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1986 Annual

| Production Notes | "In the Beginning..." | "To a Power Unknown!" | "Return of the Transformers" | "State Games" | "Victory!" | "The Mission" |

Production Notes

Cover: Barry Kitson

Notes: The second hardback Transformers annual produced by Marvel.

As well as two strip stories and four text illustrated stories, the annual contained Datafiles on Optimus Prime and Megatron, a quiz, a Decepticon Who's Who [originally printed in #48] and an Autobot Who's Who [originally printed in #53 -54].

Priced at £3.50.

"In the Beginning..."

[3 page text summary]

Compiler: Simon Furman

A recap of the history of the Transformers so far, done from the point of view of Adam Reynolds, a human who hacks the Decepticons' computer, and is nearly killed by the feedback. Illustrated with art from Transformers UK strips.

"To a Power Unknown!"

[11 page strip story]

Ian Mennell & Wilf Prigmore
Art: Will Simpson
Letters: Annie Halfacree
Colours: Josie Firmin

Synopsis: The Autobots and Decepticons are having their personalities reversed by a computer signal being sent from a machine named PARD, designed to neutralise missiles. Prime is injured by Starscream on his way, but the PARD is accidentally activated again. Jazz then picks up a human who has stolen the PARD, but he is then kidnapped by Jazz. However, the human is accidentally killed by the Autobot. They scatter, and the Autobots collect Prime and head home.

Notes: This one could fit. It's somewhere after the Megatron/Shockwave joint Decepticon leadership begins in #65, and #70.

Errors: Bluestreak's got an odd, nearly all-white colour scheme, while Mirage is all-blue. In the bottom-right frame of page 3, there are two Starscreams. On page 3, Megatron flies off in gun mode. Starscream surely wouldn't instantly cool on transformation? Jazz doesn't seem remotely bothered about blowing a human up.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime, Bluestreak, Sideswipe, Jazz, Mirage, Prowl, Megatron, Skywarp, Soundwave, Starscream, Shockwave, Thundercracker.

Review: Not one of the finest stories, what with a sub-cartoon plot device [it's kind of "Attack of the Autobots" with a twist] and some very, very bizarre scripting [characters switch between talking normally and computer-speak within the same bubble], but it's just about enjoyable if you leave your brain at the door.


"The Return of the Transformers"

[7 page illustrated text story]

James Hill
Illustrations: John Stokes

Synopsis: A boy named Danny, once rescued by Inferno, muses over the Transformers. Back on the Ark Prime considers the implications of activating the Aerialbots. He sends them on a mission with Jetfire leading them to evaluate their capabilities. The Autobots battle the Decepticons, and the fight is stumbled on by Danny. The Aerialbots form Superion after Jetfire is shot down, and throw Starscream into a hotel. However, Danny makes Superion withdraw.

Notes: The story itself could fit between #90 and #91, but there's mention of Inferno - this is a direct sequel to "Missing in Action".

Review: Well done, but a bit ordinary - another reworking of the 'lack of forethought = upsetting humans' theme, albeit peppered with some good characterisation.


"State Games"

[8 page illustrated text story]

James Hill
Illustrations: ?

Synopsis: Cybertron is overpopulated and low on resources, with worse on the horizon. At the gladiatorial games, Megatron clashes with Optimus Prime, much to the distaste of the Autobot Overlord. Meanwhile, a team from Vos sabotages Tarn's generator, hoping to create war between Tarn and Iacon. However, Tar realises the truth and goes to war with Vos. Iacon watches on, much to Xaaron's displeasure. Meanwhile, Prime, Megatron, Nightstalker and Ravage are escorting the Overlord back to Iacon across a Warzone. However, the frail Autobot cannot be transported all the way. Prime leaves the other three to guard him while he heads to Iacon for help. The others are attacked by Tarn troops, and Nightstalker is killed. Megatron and Ravage then abandon the Overlord to die. Megatron then moulds the refugees from Tarn and Vos into an army - the Decepticons.

Notes: This involves the creation of the Decepticons, so happens before "And There Shall Come... A Leader!". Megatron was a gladiator, from Tarn. Sunstreaker was also originally a gladiator. Back in the past, Cybertron had been ruled autocratically by the Overlords, but now it has split up into independent city-states. Shockwave rules Tarn [second-biggest city to Iacon], and Starscream is the face of a dictatorship in Vos. Ravage and Nightstalker have been Overlord bodyguards for generations. Megatron takes his fusion cannon from a fallen Autobot. Overlord bodyguards have built-in self-destruct explosives. Both Vos and Tarn were destroyed by photon missiles. Tornado was a Tarn athlete.

Review: Quite superb. A dazzlingly detailed, adult story that lays so much groundwork it's quite unbelievable for what was a kids' story. It's essential reading for any Cybertronian fanfic, and anyone who has an interest in Transformers as anything more than big robots hitting each other.



[11 page strip story]

Simon Furman
Art: Geoff Senior
Letters: Annie Halfacree
Colours: Gina Hart

Later Reprinted In: Transformers Collected Comics #14 [UK, abridged], Transformers 1992 Summer Special [UK, abridged], Transformers - Dinobot Hunt [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: Dinobots #4 plus a subsequent trade paperback [Worldwide].

Synopsis: The Dinobots dream about the war, while Ratchet explains to Optimus back in reality that there isn't actually anything wrong with them, they just can't wake up.

Notes: This story is set somewhere between #50 and #65. The Dinobots have been off-line since #46 [Swoop], #47 [Snarl], #49 [Slag] and #50 [Grimlock and Sludge].

Errors: On page 3, Starscream's coloured like Megatron. As Starscream begs for his life, the fusion cannon is nowhere to be seen. Both Swoop and Megatron have reverted to their "UK" schemes. The last frame has chunks of colour [mainly grey] missing.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Grimlock, Sludge, Slag, Swoop, Snarl, Ratchet, Optimus Prime. Megatron, Soundwave, Starscream, Skywarp, Ravage, Optimus Prime, Jazz, Ratchet and Shockwave appear in the various dreams.

Notable Others: Guardian is in Snarl's dream, and there's an android copy of Cindy Meadows in Sludge's.

Review: A wonderful idea. The narrative's great, and each dream explores the character involved in an interesting way, with nice references to other stories [Slag's dream is very similar to the flashback in #27]. Geoff Senior's visuals are truly stunning, from the amazing splash page to the dynamic action. It's generally superbly enhanced by Hart's lush colours. A classic.


"The Mission"

[8 page text story]

Jamie Delano
Illustrations: ?

Synopsis: Hoist is spying on the Constructicons when he gets jammed down an old mineshaft. Jazz heads out to help him, but accidentally alerts the Constructicons. Hoist is freed, but Jazz is damaged, and they're pursued across Alaska by the Constructicons. They manage to escape down a river, and head back to the Ark.

Notes: This story could fit in many places, actually pretty much anywhere between #54 and #106. It's probably towards the latter end of that, as the narrative insinuates that Hoist has been on Earth a while. Considering the events of stories at this stage [including Jazz' ordeal though Target 2006] I'm going to place this between #77 and #78, though that's obviously a little arbitrary.

Review: Not bad at all. Delano's unfamiliarity with Transformers leads to a few leaden passages, but when he's not delving into unnecessary exposition it's a good read, and his descriptive skill flourishes in a few places, notably when Jazz is hallucinating. A little low-key, but there are worse things you could read.



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