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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
Club/Con
(2001-now)
Titan Books
(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
Manga
Other Books
and Titles

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 #231 - #240

| #231 | #232 | #233 | #234 | #235 | #236 | #237 | #238 | #239 | #240 |

#231 - "The Big Shutdown!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan

Cover Date: 19/08/89

Script:
Simon Furman
Art: Lee Sullivan
Letters: Stuart Bartlett

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #331 [UK, coloured], Titan Books: Perchance to Dream [Worldwide].

NB: For the colour Transformers strip, "Resurrection" was reprinted. It was split into four parts and ran from #229 to #232. #231 contained the first half of #104.

Synopsis: Hosehead is able to cover Thunderwing's face with foam, allowing him and Siren to escape. They head to the beach to meet up with Nightbeat. Thunderwing follows and attacks, easily bettering the Autobots. He's about to kill Siren when Playback rises out of the water, distracting Thunderwing. The dead Autobot is being controlled by Muzzle, who bails out, allowing Nightbeat to destroy Playback's body. The exploding fuel tanks take care of Thunderwing.

Notes: Thunderwing is a Pretender, although this is the only time we'll see his inner robot mode. Presumably there is some sort of mechanism for easily removing the heads of Transformers. Hosehead, Horsepower and Playback were all prisoners of the Decepticons, released so Thunderwing could prove his worthiness as Decepticon leader.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Siren, Thunderwing, Hosehead, Nightbeat, plus Playback's body.

Notable Others: Muzzle [first appearance].

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Air Show" Part 2
Combat Colin [both a half-page Young Combat Colin, and a Secrets of Combat Colin page]

Review: Really good, if a slight letdown compared with the opener. The method of dealing with Thunderwing is interesting, if a bit implausible, though the smaller role for Nightbeat takes down the fun factor somewhat. That said, it's a solid debut story for Nightbeat, Thunderwing and Siren, although the Decepticon at least is nowhere near as good as he'll get.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0]

#232 - "King 'Con!" Part 1 & "A Small War!" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan

Cover Date: 26/08/89

"King 'Con!" Part 1

Script:
Bob Budiansky
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Danny Bulandi
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov
Originally Printed In:
Pages 1-6 of US Transformers #54, dated July 1989.


"A Small War!" Part 1

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Jeff Anderson
Letters: Glib

Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Perchance to Dream [Worldwide].

NB: The reprint of "Resurrection" was completed, in the place of Action Force. #232 contained the second half of #104.

"King 'Con!" Part 1

Synopsis: The Decepticon Pretenders are up to something in New Jersey. Elsewhere, Optimus Prime and Hi Q greet the Autobot Micromasters arriving from Cybertron, and he sends them to investigate.

Notes: Fuel conservation has led to downsizing on Cybertron. Roadhandler can fire and retrieve his fist. The Trans-Dimensional Warp has replaced the Spacebridge. Optimus describes himself as "Commander of Earth's Autobots".

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Iguanus, Optimus Prime, Highjump [first appearance] , Tote [first appearance] , Roadhandler, Swindler, Powertrain [first appearance] , Tailspin, Mudslinger [first appearance] , Freewheeler.

Notable Others: Hi Q, Cecilia [first appearance].

Review: Rather uneventful and grating. The Micromasters in particular are rather irritating, and Budiansky's well and truly phoning it in by now.

[*][*][0][0][0][0][0][0][0][0]

"A Small War!" Part 1

Synopsis: The Battle Patrol sneak into Thunderwing's Cybertronian HQ to find out about his attempts to copy the Micromaster process. However, it's a trap, and they're captured so Thunderwing can dissect them and use the information to create the Decepticon Micromasters. News of this reaches Xaaron, who scrambles the other Micromaster teams. They are sent to destroy the Battle Patrol, to prevent the technology falling into Decepticon hands.

Notes: The story is set "fourteen months ago", so about April 1988, possibly around the time of Flame, possibly afterwards. By then, Thunderwing is already a Lord on Cybertron. It won't be explained if this is a rank, or merely a title. Flak can pick locks. The Autobot Micromasters [and possibly all Autobots] are fitted out with self-destruct buttons.

Errors: Self-destruct buttons which are in a silly place. One could easily get prodded by accident, or by an enemy. On page 2, Sunrunner has no face. The frame of Thunderwing knocking down the Battle Patrol with his hand is horribly out of scale. Talking of which, Roadhandler is the same size as Xaaron on the last page...

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Flak, Sunrunner, Big Shot [first appearance] , Sidetrack [first appearance], Thunderwing, Xaaron, Roadhandler. I can definitely ID Whisper as one of the under-construction Decepticon Micros.

Production Notes: The price goes up to 40p.

Extras: Unquestionably the worst free gift of the entire comic - a magnifying glass [for the Micromasters]. Yeh, nice one lads, good way of cushioning the price rise backlash...

Back-Up Strips:
Combat Colin

Review: Much better than the American intro. Despite a little bit too much exposition [especially considering that "King Con!" is full of it...], the Battle Patrol are fleshed out nicely, and it's a shame we don't see much more of them. The set-up's also pretty good, despite the odd lapse into bad comedy. A good story, overall.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0][0]

#233 - "King 'Con!" Part 2 & "A Small War!" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Jeff Anderson

Cover Date: 02/09/89

"King 'Con!" Part 2

Script:
Bob Budiansky
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Danny Bulandi
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 7-11 of US Transformers #54, dated July 1989.

"A Small War!" Part 2

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Geoff Senior
Letters: Glib

Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Perchance to Dream [Worldwide].

"King 'Con!" Part 2

Synopsis: A TV reporter named Cecilia Santiago arrives in the swamp to investigate the 'monster' sightings. The swamp is the site for Scorponok's new base, and he has a plan to gather Energon cubes. He deploys the Pretender Monsters to carry out his scheme. Cecilia stumbles across their Stormmaker Station, and is captured by Iguanus. Skullgrin tries to intervene, and the pair fight.

Notes: Skullgrin has returned to the Decepticon ranks since #191, though it's caused some tension.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Skullcruncher, Scorponok, Weirdwolf, Mindwipe, Finback, Submarauder, Bugly, Skullgrin, Iguanus, Bomb-Burst.

Notable Others: Cecilia.

Review: A tolerable continuation. The acknowledgement of Skullgrin's character development in "Monster-Con from Mars" is pleasing, but the main plot really seems to be taken from the random cartoon villainy of Megatron as much as anything else.

[*][*][*][*][0][0][0][0][0][0]

"A Small War!" Part 2

Synopsis: Thunderwing oversees the creation of the Decepticon Micromasters, while the Autobot Race Car, Rescue and Off-Road Patrols gather outside his base. They debate their orders, and in the end decide to disobey. The Patrols split into two, one group distracting the Decepticon guards, while the others head in to free the Battle Patrol. The Decepticon Air Strike Patrol are ready and waiting, but the Autobots overwhelm them, and escape with their comrades. Back at Autobase, Xaaron apologises for treating the Micromasters so badly.

Notes: Thunderwing creates both the Air Strike Patrol and the Sports Car Patrol - though it's not mentioned where their personalities come from. Disobeying orders for the Autobots leads to court martial, and [disturbingly] the possibility of summary execution.

Errors: Summary execution? While I know the Autobots aren't all bunnies and flowers like they are on TV, this just didn't sit well with me... would not, I dunno, demoting them or just kicking them out be enough? On page 2, Tailspin's speech bubble points at Powertrain.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Big Shot, Flak, Sunrunner, Sidetrack, Thunderwing, Fixit [first appearance], Swindler, Freewheeler, Roadhandler, Seawatch, Powertrain, Tailspin, Whisper, Nightflight, Storm Cloud, Tailwind, Xaaron.

Extras: A free rub-on tattoo. Also, A-Z covers Rampage and Ratbat.

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Air Show" Part 3
Combat Colin

Review: A good conclusion, enlivened by Senior's art, that actually really works in black and white. While it's occasionally a little difficult to tell characters apart, it's a fun conclusion, with some sharp dialogue and good building for the Micromasters - it's no wonder Roadhandler & co have chips on their shoulders by the time they get to Earth, despite Xaaron's apology.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0]

#234 - "King 'Con!" Part 3 & "Prime's Rib!"

[cover]
Cover: Geoff Senior

Cover Date: 09/09/89

"King 'Con!" Part 3

Script:
Bob Budiansky
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Danny Bulandi
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-16 of US Transformers #54, dated July 1989.

"Prime's Rib!"

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Andy Wildman
Letters: Helen Stone

Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Earthforce [Worldwide].

"King 'Con!" Part 3

Synopsis: Mudslinger and the Off-Road Patrol arrive, and are able to get Ceci to Roadhandler, who takes her to safety. The Patrol hold up Skullgrin, but Iguanus is able to make his way towards New York. Ceci, meanwhile, strikes an alliance with Roadhandler, but the pair are stuck in traffic as Iguanus causes havoc in Manhattan.

Errors: Delbo doesn't nail Freewheeler's alt mode - most of the time it looks like there's two Swindlers. Considering how Ceci guesses straight off that Roadhandler's driver isn't real, its expression as she pays the toll is a little too emotive. On the second page, third panel, as Powertrain battles Iguanus he's coloured totally wrong. He should also be orange, not red, in the frame above.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Skullgrin, Iguanus, Mudslinger, Powertrain, Tote, Highjump, Finback, Submarauder, Roadhandler, Tailspin, Swindler, Freewheeler.

Notable Others: Cecilia.

Review: The plot's actually skipping along nicely, and Iguanus' determination comes across quite well. Also, it's nice to see Roadhandler drop the brashness a little when he's out of his depth, and his naivety shows when Ceci completely manipulates him. On top of this, Delbo's art isn't bad at all. It's partly because there aren't many robots, but his Mudslinger for one is pretty good, nice and chunky. Inconsequential, but fun.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0][0][0]

"Prime's Rib!"

Synopsis: Optimus Prime unveils Arcee to pacify feminists complaining that the Autobots are sexist, much to their bemusement. They're underwhelmed by Arcee, but when Shockwave turns up to disrupt things. Arcee fends the Decepticons off, however.

Notes: The story is set on July 15th 1995. Arcee is unveiled in California, USA. The Transformers have no concept of gender, but have nevertheless come under attack from human feminists. Optimus Prime's character design is nice and generic - it could be the original body, the smaller Powermaster body, or even at a pinch the Action Master body. There's really no problem slotting this into any continuity, though if it happens after the end of the 'present day' Marvel stories, the three Decepticon Headmasters featured have been repaired - possibly using the original heads to replace wiped-out Nebulans? In 1995, Shockwave is in command of at least some of the Decepticons.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Arcee, Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Jazz, Shockwave, Horri-Bull, Fangry, Squeezeplay.

Extras: The Classic Covers Calendar features #130.

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

Review: Not very good. The mouthy cod-feminism may be satire, but it's not especially funny, and the story stands up badly to rereading. Like several of Furman's more throwaway strips, it comes across as brattish and smug. Wildman's art doesn't get more humanistic than this, with Jazz appearing to have five o'clock shadow. Plus, Shockwave does bugger-all.

[*][*][*][0][0][0][0][0][0][0]

#235 - "King 'Con!" Part 4 & "Deathbringer" Part 1

[cover]
Cover: Geoff Senior

Cover Date: 16/09/89

"King 'Con!" Part 3

Script:
Bob Budiansky
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Danny Bulandi
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 17-22 of US Transformers #54, dated July 1989.

"Deathbringer" Part 1

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Geoff Senior
Letters: Glib

Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Aspects of Evil [Worldwide].

"King 'Con!" Part 4

Synopsis: The Race Car Patrol catch up with Iguanus, who's scaling the Empire State Building to place the Electrostator on the top. Meanwhile, the Off Road Patrol are able to turn off the Stormmaker Station, but it's too late. The Race Car Patrol follow Iguanus, but Ceci is captured. Roadhandler catches her when Iguanus drops her, and then knocks the Electrostator away. The Decepticon catches it, but then catches the full force of the storm. The Patrol then heads off with Ceci.

Notes: Mudslinger can pump a smokescreen out of his exhaust.

Errors: The whole storm hits Iguanus and just... dissipates? As the Race Car Patrol transform, Swindler is a bit green. Tailspin's grey is too dark throughout.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Roadhandler, Tailspin, Freewheeler, Swindler, Iguanus, Powertrain, Tote, Skullgrin, Highjump, Mudslinger, Iguanus [fried by the storm], Bugly, Bomb-Burst, Optimus Prime.

Notable Others: Cecilia, Hi Q.

Production Notes: The story was mislabelled as "Part 3" on the opening page.

Review: A fun King Kong parody. There's a few illogical moments, and the art slides a little bit, but it's good mindless fun, and to be honest the best Budiansky story this side of, well, "Cold War" at least. Oh, and the bit with the lift is great.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0][0][0]

"Deathbringer" Part 1

Synopsis: Optimus Prime reveals that the Autobots unwittingly sent the Matrix into space with his old body. Just then, a team from Earth calls in under attack. Prime leads a battle squad down, to find a being named Deathbringer, powered by the Creation Matrix.

Notes: This is the first mention of the Matrix being lost. Beachcomber is among the deactivated on the Ark [possibly from the damage received in #208]. Deathbringer gets its' power from touching the Matrix, found in Prime's funeral pod [launched in #110]. Prime doesn't explicitly state that the body was his original, just for the record. His personality was stored on disk between #106 and #176, and he was restored to his new body in #177. This story takes place most likely between "The Intergalactic Wrestling Championship" [ #236-239] and "Back from the Dead" [ #240-242], just after "The Big Shutdown" [ #230-231].

Errors: Prime refers to the casualties against Starscream and Galvatron, but who did the Ark crew actually lose during the Time Wars?

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Nightbeat, Optimus Prime, Siren, Ratchet, Cloudburst, Hosehead, Getaway, Landmine, Joyride. Beachcomber's body is seen.

Notable Others: Deathbringer [first appearance].

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Air Show" Part 5
Combat Colin

Review: A splendid, intriguing set-up, though Prime revealing the loss of the Matrix minutes before a Matrix-fuelled baddie turns up stretches plausibility a bit. Deathbringer himself is very intriguing, though the initial splash pages take up too much space for such a short strip when they don't do much beyond poetics and some nice Senior art. Still, it's nice to see something important get showcased in the UK strip for the first time in a while.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0]

#236 - "The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 1
& "Deathbringer" Part 2

[cover]
Cover: Lee Sullivan

Cover Date: 23/09/89

"The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 1

Script:
Bob Budiansky
Layouts: Bob Budiansky
Finished Pencils: Jim Fern
Inks: Mike Gustovitch
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-6 of US Transformers #55, dated August 1989.

"Deathbringer" Part 2

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Staz [pseudonym for Stewart Johnson]
Letters: Glib

Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Aspects of Evil [Worldwide].

"The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 1

Synopsis: The Race Car and Off-Road Patrols are fighting crime on Earth, and Roadhandler appears on Ceci's talk show. There he's challenged to a fight by Jake 'Jackhammer' Jackson, a pro-wrestler. They train together, but Jake's manager, Casanova Brown, wants the Autobot to throw the fight.

Notes: The two Patrols have effectively cut loose from the Autobots, and are fighting crime in New York. Ceci's show is called "New York Talk". Roadhandler weighs 0.893 tons.

Errors: Tailspin hurling fragile squishies into the back of Mudslinger in the land of lawsuits isn't terribly bright. On page 4, Cecilia calls Roadhandler "Roadmaster". The space is removed from Roadhandler's name throughout.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Roadhandler, Freewheeler, Swindler. Powertrain, Tailspin, Mudslinger and the body of Iguanus, are all seen in flashback.

Notable Others: Cecilia.

Production Notes: The UK reprint uses the full US credits for all four parts, meaning the pages numbers don't match up.

Review: Silly, mindless pap. Budiansky's pencils are better suited to the action, but the silly wrestling part undoes the promising start, with the proactive actions of the Patrols much more interesting.

[*][*][*][0][0][0][0][0][0][0]

"Deathbringer" Part 2

Synopsis: Prime is unable to fight for fear of losing a chance to learn the location of the Matrix, and Deathbringer soon starts knocking the Autobots out. Nightbeat contacts the Ark, and gets information on Deathbringer, a euthanasia robot sent to end the lives of those on plagued planets. Prime, meanwhile, gets back in the fight. However, on Nightbeat's advice, he convinces Deathbringer it is itself diseased, and the mechanoid self destructs.

Notes: A Deathbringer is also a Cybertronian myth. The non-Cybertronian version is a sentient "Series Two" mechanoid.

Errors: The fact that Siren was reading about Deathbringer last issue doesn't help plausibility.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Nightbeat, Optimus Prime, Landmine, Getaway, Hosehead, Joyride, Siren, Waverider.

Notable Others: Deathbringer [self destructs].

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Beginnings... and Endings" Part 1
Combat Colin

Review: A decent conclusion. Prime's panic is well done, as is his inner debate as to whether the Matrix is worth keeping Deathbringer alive. Deathbringer itself is a great, surprisingly adult idea, and Staz' art fits like a glove. One of the high points of the black-and-white stories.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][0]

#237 - "The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 2
& "Way of the Warrior"

[cover]
Cover: Geoff Senior

Cover Date: 30/09/89

"The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 2

Script:
Bob Budiansky
Layouts: Bob Budiansky [Pages 1-4], Jim Fern [Page 5]
Finished Pencils: Jim Fern
Inks: Mike Gustovitch
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 7-11 of US Transformers #55, dated August 1989.

"Way of the Warrior"

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Simon Coleby
Letters: Glib

Later Reprinted By: Transformers Annual 1991 [UK, coloured], Titan Books: Way of the Warrior [Worldwide], Transformers Winter Special 1994 [UK, coloured].

"The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 2

Synopsis: Roadhandler's fight against Jackhammer comes along, but the Autobot refuses to throw it, and wins. This is watched by Zarak, who then plots to end the Autobots' good PR, and summons reinforcements from Cybertron.

Notes: The Decepticons are now based under the swamp in New Jersey. Roadhandler would seem to be able to extend his forearms as well as firing his fists. Maybe he's Machine Man?

Errors: Roadhandler's car mode has changed - it looks more like a Lancia Stratos. His name continues to flit between "Roadhandler", and "Road Handler". On page 1, in the last frame, his thighs are red - they should be yellow. The jackhammer thing is ultra-ridiculous - it seems silly in the context of this story... Why does Submarauder's shell need to be prepared for recombination? The Pretender system has always been shown to be automated before. His name changes to "Sub-Marauder" too. Zarak's exosuit gets a new two-shades-of-purple scheme, and in the frame where he demands his armour, his name is spelt "Zarac".

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Roadhandler, Submarauder, Skullgrin, Bugly.

Notable Others: Cecilia, Zarak.

Production Notes: The UK reprint uses the full US credits for all four parts, meaning the pages numbers don't match up. Also, for reasons best known to the UK editors, the story is billed as "Wrestle-Mania (Part 2)".

Review: Still none too good. That Zarak would bother with something so pathetic is highly implausible, and it's unlikely he'd call for reinforcements and set up a mad plan when he has a base full of Decepticons. Unengaging and silly, even though Roadhandler being dishonourable is briefly amusing.

[*][*][*][0][0][0][0][0][0][0]

"Way of the Warrior"

Synopsis: At the Survivors' Dallas base, a frustrated Carnivac fights with Springer over the team's role, before storming off. He soon runs into a town under attack from a giant mechanical hound. Carnivac easily defeats it, but it turns out it was deployed by the new Mayhem Attack Squad, who appear and attack him.

Notes: This story is set some time after "The Hunting Party", depending on where you place that. Since #222, the Survivors have been performing rescue operations to help the humans. They're well known as heroes, as the Texan recognises Carnivac. Catilla is very much an Autobot, at least according to himself. I can't really tell if 'hellhound' is a bit of drama from Snarler, or if it's a Hellhound model of android.

Errors: How exactly does the car that hits Carnivac tip to the left, but end up on its' right side?

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Carnivac, Springer, Skids, Broadside, Inferno, Catilla, Spinister, Needlenose, Octopunch, Stranglehold, Snarler.

Extras: The Classic Covers Calendar features #153.

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Beginnings... and Endings" Part 2
Combat Colin

Review: It's great to see both The Survivors and the new Mayhems back, and Carnivac is well-handled, even if his inner conflict while debating to save the town feels rather second-hand. It's a good script, but Coleby's low detail art really isn't too pleasant for the large part, though the fight scene is well done. A good, if not great, opener.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0][0][0]

#238 - "The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 3
& "Survival Run"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman

Cover Date: 07/10/89

"The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 3

Script:
Bob Budiansky
Finished Pencils: Jim Fern
Inks: Mike Gustovitch
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 12-17 of US Transformers #55, dated August 1989.
Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Way of the Warrior [Worldwide], Transformers Winter Special 1994 [UK, coloured]

"Survival Run"
Script: Simon Furman
Art: Lee Sullivan
Letters: Glib

Later Reprinted By: Transformers Annual 1991 [UK, coloured]..

"The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 3

Synopsis: Roadhandler's wrestling skills make him successful and popular. However, Zarak challenges him, making him fight Storm Cloud. To sap the Autobot's morale, Zarak tells him he plans to kidnap Roadhandler's fan club, and will only return them if Roadhandler loses. Grimly, the Autobot begins to take a pounding, while Highjump and Tailspin try to get Roadhandler's ardent fans to safety.

Notes: The Decepticon Air Strike Patrol are sent down from Cybertron.

Errors: As Roadhandler shows the kids self-defence on page 2, his legs, especially his thighs, are mental. Surely the neat lines of the Air Strike Patrol's overcoats would be thrown out a bit more by the jet kibble all over them? Roadhandler's fan club consists of two people. In the final frame, he also suffers the ignominy of having two right legs.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Roadhandler, Freewheeler, Swindler, Whisper, Tailwind, Storm Cloud, Nightflight, Tailspin, Highjump, Powertrain.

Notable Others: Cecilia, Zarak.

Production Notes: The UK reprint uses the full US credits for all four parts, meaning the pages numbers don't match up. Also, for reasons best known to the UK editors, the story is billed as "Wrestle-Mania (Part 3)".

Review: Not much to redeem this segment. Roadhandler teaching kids self defence is rather sweet, but there's just far too much stupidity on show, sadly.

[*][0][0][0][0][0][0][0][0][0]

"A Savage Place"

Synopsis: An exhausted Carnivac plods though the Mexican desert, having used the arrival of a compliment of US soldiers to escape from the Mayhems. The other Survivors are trying to find his whereabouts, but Springer is unwilling to help. Catilla sets out on his own to find his friend. Meanwhile, Octopunch and the Mayhems catch up with Carnivac in a Mexican village.

Notes: The organic components of Pretender shells can presumably sweat to some extent.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Carnivac, Snarler [flashback], Bludgeon [flashback], Octopunch, Spinister [flashback], Needlenose, Stranglehold [flashback], Catilla, Inferno, Broadside, Springer, Skids.

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Beginnings... and Endings" Part 3
Combat Colin

Review: The story keeps piling on the pace and characterisation. Carnivac's exhaustion and desperation is tangible, and Springer's stoic, inflexible portrayal builds on the edgier character he's been post-Time Wars. The contrast in humanity between the two is played well. It's good examination of the Autobot/Decepticon conflict going on inside Carnivac, ably scripted by Furman.

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#239 - "The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 4
& "A Savage Place!"

[cover]
Cover: Geoff Senior

Cover Date: 14/10/89

"The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 4

Script:
Bob Budiansky
Finished Pencils: Jim Fern
Inks: Mike Gustovitch
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 18-22 of US Transformers #55, dated August 1989.
Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Way of the Warrior [Worldwide], Transformers Winter Special 1994 [UK, coloured].

"A Savage Place!"
Script: Simon Furman
Art: Geoff Senior
Letters: Helen Stone

Later Reprinted By: Transformers Annual 1991 [UK, coloured].

"The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!" Part 4

Synopsis: Roadhandler initially takes a pounding from Storm Cloud, but when his fan club turns up thanks to Highjump and Tailspin, he fights back, and wins. However, he soon realises he endangered humans, and announces his retirement, also trying to put his fans off following him. Some see through it, but he leaves nonetheless.

Errors: On the first page, Highjump's head looks dreadful, and on the next Roadhandler's right arm is detached from his body... On page 3, Swindler has a thin torso and big fat arms.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Roadhandler, Storm Cloud, Highjump, Tailspin, Swindler, Freewheeler, Powertrain.

Notable Others: Cecilia, Zarak.

Production Notes: The UK reprint uses the full US credits for all four parts, meaning the pages numbers don't match up. Also, for reasons best known to the UK editors, the story is billed as "Wrestle-Mania (Part 4)".

Review: For the most part, pretty damn poor. But the bitter ending, paralleling Budiansky's own unhappiness on the title, is actually rather well done. It's a shame that Bob's final story, though, was largely so poor, and that he was kept on the title a couple of years longer than he should have been...

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"A Savage Place"

Synopsis: Carnivac is saved from Octopunch by the intervention of the villagers, and continues the battle alone while Springer and the Autobots search for him. Carnivac is outnumbered, and undone protecting the villagers from Spinister. The Decepticon is about to execute the traitor when Catilla arrives. Bludgeon mortally wounds the Autobot, and the Mayhems scatter as Springer and the others arrive, leaving Carnivac vowing vengeance.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Octopunch, Carnivac, Snarler, Bludgeon, Stranglehold, Spinister, Broadside, Springer, Catilla [killed by Bludgeon], Skids, Inferno.

Extras: A-Z profiles Ratchet and Ravage.

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Beginnings... and Endings" Part 4
Combat Colin

Review: Another fine script, although some of Carnivac's monologue seems a bit expositional. Already Bludgeon and Spinister are steadily developing, and it says it all for the writing that a minor character like Catilla dying is quite devastating. Senior's artwork pulls no punches, with a great fight scene. Considering the 5-page instalments, this is very good stuff, a detailed, believable story arc focusing entirely on minor characters.

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#240 - "Back from the Dead!" Part 1 & "Out to Lunch!"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman

Cover Date: 21/10/89

"Back from the Dead!" Part 1

Script:
Simon Furman
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Dave Hunt
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Originally Printed In: Pages 1-5 of US Transformers #56, dated September 1989.

"Out to Lunch!"

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Andy Wildman
Letters: Annie Halfacree

Later Reprinted By: Titan Books: Aspects of Evil [Worldwide].

"Back from the Dead!" Part 1

Synopsis: On the Ark, Ratchet is haunted by nightmares, believing himself to have failed the Autobots he seems unable to resurrect. Meanwhile, on Cybertron, the Decepticon Sports Car Patrol prepare to put a plan into action, disguising themselves as Autobots. On Earth, the Air Strike Patrol are also up to something for the same enemy.

Notes: Most of the Autobot casualties were caused by Starscream during the Underbase saga [mainly in #208-210]. Ratchet estimates their number as "thirty, maybe forty". Seeing his body in the background of page 3, panel 4 is the first indication that Perceptor is deactivated [it will be confirmed in #258]. This story most likely takes place after #236. An "involuntary systems shutdown" would seem to be the Transformer equivalent of sleep.

Errors: Optimus has a strange web-thing between his helmet and antennae on page 2. Road Hugger calls Blackjack "Road Hugger" on page 4. Considering that we're later shown that Blackjack is the brains of this operation, it would seem the character models were swapped by mistake. The next two panels are also confused - it would seem it's meant to be Blackjack speaking in both, but in the first showing a portion of Road Hugger, and the second a segment of Hyperdrive. The note about "switching to Autobot symbols" also means the preceding and following lines feel really odd. Prime's seemingly sudden thought about Megatron feels rather too prophetic... Storm Cloud and Nightflight nearly flying into some trees because they're arguing isn't remotely believable.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Ratchet, Optimus Prime, Detour [first appearance], Hyperdrive [first appearance], Road Hugger [first appearance], Blackjack [first appearance], Megatron, Tailwind, Nightflight, Whisper, Storm Cloud. The bodies of Blaster, Omega Supreme, Grimlock, Jazz, Goldbug, Perceptor and Sludge are seen, either in Ratchet's dream, or in his lab.

Review: Intriguing, but unsatisfying. Ratchet's nightmares seem rather melodramatic, and the script itself is very heavy-handed - US readers probably could have been forgiven for not noticing Furman's big debut, as the clunky introductory dialogue for the Sports Car Patrol feels very similar to Budiansky. Sure, Delbo's art isn't helpful [though his crazy style does actually fit the nightmares well], but the script really isn't one of Furman's best.

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"Out to Lunch!"

Synopsis: At Maccadam's Old Oil House, Darkwing and Dreadwind are drowning their sorrows, unaware that the Mechannibals have followed them to Cybertron. Quickswitch has chosen the same place to meet an informant, but the Mechannibals attack the bar and he is forced to break cover and fight them. He buries them under the building, with the Decepticon Powermasters totally unaware of what's been going on.

Notes: Maccadam's is basically a pub, and is usually in neutral territory. This story is actually set after the US plot arc that kicks off in the same issue [Dreadwind notes they just lost a job with Megatron], and probably after the UK story in #242 as well [Quickswitch notes that Thunderwing leads the Decepticons - though he may just be misinformed]. Darkwing and Dreadwind have been on the run from the Mechannibals since #220. Hyper-Grade fuel is the Transformers equivalent of alcohol.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Darkwing, Dreadwind, Quickswitch [first appearance].

Back-Up Strips:
Action Force - "Beginnings... and Endings" Part 5
Combat Colin

Review: Good fun, with most of the Darkwing/Dreadwind dialogue being priceless. The format of their griping and Quickswitch fighting to save them from the Mechannibals being ran alongside each other works splendidly, with the Autobot's macho humour a fine contrast to their pessimistic drunken whining. Wildman's art fits the script like a glove, and while it's not the most vital story of all time, it's one of the funniest.

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