MARVEL TRANSFORMERS COMICS GUIDE
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Other titles / G2: Action Force #24-27 | Specials & Collected Comics | UK G2 Intro | UK G2 #1-5 | UK G2 Annual
UK #221 - #230
#221 - "Survivors!" Part 3
Cover Date: 10/06/89
Synopsis: The Autobots are trapped in the reactor room fighting the manifestations of Skids' nightmare. However, they are unsure whether destroying the monsters will kill Skids, and cannot fire on them in the reactor room anyway. In desperation, Springer calls in reinforcements.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Springer, Skids, Inferno, Broadside.
Extras: A-Z covers Onslaught and Outback.
Letters Page: Dreadwind gives Impactor's alt mode as an Earth-boring vehicle.
Review: It's starting to sag just a little, with not much going on. The only real plot point is Skids' dilemma, which isn't quite up to supporting the whole issue. There are flecks of characterisation for the others, but despite the improved clarity of Stokes' art, the story's visuals really aren't suited to monochrome, and some frames are just a mass of shapes.
#222 - "Survivors!" Part 3
Cover Date: 17/06/89
Synopsis: Carnivac and Catilla respond to Springer's distress call, much to Snarler's chagrin. Back at the plant, the monsters admit to Skids he can live without them. With the Decepticons' help, the Autobots soon destroy the monsters. Back at the Autobots' hideout, Springer asks the pair to join them. Catilla wholeheartedly agrees, becoming an Autobot, while Carnivac also joins, but on his own terms as an Autobot.
Notes: It should be noted that Catilla almost certainly isn't an official Autobot just because he decides to be - there's no chance for him to undergo the Rite of Autobrand for a start.
Errors: The Autobots change their minds about what exactly they're going to do to the monsters [kill or subdue] throughout before they know it won't harm Skids.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Carnivac, Snarler, Catilla, Springer, Skids, Inferno, Broadside.
Extras: A-Z profiles Perceptor and Pipes.
Review: A decent, if slightly disappointing, end to a fair story. The ending's pat, and there are a few wobbles as regards to the Autobots' motivation, but there's some good characterisation for Carnivac, and it's a good set-up story for the Survivors.
#223 - "Aspects of Evil!" Part 1
Cover Date: 24/06/89
Synopsis: 2356 - Rodimus Prime tells an Autobot student of how in 1991 Scorponok, under attack from the Air Strike Patrol, surrendered so he, as Hot Rod, Landfill and Quickmix are forced to escort him away. While the Autobots battle the Micromasters to protect a human settlement, Scorponok escaped.
Notes: The "End of the Decepticon civil war" reference would seem to be an inkling of Furman's initial attempt to tie his UK material to the work he was then doing on the American Transformers title. However, it's got to be an alternate universe of some description, as all the elements aren't present at any one time. The Air Strike Patrol say they're working for Megatron, but the only time they do this is from #240 to #251, at the start of which Scorponok doesn't recognise them, and at the end of which Megatron is MIA. It can't be between #214 and #240 as the Autobots don't know Megatron is alive at this point [they bloody well should what with the Time Wars and all, but they just don't...]. It's possible that this is an alternate version of Megatron's assault in 'our' universe, where he send the Air Strike Patrol to directly attack Scorponok, rather than deploying them to the Air Base. However, all of "Aspects of Evil" can be dismissed as inaccurate or even totally fabricated thanks to the rather decrepit state of Rodimus - just for the record, his state is because of a debilitating illness, not old age.
Errors: Even if he's injured, Scorponok would surely be more than a match for the Air Strike Patrol?
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Scorponok [flashback], Whisper [first appearance, flashback], Tailwind [first appearance, flashback], Stormcloud [first appearance, flashback], Nightflight [first appearance, flashback], Hot Rod [flashback],Quickmix [first appearance, flashback], Landfill [first appearance, flashback], Rodimus Prime. The student will remain unnamed.
Notable Others: Firebolt [flashback].
Extras : A-Z profiles Powerglide and Predaking.
Review: Competent, if unspectacular stuff. It's quite diverting, but you can't help feel of all the evils perpetrated by Scorponok that taking advantage of a code of conduct [was he meant to hang around waiting for Hot Rod? Would Hot Rod have done the same?] is a bit mild...
#224 - "Aspects of Evil!" Part 2
Cover Date: 01/07/89
Synopsis: 2356 - this time Rodimus tells how, on returning to his own time following the Time Wars, he found Galvatron alive and well, and in control of Cybertron. Galvatron had put down his resistance movement, and Rodimus attacked him, enraged. This began to taint the Matrix, but Arcee talks some sense into him, and the Autobots escape.
Notes: We have another possible future, as I personally don't take the rather facetious explanation that somehow the events of the Time Wars would shake the future out like this, with Galvatron in a totally different position to where he should be.
Errors: Flak and Sunrunner, two Micro masters, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the other Autobots. On the last page Galvatron misses the Autobots at a range of about a hundred feet.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Rodimus Prime, Galvatron [flashback], Kup [flashback], Arcee [flashback], Windsweeper [flashback], Ruckus [flashback], Crankcase [flashback], Flak [first appearance, flashback], Sunrunner [first appearance, flashback], the student. Blurr's disembodied head is seen.
Extras: The July Classic Covers Calendar features #129.
Review: Not very good at all. The art's colouring book level, to be frank, and the whole thing feels dreadful, with the ramifications to the timeline taking up no space whatsoever, and thus coming across as mindless convenience writing, while once again the 'plot' concerns how much of a silly pacifist bugger you have to be to lead one side in a bloody civil war. I mean, honestly, back in #114 [or last issue thanks to Marvel UK's determined attempt not to spend any money on the comic], Rodimus executes a Decepticon who poses no threat to him and there's no Matrix tainting, and yet he starts slapping his nemesis and bane of his home-world around a bit, and suddenly everyone's got indigestion?
#225 - "Aspects of Evil!" Part 3
Cover Date: 08/07/89
Synopsis: 2356 - Rodimus recalls how Shockwave attacked Autobot City on the day of its official opening in 2004, but how he, as Hot Rod, confused the Decepticon by illogically tackling him and knocking him down a small hillside. Shockwave then fled.
Notes: This one could actually fit into the UK 'Movie' future, between "Ark Duty" and the 'Comic Movie'.
Errors: Why would the AAWS be turned off anyway? It's not like the Decepticons would only attack during a certain time, is it? It's like the President's bodyguards clocking off at 5 and leaving him alone for the night. Shockwave is laughably defeated.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Ultra Magnus [flashback], Shockwave [flashback], Astrotrain [flashback], Hot Rod [flashback], Optimus Prime [flashback], Arcee [flashback], Kup [flashback], Blitzwing [flashback], Blurr [flashback], Thrust [flashback], Rodimus Prime, the student.
Review: In the running for worst UK storyline of all time, this one. The whole thing's pathetic, from Shockwave's total binding to logic [making him the least dangerous enemy ever] - point out one other occasion where he's actually like that - to Hot Rod twice knocking him down a hill and causing Shockers to withdraw a full Decepticon strike force that were doing rather well. Some say Furman's writing for the UK book went into a bit of a decline when he got to America; 'a bit' is quite the understatement.
#226 - "Aspects of Evil!" Part 4
Cover Date: 15/07/89
Synopsis: 2356 - Rodimus tells how in 1990, he [as Hot Rod], Kup and Blurr were held captive by Megatron. They were freed by an Autobot double-agent named Warmonger, but Hot Rod was recaptured. Megatron accuses Bludgeon of freeing the Autobots, and the Pretender invokes the right to trial by combat. Megatron uses the trial to flush out Warmonger, and kills the spy.
Notes: The story is set in 1990, and there's no real gap for it there.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Bludgeon [first appearance, flashback], Megatron [flashback], Stranglehold [first appearance, flashback], Octopunch [first appearance, flashback], Hot Rod, Warmonger [first appearance, flashback, killed by Megatron], Rodimus Prime, the student.
Review: Probably the best part of "Aspects of Evil". The plot's not groundbreaking, but it's the first story intended for the new format to actually have a sensible pace to it, and Sullivan's art helps it chug along. Best of all, though, is Furman's chilling Megatron.
#227 - "Aspects of Evil!" Part 5
Cover Date: 22/07/89
Synopsis: 2356 - Rodimus now details the third coming of Unicron to the student, in 2010. Rodimus was forced to trap Unicron inside the Matrix. The student accuses him of lying, and storms out, intent on finding Unicron, tainted just by speaking to Rodimus.
Notes: We have another possible alternate reality, though this could be the future of the 'movie' timeline.
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Rodimus Prime, the student, Galvatron [flashback], Arcee [flashback], Kup [flashback].
Notable Others: Unicron [flashback].
Extras: A-Z covers Prowl and Ramhorn.
Review: A dull and muddy ending to a dull and muddy saga. Ironically, the first story designed for the new triple-strip format is the first sign that it just wasn't going to work, and is one of the worst UK stories for some time. The conclusion has a smug edge to it, and Coleby seems to blow it all out on the great splash page, leaving nothing in himself for the remainder of the comic. People claim this self-styled 'mini-epic' is very clever; it's about as clever as 'Crossroads' [if American, insert 'Dallas', but use some lube first].
#228 - "[Double] Deal of the Century!"
Cover Date: 29/07/89
Synopsis: Chainclaw is captured by a Decepticon named Dealer just before delivering vital plans to Optimus Prime. They soon receive a ransom, and then an Autobot named Double turns up, admitting the loss of the plans is his fault, and that he should deliver the ransom. Dealer has lured the Decepticons to the same meeting point - he and Double are, obviously, Doubledealer, one and the same. He sets the Decepticons and Autobots against each other and takes both the plans and the Energon, leaving them to fight it out.
Notes: This story takes place after #235 - probably some time after, considering the Race Car Patrol's relatively co-operative behaviour. Doubledealer would appear to be a free agent, though he does possess a genuine Autobrand. You might want to note that it's not even hinted at whether he's a Powermaster or not.
Errors: 'Double' and 'Dealer'? How long to you reckon he spent thinking up that? Since when has Scorponok had anything to do with Cybertron?
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Doubledealer [first appearance], Catilla [first appearance], Optimus Prime, Roadhandler [first appearance], Tailspin [first appearance], Swindler [first appearance], Freewheeler [first appearance], Scorponok, Mindwipe, Weirdwolf.
Review: Fairly amusing, though among the things that will seriously give the game away are a) knowing there's a Transformer called Doubledealer, b) seeing the cover and c) reading the story title. It's as obvious as Unicron hiding behind a pea, but somehow still strangely readable...
#229 - "Hunting Party!"
Synopsis: The new Mayhem Attack Squad - Spinister, Bludgeon, Octopunch, Stranglehold and Needlenose, are in Slaughter City. They are attacked by a huge number of Autobots, and Needlenose panics and runs for it. Spinister follows him, and is able to get him back in the fight by pretending to be attacked by Slag. Needlenose saves him, and the simulation finishes. Spinister announces to Snarler that the team are ready to hunt down Carnivac and Catilla.
Notes: No real indication of when this is set. It could either slot in 'now', or be set in the Earthforce 'near future', some time after "End of the Road" [ #332]. There's nothing whatsoever to indicate Spinister and Needlenose are Targetmasters [including the gun designs, which don't resemble the toys at all].
Errors: Why does Needlenose get so scared? Surely he knows it's a simulation? And what use is a simulation that's unrealistic?
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Needlenose [first appearance], Spinister [f irst appearance], Bludgeon, Octopunch, Strangehold, Snarler. Hard light holograms of Kup, Optimus Prime, Getaway, Ratchet, Fortress Maximus, Prowl and Slag are all seen, and summarily despatched.
Extras: The August Classic Cover Calendar uses #142.
Review: A cracking little story. More of Furman's instant character, with Spinister and Needlenose easily defined without overbearing speeches, or at the expense of the narrative. There's a lot of potential here, not to mention some nice, very detailed art, and the second part of the Carnivac/Mayhem battle is set up nicely.
#230 - "The Big Shutdown!" Part 1
Synopsis: Nightbeat and Siren are in California, investigating the killing of an Autobot named Playback. They see someone inspecting the corpse, and Nightbeat sends Siren to follow them. He does so, and fins they are Autobots - Hosehead and Horsepower. However, Playback's killer guns Horsepower down - it's a Decepticon named Thunderwing, hunting to prove himself worthy of leadership.
Notes: Nightbeat and Siren have been stationed on Earth for two days. Where or when Nightbeat and Hosehead get their partners isn't noted. Muzzle is definitely Nebulan, as we find out in #231, but nothing's given on Lug - he might not even be organic. Now, it seems highly unlikely either was on Steelhaven during the Headmasters mini as such a fuss is made of the five Headmasters it seems hard to swallow that there were more sitting around doing nothing. Most likely is that Muzzle and/or Lug and Quig left the planet [it's possible they were old friends of Galen's, or one of the others who left with him] and met up with the Autobots, and the process was replicated. It's not at any point stated that Siren is a Headmaster in the comic [aside from the Universe profile - personally, I tend to think of the Universe profiles as debatable compared with the actual stories], but there's similarly nothing to say he isn't. This is the first strip in the UK comic since #1 to feature an entirely new cast [nope, Headmasters had an Optimus Prime flashback]. This story takes place most likely between "The Intergalactic Wrestling Championship" [ #236-239] and "Back from the Dead" [ #240-242].
Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Nightbeat [first appearance], Siren [first appearance], Horsepower [first appearance, killed by Thunderwing], Hosehead [first appearance], Thunderwing [first appearance]. Playback also gets a first appearance, as a corpse.
Notable Others: Lug [first appearance].
Review: Absolutely glorious. Primarily remembered for the full-on Raymond Chandler pastiche of the opening page, "The Big Shutdown" is actually a great small-scale story. Nightbeat already feels like he's been around forever, and Siren's the perfect foil for him. It's one of the better black-and-whites, proof that Furman could still weigh in a good story in such a tight format.