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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

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

UK #121 - #130

| #121 | #122 | #123 | #124 | #125 | #126 | #127 | #128 | #129 | #130 |

#121 - "Mechanical Difficulties!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Jeff Anderson
Cover Date: 11/07/87

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #28, cover date May 1987.
Synopsis: Goldbug and Blaster are staking out the Mechanic's HQ, but are forced to leave when their cover is blown. Grimlock isn't very happy. They manage to track him again, but get involved in a confrontation with police who are also tailing the Mechanic.

Notes: The Mechanic's real name is Nestor Forbes. He took Ratchet's guns in #109, and the power booster rod in #110. Grimlock takes to wearing a crown from this issue on.

Errors: As Grimlock models his crown for the viewscreen, how is the camera above it picking up that image? It should be a view of his other side...

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Goldbug, Blaster, Grimlock, Ratchet [flashback], Wheeljack.

Notable Others: The Mechanic, Juan.

Back-Up Strips:
The Iron Man of 2020 - "Man of the Year" Part 3
Robo-Capers

Letters Page: Grimlock claims there are toys of Junkions other than Wreck-Gar available in America. There weren't.

Review: Argh. Grimlock's suddenly waaay off in the deep end [though at least 8 issues of UK storylines allow a feeling of some time in which for him to go mad], and there's much too much Mechanic, who's behind only Bomber Bill and Joey Slick on the 'Characters You Really Shouldn't Bloody Bring Back, Bob' list. I mean, c'mon, even Josie. Just not the Mechanic...

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#122 - "Mechanical Difficulties!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Jeff Anderson
Cover Date: 18/07/87

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-22 of US Transformers #28, cover date May 1987.
Synopsis: The Mechanic escapes, but Goldbug and Blaster track him to his new HQ, where he's built a fleet of armed cars to sell to fellow criminals. Goldbug is captured, but Blaster teams up with the police. Juan is arrested, but the Mechanic escapes. Blaster saves Goldbug, and the pair decide to desert rather than face Grimlock.

Errors: Blaster isn't actually explicitly ordered to kill all humans, but then he does begin losing rationality at a staggering rate from now on... The Mechanic's underground sales party is so secure an idiot with a tapedeck can wander in.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Goldbug, Blaster.

Notable Others: The Mechanic, Juan.

Back-Up Strips:
The Iron Man of 2020 - "Man of the Year" Part 4
Action Force - "Dummy Run!" [a five-page bonus strip to promote the Action Force weekly comic. It's an in-house Marvel UK production, written and coloured by Steve White, drawn by Geoff Senior, with letters by Richard Starkings]
Robo-Capers

Letters Page: Grimlock claims there are toys of Junkions other than Wreck-Gar available in America. There weren't.

Review: Slightly better, though it's galling that a cretin like the Mechanic gets a sequel-hunting exit - it would have been nice for Blaster to have a red mist moment and disembowel him with a thumb. What's really bad is that from now on, under Budiansky, lots of characters will get some short treatment with regard to story time, when there's rubbish like this taking up space. You've got to also really wonder if Grimlock's so wrong being angry at Blaster and Goldbug when they can't handle a buffoon like Nestor.

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#123 - "Crater Critters" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan
Cover Date: 25/07/87

Script: Bob Budiansky
Breakdowns: Don Perlin
Finishes: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #29, cover date June 1987.
Synopsis: A Decepticon shuttle crashes into America. Meanwhile, Goldbug and Blaster enlist the help of GB Blackrock. He refuels them, and tells them of a reported meteor in Arizona. They set off to check it out. On Cybertron, Ratbat sends Astrotrain, Blitzwing and Octane to find the missing shuttle, which carries vital fuel for the Earth operation. They fit it, but mysterious metal from the wreck begins attaching itself to them. Blaster and Goldbug arrive, and enlist the help of a young man named Charlie to get them to the crater, past the army cordon.

Errors: Grimlock's crown is a different colour in the flashback. Low-energy cost freighter? Is that like Cyber Second Class Post? Cartoonesque. Enlisting Charlie is a bit dicey, seeing as Goldbug could probably just speed past the army cordon, like Autobots have done with just about every army cordon they've ever seen. Still, it's probably a narrative device to distract us from the idiot who believes Charlie's story.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Goldbug, Blaster, Grimlock [flashback], Scrounge [flashback], Ratbat, Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Octane.

Notable Others: GB Blackrock.

Production Notes: Trans Formation announces that Inhumanoids, slated to return once the Iron Man 2020 story was over, has been cancelled in America, and will not continue.

Back-Up Strips:
The Iron Man of 2020 - "Man of the Year" Part 5
Robo-Capers

Review: A fair upturn, though it probably feels a lot better than it really is coming off the previous story. Ratbat's still quite good, and Blitzwing's pigheaded cruelty is well portrayed. But Blaster's mentally off the scale, and the bullying of Blackrock and moral blackmail of Charlie [basically, "I could force you, but I'm going to let you decide whether to let a whole load of people die"] really don't feel right. Goldbug must be about ready to lick Grimlock's feet.

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#124 - "Crater Critters" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Will Simpson
& John Burns
Cover Date: 01/08/87

Script: Bob Budiansky
Breakdowns: Don Perlin
Finishes: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-22 of US Transformers #29, cover date June 1987.

Synopsis: After a brief battle with the Decepticons, Blaster and Goldbug find the pilot of the ship, who claims to have been attacked by creatures, but before he can elaborate his head falls off. All five Transformers are then infected by the creatures, known as Scraplets. Goldbug then sets off for a cure with Charlie, leaving Blaster to fight the Decepticons. The latter swears vengeance. Goldbug heads off for help, but the disease is weakening him all the time.

Notes: Scraplets tend to float around in space like clouds of space dust. There was an outbreak on Cybertron thousands of Vorns ago, but the cure is long forgotten.

Errors: The pilot's head doesn't fall off, as if decayed, it jumps off. Charlie gets to like Goldbug pretty quickly. In the middle-top frame of page 8, Goldbug's chest is totally flush.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Goldbug, Blaster, Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Octane.

Extras: A-Z covers Buzzsaw and Cliffjumper.

Back-Up Strips:
The Iron Man of 2020 - "Man of the Year" Part 6
Robo-Capers

Review: Once you stop thinking of this as a serious story, there's more than a little fun to be had here. The Scraplets are really cute, and the idea of Goldbug cowering, Tom & Jerry style, while Charlie kicks them around is pretty damn funny. Blaster's fight with the Triplechangers is well drawn, for Don Perlin, but again his psychotic personality really lets the thing down [Blaster's, not Don's].

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#125 - "Ancient Relics!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Jeff Anderson

Cover Date: 08/08/87

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Geoff Senior
Inks: Dave Harwood
Letters: Annie Halfacree
Colours: Steve White

Later Reprinted By: Action Force Monthly #1-2 [split into two parts].

NB: The story continued in Action Force #24 to #27.

Synopsis: A group of archaeologists in London's sewers run into Megatron, and one escapes, going for help. Meanwhile, Wheeljack has repaired Centurion at Grimlock's behest, and the Autobot leader takes the android off to investigate a report by Blades of an identified Transformer in London. Action Force are also investigating, and bump into Blades in the sewers. There's a brief fight after a misunderstanding, and Blades is just starting to straighten things out when he's jumped by Megatron.

Notes: Centurion was torn apart by Galvatron in #101. According to Grim-Grams in #135, Centurion is still being controlled by Professor Morris - presumably Swoop didn't let on. Being a guide, this thing will contain spoilers, and in the interest of accuracy, we later find out that this is Straxus' clone of Megatron, holding a copy of Megatron's brain and the remnants of Straxus' personality in its subconscious. I'll come to a more in-depth discussion of the clone saga when we get there. It's worth noting that the clone does have the exact same scars as Megatron did when he disappeared in #108. Blaster and Goldbug deserted in #122.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron [clone], Grimlock, Wheeljack, Blades.

Notable Others: Susan Hoffman [first appearance], Centurion [repaired by Wheeljack], plus Action Force members Flint, Barbecue, Airtight, Scarlett and Bazooka.

Back-Up Strips:
The Iron Man of 2020 - "Man of the Year" Part 7
Robo-Capers

Review: Wonderful stuff, with the sewers setting used marvellously. Harwood's inking complement's Senior's usual smooth, forceful art terrifically, and it's well scripted. It's good to see Megatron back on form after a fistful of rather manic US appearances, and it's nice to see Grimlock as bombastic, rather than a total buffoon.

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#126 - "The Cure!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan
Cover Date: 15/08/87

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: [Ian] Akin and [Brian] Garvey
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #30, cover date July 1987.

Synopsis: On Cybertron, the Throttlebots are captured by Ratbat. Astrotrain is threatening to destroy the shuttle's cargo unless a cure for the Scraplets is send, so Ratbat tells the Throttlebots to go, destroy the infected and deploy the cargo. If they fail to comply, Ratbat will kill all life on Earth. Meanwhile, Charlie realises water is the cure for Scraplets, but Goldbug is being tracked by Wideload and Rollbar. Charlie, in desperation, infects Wideload so he'll have to listen.

Notes: Ratbat gives the Throttlebots Earth modes. This story follows directly on from # 124. Wideload appears to be taller than the other Throttlebots. Rollbar is in command of the team.

Errors: Nel "Capability" Yomtov gets off to a cracking start, colouring Chase like Searchlight, Freeway like Chase and Searchlight like Freeway all on the first page. How did this fool get work? In the bottom frame of page 4, Rollbar has a green head. In the bottom-left panel of page 8, Chase is coloured like Searchlight. Ratbat goes to some considerable effort here - capturing the Throttlebots, converting them to Earth modes, and then sending them to Earth... is that really worth the cargo on that shuttle?

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Freeway [first appearance], Chase [first appearance], Searchlight [first appearance], Wideload [first appearance], Rollbar [first appearance], Ratbat, Astrotrain, Octane, Blitzwing, Blaster, Goldbug.

Back-Up Strips:
Iron Man - "Deep Trouble" Part 1
Robo-Capers

Review: Quite good fun. Rollbar's a good character, even if he seems to be enjoying his work a bit too much at the end. Astrotrain and co. trying to hold Ratbat to ransom is a nice idea, as is Ratbat's solution to their demands. It's not perfect, and is rather hokey in places, but there are much worse Transformers comics.

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#127 - "The Cure!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Robin Smith
Cover Date: 22/08/87

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: [Ian] Akin and [Brian] Garvey
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-22 of US Transformers #30, cover date July 1987.

Synopsis: Charlie proves there's a cure, using it on Wideload and then Goldbug. Goldbug calls Blackrock, requesting water, and GB brings a pair of trucks. Goldbug then debates with Blaster whether to save him, and thus the Decepticons, or kill the lot of them, when the Scraplets form a huge creature and attack the Throttlebots. Out of options, Goldbug cures all the Transformers in the crater, and the Decepticons and Blaster destroy the monster. However, the Decepticons not only escape with the cargo, but are able to gain control over Blackrock.

Errors: Oh, and I'm not going to mention the water thing. Sure, it's cheesy in a "What's normal to us is bizarre to them" sort of way, but Rob Jung's statement "Anyone with a basic knowledge of chemistry knows that water is one of the most common molecules in the universe" is a bit off - surely it's one of the most common molecules in the known universe, which doesn't include Cybertron? There's definitely none on Cybertron for starters, and it's no less believable than Ratchet having not heard of wood in #26. For a comparison, how common are giant sentient robots? Not very, but there are at least three sets we know of from the comic alone [Transformers, Junkions, Quintessons]... Now, to your average human, seeing a giant sentient robot would be pretty gosh-wow, but actually they're about as common as humans within the context of the comic. What's normal to them is bizarre to us, what's wrong with that working both ways? There's also the fact people would tear Budiansky apart if the cure was something like lukewarm Cyberyak urine or something.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Wideload, Goldbug, Rollbar, Astrotrain, Blaster, Blitzwing, Octane, Freeway, Searchlight, Chase.

Notable Others: GB Blackrock.

Back-Up Strips:
Iron Man - "Deep Trouble" Part 2
Robo-Capers

Review: Another fun action romp, with Budiansky's scripting still sharper than some would have you believe. Perlin's art is also a bit better than of late, and overall the Scraplet mini-arc is a fun, readable pair of stories - far from perfect, but a lot more interesting than many stories. The only gripe is the increasingly malicious Blaster - someone who isn't psychotic would provide a much better contrast with Grimlock.

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#128 - "Buster Witwicky and the Car Wash of Doom" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Dave Hine
& John Burns
Cover Date: 29/08/87

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: Jim Fern
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #31, cover date August 1987.

Synopsis: The Decepticons capture a tanker ship, but find it to be empty. Ratbat, visiting from Cybertron, blasts Shockwave for his inefficiency, and tells him of a plan he has which will be much more profitable. Meanwhile, at Sparkplug's garage, there's a boom in business thanks to a fuel crisis and a new Blackrock car wash. Buster and Jessie try the car wash one evening, but then she heads off, behaving oddly, and Buster follows.

Notes: Laserbeak has been repaired since #117.

Errors: Anyone find it worrying that Jessie finds a car wash, even with lights and music, "wild"?

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Ramjet, Laserbeak, Thrust, Vortex, Shrapnel, Kickback, Bombshell, Shockwave, Ratbat, Bluestreak [flashback], Bumblebee [flashback].

Notable Others: Buster, Sparkplug, Jessie, GB Blackrock.

Extras: A-Z covers Cosmos and Dead End.

Back-Up Strips:
Iron Man - "Deep Trouble" Part 3
Robo-Capers

Review: ... Well, erm, it's nice to have Buster back. Shame about the story, though the Decepticons not checking the fuel tanker is fairly believable - Ramjet's leading the mission. Aside from that, a bit strange and pointless really.

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#129 - "Buster Witwicky and the Car Wash of Doom" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Robin Smith
Cover Date: 05/09/87
Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: Jim Fern
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-22 of US Transformers #31, cover date August 1987.

Synopsis: After following Jessie, Buster finds hypnotised humans using fuel siphons on the tanks of their cars, overseen by Laserbeak. He is able to rescue Jessie, and is about to escape when he notices Sparkplug going into the complex. It turns out the car washes have been made by Blackrock for the Decepticons, who are taking the fuel. Spike overcomes their conditioning, and Ratbat and Laserbeak run.

Notes: The car wash was the vital cargo from #124. The humans are controlled by Stroboscopic Opticon.

Errors: Okay, so this is Ratbat's efficient plan? He has GB Blackrock, zillionaire oil tycoon under his mental control, and the best way he can think of is nicking fuel from motorists' tanks? Inefficient things about the plan - flying the cargo there in the first place instead of, say, transmitting details to Shockwave and commanding Bombshell to take over GB. Mounting the rescue mission with the Throttlebots for a car wash. Going to the effort of mass-producing the things [sure, GB covered that one, but why bother when he could send a fleet of tankers to the Island HQ?], hypnotising scores of humans, then getting them to drive to another location and siphoning their tanks. Against that, not bothering to check if a tanker's full is practically recycling. Why does Ratbat bother getting Blackrock to explain the plan to his mind-controlled petrol station owners? Even if they would care, they can't. Ego-masturbation? Sparkplug gets his own first name wrong - it's William, not Irving.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Laserbeak, Ratbat, Astrotrain [flashback].

Notable Others: Buster, Sparkplug, Jessie, GB Blackrock.

Back-Up Strips:
Iron Man - "Deep Trouble" Part 4

Review: Okay, it's pretty bad, and rather illogical. While it's not the worst story out there, it does suffer from being totally missable - if you don't bother reading this, you won't miss out on plot points like you would in some inferior stories such as "Second Generation" or "Rock 'n' Roll Out".

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#130 - "Worlds Apart" Part 1 & "Ring of Hate!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Geoff Senior
Cover Date: 12/09/87

"Worlds Apart!" Part 1

Script:
Simon Furman
Pencils: Will Simpson
Inks: Tim Perkins
Letters: Annie H [Halfacree]
Colours: Steve White

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #255 -#256 [UK, split into two parts], Titan Books: Time Wars [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Space Pirates #4 plus a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide].

"Ring of Hate!" Part 1

Script:
Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Frank Springer
Inks: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
Colours: Nel Yomtov
Letters: Diana Albers

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-6 of US Transformers Headmasters #1, cover date July 1987.
"Worlds Apart!" Part 1

Synopsis: On Nebulos, the Autobot Headmasters are attacked by the Horrorcons and Decepticon Headmasters. They're on their way to rescue their fellow Targetmasters, captured by the Decepticons. They get to the Decepticon base, only to find they've walked into a trap.

Notes: This story happens somewhere in the Headmasters series itself, probably just before the last page. The idea that the Targetmasters have been captured so the Decepticons can perfect the process isn't helpful as it's a total lie. Grimlock's answer in the letters page of #137 that the story is set "some while after "Ring of Hate!"" is similarly useless.

Errors: Sureshot and Crosshairs have switched colour schemes. As he talks to Gort, Stylor's colours are way too bright. Gort himself is much too dark on his main body.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Highbrow [first appearance], Brainstorm [first appearance], Hardhead [first appearance], Chromedome [first appearance], Apeface [first appearance], Snapdragon [first appearance], Weirdwolf [first appearance], Skullcruncher [first appearance], Mindwipe [first appearance], Sureshot [first appearance], Pointblank [first appearance], Crosshairs [first appearance], Scorponok [first appearance], Misfire [first appearance], Slugslinger [first appearance], Triggerhappy [first appearance], Cyclonus, Scourge.

Notable Others: Gort [first appearance], Stylor [first appearance], Galen [first appearance, flashback].

Review: Will Simpson's art gels well with the style, but the bland colouring really lets it down visually. The script isn't terribly good, which doesn't help, basically being an intro for the Headmasters [though Hardhead and Highbrow get off to a good start] with a rather obvious narrative, and the unimaginative subplot of the mismatched partners.

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"Ring of Hate!" Part 1

Synopsis: On Cybertron, the war wages on, and Fortress Maximus, leader of a group of Autobots, is tired of the fighting. He proposes leaving it behind, and settling on the planet of Nebulos.

Notes: The Autobots believe Optimus Prime is dead, and therefore the story starts before #67, with the war having raged for around 4,150,000 thousand years [50,000 Vorns is the figure given]. It must be presumed it takes a while for Fortress Maximus' crew to travel to Nebulos.

Errors: Throughout the mini, Frank Springer's character models, and Capability Yomtov's colouring of them, is a bit random, to put it mildly. To add to this, in various stages there are unnamed generic Transformers on both sides, making errors and appearances a nightmare to spot. As long as someone's not explicitly referred to, or must be a certain character, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt as Transformers who just look like whoever [e.g. the Highbrow, Brainstorm and Pointblank lookalikes on the first page]. Scorponok's alt mode is probably just about far enough from a scorpion to not be classed as an error. On page 4, Max is replaced surreptitiously by the model for the Spike Headmaster figure. At the bottom-right of the same page, there's a blatant Earth truck in the background.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Triggerhappy, Scorponok, Misfire, Slugslinger, Skullcruncher, Fortress Maximus [first appearance], Blurr, Hardhead, Brainstorm, Lightspeed [first appearance], Chromedome, Snapdragon, Apeface, Blot [first appearance], Kup, Hot Rod.

Production Notes: From this issue through to #146, the back-up strip was reprints of the American Transformers Headmasters strip.

Extras: A free Headmasters Data Scan.

Back-Up Strips:
Robo-Capers

Review: A good scene-setter, with Maximus fairly well done, if a little preachy and too close to Prime. Springer's art is actually great, and Budiansky seems to be benefiting from a fresh start.

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