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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)
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(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
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Other Books
and Titles

MARVEL TRANSFORMERS COMICS GUIDE

Marvel US nav: US Intro | Story List | US #1-10 | US #11-20 | US #21-30 | US #31-40 | US #41-50 | US #51-60
US #61-70 | US #71-80 | Comics Magazine | Transformers Universe | Transformers the Movie | Headmasters
G.I. Joe and the TFs | US G2 Intro | G.I. Joe #138-142 | G2 Special | US G2 #1-6 | US G2 #7-12 | Cover Images

US #11 - 20

| #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18 | #19 | #20 |

#11 - "Brainstorm!"

[cover]
Cover: Herb Trimpe
Cover Date: December 1985

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Herb Trimpe
Inks: Tom Palmer
Letters: Diana Albers
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #37 -38 [UK], Transformers Digest #6 [US], Titan Books: New Order [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Classic Transformers Volume 1 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Buster muses on his powers, still unknown to Sparkplug. Meanwhile, Shockwave tries to force Prime into giving life to his newest creation, Jetfire. Frustrated by Prime's perceived stubbornness, he scans Rumble's brain, and finds out that Buster sneaked into the Ark. He realises what happened, and sets about finding the human. The Autobots overhear, and send Bluestreak and Bumblebee to find and protect Buster. He has gone out with Jessie, and Sparkplug is unhelpful with the Autobots' inquiry. Both parties set out separately to find him. Buster and Jessie are found by Sparkplug, who is in turn followed by Bluestreak and Bumblebee. They are also spotted by Laserbeak, who is shot down by Bluestreak, but not before Shockwave dispatches Jetfire in support. Jetfire makes short work of the Autobots, but is then disassembled, literally, by Buster. Buster then makes his peace with Sparkplug, before agreeing to aid the Autobots. Back at the plant, Shockwave decides Prime's use to him is at an end.

Errors: Wasn't it Soundwave on guard in #5 ? In the first frame on page 3, Buster's hair is uncoloured. Shockwave has his blue shoulders most of the time. Most of Laserbeak is red on page 7. Jesse has pink hair in a couple of frames when she's on her bike. Bluestreak has uncoloured parts in his first frame in robot mode when he finds Buster. Jetfire looks stupid when he reaches out his arms in jet mode...

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Laserbeak, Optimus Prime [head], Jetfire [currently a drone], Rumble, Prowl, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Bluestreak, Gears, Huffer, Brawn, Sideswipe, Ironhide, Windcharger.

Notable Others: Buster, Sparkplug, Jessie.

Review: Quite a bit better. It's still too talky, with the same-old scenes at the Aerospace Plant [the Optimus/Shockwave confrontations are really starting to drag] and the Ark, but there's good development for Buster and Sparkplug, and Trimpe is very good. There's some good characterisation for both Witwickys and Bumblebee, marred by the US team working through their fetishes with Jesse...

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#12 - "Prime Time!"

[cover]
Cover: Herb Trimpe
Cover Date: January 1986

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Herb Trimpe
Inks: Al Gordon
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #39 -40 [UK], Transformers Digest #6 [US], Titan Books: New Order [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Classic Transformers Volume 1 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Buster flies back to the plant in Jetfire aiming to act as a captive and aid the Autobots, when they encounter USAF jets. Jetfire is able to evade and destroy them, but Buster blacks out in the chase, and Jetfire reverts to his pre-programed flight plan. At the plant, Shockwave leaves Rumble to guard the workers, and reveals to Prime he knew of the phoneline bug, and has set the Autobots up. Jetfire then arrives, and gives Shockwave Buster. Jetfire is then sent to drop Prime's head in a Swamp near the Autobots, who put it back on his body. Prime then attacks the Autobots, and the Decepticons arrive. Buster overrides Shockwave's control of Jetfire, who knocks out the Decepticon commander. The workers then rise up against a freaked-out Rumble. Prowl, meanwhile, is trying to counterattack against the Decepticons and the Decepticon-controlled Optimus, but with little progress. However, Jetfire returns Prime's real head, and Optimus is able to control his body to change it. Prime easily takes down the Decepticons. Shockwave awakens and sets off to battle Prime. The Autobot wins, and chucks Shockwave into the swamp. Prime then runs off to save Buster, but he's already been freed by the workers. Buster then returns the Matrix to a grateful Prime.

Errors: The USAF wouldn't have F14 Tomcats. Rumble "sweating" is stupid, whatever technobabble they dress it up with. Shockwave has blue shoulders again, and it spreads to Sideswipe. As the Autobots form their chain in the swamp, Jazz and Sideswipe are very lazily half-coloured. The back of Cliffjumper's head is blue, and Windcharger has too much red on him. Prime shoots Prowl, at point-blank range, in the knee.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Jetfire [drone], Rumble, Shockwave, Soundwave, Optimus Prime [who is reunited with his body], Prowl, Hound, Gears, Huffer, Brawn, Jazz, Gears, Ironhide, Sideswipe, Trailbreaker, Windcharger, Cliffjumper, Buzzsaw, Frenzy, Ravage, Laserbeak.

Notable Others: Buster.

Review: Finally, some action! The story's great, well drawn by Trimpe and with a nice pace on it. It's a shame there's so much block-colouring in the thing [e.g. the Prowl image on page 2 would be great if the background characters were coloured], and that the sweat spoils what otherwise is a very good rendition of just how terrifying Shockwave can be - he destroys a prospective Decepticon just to make his point. Very good. Overall it's a superb superb conclusion to a generally-great first arc from Budiansky. Prime's return is suitably dramatic, and it's quite a nice change that his sparing of Shockwave is actually unnecessary. Buster's still a very engaging, three-dimensional character.

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#13 - "Shooting Star!"

[cover]
Cover: Don Perlin
Cover Date: February 1986

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: Al Gordon
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #51 -52 [UK], Transformers Digest #7 [US], Titan Books: Cybertron Redux [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Generations #2 and a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Classic Transformers Volume 1 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: A failed hood named Joey Slick is on the run, and finds a handgun. It, not he, shoots his pursuers. It turns out the gun is Megatron, who has lost his sense of individuality and is little more than a servile android. Slick uses Megatron to go on a minor crime wave. Slick sets himself up as a gangster, but feels wrong, and goes to Lomax, who originally tried to have him killed, to straighten things out. He does so, but Megatron regains consciousness. He spares Slick and leaves, with Joey going with the police.

Notes: Megatron's been MIA since #8.

Errors: So Megatron has no personality, but knows his name and exactly what's happened to him? Good grief, falling off a cliff can do some mighty specific damage. Later, being dropped on the floor fixes disconnected circuitry. Stupid Ratchet and his laser scalpels. Just drop them on the floor, man!

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron, Frenzy [flashback], Soundwave [flashback], Ravage [flashback], Starscream [flashback], Ratchet [flashback].

Review: Dire. The first sign Budiansky wouldn't be able to cut it long-term on Transformers. Illogical, tacky, stereotyped and devoid of all interest. Don't waste a few minutes of your life reading this. That time could be valuably spent, I dunno, staring at a wall, or something else more entertaining than this "offbeat" [read: terrible excuse for a] story...

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#14 - "Rock and Roll-Out!"

[cover]
Cover: Bob Budiansky
Cover Date: March 1986

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: Al Gordon
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #53 -54 [UK], Transformers Digest #7 [US], Titan Books: Cybertron Redux [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Generations #3 and a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Classic Transformers Volume 1 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Jetfire is given the Rite of the Autobrand, and elsewhere on the Ark, five brain modules brought from Cybertron - Grapple, Hoist, Skids, Smokescreen and Tracks - are housed in new bodies to reinforce the Autobots' dwindling numbers. Prime has a special mission for Grapple, while the other four set out with Bumblebee to explore and acclimatise to Earth. Shockwave, meanwhile, returns to the Decepticons' oil rig base with an energy siphon for creating Energon Cubes, a more concentrated fuel source. Bumblebee and the other Autobots are enjoying themselves, when Bumblebee receives a transmission. Prime tells Bumblebee that the Decepticons plan to steal sonic energy from a nearby concert. His team is sent to observe, with reinforcements to follow. Meanwhile, Walter Barnett is put in charge of Triple-I's plans to stop the Transformers. At the concert, starring Brick Springhorn and the Tenth Avenue Band, the Decepticons start their plan. Bumblebee leads the Autobots into the fight, but falls down under the stage. There he finds Shockwave using the energy syphon, and knocks him out with an Energon cube. The Autobots leave, and are met by Prime's reinforcements, where Optimus commends them on their initiative.

Notes: Curiously, Optimus refers to the five Autobots having their brains "copied" rather than simply removed and held in reserve, which does point to the possibility of Smokescreen etc. still existing on Cybertron after Arklaunch... Shockwave has been MIA since #12. Wheeljack has also installed dummies in the Autobots' drivers seats to allow them to move around unnoticed. Bumblebee has a Blackrock Gold Priority fuel card.

Brick Springhorn and the Tenth Avenue Band are clearly based on Bruce Springstein, with the song "Born in America" based on Springstein's hit "Born in the USA". The Bangles, who presumably had a less powerful legal team, are slated to appear at the Portland Municipal Stadium next week.

Errors: On page 4, the white trim on Smokescreen's left-hand door goes all the way around, instead of just along the top and bottom. Blackrock's moustache is gone too, but he might have shaved it off this time. On page 2, Bluestreak's grey is left white. On page 8, Skywarp's leading surfaces are uncoloured. How can Tracks admire himself in his own rear-view mirror? It's ridiculous that the fuel attendants don't realise they're talking to dummies... How does stealing the sonic energy make the music quieter? The humans believe the whole thing to be part of Brick's stage show, despite the constant media hubbub of invading giant robots which has been in the preceding 13 issues. Starscream's face is uncoloured on page 17, as is Smokescreen's on page 18.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Jetfire, Optimus Prime, Bluestreak, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Grapple [reactivated, first appearance], Hoist [reactivated, first appearance], Smokescreen [reactivated, first appearance], Skids [reactivated, first appearance], Tracks [[reactivated, first appearance], Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Shockwave, Mirage, Sideswipe. Prowl, Hound, Gears, Cliffjumper, Jazz, Huffer and Trailbreaker are all shown to be deactivated in the repair bay.

Notable Others: GB Blackrock, Walter Barnett [first appearance].

Review: Dull. Lots of big events [Shockwave's return, the five new arrivals, Jetfire getting the Autobrand], but lots of dull, talky scenes, risible dialogue and lots and lots of stupid jokes. The amount of page-time devoted to the fictional band is pathetic, as is Perlin's rushed, detail-less, flat pencilling. It's even got a pat, stupid ending.

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#15 - "I, Robot-Master!"

[cover]
Cover: Bob Budiansky
Cover Date: April 1986

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: Keith Williams
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #55 -56 [UK], Transformers Digest #8 [US], Titan Books: Cybertron Redux [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Classic Transformers Volume 1 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Megatron is on a fuel-scavenging raid when he suddenly seizes up due to a lack of power. Walter Barnett is put in charge of an idea to stop the Transformers by Triple-I, who have captured Megatron, and he hires Donny Finkelberg, a failed comic book writer, to concoct a cover-story. It is agree he will play Robot Master, a character from one of his comics, who will claim to be controlling the Transformers. Blackrock is unhappy about this, as if vilifies the Autobots. He meets up with Bumblebee, and decides to tell the media he knows Robot Master is a fake. Triple-I plan a broadcast involving Megatron to boost credibility, while the Autobots set out to capture the Decepticon themselves. The Autobots arrive, and are attacked by Triple-I, much to Blackrock's disgust. Just then, the Decepticons arrive to free Megatron. They refuel him and he does so, while the Autobots retreat, worn down by Triple-I's attack. The Decepticons capture Robot Master with plans to use him to their own ends.

Notes: Hoist carries out maintenance checks every four weeks, or every 1,200 miles. III, or Triple-I, stands for Information and Intelligence Institute.

Donny Finkelberg is based on Marvel editor Danny Fingeroth.

Errors: If Megatron's low on fuel, why waste energy lobbing stuff around? Would the public really fall for the Robot Master scam if there's a comic book of the same name in existence? On page 8, Wheeljack is coloured like Hoist. On page 16, Optimus has a yellow faceplate and no eyes. The following page, Soundwave's left hand is pink.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron, Shockwave [flashback], Soundwave [flashback], Bumblebee, Tracks, Skids, Optimus Prime, Wheeljack, Ravage, Buzzsaw, Laserbeak.

Notable Others: Walter Barnett, GB Blackrock, Donny Finkelberg - a.k.a. Robot-Master [first appearance].

Review: A cover story's meant to be more believable than what's really going on, and this one isn't. The attempt to inject some intrigue into proceedings is good in theory, but not in execution, and a series of ridiculous, clumsy scenes doesn't help, nor does Perlin's ham-fisted art.

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#16 - "Plight of the Bumblebee!"

[cover]
Cover: Herb Trimpe
Cover Date: May 1986

Story: Len Kaminski
Pencils: Graham Nolan
Inks: Tom Morgan
Splash Page Design & Art: Eliot Brown
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #57 -58 [UK], Transformers Digest #8 [US], Titan Books: Cybertron Redux [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Generations #4 and a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Classic Transformers Volume 1 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: The Decepticons plan to take control of Bumblebee to make him their slave. The Autobot is feeling unneeded, and sets off on his own, where he's spotted by Laserbeak. The Decepticons attack Bumblebee, who takes shelter in a car park. There, stuck in car mode, he is stolen by a pair of humans. The Decepticons rejoin the attack, while the Autobots prepare to mount a rescue mission. After an engine failure, one of the humans repairs Bumblebee, inadvertently sending him back to full power. Just as he's beginning to enjoy his new life, the Decepticons attack again. Bumblebee decides to make a stand against the Decepticons, when Jetfire shows up. He shoots down Laserbeak, but is then knocked out by Skywarp. Just when things seem grim, Bumblebee is rescued by the other Autobots, and the Decepticons withdraw. Bumblebee then realises his place is with the Autobots.

Errors: Laserbeak is spelt "Lazerbeak" throughout, and gets coloured like Buzzsaw [orange detail instead of red]. A sign for Mount St. Hilary says "St. Hillary". Bumblebee's layout has changed since #1, where Buster found no ignition or pedals.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Jetfire, Prowl, Laserbeak, Tracks, Ironhide, Buzzsaw.

Production Notes: Rumour has it this story was a late replacement for another Bumblebee-focused story written by Peter David.

Review: A pretty decent story. Bumblebee's neuroses are well portrayed, even if him being needed by the Decepticons at exactly the same time as his crisis of confidence seems a little convenient. Kaminski adapts well, despite some odd dialogue, and it holds the interest. There's a really odd-feeling ending - Bumblebee doesn't really get any payoff, just gets Jetfire shot a bit, and is bailed out by Prime & co., which is just what he was complaining about at the start of the issue...

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#17 - "The Smelting Pool!"

[cover]
Cover: Herb Trimpe
Cover Date: June 1986

Story: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: Keith Williams
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #66 -67 [UK], Transformers Digest #9 [US], Titan Books: Cybertron Redux [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Generations #5 and a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Classic Transformers Volume 2 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: On Cybertron, Autobot resistance member Blaster awaits the arrival of his friend Scrounge, who unknown to him is spying on the Decepticon fortress of Darkmount, trying to find out what's happened to a neutral scientist named Spanner. Scrounge finds some important information, and is able to contact Blaster, but is then caught by Shrapnel. Blaster heads back to his resistance HQ, where Perceptor vetoes a search party. The other Autobots agree, though, and Perceptor is forced to agree to look for Scrounge. The missing Autobot has been taken to see the Decepticons' leader, Straxus, who sentences Scrounge to death in the smelting pool. The Autobots find that the Decepticons caught Scrounge, and Blaster sets off to rescue him alone. He is captured, and Straxus orders him thrown into the smelting pool. He is able to avoid falling into the molten pool himself, but Scrounge is not so lucky. Just then Powerglide arrives, but it's too late for Scrounge, although he does give Blaster the information he found. The small squad of Autobots rescuing Blaster are then attacked by the Decepticons, but Blaster is able to beat them back. Back at Autobase, they find that the Decepticons have received a message from Earth informing them that Optimus Prime and Megatron are both alive.

Notes: The Decepticons now control most of Cybertron. There are still some neutrals, though. There are also dropout robots known as Empties, who inhabit part of Cybertron known as the Dead End. Darkmount is in Polyhex. A Breem is equal to 8.3 minutes, and a Vorn to 83 years. The Decepticons receive the radio message sent by Soundwave in #10. Beachcomber's Cybertronian mode looks just like Kup.

Errors: Perceptor's blue top-half of his face disappears on page 8 as he points at the sculptures of the Ark crew. Why does Blaster say Scrounge never lets him down, and is so adamant he's telling the truth, when he admits earlier Scrounge has a habit of making things up? On page 19, Thrust and Dirge switch colour schemes. Why is there a raised area around the smelting pool? Soundwave's message is odd in mentioning Megatron and Prime - the former was MIA, and the latter just a head at the time it was transmitted.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Blaster [first appearance], Ferak [first appearance - killed by Blaster], Telus [first appearance, killed by Ferak - probably a neutral], Rotorbolt [first appearance, killed by Ferak, probably a neutral], Scrounge [first appearance, dies in the smelting pool], Shrapnel [first appearance], Wheezel [first appearance, Empty], Powerglide [first appearance], Seaspray [first appearance], Cosmos [first appearance], Warpath [first appearance], Beachcomber [first appearance], Perceptor [first appearance], Kickback [first appearance], Bombshell [first appearance], Straxus [first appearance], Dirge [first appearance], Thrust [first appearance], Ramjet [first appearance], Megatron [flashback], Soundwave [flashback], Ravage [flashback], Optimus Prime [flashback].

Review: A fine return to form for Budiansky, who creates a fascinatingly complex Cybertron, a magnetic character in Blaster [though he comes across as a quasi-Wolverine, and is possibly a little too derivative of a clichéd never-follow-orders maverick to be truly original and enjoyable], a sympathetic one in Scrounge and a pretty evil baddie in Straxus. Perlin's art is actually rather good - he's clearly getting used to the material, and Williams' inks work better with his drawings than Gordon's did.

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#18 - "The Bridge to Nowhere!"

[cover]
Cover: Herb Trimpe
Cover Date: July 1986

Story: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: [Keith] Williams, [Vince] Colletta
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #68 -69 [UK], Transformers Digest #9 [US], Titan Books: Cybertron Redux [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Generations #6 and a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Classic Transformers Volume 2 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: On Earth a bridge briefly appears in the countryside. A Transformer is on it, but explodes, and the bridge vanishes. The bridge is an experimental device being used by Straxus to teleport troops to Earth. The process is watched by Blaster. Back at Autobase, Perceptor vetoes a rescue of Spanner, deciding that stopping the Spacebridge is his first priority. Back on Earth, Megatron is having an argument with Robot-Master when Shockwave and the other Decepticons arrive. Just then, Straxus contacts Earth, and the three Decepticons agree to work together to plunder Earth. Meanwhile, the Cybertronian Autobots prepare to assault Darkmount. The Autobots are able to blow up Darkmount, but then face a tough battle with the Decepticons. Blaster then plants explosives on the Spacebridge, before finding out it is actually Spanner, who begs Blaster to destroy him. The Decepticons realise the attack on Darkmount is a diversion, and head for the Spacebridge. The bridge is activated, and both factions fight it out on the structure. The battle comes down to Blaster against Straxus, and the Autobot knocks him off the edge of the bridge, seemingly to his doom. He manages to lead his friends across the bridge to Earth before the damaged structure disappears.

Errors: Straxus has lost the red from his colour scheme, and Perceptor his half-blue face. Both look miles better though... On the top-left frame of page 18, Straxus is huge compared to Blaster.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Crosscut [first appearance, destroyed by Spacebridge], Straxus [blown up by Blaster], Bombshell, Shrapnel, Kickback, Blaster, Perceptor, Powerglide, Beachcomber, Warpath, Cosmos, Seaspray, Scrounge [flashback], Ravage, Soundwave, Megatron, Shockwave, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Starscream, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Spanner [first appearance].

Notable Others: Robot-Master.

Review: A mixed story. The Cybertron parts are pretty good, well rendered by-and-large with some interesting ideas and a gritty feel, but the Earth-based scenes are irritating and stale. Overall, a fitting conclusion to the "Return to Cybertron" mini-arc, although the two stories are somewhat overrated by a large portion of fans - it doesn't really seem to be Budiansky's finest moment, and certainly isn't up to the same level as his first arc.

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#19 - "Command Performances"

[cover]
Cover: Herb Trimpe
Cover Date: August 1986

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

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #70 -71 [UK], Transformers Digest #10 [US], Titan Books: Showdown [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Classic Transformers Volume 2 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Optimus Prime shows off the Ark's latest defence, Omega Supreme, who has been built by Grapple. However, Grimlock announces he and the Dinobots are leaving in protest of Prime's tactics, which involve a diversionary attack on the Decepticons' new quarry base. Megatron, meanwhile, leads a team of Decepticons to meet the reinforcements from Cybertron, only to find Autobots instead. Just then, Soundwave advises them of the Autobot attack on the quarry, and Megatron decides to sue the opportunity to attack the Ark. The Autobots battle on until Shockwave orders Devastator into battle, giving the Autobots the readings they need, and allowing Robot-Master to make his escape. Prime orders the retreat. Meanwhile, Megatron's squad attacks the Ark, only to be surprised and decimated by Omega Supreme. However, on the way back Skids crashes into a gorge. Elsewhere, Shockwave decides to cede command to Megatron.

Notes: Grapple began work on Omega Supreme in #14. Ratchet says there are over a dozen injured Autobots.

Errors: Where the heck have the Dinobots been since #8 ? Prime's plan is a bit ramshackle - can he really have imagined what state the Decepticon base is in, or that the Dinobots would walk out? All in all, he's lucky that Megatron takes the bulk of the Decepticons off for a jaunt. Also, would Megatron break off his attack on the Cybertronian arrivals instead of pressing home the advantage for a few more minutes? On page 9, Tracks is red as he transforms. On page 10, Blaster is coloured like Prime. Why on Earth does Shockwave hand leadership back to Megatron? Megatron looses six Decepticons in one ill-planned raid, whereas Shockwave defends the base with very few troops, ulterior motive from the Autobots or no. It makes no sense whatsoever - Shockwave took over from Megatron on the back of a similar showing in #5, so why hand it back now? Why do the Autobots just leave Skids behind? Why does Devastator form lying on his back? On page 16, much of Megatron is purple, and there's too much grey on him on page 17. Laserbeak is coloured like Buzzsaw, presuming that's him getting a small blast to the wing - it's either that or he's fine after being blown up by Omega at the top of the page... In the top frame of page 21, Laserbeak is wearing lippy. On page 22, Jetfire has a red face [maybe feeling bad about spending an issue and a half distracting some humans who blatantly didn't bother following him?] and Grapple has black forearms.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Omega Supreme [first appearance], Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Grapple, Ratchet, Skids, Wheeljack, Snarl, Sludge, Swoop, Slag, Grimlock, Smokescreen, Tracks, Hoist, Jetfire, Bonecrusher, Scavenger, Hook, Scrapper, Shockwave, Megatron, Ravage, Starscream [deactivated by Omega Supreme], Skywarp [deactivated by Omega Supreme], Thundercracker [deactivated by Omega Supreme], Laserbeak [deactivated by Omega Supreme], Buzzsaw [deactivated by Omega Supreme], Rumble [deactivated by Omega Supreme], Frenzy [deactivated by Omega Supreme], Blaster, Cosmos, Perceptor, Powerglide, Warpath, Beachcomber, Seaspray, Soundwave, Mixmaster, Scavenger, Scrapper, Devastator.

Notable Others: Robot-Master.

Review: Skids is well captured by Budiansky, as is the tension between Shockwave and Megatron. The art is similarly solid but unexciting, largely marred by block-colouring. Aside from Omega Supreme's wonderful pounding of the Decepticons, though, it's rather dull, with Shockwave beginning his American decline, and Optimus all upset about Skids when they could have stopped [Ravage, with one of his missiles fired, is hardly a match for half-a-dozen Autobots]... Disappointing.

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#20 - "Showdown!"

[cover]
Cover: Herb Trimpe
Cover Date: September 1986

Story: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Herb Trimpe
Inks: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #72 -73 [UK], Transformers Digest #10 [US], Titan Books: Showdown [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Classic Transformers Volume 2 [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Ravage is hunting Robot-Master, while Skids is found by a human named Charlene. She finds out he is a Transformer, and befriends him, and the Autobot much prefers his new life to the Transformers war. However, Skids and Charlene have been tracked by Finkelberg, who in turn has led Ravage to them. The humans jump into Skids, who runs to an abandoned gold-mining town to try and battle Ravage. Charlene and Donny head for cover, but Ravage arrives. Skids is able to trick him into falling down a mineshaft, but realises he must leave with Donny to find the Autobots.

Notes: Skids was an anthropologist on Cybertron. Donny Finkelberg dumps the Robot-Master costume this issue.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Ravage, Skids, Megatron [flashback and dream sequence].

Notable Others: Donny.

Review: Something of an oddity - an "offbeat" Budiansky story that's incredibly enjoyable. Skids is a very likeable character, and it's nice to see a pacifist Transformer actively opt out of the war, and especially with such a charming person as the very fun Charlene. Herb Trimpe excels, and even Skids' slightly hard-to-swallow stunts just fit into the fun of it all. Inevitably it goes the obvious way at the end, but it's still nicely done, especially in Skids' lucky defeat of Ravage and in illustrating his care for Charlene [and hers for him]. It's also rather cute that Skids urges her towards Wendell at the end. Just once, though, it'd be nice to have a "pacifist Autobot" where the character decides not to go back to the war... It's just a shame Charlene wasn't kept on.

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