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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)
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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 #61 - #70

| #61 | #62 | #63 | #64 | #65 | #66 | #67 | #68 | #69 | #70 |

#61 - "Primal Scream"

[cover]
Cover: Don Perlin
Cover Date: Mid-December 1989

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Geoff Senior
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #259 -261 [UK], Titan Books: Primal Scream [Worldwide].

Synopsis: At the centre of Cybertron, Grimlock, Jazz, Bumblebee and the Rescue Patrol meet an ancient mechanoid known as The Keeper. Grimlock refuses to acknowledge that Primus is real, and the Keeper retells the origin of the Transformers to prove it. Back at Autobase, Xaaron oversees work to finish the transfer, while Bludgeon's team continues to track their prey. The Keeper continues his tale, but is then killed by Bludgeon as the Decepticons arrive, having warned Bumblebee that Primus must not be awakened. The Autobots are thus unable to use their weapons for fear of a ricochet. Back on Earth, Scorponok comes under fire from his troops, who are upset that Starscream is allowed to rejoin the Decepticons after his previous attacks. This amuses Starscream, who is aiming to be as divisive as possible. Back in the heart of Cybertron, the Autobots are having little luck fighting Bludgeon's crew. However, Bumblebee begins to order a counterattack. The Autobots are able to overcome the Mayhems, but a stray shot from Octopunch awakens Primus. His scream causes quakes on Cybertron, but Xaaron is able to complete the transfer of the Autobots and Decepticons to Earth. However, Unicron also heard the scream, and is now heading towards Cybertron.

Notes: The origin was shown previously in UK #150. The Keeper is presumably a Transformer [well, a Child of Primus - his design hints that he may not actually transform]. At the dawn of the universe, he, a Chaos God, had fought Primus, a Light God, and nearly won before Primus tricked them into materialising inside space junk. Both were able to psionically alter their prisons - Unicron made his a giant transforming planet, with Primus becoming Cybertron, creating Transformers and storing his essence in the Creation Matrix. The origin story shows us the first Matrix holder [named as Prima in #66]. Starscream rejoined the Decepticons in #59, and tried to destroy the Decepticons in #50 and #58. Grimlock has titanium steel armour. Unicron and Primus share a psychic link.

Errors: Stranglehold now has pale blue and grey parts instead of flesh. Later on, he gets his third successive colour scheme change, with a white chest and a green right arm. Misfire's very red all of a sudden. Starscream's face is white in the flashback, and blue in the present.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: The Keeper [first appearance, killed by one of the Mayhems], Fixit, Red Hot, Stakeout, Seawatch, Jazz, Bumblebee, Grimlock, Xaaron, Doubleheader [first appearance], Stranglehold, Bludgeon, Prima [flashback], Scorponok, Mindwipe, Starscream, Misfire, Soundwave, Snapdragon, Slugslinger, Apeface,

Notable Others: Primus [sleeping, and his original form in flashback], Unicron [first appearance, flashback].

Extras: The issue contained Universe profiles on Triggerhappy, Landfill, Quickmix and Scoop.

Letters Page: Liane Elliot reveals the Decepticon coming 'back from the dead' in #56 would be Shockwave, as he reappears in the UK comic. She's wrong.

Review: Glorious visuals from Geoff Senior [the dynamics and ultra-straight geometric designs are breathtaking, and even what could have been a dull little scene at Decepticon HQ crackles] disguise a slight plot. It's difficult to imagine the impact this must have had on US readers given that it was about three or four years since a decent artist had worked on the strip. The pencils and inks are among Senior's best work, and even Yomtov's lazy, flat colouring can't take the huge punch of the visuals away. The dialogue's great, especially the bullish Grimlock. The scripting is rather hackneyed, especially with poor Bumblebee tempting fate twice in as many pages, but the action scenes are fairly fun. A huge step-up from the US fare over the past few years, and a promising set-up for the forthcoming stories.

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

#62 - "Matrix Quest Part One of Five - Bird of Prey!"

[cover]
Cover: Rod Ramos
Cover Date: January 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Geoff Senior
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #262 -264 [UK], Titan Books: Primal Scream [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: The Best of Simon Furman [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: Nightbeat, Siren and Hosehead are on Pz-Zazz searching for the lost Matrix. They manage to get caught up in an alien gang war, and the victim of a drive-by gives Siren a mysterious package, containing a statue of a bird of prey. Back on the Ark, Optimus Prime continues to co-ordinate the Matrix Quest, much needed now due to the coming of Unicron. Alien gangsters plan to get the statue back off the Autobots. Nightbeat, Siren and Hosehead meet up with a local named Miss Fatale, who explains that she will exchange the statue for knowledge of where the fabled Font of Life is. The Autobots realise this could be the Matrix. On his way to get the statue, though, Nightbeat gets into a scuffle with local gangster B'Hgdad. One of the gangsters has Nightbeat at gunpoint, but is killed by someone else mysteriously. Meanwhile Fatale takes Siren and Hosehead to the Font of Life, where they're intercepted by another local mobster, Gutt, who is after the bird. Nightbeat arrives, having worked out that the bird is what powers the font. The Autobots and Fatale take out Gutt's men, and Nightbeat replaces the statue, revitalising the planet. However, Thunderwing's Decepticons then make their presence known, taking out Nightbeat.

Notes: The aliens on Pz-Zazz are around the same height as Transformers - particularly beefy specimens are notably taller. The Matrix was lost when Optimus' previous body was sent into Space in #26. The Autobots' weapons have stun settings [presumably for organic life].

The story is inspired by various 1940s pulp thrillers, notably The Maltese Falcon. There's even Humphrey Bogart on a billboard on page 2, while Gutt crushes an Oscar statue, and Nightbeat mentions Peter Lorre. You don't get that in bloody War and Peace, do you? Timely Publishing, on the cover, was the 1940s publishing company that would evolve into Marvel.

Errors: Hosehead has too much white on him, and Siren's scheme leaps all over the place until Nel settles on nearly all-blue.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Nightbeat [first appearance], Hosehead [first appearance], Siren [first appearance], Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Xaaron, Jazz [flashback], Bumblebee [flashback], Grimlock [flashback], Thunderwing, Spinister [first appearance], Windsweeper, Needlenose [first appearance], Ruckus.

Notable Others: Primus [flashback], Unicron [flashback].

Extras: The issue contained Universe profiles on Hosehead, Nightbeat, Siren and Backstreet.

Review: Transformers collides with Phillip Marlowe, Dragon's Claws and Star Wars, with superb results. Nightbeat gets a superb debut, allowing Furman to exercise his wit and enthusiasm, with Siren and Hosehead terrific foils. Just about every frame Nightbeat's in is a joy, and the character is so larger-than-life everything just seems a little dull by comparison. Senior's art fits beautifully, especially with the grubby B'Hgdad and the alien heavies, and Miss Fatale is the closest Transformers has come yet to an attractive female... The Matrix Quest thread is emphasised without overpowering the lesser story, and it feels wonderful.

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

#63 - "Matrix Quest Part Two of Five - Kings of the Wild Frontier"

[cover]
Cover: Ian Akin
Cover Date: February 1990

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

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #282 -285 [UK], Titan Books: Primal Scream [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: The Triggerbots are on a dusty alien planet searching for the Matrix when they see some horse-mounted aliens chasing another alien, a child. They engage the hunting aliens, who protest what they're doing isn't what it looks like. The alien child's family thanks the Triggerbots for saving him, but all is not as it seems. Elsewhere, Thunderwing interrogates Nightbeat, Siren and Hosehead before being interrupted by Ruckus, who informs him they're in orbit around Cheyne, having tracked the Triggerbots there. The Triggerbots, however, appear to have fallen under some sort of trance, forgetting their mission and staying with the aliens. Optimus Prime is haunted by visions of Unicron, while the Triggerbots continue to work with the aliens in a trance. One of them heads into town with Dogfight, and they run into Thunderwing and his squad. Dogfight is captured, but Thunderwing is perplexed by the Autobot's ignorance. Thunderwing's interrogation of Dogfight jogs the Autobot's memory. He returns to the branch and forces the aliens to reveal their true forms. They're actually Vrobians - psychic vampires. They attack the Autobots, who are forced to kill them.

Notes: The aliens are roughly Transformer-sized, like the inhabitants of Pz-Zazz.

Errors: Override is missing the red from his thighs throughout. On page 7, Nightbeat's arms are yellow above the elbow. Thunderwing, contrary to previous appearances, has the backpack and wings off the toy. Well, most of the time - they disappear in the fourth panel of page 7, the first, fourth and sixth of page 8. Dogfight has adopted a one-tone blue scheme.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Override, Dogfight, Backstreet, Nightbeat, Thunderwing, Hosehead, Siren, Ruckus, Spinister, Needlenose, Optimus Prime.

Notable Others: Unicron is in Prime's vision.

Extras: The issue contained Universe profiles on Dogfight and Override.

Review: This is probably the nadir of Furman's writing for the Marvel comic, with uninteresting characters, an obvious ending and no real advancement of the Matrix Quest plot. Thunderwing's laughable role just about sums this up. We all knew the aliens were something along these lines anyway, and they're annoying to boot. The audience meant to be all upset about the futility of conflict on the last page, when actually they're just glad the bloody aliens are dead.

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

#64 - "Matrix Quest Part Three of Five - Deadly Obsession"

[cover]
Cover: Ian Akin
Cover Date: March 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Jose Delbo
Inks: Al Williamson [page 1-4], Dan Reed [pages 5-22]
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #286 -289 [UK], Titan Books: Matrix Quest [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: Longtooth, Doubleheader and Pincher have been sent to find the Matrix. While chasing up a possible lead on Pequod, however, Longtooth has gone mad, and is trying to kill the sea-dwelling Klud, while his team-mates try to stop him. Longtooth is about to kill the Klud when Thunderwing's shuttle arrives. The Decepticon orders his troops to destroy Longtooth in order to preserve the creature, and then attacks Ruckus for his dissent at this order. Doubleheader and Pincher try to engage Thunderwing's craft, and Longtooth is knocked into the water, where he battles the Klud. He remembers how his rage began - when the Klud took off part of his leg while the Autobots were trying to observe it. It turns out the Klud has somehow come into contact with the Matrix. Thunderwing observes the still-battling Klud and Longtooth on board his ship. Meanwhile, Needlenose and Spinister battle with Doubleheader and Pincher. Thunderwing is able to get the location of the Matrix from the creature's mind - a moon named VsQs. He orders to the Decepticons to withdraw just as they're getting the upper hand. At the same time, Pincher is able to talk Longtooth out of killing the Klud.

Notes: It is two weeks since the trio left the Ark. Pequod's currency is the drax. The price on the Klud is 10,000 drax. Thunderwing was built with an affinity for the Matrix. He can mind-link with other creatures. VsQs is the third moon of Cameron, the fourth planet [presumably of the solar system that contains Pequod].

This story is a rough parody of Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. The harbourmaster's dialogue contains several references to Steven Spielberg's film Jaws. Cameron is named after James Cameron, director of Alien amongst other films. VsQs comes from the character Vasquez from the same movie.

Errors: Thunderwing has the full toy backpack again - a Delbo trademark that makes the character look insanely ungainly. Yomtov colours Spinister grey and blue.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Longtooth [first appearance], Doubleheader, Pincher [first appearance], Xaaron [flashback], Thunderwing, Ruckus, Spinister, Needlenose.

Extras: The issue contained Universe profiles on Crankcase and Needlenose.

Review: Furman continues to use parodies for Matrix Quest, with diminishing results. Much like "Kings of the Wild Frontier", the story suffers from a faceless trio of heroes with recycled characters. Also in common with the preceding story, the dialogue is hideously overwrought in order to try and inject some drama into proceedings. Thunderwing's meant to be mirroring Longtooth's obsession, but we've never seen the character in a balanced mood for contrast. On top of all this, between the character designs, the inking and the colouring, the whole thing looks absolutely lurid.

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

#65 - "Matrix Quest Part Four of Five - Dark Creation"

[cover]
Cover: Bill Sienkiwicz
Cover Date: April 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Geoff Senior
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #290 -293 [UK], Titan Books: Matrix Quest [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: The Creation Matrix remembers its encounters since landing on VsQs with Optimus Prime's original body - finding a new vessel in Deathbringer, and developing a creature who attacks astronauts who arrive on the moon. Jazz, Grimlock and Bumblebee arrive at the Exploration Team's base on VsQs, finding it in ruins and deserted. They find that the Exploration Team have found what would seem to be the Matrix, but are dead. The Autobot team are pondering their next move when Thunderwing charges into the base, demanding the Matrix. A scuffle breaks out between the Autobots and Thunderwing and his team. Thunderwing knocks out Grimlock and Bumblebee, and the battle is nearly over when an alien creature attacks Windsweeper. Meanwhile, on Earth, Shockwave emerges from the sea, killing a human who observes him. Back on VsQs, Thunderwing prevents Needlenose from killing the creature, as it has the Matrix. Sensing Thunderwing, the creature flees, with the Decepticon giving chase. Jazz, Bumblebee and Grimlock set out after Thunderwing, and managed to stumble over the Matrix. Thunderwing promptly arrives, but the creature attacks him, protecting the Matrix. In the confusion, Bumblebee grabs the Matrix and the Autobots prepare to leave. Later, their shuttle lands. Optimus Prime and Hot Rod move forward to greet the team, only to find Thunderwing on board, with the Matrix.

Notes: Optimus Prime's original body was blasted into space in #26. Deathbringer was destroyed in UK #236 [the only time a UK strip would be explicitly referenced by a US one]. The Matrix holders to date are named as Prima, Prime Nova, Sentinel Prime and Optimus Prime. The Matrix is clearly sentient. Thunderwing captured Nightbeat, Siren and Hosehead in #62. Shockwave has been missing since #39. Optimus Prime can sense the Matrix within a certain proximity. Thunderwing uses it to fire bolts of energy.

As well as the Alien references mentioned last issue, the face-hugging creature the Matrix recreates is clearly a nod to the film.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime, Grimlock, Jazz, Bumblebee, Thunderwing, Ruckus, Hosehead, Nightbeat, Siren, Spinister, Needlenose, Windsweeper , Shockwave , Hot Rod. Optimus Prime's original body is also seen.

Notable Others: Unicron is in Prime's vision.

Extras: The issue contained Universe profiles on Spinister and Windsweeper.

Review: Absolutely wonderful. The Matrix Quest finally gets going, with some huge ideas and an interesting structure. The atmosphere is astonishing, with the taunt script from Furman perfectly complemented by Senior's shadowy art. Even Yomtov's on the ball here. The dissent in Thunderwing's troops, and their leader's obsession, are finally beginning to be portrayed believably. Furman has rediscovered his ability to build epic storylines at long last. It's his best script for some time, and the best US story up to this point. Excellent stuff.

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

#66 - "Matrix Quest Part Five of Five - All Fall Down!"

[cover]
Cover: Ian Akin
Cover Date: May 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Geoff Senior
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #294 -297 [UK], Titan Books: Matrix Quest [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: Unicron destroys the planet of Ghennix. Three criminals attempt to flee the dying planet in a shuttle, but Unicron captures them, recreates them as Hook, Line and Sinker, and sends them to find an agent of his. Back on the Ark, Thunderwing is using the Matrix to decimate the Autobots, but Prime will not allow force to endanger the Matrix. Optimus Prime manages to get into position to kill Thunderwing, but hesitates, allowing the Decepticon to recover and blast him. Thunderwing's troops watch on, bemused by their leader's behaviour. Optimus asks of the fate of Grimlock, Jazz and Bumblebee to buy some time. Thunderwing tells him that the low gravity on VsQs slowed the Autobots down, giving him the time to destroy the creature, catch up with them and regain the Matrix. His recollection allows reinforcements to jump Thunderwing. His blundering causes the Matrix to take control. Onboard the Autobot shuttle, Nightbeat, Siren and Hosehead are back online, and try to work out how best to help their comrades. Back on Earth, Shockwave observes Starscream sneaking out of the Decepticon base, and decides he's just the ally he needs. Inside the Ark, the Matrix is easily defeating the Autobots. Prime tries to bring Thunderwing back into control of his own body. However, the Matrix guns him down, and moves in for the kill. Nightbeat has concocted a plan. Outside, Spinister manages to briefly reason with Thunderwing, but the Matrix retakes control. Just then, Nightbeat fires the shuttle's harpoon into the possessed Decepticon's back. Hosehead shuts off the gravity, and the shuttle is sucked out into space, taking Thunderwing and the Matrix with it. With the gravity restored, Thunderwing's troops surrender. Despite the loss of the Matrix, Optimus is upbeat - the Transformers have faced the dark side of themselves, and won.

Notes: Unicron can teleport, but only small distances due to his size. The population of Ghennix [which numbered sixty billion before the arrival of Unicron] are mechanoids. Optimus Prime had carried the Matrix for "four million years" [an approximation]. Hot Rod claims three Autobots were deactivated in the battle. This makes Landmine, and two others who aren't made clear - Crosshairs was hit by Thunderwing and won't be seen again, so he's possibly one of them.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Thunderwing [possessed by the Matrix], Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Joyride, Crosshairs, Landmine [killed by Thunderwing], Ruckus, Spinister, Windsweeper, Needlenose, Bumblebee [flashback], Jazz [flashback], Grimlock [flashback], Kup, Blurr, Waverider, Highbrow, Brainstorm, Siren, Hosehead, Nightbeat, Shockwave, Starscream, Chromedome.

Notable Others: Unicron, Hook [first appearance], Line [first appearance], Sinker [first appearance].

Extras: The issue contained Universe profiles on Quake and Ruckus.

Review: The unexpected ending makes this a fine conclusion. There are several other wonderful moments - Spinister's speech, the Decepticon surrender, Nightbeat's characterisation, Prime's speech... Splendid. The action continues to move along nicely, and Prime's dilemma and the characterisation of Thunderwing adds meat to the bones. That said, it does tickle me that after less than a dozen pages, the Matrix decides Thunderwing's useless and starts doing things itself. Having Nightbeat back in the mix does no harm, while something's building in the atmospheric Shockwave interlude. The Matrix Quest suffers from a loose format [the first four segments may have worked better with all four teams being followed simultaneously], but the last two stories make it worthy.

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

#67 - "Rhythms of Darkness!"

[cover]
Cover: Jim Lee
Cover Date: June 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: José Delbo
Inks: Danny Bulandi
Letters: Jim Massara
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #298 -301 [UK], Titan Books: Matrix Quest [Worldwide].

Synopsis: 2009, and New York is a destroyed city. Galvatron's Decepticons hold sway over North America, and he and the Pretender Monsters are sweeping the city for the last remnants of the Autobots. Icepick is crushed by a human booby trap. This sends Galvatron into a brief rage, blasting Rodimus Prime's carcass and raging about North America becoming radioactive dust by midnight. Over in New Jersey, the seven remaining Autobots and their human allies gather for one last desperate stand before the rest of the world launches nuclear missiles to take out the Decepticons. The Autobots need rallying from Spike, just in time for the narrow window for their plan to open. The Autobots head to the Decepticons' base, and stumble over Scourge and Cyclonus, causing them to launch their attack prematurely. Crossblades sacrifices himself to take out the Decepticons' shield generator, allowing the rest of the Autobots to attack. Cyclonus kills Guzzle, while Getaway and Scourge have finished each other off. Chainclaw is about to kill Cyclonus, when Galvatron saves him. He then destroys Cyclonus for being bested by an Autobot, and charges down to the main battle. Jazz keeps him busy, while Spike raises an American flag. This causes the European Crisis Coalition to abort the nuke attack. Galvatron is about to destroy Spike when Hook, Line and Sinker arrive, knock the Decepticon out and take him to Unicron. This fuels the Autobots' fires.

Notes: Rodimus Prime is dead in this future. It's a different alternate reality to any of the others we've seen yet. Galvatron's forces hold sway over North America. The timeline diverges from the regular one when Unicron is able to destroy Cybertron [most likely in an alternate version of the forthcoming Unicron battle]. He killed Rodimus Prime [presumably created after Optimus Prime's death battling Unicron]. The Autobots formed an alliance with the humans [while not stated explicitly, later events in this story would suggest just the US military], but to no avail. The surviving seven Autobots are Prowl, Jazz, Inferno, Guzzle, Getaway, Chainclaw and Crossblades. Unicron gave Galvatron Earth as a reward before "he departed" [this could be a reference to the theory borne out by later events - that one Unicron exists across myriad parallel realities, and Unicron has departed to the 'regular' timeline to destroy its' Cybertron - Hook says it's a different Unicron to the one who gave Galvatron Earth]. The ECC is based from Geneva.

Errors: Thunderwing has the full toy backpack again - a Delbo trademark that makes the character look insanely ungainly. Yomtov colours Spinister grey and blue. How the Hell did these Autobots live so long when they die so stupidly? Would Galvatron really obliterate Cyclonus for simply being taken by surprise by Chainclaw? On page 17 Jazz' red disappears. Where are those cameras the ECC are watching the battle though? Those can't possibly be satellite pictures. By page 20, Jazz' chest wound seems to have healed.

Most glaringly, why do the ECC think an American flag is some sort of victory? They abort the strike before Galvatron's even gone. By the end there are a grand total of three Autobots [Jazz, Prowl and Inferno], still massively outnumbered [it's fair to presume]. Add into this that the Autobots sacrifice more than half of their number for this gesture...

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Galvatron, Wildfly [first appearance], Bristleback [first appearance] , Scowl [first appearance] , Birdbrain [first appearance] , Icepick [first appearance, crushed by a booby trap ] , Slog [first appearance] , Chainclaw [first appearance, destroyed by Galvatron ] , Jazz, Guzzle [destroyed by Cyclonus] , Inferno [first appearance] , Prowl, Bumblebee [flashback, killed by Scourge], Blurr [flashback, killed by Cyclonus], Scourge [killed] , Cyclonus [destroyed by Galvatron] , Crossblades [first appearance , destroyed crashing into the shield generator] , Getaway [killed] , Laserbeak, Astrotrain, Octane, Runabout [killed by Inferno]. Rodimus Prime's body is also seen.

Notable Others: Unicron, Hook [first appearance], Line [first appearance], Sinker [first appearance], Spike.

Extras: The issue contained Universe profiles on Getaway and Joyride.

Review: José Delbo's finest work - though his art goes a bit wobbly for the action scenes, which is a shame as there are quite a few.. The script is very mixed, though - it starts as an effective scene-setter which re-establishes Galvatron's character and power, with an excellent funereal atmosphere. Then it totally self-destructs. The fine set-up work is totally undone. It suffers from a Marvel alternate universe problem as seen in many a 'What If...?' - our heroes, having survived some catastrophe, instantly turn into lemmings. The woeful Galvatron/Cyclonus sequence and the diabolical 'secret weapon' add up to a stupid mess.

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

#68 - "The Human Factor!"

[cover]
Cover: Dwayne Turner
Cover Date: July 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Dwayne Turner
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #302 -305 [UK], Titan Books: Matrix Quest [Worldwide].

Synopsis: At GB Blackrock's Washington DC offices, he shows two people a video of an attempted Decepticon raid at a Louisiana Oil Refinery. There, a mysterious human with superpowers takes out the Air Strike Patrol. Blackrock is trying to form an anti-Decepticon taskforce to protect humans from Decepticons. Starscream is also tracking the human, wanting him as a Powermaster engine for himself. Unknown to Starscream, Shockwave is following him. Blackrock has identified 'Mister X' as Hector Dialonzo, and has arranged a meeting with him in a bar at Matacumbe Bay, taking Lee and Katrina for security. However, Circuit Breaker has got there first. Before she can recruit him to her crusade against all Transformers, Starscream arrives, tearing the roof from the bar. Circuit Breaker takes out Starscream, but Shockwave guns her down before she can finish him off. Starscream doesn't know who saved him, but returns to trying to capture Hector. Blackrock arrives, and sends Katrina, now code-named Rapture, in. She sends him into a dream state, and Lee, code-named Thunderpunch, knocks the Decepticon out. Circuit Breaker intervenes to finish Starscream off, but Hector uses his powers to stop the fighting. GB Blackrock, Circuit Breaker and Starscream all plead with Hector to join them. He chooses to go with Blackrock, who also talks Circuit Breaker into joining his team. When Starscream revives, he is met by Shockwave, who offers an alliance to take command of the Decepticons.

Notes: Since #59, the Decepticon Air Strike Patrol have been rogue, it would seem, rampaging across America. They are possibly deactivated by Hector. RAAT [Rapid Anti-Robot Assault Team] are now defunct, the security council admitting they had been hampered by being unable to tell Autobot from Decepticon. Lee Gruber is a former freak show star, while Katrina Vesotzky was a down-and-out. Blackrock now has heart problems. Circuit Breaker has presumably been laying low since #45. Starscream and Circuit Breaker met in #9.

Errors: Shockwave's job of finding out what Starscream's up to is helped by Starscream walking around spouting his plans. Turner completely buggers up Starscream's back design. Starscream's wings and those shoulder-things disappear intermittently. Shockwave's arms are totally different lengths on the last page.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Tailwind [flashback], Stormcloud [flashback], Nightflight [flashback], Whisper [flashback], Starscream, Shockwave. Scorponok is seen in Starscream's fantasy.

Notable Others: GB Blackrock, Thunderpunch [first appearance], Rapture [first appearance], Hector [first appearance], Circuit Breaker.

Extras: The issue contained a Universe profile on Slapdash.

Review: An interesting change of angle, though it's rather dull overall. Blackrock's good fun, but again there's a feeling that Furman's getting too distracted from the main plot. Dwayne Turner's art is utterly diabolical - there's a vague stab at Bill Sienkiewicz-esque expressionism, but Turner really doesn't have the goods to pull it off, and it just looks muddy and drab. The attempted intrigue isn't hugely interesting, and the reader is left willing both Shockwave and Furman to get on with it. It's also highly derivative, being something of a rip-off of X-Men storylines when a new mutant emerges - especially Blackrock's speech to Hector. Add into this the deeply irritating Lee and faceless Katrina, plus some horribly rendered and ludicrously over-inked art from Turner, and you've got a very poor episode.

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

#69 - "Eye of the Storm!"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: August 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Harry Candelario [pages 1-6, 9-14, 18-20], Bob Lewis [page 7-8, 15-17]
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #306 -308 [UK], Titan Books: All Fall Down [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: Onboard the Ark, most of the Autobots are trying to relax following the Matrix Quest. However, Waverider finds Grimlock smashing up part of the Ark. He tries to calm him down, but Grimlock storms out, muttering about having his Dinobots back. Meanwhile, Prime continues to worry about Unicron, while also suffering internal pain. Nevertheless, he meets up with Nightbeat, who puts forward a theory that Ratchet might still be alive, having jumped though the portal before the explosion in Megatron's base. Nightbeat sends out a probe into unspace to find Ratchet. In deep space, Galvatron confronts Unicron. His creator sends him to Cybertron to disrupt the Autobots' preparations for his coming. Back on the Ark, Kup finds Grimlock taking the Dinobots from the Medi-Lab life support systems. Grimlock claims he's found a way to revive them. Kup listens to his case briefly, but is given no choice when Grimlock knocks him out, and leaves with the Dinobots. Optimus Prime announces to the crew of the Ark that he intends to surrender to the Decepticons to build an alliance against Unicron. On Earth, Mindwipe and Triggerhappy both desert, unhappy with Scorponok's leadership. They're attacked by Starscream, Ravage and Shockwave, and forced to join their bid for leadership. Back on the Ark, Grimlock has hijacked a shuttle, and set course for Hydrus Four in the Styrakon system. There he hopes to harness the Nucleon power source to revive the other Dinobots. Just then, Nightbeat's probe finds something and beams it aboard - a horrifying mix of Megatron and Ratchet.

Notes: Chromedome was badly damaged by Thunderwing and the Matrix in #66. there's also what would appear to be a Transformers version of chess - Quarg is one piece, a Vig would seem to be equivalent to the King, and Fullstasis parallels checkmate. Some time has elapsed since #66, with the Autobots having recovered Grimlock, Jazz and Bumblebee from VsQs. The Ark has life-support pods for deactivated Autobots. Ratchet sacrificed himself in #59. Snarl, Slag, Sludge and Swoop were deactivated in #50. Ravage has returned to the surface since #20, and appears to have lost the ability to speak [has Shockwave reprogrammed him? It's hard to see Ravage siding with Shockwave and Starscream otherwise]. Prime dismissed Nucleon as a power source due to its' unpredictability.

Among the things on Nightbeat's desk are a fedora and a magnifying glass.

Errors: Shockwave's job of finding out what Starscream's up to is helped by Starscream walking around spouting his plans. Turner completely buggers up Starscream's back design. Starscream's wings and those shoulder-things disappear intermittently. Shockwave's arms are totally different lengths on the last page.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Hot Rod, Chromedome, Fixit, Getaway, Highbrow, Joyride, Nightbeat, Siren, Waverider, Grimlock, Jazz [flashback], Hosehead, Bumblebee [flashback], Optimus Prime, Kup, Cloudburst, Megatron [flashback], Ratchet [flashback], Galvatron, Scorponok, Mindwipe, Triggerhappy, Starscream, Ravage, Shockwave, Megatron/Ratchet [fused together]. The bodies of Snarl and Swoop are seen.

Notable Others: Unicron, Hook, Line, Sinker.

Extras: The issue contained Universe profiles on Fastlane and Mindwipe.

Review: An effective scene-setter, with the atmosphere of the more relaxed Autobots juxtaposed nicely with Optimus' taunt behaviour and Grimlock's directionless rage. Wildman's art adds to the emotion in several sequences, and he captures Nightbeat's casual demeanour perfectly. Best of all, though, is Grimlock's impassioned plea for his comrades' lives, and Kup's reaction to this. Gloriously paced, the story turns the screw once more, with more plotlines jostling with each other, and each leaving us desperate for the continuation. A superb story is capped by the unforgettable Ratchet/Megatron hybrid.

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#70 - "The Price of Life!"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: September 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #309 -310 [UK], Titan Books: All Fall Down [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: The Best of Simon Furman [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: Optimus tries to talk to the Ratchet/Megatron hybrid, but Kup attacks it. Nightbeat stop shim, and explains that the dimensional portal must have somehow fused them together. The hybrid knocks them both out, and heads off into the Ark. Kup argues with Prime over whether to kill the creature, or try to save Ratchet. Prime sets off to find the creature. Down on Hydrus Four, Grimlock heads to the Medicentre where his guide has said the Nucleon is, but first has to fight his way past a decayed robot defending it. The Ark is nearly in Earth orbit, but the Megatron/Ratchet creature is still at large, attacking Autobots and smashing equipment. Kup is furious at Prime's priorities, and persuades him to destroy the creature. However, when Prime disables the hybrid, the Ratchet part begs him to kill it. On Hydrus Four, Grimlock gets to the Medicentre on the island of Farooth, having fought his way past more half-dead robots. There, a small, pathetic robot warns him the Nucleon is a cure, not a curse. Grimlock ignores him, and tests the solution on himself. He feels more powerful, and decides he will use it on the other Dinobots. Back on the Ark, the hybrid is unconscious, and in the Autobot Medi-Lab Fixit diagnoses he can separate them, but both halves will have to live. Prime orders him to do it.

Notes: The Ark's crew numbers 'thirty or so', with [approximately?] sixty deactivated Autobots stored on stasis pods onboard.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Megatron/Ratchet [fused together], Optimus Prime, Nightbeat, Waverider, Kup, Grimlock, Highbrow, Getaway, Siren, Sureshot, Fixit. The bodies of Slag and Sludge are seen.

Extras: The issue contained a Universe profile on Optimus Prime [the Powermaster version].

Review: Another highly-charged piece, which has wonderful development for Optimus Prime and Kup. The latter shouting at Optimus on the first page is one of Transformers' most emotion-driven moments. The claustrophobic scenes aboard the art are enhanced massively by Andy Wildman's humanised art, which really draws out the emotions present. Also Grimlock's on good form, which is never a bad thing.

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