Cat [which goes to a single full page]
Robo-Capers

Review: Rather good, as it happens. Well drawn, with a nice look to it and some crackling scenes - Ratchet standing up to Grimlock and thoroughly putting him in his place is fantastic, as is the Dinobots' hunt of Guardian. Excellent stuff, with Furman fast finding his feet.

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#32 - "The Wrath of Grimlock!"

[cover]
Cover: Will Simpson

Cover Date: 28/10/85

Writer: [Simon] Furman
Art: [Barry] Kitson & [Mark] Farmer
Letters: [Mike] Scott
Colours: [Scott] Whittaker

Later Reprinted By: Transformers Collected Comics #6 [UK], Transformers Holiday Special 1994 [UK].

Synopsis: Wheeljack is able to control Prime's body by remote, stopping Grimlock from shooting Guardian and triggering the bomb, costing the Dinobot his hand. Ratchet repairs him, while the others try to decide what to do about Guardian. The robot then activates the self-destruct function installed by Shockwave, realising he will not be able to defeat the growing numbers of Autobots. He then storms the medical bay, throwing the Autobots aside. The Dinobots hold him while Windcharger is briefed by Ratchet, but Swoop recovers, grabs Guardian, flies him out of the Ark and tries to drop him in open country. However, the Dinobot is caught by the detonation, and believed dead. After a brief memorial, the remaining Dinobots leave the Autobots.

Notes: The first mention of brain modules is made - without them, a Transformer is just an automaton, which can be controlled remotely. Ratchet revives all but one Autobot [we later find out the exception is Sunstreaker - most likely from the damage he received in #24]. Shockwave was responsible for repairing and reprogramming Guardian.

Errors: On pages 6 and 10, Slag's robot head is coloured red. Also on page 6, Prowl has a totally featureless body, which closely resembles Cerebros. On page 7, both sides of Snarl's dinosaur head are coloured grey, while Windcharger's grey parts are black, and Swoop's chest [the part that becomes his dino head] is blue rather than gold. It stays that way when he transforms, and his arms are blue instead of grey. This UK colour scheme will be retained until #101.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Prowl, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Grimlock, Optimus Prime [body only], Snarl, Sludge, Slag, Shockwave [flashback], Soundwave [flashback], Swoop [repaired by Ratchet, but seemingly killed in the explosion of Guardian], Windcharger.

Notable Others: Guardian, Josie Beller.

Production Notes: The Josie epilogue appears to be roughly designed to replace the one excised from #28, to allow better flow into the next story.

Extras: Inter Face has a profile on Inferno.

Letters Page: Soundwave, in response to an inquiry as to whether Shockwave is his brother, says Transformers are autonomous units, with no relatives. He also claims there is no Shockwave toy as the incumbent Decepticon leader doesn't believe the toy manufacturers could do him justice [the original Shockwave figure would never be released in the UK].

Back-Up Strips:
Machine Man - "If This Be Sanctuary?!" Part 2
Matt and the Cat [back to a half page, in black/white/blue]
Robo-Capers

Review: A great conclusion. It's enjoyable in its own right, with good characterisation all round, some nice action and a great bittersweet ending, it's also for the skill at not only slipping this into the Marvel US narrative, but for answering key questions not bothered with by the parent book - the revival of the Autobots, and the temporary disappearance of the Dinobots. Fantastic.

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#33 - "Dis-Integrated Circuits!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: John Higgins

Cover Date: 02/11/85

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Mike Mahley
Inks: M [?] Hands
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #9, dated October 1985.

Synopsis: At the Blackrock Motor Speedway, GB is practising in his racecar when he's called in by a General Capshaw, who is interested in an anti-Transformer weapon the industrialist has developed. He then visits Josie. Meanwhile, the Autobots are trying out their repairs in the desert. Jazz and Wheeljack then set off to negotiate a fuel supply with GB Blackrock. Shockwave has heard of Blackrock's weapon, and sends Starscream and Frenzy to disrupt its' unveiling. Meanwhile, Buster finds that via the Matrix, he can repair anything with his mind. Later that night, Josie strides into GB Blackrock's office, announcing herself as Circuit Breaker.

Notes: In addition to rigs and aircraft factories, Blackrock owns an eponymous speedway, and is an amateur racing driver. Jazz likes Madonna, and is Special Operations Officer. Prowl is acting commander of the Autobots.

Errors: In the UK, something went wrong with the printing of pages 4, 5 and 9, meaning some rather messed up colours. Shockwave has blue shoulders throughout. Wheeljack is another whose colour scheme is never right. The main reason Yomtov coloured so many Transformers comics is that no-one else wanted him... Is there a point, other than dramatics, in Circuit Breaker knocking out everything on her way to see Blackrock? Her general appearance must have let GB to believe he'd been sent a cybernetic strip-o-gram, too...

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Huffer, Wheeljack, Prowl, Jazz, Brawn, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Hound, Gears, Cliffjumper, Bluestreak, Ratchet, Windcharger, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, Mirage, Optimus Prime [body and head, separated], Starscream, Shockwave, Frenzy, Buzzsaw.

Notable Others: GB Blackrock, Josie Beller [who adopts her Circuit Breaker persona], Buster.

Extras: Prowl takes the November Calendar honours.

Letters Page: One Ewan Johnson notes the similarities between "Decepticon Dam-Busters!" and the TV story "More Than Meets the Eye". Soundwave gives the standard "the cartoon is fiction" response.

Back-Up Strips:
Machine Man - "If This Be Sanctuary?!" Part 3
Matt and the Cat [in colour again]
Robo-Capers

Review: A good, if not great, issue. Lots of fine character work for Jazz, Prowl, Starscream, Frenzy and GB The art's okay, a little flat though, and that drooling splash page for Josie seems a little unnecessary, as if they don't have enough faith in Josie's fairly interesting character and need to pour on the sex appeal. A bit of a step down for the US storylines, but not a bad start.

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#34 - "Disintegrated Circuits!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: ? [possibly Mike Mahley]

Cover Date: 09/11/85

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Mike Mahley
Inks: M [?] Hands
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-22 of US Transformers #9, dated October 1985.

Synopsis: Circuit Breaker explains she has made a cybernetic exoskeleton to enable her to fight the Transformers for Blackrock. GB tells her to go back to hospital and recover, and she walks out. Jazz is then able to strike a fuel-for-protection deal with Blackrock. Blackrock then unveils his weapon, only to find it inoperable. Circuit Breaker has disabled it so he has no choice but to reveal her as his device. Just then, Starscream and Frenzy arrive and begin attacking the humans. Jazz intervenes, but Circuit Breaker attacks him, allowing Starscream to knock him out. Wheeljack takes out Frenzy, before Circuit Breaker knocks out Starscream, and then the Autobot. The Decepticons withdraw, while GB lectures Circuit Breaker. She agrees to leave for now, but next time she won't be so lenient.

Notes: Circuit Breaker can fire large charges of electricity, fly via magnetic repulsion, disable electrical hardware and hack computers.

Errors: The colours for pages 5 and 10 are again messed up in printing, as is the "Next" bar on page 11. Jazz' negotiations with Blackrock are messed up. First, Jazz kidnaps Blackrock and drives him around at huge speeds. Then, GB is convinced Jazz isn't evil as he doesn't kill him first chance he gets. Hmm... On page 4, Jazz' front airdam is red.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Jazz, Starscream, Frenzy, Wheeljack.

Notable Others: GB Blackrock, Circuit Breaker.

Production Notes: The cover is adapted from US #9.

Extras: Inter Face has a profile on Inferno.

Letters Page: Soundwave mocks Machine Man's name.

Back-Up Strips:
Machine Man - "If This Be Sanctuary?!" Part 4
Matt and the Cat
Robo-Capers

Review: A disappointing conclusion. An old Marvel stereotype, where certain characters simply lose the ability to tell obvious good from obvious evil [see also Spider-Man and the X-Men], mucks up any good points, as does the idiotic negotiation sequence. Poor.

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#35 - "The Next Best Thing to Being There!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: John Ridgway
Cover Date: 16/11/85

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Ricardo Villamonte
Inks: Brad Joyce
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov
.
Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #10, dated November 1985.

Synopsis: At the Aerospace plant, Shockwave oversees the activation of six new Decepticons - the Constructicons. They set off on a pre-programmed mission. Meanwhile, Prowl shows Blackrock around the Ark. The Decepticons attack the army forces outside of the plant, and the Constructicons break out, while Sparkplug arrives back at his garage to find that Spike has fixed all of the cars.

Notes: The Ark is powered by an Ionic-Fusion Drive. Sunstreaker is still knocked out - it's unknown if he can be made to function again. Huffer is working on a Transdimensional Scrambler to contact Cybertron. Optimus has no more Matrix energy in him.

Errors: On page 3, Shockwave's left forearm is uncoloured. On page 5, Scavenger's head has too much green on it, and Optimus is missing the sides of his head. Blackrock's moustache has gone walkabout again. Maybe it's a fake? On page 7, in the second frame, the sides of Ratchet's head are white. Jazz' visor is drawn oddly, as if it's the peak of a cap over his eyes [it's possible it's retractable or something]. On page 8, the colour's gone from Prowl's horns again, and his doors keep on disappearing. On page 10, in the top frame, Shockwave's head is a different shade to the rest of his body.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Optimus Prime [head and body separately], Scavenger [first appearance], Mixmaster [first appearance], Long Haul [first appearance], Bonecrusher [first appearance], Scrapper [first appearance], Hook [first appearance], Prowl, Bluestreak, Brawn, Jazz, Sunstreaker [deactivated], Huffer.

Notable Others: GB Blackrock, Buster, Sparkplug.

Back-Up Strips:
Machine Man - "Rime of the Ancient Wrecker!" Part 1
Matt and the Cat
Robo-Capers

Review: Rather middling. Lots of talky stuff and exposition, with too much devoted to the bringing online of the Constructicons, who once alive are only on one page and another frame. Budiansky's dialogue reaches new lows, and Bomber Bill's a big, fat, walking stereotype. Unengaging.

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#36 - "The Next Best Thing to Being There!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Ricardo Villamonte

Cover Date: 23/11/85

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Ricardo Villamonte
Inks: Brad Joyce
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-22 of US Transformers #10, dated November 1985.

Synopsis: The Constructions raid a truck-stop for material, and one of the truckers, known as Bomber Bill, gives chase, running into a group of following Autobots, and hitching a lift with Huffer. Soundwave is overseeing the Constructicons in building a huge radio dish to contact Cybertron. The Autobots attack, but the Constructicons merge to form their gestalt form, Devastator. While the Autobots battle him, Huffer heads over to destroy the dish. Soundwave is able to send a message, and Huffer, homesick, hesitates, and is knocked out by Devastator. Bomber Bill charges Soundwave in his truck, disconnecting the Decepticon, before Huffer leaps in to save him. The Decepticons withdraw. Back at the Ark, the Autobots have been able to use Blackrock's bugs in the Aerospace plant to eavesdrop, and find that Shockwave, frustrated by Prime's inability to give life to his army, is planning to dispose of the Autobot leader.

Notes: The Autobots seem to have not seen a combiner before [see # 97].

Errors: Sideswipe is mentioned being in the Autobot team, but isn't seen at any point. On page 2, Jazz appears to have replaced Bluestreak, and Ratchet subs for Ironhide. Soundwave's head design is all over the place. Bluestreak is always coloured as Prowl. On page 6, there's a weird hybrid of Bumblebee [colour and head] and Bluestreak [chest design] in the middle-top frame. The following page, Ironhide gets a Constructicon respray. For page 8, Bumblebee is given Windcharger's body and his own colour scheme, and the guy Devastator's holding looks like... God knows. By page 10, Mirage and Prowl appear to have joined the team.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Scavenger, Long Haul, Mixmaster, Scrapper, Hook, Hound, Huffer, Soundwave, Bonecrusher, Ironhide, Bluestreak, Bumblebee, Devastator [first appearance], Shockwave, Optimus Prime [head], Prowl.

Notable Others: GB Blackrock.

Production Notes: The cover is adapted from US #10.

Extras: Robot War II is a two-page feature, updating readers on the events of #1 through #34.

Back-Up Strips:
Machine Man - "Rime of the Ancient Wrecker!" Part 2
Matt and the Cat
Robo-Capers

Review: Pure stupidity. Bomber Bill is the first in a succession of horrid guest-star humans from Budiansky, and the fight with Devastator falls flat. Combiner battles don't really work in the comics anyway as the cool visuals are hard to do, but Villamonte's cramped, perspective-free style really doesn't help.

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#37 - "Brainstorm!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: John Ridgway
Cover Date: 30/11/85

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Herb Trimpe
Inks: Tom Palmer
Letters: Diana Albers
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #11, dated December 1985.

Synopsis: Buster muses on his powers, still unknown to Sparkplug. Meanwhile, Shockwave tries to force Prime into giving life to his newest creation, Jetfire. Frustrated by Prime's perceived refusal, he scans Rumble's brain, and finds out that Buster sneaked into the Ark. He realises what happened, and sets about finding the human. The Autobots overhear, and send Bluestreak and Bumblebee to find and protect Buster. He has gone out with Jesse, and Sparkplug is unhelpful with the Autobots' inquiry. Both parties set out separately to find him.

Errors: Wasn't it Soundwave on guard in #23 ? In the first frame on page 3, Buster's hair is uncoloured. Shockwave has his blue shoulders most of the time. Most of Laserbeak is red on page 7.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Laserbeak, Optimus Prime [head], Jetfire [currently a drone], Rumble, Prowl, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Bluestreak.

Notable Others: Buster, Sparkplug, Jessie.

Production Notes: Trans Formation is printed in light yellow ink on a white background, and is thus unreadable.

Back-Up Strips:
Machine Man - "Rime of the Ancient Wrecker!" Part 3
Matt and the Cat
Robo-Capers

Review: Quite a bit better. It's still too talky, with the same-old scenes at the Aerospace Plant [the Optimus/Shockwave confrontations are really starting to drag] and the Ark, but there's good development for Buster and Sparkplug, and Trimpe is very good.

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#38 - "Brainstorm!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Herb Trimpe
Cover Date: 07/12/85

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Herb Trimpe
Inks: Tom Palmer
Letters: Diana Albers
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-23 of US Transformers #11, dated December 1985.

Synopsis: Buster and Jesse are found by Sparkplug, who is in turn followed by Bluestreak and Bumblebee. They are also spotted by Laserbeak, who is shot down by Bluestreak, but not before Shockwave sends Jetfire in support. Jetfire makes short work of the Autobots, but is then disassembled, literally, by Buster. Buster then makes his peace with Sparkplug, before agreeing to aid the Autobots. Back at the plant, Shockwave decides Prime's use to him is at an end.

Errors: Jesse has pink hair in a couple of frames. Bluestreak has uncoloured parts in his first frame in robot mode. Shockwave has bloody blue shoulders on the last page. Jetfire looks stupid when he reaches out his arms in jet mode...

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Bumblebee, Bluestreak, Jetfire [drone], Prowl, Gears, Huffer, Brawn, Sideswipe, Ironhide, Windcharger, Shockwave, Optimus Prime [head].

Notable Others: Buster, Sparkplug, Jessie.

Production Notes: The cover is adapted from US #11.

Extras: Soundwave features in the December Calendar.

Back-Up Strips:
Machine Man - "Rime of the Ancient Wrecker!" Part 4
Matt and the Cat
Robo-Capers

Review: A pretty good conclusion with some decent characterisation for both Witwickys and Bumblebee, marred by the US team working through their fetishes with Jesse...

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#39 - "Prime Time!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Herb Trimpe
Cover Date: 14/12/85

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Herb Trimpe
Inks: Al Gordon
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #12, dated January 1986.

Synopsis: Buster flies back to the plant in Jetfire aiming to act as a captive and aid the Autobots, when they encounter USAF jets. Jetfire is able to evade and destroy them, but Buster blacks out in the chase, and Jetfire reverts to his pre-programed flight plan. At the plant, Shockwave leaves Rumble to guard the workers, and reveals to Prime he knew of the phoneline bug, and has set the Autobots up. Jetfire then arrives, and gives Shockwave Buster. Jetfire is then sent to drop Prime's head in a Swamp near the Autobots, who put it back on his body. Prime then attacks the Autobots, and the Decepticons arrive.

Errors: The USAF wouldn't have F14 Tomcats. Rumble "sweating" is stupid, whatever technobabble they dress it up with. Shockwave has blue shoulders again, and it spreads to Sideswipe. As the Autobots form their chain in the swamp, Jazz and Sideswipe are very lazily half-coloured. The back of Cliffjumper's head is blue, and Windcharger has too much red on him. Prime shoots Prowl, at point-blank range, in the knee.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Jetfire [drone], Rumble, Shockwave, Soundwave, Optimus Prime [head and body separately], Prowl, Hound, Gears, Huffer, Brawn, Jazz, Gears, Ironhide, Sideswipe, Trailbreaker, Windcharger, Cliffjumper, Buzzsaw, Frenzy, Ravage, Laserbeak.

Notable Others: Buster.

Production Notes: The cover is adapted from US #12.

Extras: Inter Face covers Scavenger.

Letters Page: Soundwave claims there's no female Transformers because "they'd just get in the way". Brilliant. Titan should just do a TPB of letters pages from Soundwaves through to Dread Tidings. Well, okay, maybe not, they'd only make a complete mess of it. Soundwave also goes a bit mad when a reader calls him "imaginary". Aww, young minds, thinking it's not the real Soundwave answering the letters ^_^

Back-Up Strips:
Machine Man - "Victory" Part 1
Matt and the Cat [back up to a full page; Kazybrid must have cleaned the Marvel offices with distinction or something]
Robo-Capers

Review: Finally, some action! The story's great, well drawn by Trimpe and with a nice pace on it. It's a shame there's so much block-colouring in the thing, and that the sweat spoils what otherwise is a very good rendition of just how terrifying Shockwave can be - he destroys a prospective Decepticon just to make his point. Very good.

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#40 - "Prime Time!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Jeff Anderson
Cover Date: 21/12/85

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Herb Trimpe
Inks: Al Gordon
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-22 of US Transformers #12, dated January 1986.

Synopsis: Buster overrides Shockwave's control of Jetfire, who knocks out the Decepticon commander. The workers then rise up against a freaked-out Rumble. Prowl, meanwhile, is trying to counterattack against the Decepticons and the Decepticon-controlled Optimus, but with little progress. However, Jetfire returns Prime's real head, and Optimus is able to control his body to change it. Prime easily takes down the Decepticons, but Shockwave awakens and sets off to battle him. The Autobot wins, and chucks Shockwave into the swamp. Prime then runs off to save Buster, but he's already been freed by the workers. Buster then returns the Matrix to a grateful Prime.

Notes: Within a certain range, Optimus Prime can control his body via remote. He swears by "The Primal Program".

Errors: Blue. Shoulders. Should. Be. Purple. On page 2, Jetfire's Decepticon insignia is pretty deformed. On page 3, Shockwave's is uncoloured. On page 6, there's red on Frenzy's arms, and the blue is too dark. Why does Prime run to the Aerospace plant when he has a perfectly good vehicle mode?

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Optimus Prime [who is reunited with his body], Jetfire [drone], Rumble, Prowl, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Brawn, Gears, Frenzy, Soundwave, Ironhide, Ravage, Sideswipe, Jazz, Cliffjumper, Hound.

Notable Others: Buster.

Extras: Inter Face covers Scavenger.

Back-Up Strips:
Machine Man - "Victory" Part 2
Matt and the Cat [down to half a page - Kazybrid missed under the sink]
Robo-Capers [which shrinks to about 2" x 2" - maybe someone actually read the thing?]

Review: A superb conclusion to a generally-great first arc from Budiansky. Prime's return is suitably dramatic, and it's quite a nice change that his sparing of Shockwave is actually unnecessary. Buster's still a very engaging, three-dimensional character. The only niggle is the block-colouring frequently overrides Trimpe's great visuals [e.g. the Prowl image on page 2 would be great if the background characters were coloured].

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