MARVEL TRANSFORMERS COMICS GUIDE
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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
UK #51 - #60
#51 - "Shooting Star!" Part 1
Cover Date: 08/03/86
Synopsis: A failed hood named Joey Slick is on the run, and finds a handgun. It, not he, shoots his pursuers. It turns out the gun is Megatron, who has lost his sense of individuality and is little more than a servile android. Slick uses Megatron to go on a minor crime wave.
Notes: Megatron's been MIA since #28. He's still missing his stock, silencer and scope when Slick finds him, but retains his fusion cannon in robot mode - subspace?
Errors: So Megatron has no personality, but knows his name and exactly what's happened to him? Good grief, falling off a cliff can do some mighty specific damage. The colouring on his gun mode jumps all over the place.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron, Frenzy [flashback], Soundwave [flashback], Ravage [flashback], Starscream [flashback], Ratchet [flashback].
Review: Dire. The first sign Budiansky wouldn't be able to cut it long-term on Transformers. Illogical, tacky, stereotyped and devoid of all interest.
#52 - "Shooting Star!" Part 2
Cover Date: 15/03/86
Synopsis: Slick sets himself up as a gangster, but feels wrong, and goes to Lomax, who originally tried to have him killed, to straighten things out. He does so, but Megatron regains consciousness. He spares Slick and leaves, with Joey going with the police.
Errors: And now being dropped on the floor fixes disconnected circuitry. Stupid Ratchet and his laser scalpels. Just drop them on the floor, man!
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron.
Production Notes: The cover is adapted from US #13.
Extras: A free Panini Transformers sticker album.
Review: Don't waste a few minutes of your life reading this. That time could be valuably spent, I dunno, staring at a wall, or something else more entertaining than this "offbeat" [read: terrible excuse for a] story...
#53 - "Rock and Roll-Out!" Part 1
Cover Date: 22/03/86
Synopsis: Jetfire is given the Rite of the Autobrand, and elsewhere on the Ark, five brain modules brought from Cybertron - Grapple, Hoist, Skids, Smokescreen and Tracks - are housed in new bodies to reinforce the Autobots' dwindling numbers. Prime has a special mission for Grapple, while the other four set out with Bumblebee to explore and acclimatise to Earth. Shockwave, meanwhile, returns to the Decepticons' oil rig base with an energy siphon for creating Energon Cubes, a more concentrated fuel source. Bumblebee and the other Autobots are enjoying themselves, when Bumblebee receives a transmission.
Notes: Curiously, Optimus refers to the five Autobots having their brains "copied" rather than simply removed and held in reserve, which does point to the possibility of Smokescreen etc. still existing on Cybertron after Arklaunch... Shockwave has been MIA since #40. Wheeljack has also installed dummies in the Autobots' drivers seats to allow them to move around unnoticed. Bumblebee has a Blackrock Gold Priority fuel card. Hound, Cliffjumper, Gears, Jazz and Huffer are all deactivated in Ratchet's workshop. While it isn't intentional on Marvel USA's part, it's logical to assume the damage to Gears, Cliffjumper and Huffer at least comes from the Dinobot hunt. For the others, there's clearly been something happening between here and #50 we haven't seen, though Jazz at least is borne out by my "Enemy Within" theory.
Errors: On page 4, the white trim on Smokescreen's left-hand door goes all the way around, instead of just along the top and bottom. His "horns" are also blue. Blackrock's moustache is gone too, but he might have shaved it off this time. On page 2, Bluestreak's grey is left white. On page 8, Skywarp's leading surfaces are uncoloured. How can Tracks admire himself in his own rear-view mirror? It's ridiculous that the fuel attendants don't realise they're talking to dummies... The Autobot insignias are either very deformed from page 2 on, or absent altogether.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Jetfire, Optimus Prime, Bluestreak, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Grapple [reactivated, first appearance], Hoist [reactivated, first appearance], Smokescreen [reactivated, first appearance], Skids [reactivated, first appearance], Tracks [[reactivated, first appearance], Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Shockwave. Prowl, Hound, Gears, Cliffjumper, Jazz, Huffer and Trailbreaker are all shown to be deactivated in the repair bay.
Notable Others: GB Blackrock, Walter Barnett [first appearance].
Extras: A free packet of six stickers for the Panini Transformers sticker album given away with last issue. Also, the first part of the Autobot Who's Who, updating the status of the Earth-based Autobots.
Review: Dull. Lots of big events [Shockwave's return, the five new arrivals, Jetfire getting the Autobrand], but lots of dull scenes, risible dialogue and lots and lots of stupid jokes, all topped off by some diabolical art from Perlin. Just about worth reading, though. But probably only once.
#54 - "Rock and Roll-Out!" Part 2
Cover Date: 29/03/86
Synopsis: Prime tells Bumblebee that the Decepticons plan to steal sonic energy from a nearby concert. His team is sent to observe, with reinforcements to follow. Meanwhile, Walter Barnett is put in charge of Triple-I's plans to stop the Transformers. At the concert, starring Brick Springhorn and the Tenth Avenue Band, the Decepticons start their plan. Bumblebee leads the Autobots into the fight, but falls down under the stage. There he finds Shockwave using the energy syphon, and knocks him out with an Energon cube. The Autobots leave, and are met by Prime's reinforcements, where Optimus commends them on their initiative.
Notes: Brick Springhorn and the Tenth Avenue Band are clearly based on Bruce Springstein, with the song "Born in America" based on Springstein's hit "Born in the USA". The Bangles, who presumably had a less powerful legal team, are slated to appear at the Portland Municipal Stadium next week.
Errors: How does stealing the sonic energy make the music quieter? The humans believe the whole thing to be part of Brick's stageshow, despite the constant media hubbub of invading giant robots which has been in the preceding 53 issues. On page 3, Tracks just has a red blob on his bonnet. Starscream's face is uncoloured on page 6, as is Smokescreen's on page 7. The left side of Hoist's face is miscoloured on page 8.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime, Tracks, Skids, Bumblebee, Hoist, Smokescreen, Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Shockwave, Bluestreak, Mirage, Sideswipe.
Notable Others: Walter Barnett.
Production Notes: The cover is adapted from US #14.
Extras: This issue also includes a special pull-out. One half is a poster for the Special Teams [The Aerialbots, the Protectobots, the Stunticons and the Combaticons], while there's a three page strip promoting them. This is actually original material, scripted by Simon Furman and drawn by John Stokes. It's not just early pages from "Second Generation" [ #63 -65], though some frames and pieces of dialogue are very close. Obviously, because of its' narrative, this story sits outside of TF continuity [unless it's another of Buster's dreams?]... For the sake of simplicity, I'm not counting any appearances inside as debuts etc. There's also the second part of the Autobot Who's Who, following on from the first part published last issue.
Letters: Soundwave says there were four other members of the Elite Flying Corps besides Divebomb [as in the one who's now Swoop, see #46 for more]. He also totally sidesteps an early request to know where Transformer weapons go in alt modes, citing Jazz' holster from #49, and his own toy's storage capacity.
Review: Utterly ridiculous. The amount of page-time devoted to the fictional band is pathetic, as is Perlin's rushed, detail-less, flat pencilling. It's even got a pat, stupid ending.
#55 - "I, Robot-Master!" Part 1
Cover Date: 05/04/86
Synopsis: Megatron is on a fuel-scavenging raid when he suddenly seizes up due to a lack of power. Walter Barnett is put in charge of an idea to stop the Transformers by Triple-I [who have captured Megatron], and he hires Donny Finkelberg, a failed comic book writer, to concoct a cover-story. It is agree he will play Robot Master, a character from one of his comics, who will claim to be controlling the Transformers. Blackrock is unhappy about this, as if vilifies the Autobots. He meets up with Bumblebee, and decides to tell the media he knows Robot Master is a fake.
Notes: Hoist carries out maintenance checks every four weeks, or every 1200 miles. III, or Triple-I, stands for Information and Intelligence Institute. Triple-I have footage from the Shockwave/Megatron battle in #25, the takeover of the Blackrock Aerospace Plant in #26, and Shockwave's attack on the rock concert from #54. Barnett has a son named Stevie, and a wife who isn't named.
Donny Finkelberg is based on Marvel USA editor Danny Fingeroth. The New York comic company, with Captain America and Hulk murals in reception, is Marvel, who are named on the cover of the Robot Master comic owned by Stevie Barnett [#5, just for the record - presumably the last issue, as the editor tells Donny Robot Master is cancelled]. 387 Park Avenue is Marvel US' real address also.
Errors: If Megatron's low on fuel, why waste energy lobbing stuff around? Would the public really fall for the Robot Master scam if there's a comic book of the same name in existence? It'd be like George Bush claiming there are a group of American terrorists named X-Force or something. Megatron's legs have a large amount of black on them at various stages. On page 8, Wheeljack has too much blue - though this was corrected from the US version, where he got Hoist's scheme.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron, Shockwave [flashback], Soundwave [flashback], Hoist [flashback], Bumblebee, Tracks, Skids, Optimus Prime, Wheeljack.
Notable Others: Walter Barnett, GB Blackrock, Donny Finkelberg - a.k.a. Robot-Master [first appearance].
Production Notes: The cover is adapted from US #15. Among the modifications are grafting a UK-style information box onto the 'Robot Master' comic cover.
Extras: Inter Face covers Kickback and Slag.
Review: A cover story's meant to be more believable than what's really going on, and this one isn't. The attempt to inject some intrigue into proceedings is good in theory, but not in execution, and a series of ridiculous, clumsy scenes doesn't help.
#56 - "I, Robot-Master!" Part 2
Cover Date: 12/04/86
Synopsis: Triple-I plan a broadcast involving Megatron to boost credibility, while the Autobots set out to capture the Decepticon themselves. The Autobots arrive, and are attacked by Triple-I, much to Blackrock's disgust. Just then, the Decepticons arrive to free Megatron. They refuel him and he does so, while the Autobots retreat, worn down by Triple-I's attack. The Decepticons capture Robot Master with plans to use him to their own ends.
Errors: Megs' con insignia is uncoloured on the second page. On page 5, Optimus has a yellow faceplate and no eyes. The following page, Soundwave's left hand is pink. I'm quite amazed Donny can strike a match on Megatron's foot - wouldn't it be too smooth? Wouldn't the Autobots stowing their weapons be a helpful gesture? On page 9, Soundwave's chest panel is blue, and the following page his faceplate is blue, while the rest of his head is too light.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime, Skids, Tracks, Bumblebee, Wheeljack, Soundwave, Ravage, Buzzsaw, Laserbeak, Megatron.
Notable Others: Walter Barnett, GB Blackrock, Donny Finkelberg - a.k.a. Robot-Master.
Letters Page: Soundwave states that High Councillor Traachon was the Matrix holder before Optimus Prime. Amazingly, it will take until #290 for this to be contradicted...
Review: Better than the first half, though the more Transformers-orientated action means Perlin's limitations are thrown into relief. It's also hugely implausible the Decepticons would see any value in having the Robot-Master ruse to themselves.
#57 - "Plight of the Bumblebee!" Part 1
Cover Date: 19/04/86
Synopsis: The Decepticons plan to take control of Bumblebee to make him their slave. The Autobot is feeling unneeded, and sets off on his own, where he's spotted by Laserbeak. The Decepticons attack Bumblebee, who takes shelter in a car park. There, stuck in car mode, he is stolen by a pair of humans. The Decepticons rejoin the attack, while the Autobots prepare to mount a rescue mission.
Errors: Laserbeak is spelt "Lazerbeak" throughout, and coloured like Buzzsaw [orange detail instead of red]. A sign for Mount St. Hilary says "St. Hillary".
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Jetfire, Prowl, Laserbeak.
Production Notes: 'Splash page design and art' is credited to Eliot Brown.
Review: A pretty decent story. Bumblebee's neuroses are well portrayed, even if him being needed by the Decepticons at exactly the same time as his crisis of confidence seems a little convenient. Kaminski adapts well, despite some odd dialogue, and it holds the interest. The biggest drawback is it comes so soon after "Crisis of Command", which covered much of the same ground with Bumblebee.
#58 - "Plight of the Bumblebee!" Part 2
Cover Date: 26/04/86
Synopsis: After an engine failure, one of the humans repairs Bumblebee, inadvertently sending him back to full power. Just as he's beginning to enjoy his new life, the Decepticons attack again. Bumblebee decides to make a stand against the Decepticons, when Jetfire shows up. He shoots down Laserbeak, but is then knocked out by Skywarp. Just when things seem grim, Bumblebee is rescued by the other Autobots, and the Decepticons withdraw. Bumblebee then realises his place is with the Autobots.
Errors: Laserbeak is coloured like Buzzsaw, unless this time it's meant to be Buzzsaw... Bumblebee's layout has changed since #2, where Buster found no ignition or pedals.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime, Tracks, Wheeljack, Ironhide, Jetfire, Bumblebee, Shockwave, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Skywarp, Starscream.
Review: There's a really odd-feeling ending - Bumblebee doesn't really get any payoff, just gets Jetfire shot a bit, and is bailed out by Prime & co., which is just what he was complaining about at the start of the issue... It's a bit disappointing compared with the first half, but fairly exciting.
#59 - "Robot Buster!" Part 1
Cover Date: 03/05/86
Synopsis: Ratchet and Wheeljack build a robot suit for Buster, but Optimus is aggrieved at the thought of actively involving Buster in the fighting. He orders the suit destroyed, much to Buster's chagrin. In the night, he sneaks into the suit and off to the Decepticons' original base on earth, where Shockwave and Frenzy are stripping materials. He is able to knock out Frenzy through pure luck, but then Shockwave arrives.
Notes: Buster now has a room on the Ark. The Autobots are actively trying to restore the Ark's engine [it's what Wheeljack should be doing instead of building the exo-suit for Buster]. The Decepticons' original base was built in #3, and then abandoned at some point before #22, the Decepticons then moving into the Ark.
Errors: In the middle of page 4 Buster has a blank speech bubble.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Frenzy, Shockwave.
Notable Others: Buster.
Extras: A Human Who's Who to complement the Autobot and Decepticon ones.
Review: A nice, fun story. No-one's trying to take over the world, just a few thorny issues and the usual Transformers staple of a weak character trying to prove themselves. Kitson rises to the job with a beautifully drawn story, enhanced by Firmin's lush colouring.
#60 - "Robot Buster!" Part 2
Cover Date: 10/05/86
Synopsis: Buster is unable to escape from Shockwave, but is able to prolong the inevitable until his suit is destroyed. Just then, the Autobots arrive, having noticed the suit to be missing, and Shockwave agrees to back off and lets Buster go.
Notes: Buster now has a room on the Ark.
Errors: How exactly the Autobots found out where Buster was is nicely brushed over...
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Frenzy [flashback], Optimus Prime, Trailbreaker, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Prowl, Tracks.
Notable Others: Buster.
Review: A good conclusion to a nice story, with Shockwave getting a fine return to form after a pair of iffy US appearances. It's nicely done, not too weighed down in clichés and surprisingly engaging. It's also a good comparison piece to show cartoon fans how much more sensibly Marvel treat their Witwickys.