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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
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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 #151 - #160

| #151 | #152 | #153 | #154 | #155 | #156 | #157 | #158 | #159 | #160 |

#151 - "The Legacy of Unicron!" Part 6

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan
Cover Date: 06/02/88

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Bryan Hitch
Inking Assist: Geoff Senior
Letters: [Richard] Starkings
Colours: Steve White

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #300 -301 [UK, split into two parts], Titan Books: Legacy of Unicron [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Smokescreen and Scattershot distract Unicron with the shuttle. Enraged, he recalls Cyclonus and Scourge from Cybertron. As they withdraw, the other Decepticons notice, and retreat. Back on Junk, Rodimus meets Death's Head, and they surprise Unicron, projecting Rodimus onto the astral plane. The mechanoid then finds Wreck-Gar's explosives, and gets the Junkion to safety. He returns Rodimus to his body and tells him to get away, then takes Scourge and Cyclonus though the time portal with him. The charges destroy Unicron once again.

Notes: The time portal takes Cyclonus and Scourge back at least 20 years, and they meet up with Scorponok, which dovetails nicely onto their involvement with the Headmasters saga. Death's Head would resurface in a different universe, or 'Doctor Who Magazine' #135, depending on your perspective. Hun-Grr' another who's been repaired, chronologically speaking, since #209.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Smokescreen, Scattershot, Cyclonus, Scourge, Hun-Grr, Soundwave, Kup, Ultra Magnus, Rodimus Prime, Slag, Swoop, Sludge, Grimlock.

Notable Others: Death's Head, Wreck-Gar, Unicron [head].

Extras: A-Z profiles Headstrong and Hoist.

Letters Page: Andrew Grant writes in, offering to organise the polling for the 1987 Transformers Readers Poll.

Back-Up Strips:
Iron Man - "Stratosfire" Part 6
Robo-Capers

Review: One of Furman's best conclusions, pitched at a breakneck pace, with some superb ideas and character work, topped off by Hitch's absolutely glorious art. Overall, "The Legacy of Unicron" is one of the absolute highs of the UK run, and ranks certainly in the top five Transformers stories ever. An absolute joy from start to finish.

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#152 - "Enemy Action!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan
Cover Date: 13/02/88

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Jeff Anderson
Inks: [Stephen] Baskerville
Letters: Glib
Colours: Steve White

Later Reprinted By: Transformers Collected Comics #14 [UK], Titan Books: Legacy of Unicron [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Galvatron heads towards the Decepticons' undersea base, but the Seacons are in his way. Shockwave orders them to attack Galvatron, but he defeats them, so they form Piranacon. Nearby, the Sparkler Minibots have arrived on Earth to locate Galvatron, sent by Springer. However, they are attacked by the Firecons.

Notes: The Seacons have been dispatched from Cybertron to help fortify the island base, and have been given Earth modes. Galvatron has escaped from Mount Verona since #138. Fizzle and Sizzle switching colour schemes in an 'error' that's upheld throughout their UK appearances, so counts as a fair artistic variation [like the early UK-only scheme Swoop had, or Soundwave varying between purple and blue], seeing as there's only one US-produced story that contradicts this.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Snap Trap [first appearance], Seawing [first appearance], Skalor [first appearance], Jawbreaker [first appearance], Nautilator [first appearance], Tentakil [first appearance], Shockwave, Galvatron, Soundwave, Piranacon [first appearance], Guzzle [first appearance], Fizzle [first appearance], Sizzle [first appearance], Springer, Sparkstalker [first appearance], Flamefeather [first appearance], Cindersaur [first appearance].

Production Notes: Overbite was named Jawbreaker in the UK comic. It's possible this was either a working name for the toy or someone just got confused with with the 'Jawbreaker cannon' it came with when released. Regardless, the name was used consistently in the UK comics.

Back-Up Strips:
Iron Man - "Stratosfire" Part 7
Robo-Capers [the final instalment]

Review: Galvatron is superb, mocking and defeating the Seacons, and it's well drawn by Anderson. Furman's script cannily restates the situation on Earth while introducing a number of new elements. Superior action fare.

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#153 - "Enemy Action!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan
Cover Date: 20/02/88

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Jeff Anderson
Inks: [Stephen] Baskerville
Letters: Glib
Colours: Steve White

Later Reprinted By: Transformers Collected Comics #14 [UK], Titan Books: Legacy of Unicron [Worldwide].

Synopsis: The Firecons and Sparkler Minibots battle on the coast, while underwater Galvatron defeats Piranacon. Shockwave prepares to repel him from the base, only for Galvatron to declare he came in peace, but now is at war with Shockwave. He then interrupts the battle on the coast, mocking the Firecons' attempts at forming an alliance, and the Sparklers' attempts to bring him in. Meanwhile, Shockwave comes up with something to stop Galvatron - Megatron.

Notes: The Firecons were sent from Cybertron.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Cindersaur, Sparkstalker, Flamefeather, Sizzle, Fizzle, Guzzle, Galvatron, Piranacon, Shockwave, Nautilator, Snap Trap, Ramjet, Razorclaw, Thrust, Dragstrip, Rampage.

Production Notes: With this issue, Action Force, after 50 issues of its' own weekly comic, is incorporated into Transformers. Aside from the addition of the logo to the cover, it's treated much like any other back-up strip - this would be the only time it would feature on the cover illustration itself, and Transformers' other features remain unchanged, aside from the replacement of Robo-Capers - the Action force comic would also bring over Codename: Combat Colin, Lew Stringer's strip about an inept combat enthusiast and his sidekick, Semi-Automatic Steve. Unlike Robo-Capers, it was actually funny. The Action Force strip material was taken almost entirely from Marvel USA's GI Joe series, edited to fit the European Action Force line. As a footnote, Action Force would continue as a separate monthly comic for the time being. This issue did feature a two-page introduction to Action Force's major players, and a brief recap of the story to date.

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Slaughter" Part 1
Codename: Combat Colin

Review: Once again Anderson's art is at its best, if still lacking that certain extra punch, though there are some great visuals - Fizzle burning, Galvatron defeating Piranacon, the amazement on Shockwave's face. The script's quite good, with Shockwave's paranoia convincing, and Galvatron back in his saner mode. Oh, and Sizzle standing up to Galvatron rocks.

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#154 - "Toy Soldiers!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Bryan Hitch
Cover Date: 27/02/88

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #37, dated February 1988.

Synopsis: Walter Barnett interrogates the Goldbug and the Throttlebots, but can get little information from them. RAAT then decide to destroy them the next time there's a Transformer attack anywhere. Their bodies are then destroyed, but Barnett places their brain modules in radio-controlled cars, sparing their lives. They set off to get help from Buster.

Notes: RAAT captured the Throttlebots and Goldbug in #140. Sparkplug and Buster first met the Transformers when they repaired Bumblebee back in #3.

Errors: Placing a Transformer's brain in a radio-controlled car allows it to speak - eh? Goldbug and Freeway both have blue heads.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Divebomb, Rampage, Headstrong, Hook, Scrapper, Long Haul, Scavenger, Bonecrusher, Blitzwing, Goldbug, Searchlight, Rollbar, Freeway, Goldbug, Chase, Wideload.

Notable Others: Walter Barnett, Buster, Sparkplug.

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Slaughter" Part 2
Codename: Combat Colin

Review: Argh... pure stupidity. Did anyone seriously think the radio-controlled car thing was a sensible idea? How is Barnett suddenly so resolute that the Autobots aren't lying? Why does my brain bleed when I read this?

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#155 - "Toy Soldiers!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Bryan Hitch

Cover Date: 05/03/88

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-23 of US Transformers #37, dated February 1988.

Synopsis: Ratbat and the Predacons storm RAAT's base, looking for the Autobots. They realise the brain modules are missing, and set off after their scent. Meanwhile, Walter meets up with Spike and Buster, and sets off to the Ark with Buster. The Predacons are close behind, and catch up with them at the mall. At Walter's behest, Buster takes Goldbug on to the Ark. Though it's missing, they find radio equipment, where Goldbug sends a distress call, but is then destroyed by Ratbat.

Notes: Goldbug's call was received by both Hot Rod and Vorath in #142.

Errors: Now the Throttlebots can control their toy car bodies.... eh? How exactly can Ratbat smell the Autobot brain modules? There's no fuel in them.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Rampage, Razorclaw, Tantrum, Divebomb, Headstrong, Ratbat. Goldbug and Wideload, at least, are seen as brains inside radio-controlled cars.

Notable Others: Walter Barnett, Buster, Sparkplug.

Extras: A-Z covers Hook and Hotspot.

Letters Pages: Grimlock acknowledges that Trypticon and Sky Lynx do seem to be in shops in the UK, though his tone would suggest these aren't kosher Hasbro UK releases. He also mocks the cartoon's take on the Transformers origin story.

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Slaughter" Part 3
Codename: Combat Colin

Review: Dire... The plot's still absolutely stupid, with much of the issue wasted via the daft chase around the mall with the Predacons insisting on pouncing on radio controlled cars instead of using their armaments.

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#156 - "Trial by Fire!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Dougie Braithwaite
Cover Date: 12/03/88

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Dave Hunt
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #38, dated March 1988.

Synopsis: Fortress Maximus' Autobots are heading to Earth, despite the misgivings of some of the Nebulans. On the way, Fortress Maximus is given a new, larger body, also incorporating Cerebros. Meanwhile, Spike Witwicky arrives back at Sparkplug's garage to find it wrecked, but his father is okay. Spike heads off to Mount St. Hilary to find Buster. He's interrupted by the Autobot Headmasters, on Earth to investigate the distress call. They find what's left of Goldbug, and debate whether to set off after Buster, or find the Autobots who were meant to be stationed in the Ark at the volcano.

Notes: Spike is a college student, and would seem to be Sparkplug's oldest son. He has none of the mechanical skills of his brother or father. He used to hike up Mount St. Hilary when he was a boy scout. Ratbat abducted Buster last issue.

Spike was introduced, out of nowhere, to tie in with Hasbro having Spike as the Headmaster figure for the Fortress Maximus toy.

Errors: There's too much white on Brainstorm, and far too much blue on Highbrow, pretty much throughout. Chromedome also gets a white head most of the time. On page 2, Galen calls Chromedome "Highbrow". In the background of page 9, Pointblank's shoulder stops suddenly to the right of his wheel. On page 10, in the bottom-left frame, Brainstorm's face is much too long in profile... it actually looks slightly freaky. The timescale's also unrealistic - the distress call was sent no more than a day before the start of this story [the time Sparkplug spent buried in his garage], and was received right at the start of "Brothers in Armour!!". So in this day, all the events of that story have happened and the Autobot ship has got pretty much to Earth. Without details of the distance between Earth and Nebulos, or details of the capabilities of the Autobot ship, it's difficult to definitively write this one up as an error, but it certainly feels unlikely.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Hardhead, Fortress Maximus, Highbrow, Brainstorm, Chromedome, Cerebros, Pointblank, Ratbat [flashback].

Notable Others: Galen, Zarak [flashback], Llyra [flashback], Gort, Duros, Spike Witwicky [first appearance], Sparkplug, Arcana, Stylor.

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Slaughter" Part 4
Codename: Combat Colin

Review: A big step up from most of the recent US stories, but it's still quite faulted. Galen's hard-line character is a good basic idea, but while most of what he says about the war rings true, his callous disregard for the humans is a little hard to swallow. Also, it's a shame they drew Spike pretty much exactly like Buster, and gave him the same character his brother had in the first couple of issues, as it makes it pretty clear Spike's just going to supplant him. Dave Hunt's inks also aren't good enough, so Delbo's art is beginning to shine through... But overall it's a moderately interesting, but thankfully rather sensible, story.

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#157 - "Trial by Fire!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan
Cover Date: 19/03/88

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Dave Hunt
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-22 of US Transformers #38, dated March 1988.

Synopsis: Spike tries to persuade Galen to help rescue Buster, but Galen is unmoved. The Autobots then leave Spike behind. He spends the night at the mountain, but is woken the next day by the Decepticons. Spike hides, and is able to signal to Chromedome. The Autobots return, with Galen suddenly aware of his responsibilities. While the battle rages, Scorponok heads off after Spike, with Maximus following. The two Transformers fight, and eventually Zarak and Galen face each other. However, Zarak causes a rock fall, and Galen is crushed saving Spike. Before he dies, he passes his control helmet to Spike, who drives the Decepticons off with Fortress Maximus.

Errors: Hmm, Spike gets the hang of that control helmet pretty quickly - it also makes a mockery of 'binary bonding' if any old guy can pick up a helmet and successfully control a Transformer. It's a bit silly the way the other Autobots are already thinking about him being leader... I mean, let the lad onboard by all means, but leader? Scorponok had purple antennae for the first few pages. On page 3, Brainstorm appears to be wearing a polo-neck. On page 5, Yomtov colours Snapdragon like Weirdwolf, and Apeface like Snapdragon. On the next page, Stylor is blond. Why exactly does the volcano blow up? It doesn't seem to be an eruption...

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Hardhead, Fortress Maximus, Highbrow, Brainstorm, Scorponok, Apeface, Snapdragon, Mindwipe, Chromedome, Weirdwolf, Skullcruncher.

Notable Others: Spike, Galen [killed by rock fall], Zarak, Vorath, Krunk, Stylor.

Letters Page: According to Grimlock, Transformer seeming to sweat is "lubricant escaping from microscopic fissures in older Transformers".

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Serpentor" Part 1
Codename: Combat Colin

Review: A fairly decent story let down by the last couple of pages, and some variable art. It's a shame that, presumably at Hasbro's behest, that Galen gets killed off, and it must have annoyed Budiansky considering the comprehensive background work on him, in favour of Spike, who's basically a ret-con [okay, so his existence doesn't contradict anything, but it's clear he's been shoehorned in], and is Buster by a different name.

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#158 - "The Desert Island of Space!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Dan Reed
Cover Date: 26/03/88

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Dave Hunt
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #39, dated April 1988.

Synopsis: Buster has been captured by Ratbat, and is being used as a hostage to ward off a human naval attack on the Decepticons' island base. On the taskforce is Walter, with the brains of the Throttlebots. He calls Sparkplug to tell him Buster's alive. Spike traces the call, and sets off to rescue Buster with the Autobot Targetmasters

Notes: When combined, Spike's mind is combined with the engrams of Fortress Maximus' brain, so he's a gestalt. Shockwave can fire a heat laser of some sort from his optic.

Errors: Both Forsythe and Barnett refer to there being six Autobot brain modules, and Goldbug being the seventh - there aren't, there are five [Rollbar, Wideload, Searchlight, Chase and Freeway], with Goldbug the sixth. It's charmingly naive for both the Decepticons and Budiansky to have the faith that a full military assault would be reined back by the presence of one random human. On page 7, in the bottom-left frame, Sparkplug's face has random blotches of white and purple on it. Cerebros' head has reversed its colour scheme since last issue. Spoilsport, Pinpointer and Recoil are all coloured wrong.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Ratbat, Headstrong [flashback], Tantrum [flashback], Cerebros, Fortress Maximus, Chromedome [flashback], Crosshairs, Hot Rod, Pointblank, Kup, Blurr, Sureshot. Rollbar's brain speaks from its remote controlled car.

Notable Others: Buster, Walter, Sparkplug, Spike, Pinpointer, Firebolt, Peacemaker, Recoil, Haywire, Spoilsport.

Extras: A-Z profiles Hound and Huffer.

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Serpentor" Part 2
Visionaries [an untitled portion of Visionaries #1 [two and a half pages] was printed as an insert to plug the toyline]
Codename: Combat Colin

Review: Again, quite well scripted and more-or-less competently drawn, it continues something of a return to form for Budiansky, who seems a lot more comfortable with the Headmasters characters, but it's still not a patch on his earlier work, or most of the UK strips.

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#159 - "The Desert Island of Space!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Will Simpson & David Elliot
Cover Date: 02/04/88

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Dave Hunt
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-22 of US Transformers #39, dated April 1988.

Synopsis: The Targetmasters are beaten back by the island's defences, and to the astonishment of everyone watching, the Island suddenly takes off, with the Decepticon base underneath actually being a spacecraft. Fortress Maximus grabs onto it as it takes off, but is spotted by Shockwave. The defences disable Maximus, so Cerebros continues the assault. Shockwave attacks him personally, knocking him out, but Spike gets away, and activates Fortress Maximus' guns, disabling Shockwave's rockets and sending him falling to Earth. However, the ship then reaches escape velocity, leaving Spike behind. He's rescued by the Autobots, though, convinced of his leadership abilities.

Notes: Presumably there's an oxygen supply in the Headmaster armour. Oh, and there's confirmation Spike is the older brother.

Errors: How is Maximus' body still there for Spike to control? Why aren't Maximus and Cerebros burnt up in the atmosphere?

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Pointblank, Crosshairs, Sureshot, Hot Rod, Kup, Fortress Maximus, Kickback, Dead End, Frenzy [or Rumble], Shockwave, Ratbat, Onslaught, Breakdown, Scavenger, Razorclaw, Soundwave, Shrapnel, Vortex, Hook, Blurr, Cerebros.

Notable Others: Spike, Buster, Walter.

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Serpentor" Part 3
Codename: Combat Colin

Review: Unexciting but competent stuff. Shockwave gets something of a return to form - he may be beaten, but he's not being bossed about by Ratbat. Ratbat himself is also improving quite nicely, finally being put in a story that isn't totally ridiculous.

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#160 - "Salvage!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Bryan Hitch
Cover Date: 09/04/88

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Lee Sullivan
Letters: Tom Frame
Colours: Euan Peters

Later Reprinted By: Transformers - Summer Special '94 [UK], Titan Books: Space Pirates [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Richard Branson recovers Megatron and Centurion from the Thames, but then the pair are taken by the Decepticons. Back at Mount Verona, the Sparklers have freed Ultra Magnus, but he's somewhat dazed. Shockwave, meanwhile, has returned to the Decepticons' first Earth base, where Megatron and Centurion are taken, watched by Galvatron. Megatron, however, had brain damage, so Shockwave uses the Psycho probe on him. Magnus and the Sparklers have followed to the base, but are jumped by Galvatron, causing Magnus to freak out.

Notes: Centurion and Megatron [well, Megaclone] have been in the river since Action Force #27. Among the Decepticons left on Earth are Jawbreaker, Ramjet, Thrust, Dirge, Blitzwing and Snap Trap, all under command of Shockwave, plus Galvatron. The Decepticons' mountain fortress was last seen in #60.

Yes, that's Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Enterprises, who appeared to tie-in with a recycling campaign he was fronting.

Errors: On page 10, Guzzle's turret is grey instead of green.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron [comatose, clone], Jawbreaker, Ramjet, Thrust, Blitzwing, Dirge, Fizzle, Guzzle, Ultra Magnus, Sizzle, Galvatron, Shockwave, Snap Trap

Notable Others: Centurion [off-line, or just switched off, or whatever].

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Serpentor" Part 4
Combat Colin

Review: A slightly bizarre start [that's really Richard Branson, who appeared by consent and gets some nice plugs about Virgin and being environmentally friendly] settles down into a nice story, with Furman neatly side-stepping the fact that the US stories did their best to mess up the nice Shockwave/Galvatron angle, well rendered by Lee Sullivan.

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