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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 #181 - #190

| #181 | #182 | #183 | #184 | #185 | #186 | #187 | #188 | #189 | #190 |

#181 - "The Big Broadcast of 2006!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan
Cover Date: 03/09/88

Script: Ralph Macchio [pages 1-11], Simon Furman [page 2, uncredited].
Art: Lee Sullivan [page 12, uncredited]
Pencils: Alan Kupperberg [pages 1-11]
Inks: Dave Elliot [pages 1-11]
Letters: Kurt Hathaway [pages 1-11], Glib [page 12, uncredited]
Colours: Nel Yomtov [pages 2-12], Steve White [page 12, uncredited]

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-22 of US Transformers #43, dated August 1988.
Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Space Pirates [page 12, with a heavily edited overview of the remainder; Worldwide].

Synopsis: Superion was recovered by Sky Lynx, and the damage he did disrupted the Junkions' programming. They change the signal so it goes to the outside world. This draws in Galvatron, while Rodimus Prime and Magnus have set out to investigate. The signal caused a huge intergalactic battle above Junk. Rodimus and Galvatron battled. In the chaos, the Quintessons attempted to regain the canister. Blaster jammed their signal, and the Decepticons retreated. The canister was lost in space, however. That ends Wreck-Gar's story, but the Quintessons realise it's a lie.

Notes: Presumably Omega Supreme is revived between #210 and 2006 so Wreck-Gar knows who the Hell he is - unless he just read up on Transformers history?

Errors: On page 2, Superion is much too small. At least he didn't drift home, though... As he and Magnus fly off, Rodimus is missing lots of red. In the last frame of page 6, Rodimus' fists are white. His feet have a habit of going white too, or even orange. In the bottom-left of the same page, Galvatron is briefly replaced by Cyclonus. Rodimus also conveniently escapes being under a rock to deflect Galvatron's blast on page 8, and then sportingly goes back under the following page. In the top-middle frame of page 9 Galvatron's top-right arm goes orange for no better reason than Nel Yomtov has no brain, just after Kupperberg's given him a bizarre back arrangement. In the final frame on the same page, his cannon sneaks off for a quick smoke. Or is it just hiding on the back of the other Galvatron opposite him? On page 10, Galvatron cunningly changes into Soundwave before making his escape. Cyclonus and Scourge travel to Junkion for a second time.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: None actually appear, but Superion, Sky Lynx, Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Galvatron, Omega Supreme, Blaster, Soundwave and Blast-Off all appear in Wreck-Gar's story.

Notable Others: Wreck-Gar. And his imaginary missus. That Quintesson could well be the first appearance of Kledji, but they all look the same to me...

Production Notes: The story was adapted by Macchio from his own TV script for a stopgap US issue, then given an additional epilogue by written by Simon Furman, and drawn by Lee Sullivan, both uncredited, to fit in with the UK series.

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

Review: The story's utter tosh. Furman's condescending approach to the material really doesn't help, and feels rather snide. Sure, it's rubbish but there's nothing especially clever about brandishing this at a young readership so you'll have something cutting to say at a convention in a decade's time, and it doesn't make it any more readable either. That said, Sullivan's art on the last page makes this just about worth reading - it'd have been much better, though, if some sort of proper prologue for "Space Pirates" had been found, even at the expense of the page count a little, maybe even putting a Transformers reprint in as back-up, or even a few rewritten TF:TM character Transformers Universe profiles...

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#182 - "Space Pirates!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan
Cover Date: 10/09/88

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Dan Reed
Letters: Glib
Colours: Euan Peters

Later Reprinted By: Transformers - Collected Comics #17 [UK], Titan Books: Space Pirates [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Space Pirates #1 plus a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide].

Synopsis: 2008 - The planet Quintesson is dying, so Lord Kledji confers with Sevax and General Ghyrik about his options. Meanwhile, Wreck-Gar is sentenced to death but escapes. However, he is still attacked by the Sharkticons. The Quintesson fleet, lead by Ghyrik, sets out for Autobot City: Earth.

Notes: The Quintessons also use Breems as a measurement of time.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Wheelie [first appearance].

Notable Others: Ghyrik, Kledji, Sevax, Wreck-Gar, Jolup.

Letters Page: Grimlock announces this will be his last letters page as the book gears up for a relaunch with #183.

Back-Up Strips:
Combat Colin - to fill in a gap in the back-up schedule, the "Attack of the Kung-Fu Penguins" storyline, which originally ran in Action Force Weekly #34-36 & #38-40, where the strip was full-page. Among other things, these feature false breasts, a terrorist trying to blow up a passenger jet [meaning there's no way this will see print again until about 2020], Colin decapitating a mummy, atomic underpants and, briefly, kung-fu penguins. Action Force was never so, erm, experimental. The cover still credits 'Transformers and Action Force', though.

Review: Not very engaging at all. Wreck Gar, after three issues of him, is really beginning to grind, and although the Quints are given some real dimension [such as Kledji appreciating their original plan] there's a real "get on with it!" feeling to the story. Dan Reed does quite well, but that's mainly because there are few Transformers for him to mess up.

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#183 - "Space Pirates!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Andrew Wildman
Cover Date: 17/09/88

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Dan Reed
Letters: Annie Halfacree [Glib is accidentally credited]
Colours: Euan Peters

Later Reprinted By: Transformers - Collected Comics #17 [UK], Titan Books: Space Pirates [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Space Pirates #1 plus a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Arcee shirks off guard duty at Autobot City, allowing the Quintessons an opening. The city is soon overrun. Meanwhile, back on Quintesson, Wheelie rescues Wreck-Gar, and they leave the planet. Arcee returns to the city, but is gunned down. Ghyrik then leaves her alive as bait.

Notes: Wheelie was sent back to Quintesson as a spy by Rodimus. The Quintessons use Trident assault ships, recognised by Blaster.

Errors: It's massively implausible that the Quintessons' strategy would hinge on Arcee wandering off, or that her doing so would make any difference. She's incredibly stupid also to think even by surprise she has a chance against a force that's knocked out the bloody city. Perceptor speaks to Chase, who answers despite the fact he's actually Rollbar. Beachcomber ducks, allowing the two Autobots behind him to get killed. A little out of character? Why is the control to activate the city's battle mode a giant, heavy awkward lever?

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Arcee [first appearance], Skydive [deactivated by an explosion], Blaster [deactivated by Ghyrik], Hopper [first appearance, destroyed by Quintessons], Perceptor, Chase [I'm siding with scripting here], Beachcomber, Air Raid, Wheelie.

Notable Others: Ghyrik, Wreck-Gar.

Extras: The issue also contained a special one-page Robo-Capers named "The Wind of Change!", written by Simon Furman and drawn by Lew Stringer, announcing the changing of the letters page host from Grimlock to Dreadwind.

Back-Up Strips:
Visionaries - "Quest of the Four Talismans" Part 1 [Visionaries takes over Action Force's cover billing, and also gets a 'Story so Far' one-page recap - Marvel UK's Visionaries stand-alone title was cancelled in August 1988]
Combat Colin

Review: Still not very good. An awful lot happens to set up the plot, and not in a very convincing way. The battle in particular falls rather flat, with the old problem of the Autobots turning out to be utter rubbish when it suits the story. Arcee is insultingly stupid, and it really doesn't feel like Furman on the way to an epic at all at this stage.

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#184 - "Space Pirates!" Part 3

[cover]
Cover: Jerry Paris
Cover Date: 24/09/88

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Dougie Braithwaite
Inks: Dave Harwood
Letters: Glib
Colours: Euan Peters

Later Reprinted By: Transformers - Collected Comics #17 [UK], Titan Books: Space Pirates [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Space Pirates #2 plus a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Rodimus attempts to find Wreck-Gar, but can't get any sense out of the Junkions. The Blurr tells him something is up on Earth, and he takes a team to investigate. The Quintessons lay in wait for him, and their Decepticon allies prepare to attack the Autobots on Cybertron as part of the plan. Meanwhile, Wreck-Gar and Wheelie are being chased by Quintesson forces. Rodimus then arrives on Earth to be met by the sight of the Autobot dead strung up on the city's walls.

Notes: Soundwave has taken command of the Decepticons since #151. Blitzwing The Predacons have been repaired at some point since #210.

Errors: Hun-Grr's face is purple on page 6. Perceptor's lost his two-tone face since last issue.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Rodimus Prime, Blurr, Soundwave, Mixmaster, Hun-Grr, Onslaught, Motormaster, Thrust, Blitzwing, Razorclaw, Kup, Wheelie. The bodies of Trailbreaker, Perceptor, Wheeljack, Slingshot, Brawn and Blaster are shown

Notable Others: Ghyrik, Kledji, Jolap, Wreck-Gar.

Letters Page : The first appearance of the 'Dread Tidings' letters page, hosted by Dreadwind and Throttle. For a while at least, Furman continued to answer the letter.

Back-Up Strips:
Visionaries - "Quest of the Four Talismans" Part 2
Combat Colin

Review: It's getting better, aided by a solid if unspectacular debut from Braithwaite. The plot is actually starting to move a bit, and some positive Transformers involvement isn't hurting matters, though it's still a bit space opera, with the Junkions and Quintessons, neither as interesting as it initially seemed, taking up far too much space.

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#185 - "Space Pirates!" Part 4

[cover]
Cover: Andrew Wildman
Cover Date: 01/10/88

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Dougie Braithwaite
Inks: Dave Harwood
Letters: Glib
Colours: Euan Peters

Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Space Pirates [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Space Pirates #2 plus a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide].

Synopsis: The Quintessons betray the Decepticons, ambushing them on Cybertron en route to Autobase. On Earth, Rodimus spots Arcee and prepares to revive her with the Matrix, but is jumped by Ghyrik, losing it to him and reverting to Hot Rod.

Notes: Rodimus reverts to Hot Rod when the Matrix is taken from him [and it would appear, moved a certain distance away].

Errors: Hun-Grr's face is purple again on page 2. on page 6, Trailbreaker's head design is wrong and Soundwave has a blue faceplate. On page 9, the Autobot bodies have moved since last issue.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Blast Off, Ramjet, Dirge, Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Vortex, Thrust, Soundwave, Hun-Grr, Hun-Grr, Onslaught, Scrapper, Razorclaw, Motormaster, Mixmaster, Wildrider, Rampage, Rampage, Wheelie, Eject [first appearance], Ultra Magnus, Ravage, Smokescreen, Blurr, Wideload, Rodimus Prime, Kup, Arcee, Hot Rod. The bodies of Slingshot, Trailbreaker, Perceptor and Blaster are seen.

Notable Others: Kledji, Wreck-Gar, Ghyrik.

Back-Up Strips:
Visionaries - "Quest of the Four Talismans" Part 3
Combat Colin

Review: Another decent if unspectacular action instalment. There's lots of good little set pieces, but the overall plot of an alien invasion on two fronts isn't quite as gripping as it should be for some reason.

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#186 - "Space Pirates!" Part 5

[cover]
Cover: Andrew Wildman
Cover Date: 08/10/88

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Lee Sullivan
Letters: Glib
Colours: Euan Peters

Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Space Pirates [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Space Pirates #3 plus a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Hot Rod and Arcee are stuck inside Autobot City, which is swarming with Quintessons, while the remainder of the Autobot forces are making no progress in their attack. Hot Rod then decides to recover Blaster's tapes from his body. Meanwhile, Ultra Magnus arrives to help Soundwave defeat the invaders on Cybertron. Back on Earth, Hot Rod makes it to the Autobot City control room, but is jumped by Ghyrik, but not before he is able to activate Metroplex.

Notes: Metroplex is kept dormant under Autobot City Earth.

Errors: In the first frame of page 5, there's no pink on Arcee. In the second panel of page 8, Wheelie has a yellow face. Rewind is coloured like Eject on page 9.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Arcee, Hot Rod, Grimlock, Blurr, Kup, Blades, Cosmos, Rewind [first appearance], Soundwave, Thrust, Razorclaw, Motormaster, Ultra Magnus, Rewind, Nosecone, Strafe [first appearance], Scattershot, Wheelie, Steeljaw [first appearance], Ramhorn [first appearance], Metroplex [first appearance].

Notable Others: Ghyrik, Wreck-Gar.

Extras: A free Panini Action Force sticker album.

Back-Up Strips:
Visionaries - "Quest of the Four Talismans" Part 4
Combat Colin

Review: It's beginning to get a bit better pacing-wise, even if there's little sense of the scale of the situation - a bit less Hot Rod and Arcee flirting, and a bit more [well, anything more than a few shots on a monitor] of the battle on Earth would have been nice... Again, there are lots of good bits, but it's less than the sum of these.

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#187 - "Space Pirates!" Part 6

[cover]
Cover: Andrew Wildman
Cover Date: 15/10/88

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Lee Sullivan
Letters: Glib
Colours: Euan Peters

Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Space Pirates [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Space Pirates #3 plus a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Metroplex decimates the Quintesson attack, so Ghyrik heads off to find the Matrix, followed by Hot Rod. On Cybertron, the Autobots and Decepticons drive the Quintessons off also, though Soundwave turns down an offer of peace as it would never work. Elsewhere, Wreck-Gar broadcasts the contents of the canister, warning all of the Quintesson's planned targets they are marked for colonisation. Hot Rod is able to regain the Matrix and revert to Rodimus Prime. As the Autobots count the cost of victory, Quintesson is destroyed.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Metroplex, Hot Rod, Arcee, Ramhorn, Steeljaw, Rewind, Ultra Magnus, Soundwave, Thrust, Blitzwing, Dirge, Blast Off, Vortex, Scattershot, Wheelie, Rodimus Prime.

Notable Others: Ghyrik [killed by Rodimus], Wreck-Gar, Kledji [killed when Quintesson is destroyed].

Extras: A free packet of Action Force stickers, from Panini.

Letters Page: Dreadwind argues with a reader over whether the F14 Tomcat is superior to the MiG-25.

Back-Up Strips:
Visionaries - "Wings" Part 1
Combat Colin

Review: The conclusion's something of a microcosm of "Space Pirates" as a whole. There are some great bits [the Soundwave/Ultra Magnus confrontation on page 6 is one of the best Transformers sequences ever], terrible bits [Ghyrik's awful downfall by ventriloquism] and a fair few indifferent bits moving the slight plot along. It doesn't help that however cool he is, Metroplex reeks of plot device. Overall, the saga's a fair read, but is horribly overrated, and by far the weakest of the UK's 'epic' storylines to date.

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#188 - "Firebug!"

[cover]
Cover: Jeff Anderson
Cover Date: 22/10/88

Plot: Simon Furman
Script: Dan Abnett
Art: Jeff Anderson
Letters: Tom Frame
Colours: Euan Peters

Later Reprinted By: Transformers Annual 1990 [UK], Titan Books: City of Fear [Worldwide].

Synopsis: On Earth a meteorite arrives, and a fiery creature leaps off it. The next day, a Cybertronian reconnaissance team - Broadside, Sandstorm and Inferno - arrives on Earth. Sandstorm spots a fire and checks it out. The others soon follow him. Inferno recognises the cause as a Firebug, an alien that causes fires. They capture him, and send him to Mercury.

Notes: The trio have been sent to observe Galvatron and report back to Cybertron. Broadside is team leader.

Errors: Sandstorm states Emirate Xaaron gave them their Earth modes, but both he and Broadside had Earth modes when they started off in #84. Flying in helicopter mode a short distance above flames isn't very helpful to the town.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Sandstorm, Inferno, Broadside.

Back-Up Strips:
Visionaries - "Wings" Part 2
Combat Colin

Review: Not bad as jokey filler stories go, with some good characterisation for the three Autobots and a low-key opponent. The Firebug isn't the worst thing the Transformers have faced, but it's hardly a shame when he doesn't turn up again...

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#189 - "Dry Run!"

[cover]
Cover: Jeff Anderson
Cover Date: 29/10/88

Plot: Simon Furman
Script: Dan Abnett
Pencils: Jeff Anderson
Inks: Cam Smith
Letters: Tom Frame
Colours: Euan Peters

Later Reprinted By: Transformers - Collected Comics #16 [UK], Transformers - Summer Special '94 [UK], Titan Books: Time Wars [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Shockwave continues to train Megatron to kill Galvatron, before meeting with Cyclonus and Scourge. However, Cyclonus blurts out that they kill Shockwave in 2008. Shockwave then sets Megatron on them. Scourge realises he can't kill Megatron without changing the future [and possibly voiding his own existence], and retreats, while Megatron kills Cyclonus. Shockwave then sends Megatron to kill Galvatron.

Notes: Megatron was revived by Shockwave in #161. Cyclonus and Scourge began working for Shockwave in #172. The future Shockwave was killed by Death's Head in #147, making them joint Decepticon leaders.

Errors: Shockwave's optic is purple throughout. At the top of page 4, Cyclonus' Decepticon insignia is missing.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron [clone], Shockwave, Cyclonus [killed by Megatron], Scourge.

Notable Others: Fracas, Nightstick [killed by Megatron].

Back-Up Strips:
Visionaries - "Wings" Part 3
Combat Colin

Review: A decent plot-driven story, which has great narrative economy. Anderson's art is functional, though while the sweating adds to the atmosphere of desperation, it does also look a little silly.

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#190 - "Monstercon from Mars!" Part One

[cover]
Cover: Stephen Baskerville
Cover Date: 05/11/88

Script:
Bob Budiansky
Breakdowns: José Delbo
Finished Art: Dave Hunt
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-11 of US Transformers #45, dated October 1988.

Synopsis: Sky Lynx finally delivers the kids known as the Space Hikers to Earth, but is attacked by a crowd and flies off in anger. Meanwhile, Skullgrin, on Earth on a fuel scavenging mission, is pursued by humans until a movie producer hires him and turns him into a film star.

Notes: Sky Lynx gives his rank as "Lieutenant Commander of the Third Cybertronian Strike Unit". It's the first sighting of Circuit Breaker since #95. The kids left Earth in #142, and have been travelling back to Earth since #179.

Errors: Scorpnok's mad if he thinks a giant 40-foot humanoid with a goat's skull for a head won't arouse much suspicion.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Sky Lynx, Skullgrin, Scorponok [flashback].

Notable Others: Allan, Jed, Sammy, Robin, Circuit Breaker.

Extras: A-Z covers Kickback and Laserbeak.

Letters Page: Dreadwind [a.k.a. Simon Furman, of course] sets the petulant tone that basically ruins the letters page over the next hundred issues, deciding to use a poor joke instead of answering a reader's straightforward question, and deriding two fans trying to organise polls. They're not the most exciting polls ever, but Furman basically takes half the column printing and mocking a pair of readers. Funnily enough, after about twenty issues with Dreadwind as letters answerer, Transformers sales began to fall, never to recover...

Back-Up Strips:
Visionaries - "Wings" Part 4
Combat Colin

Review: Wow, it's completely mad, and hideously implausible. It's also a bit derivative, stinking of "Hoist Goes to Hollywood", though Skullgrin is amusingly stupid, and there are a couple of sharp lines, but much of the intended satire is a little too stereotypical, and thus wide of the mark.

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