Script: Robin Etherington. Art: Dario Brizuela. Lettering: Comicraft.
Jasper: Bumblebee takes an inpatient Raf into town to pick up the new hot game, Invasionauts, making his life complete. Unknown to him though, the Decepticons have been following his online writings and know his love of games, and have laid a trap for him.
At Omega One Bulkhead plays the game with Raf whilst Ratchet watches disapprovingly, but a hypnotic signal soon kicks in that makes Raf activate the Ground Bridge aimed at certain coordinates that allows an army of Vehicons to storm the base.
As the Autobots fight them off, Miko spots the large Decepticon symbol on the Invasionauts box, and works out the best way to free Raf's mind is to smash the console. Back to normal, Raf works out a way to turn the Ground Bridge into a vacuum and suck the Vehicons out, whilst at the same time preventing the Decepticons at the other end from working out the location of the base. With things back to normal, Raf decides to lay off the games for a while.
The title is a reference to the just recently re-filmed John le Carré novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Raf's online handle [on Twitter?] is “Rafman.
Bulkhead isn't allowed to use any machinery more complicated than a blender.
The coordinates Raf is given for the Vehicons location are actually real, and would place them in Grand Canyon village.
The first issue where Miko's name isn't spelt wrong once. Mainly because she's not referred to by name once.
The Decepticons are stupid enough to put their logo on the computer game packaging, whilst the humans are stupid enough not to see it. The branding also makes it look as if the Decepticons made the game, whilst Soundwave and Megatron's earlier conversation make it sound as if they found out Raf was buying it from what he's said online and then did something to his copy. [Though if it is entirely manufactured by the Decepticons that might explain the “4-D Glasses”].
How to undo advanced alien brainwashing: Smash the machine that did it. This seems unlikely.
Fantastic Free Gift!:
A Prime “Cyber Blaster”. Or a disc shooter by any other name.
Mystic Megatron, spoof horoscopes for 2012;
A one page Optimus poster; Invasionauts board game; Episode Guide Volume 1: Darkness Rising Part 4; Starscream's Stumpers! quiz page;
Competitions for Dark of the Moon DVD's, Bumblebee Mechtech leader toys and an Ultimate FX Lightsaber; Bulkhead's Wordsearch; Mega-Mouth.
A fun issue, but one that's made much more wonky by being based on a faulty premise. It's trying to have a nice pat moral ending about how kids shouldn't spend too much time on the computer, but Raf only saves the day because of his computer skills. So... what's the moral again?
It's also hard for the story not to feel like the moaning of grumpy old men. Especially when you factor in that the main competition for all toy-liness in the UK, including Transformers, is video games. “Bloody young whipper snappers coming along and taking our customers! Kids shouldn't be playing these over violent war games, they should be playing with our over violent war toys!”. I also suspect there's a chance Etherington is venting some exasperation at the amount of time his own kids spend on Call of Duty.
The dialogue and fighting is all good fun, and Bulkhead is rapidly turning into the star of the series with his lovable dim witted ways, his attempts to bluff that nothings going wrong to Prime are rather adorable.
But, the wonky moral and nonsensical smashing the console bit drag things down, even if this features the best art we've yet had for Prime.