Transformers UK: Issue #12

Story: Man of Iron (Part 4)
Back-up strip: Machine Man
Cover date: 23rd Feb, 1985
Price: 27p
Script: Steve Parkhouse
Artwork: Mike Collins
Rating: Art / Story


By Adam Hogg

The Man of Iron returns after a 900 year absence - but the deadly Starscream is waiting!

Back at the castle the army has finally dug through to the giant object underground - which is thought by the Autobots to be a Cybertronian rescue craft! While the experts try to make sense of it, castle curator Roy Harker can only hope that his son Sammy is okay after he was kidnapped by a strange car (Jazz)! Suddenly the ground begins to shake, and just as it did in the middle ages, and the tremor is the prelude to the Man of Iron's re-appearance.

After he finally emerges from a nifty concealed hatch, he promptly attacks the army - why, I have no idea? But suddenly Starscream appears from nowhere and blasts him to pieces. Elsewhere the Autobots are heading towards the castle in their shuttle, and just before they arrive, Jazz departs at speed from the hatch underneath. He lets Sammy out before ramming Starscream at full-speed! The other flying Decepticons arrive and are picked off by Bluestreak inside the shuttle. They attack with everything they have got but are forced into retreat by superior firepower.

Optimus Prime realises that the Autobots could never leave Earth while the Decepticons pose such a threat to this planet. Neither can they let the rescue craft fall into enemy hands so the only choice is to destroy it. Jazz does the deed with one of his rockets and pretty soon the fill in the hole and allow life to get back to normal at the castle. Soon the tourists are back, this time with the stories of UFO sightings, but see nothing new that is out of the ordinary. Sammy never sees the Autobots again but the Man of Iron continues to walk in his dreams.



By Omega Steve

What a weird story, in the end the Man of Iron does show up, but is immediately destroyed! From the soldier's words that the Decepticon 'just came out of nowhere' you might think it was Skywarp who teleported in to unleash hell. But when the page was reprinted for the US and coloured, the attacker was painted as Starscream. Man of Iron never talks so we don't learn his name but that preserves his mystique. We find out he has a companion, Navigator, who is sleeping in the ship deep below ground and has been programmed with the data about Cybertron's whereabouts. So it is foolhardy that Jazz should be ordered to destroy the craft without rescuing Navigator first - why not pilot the ship back to the Ark and study it? The story is very English in its setting, with castles and leafy suburbs etc, and military men who say things like 'what's going on old boy?', which sounds all a bit cliche and old fashioned (does anyone actually talk like that these days?). I suspect this 'englishness' is the reason why Man of Iron was selected for the US readership over superior UK stories such as The Enemy Within, Dinobot Hunt or In the National Interest, which may have excited fans more.

As mentioned this tale takes place between Powerplay and Prisoner of War, so we are to believe that the Autobots - who at this time were so low on fuel as to be running on vapours - went off on a jaunt across the Atlantic while Sparkplug had just been snatched by the Decepticons and was in immediate need of a rescue.

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