Transformers UK: Issue #3
Story: Power Play (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Machine Man
Cover date: 18th October, 1984
Script: Jim Salicrup
Artwork: Frank Springer
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
The wounded Bumblebee transforms revealing his true self to his would-be saviours Buster and Sparkplug.
Both the Autobots and Decepticons are preoccupied with finding a source of fuel that will enable them to survive on Earth. For the Autobots (who are sworn to protect Earth's inhabitants) an alliance will be necessary, while the Decepticons are simply determined to take whatever they need. To this end Ravage scouts the Harrison Nuclear Plant for a power source and raw materials to construct a new Decepticon fortress. He reports his findings to Megatron and an attack begins. Thundercracker mows down workers with his sonic boom (being the time of the Cold War they think it must be the Russians!) and Ravage pounces on more of the fleshy creatures. Finally the giants waltz in an make off with huge chunks of machinery as the remaining workforce flees in terror.
Elsewhere, auto mechanic Sparkplug Witwicky is doing his best to seal Bumblebee's wounds and prevent any more loss of fuel. In a cheeky swipe at Star Trek's Bones McCoy he tells Buster "blast it son! I'm a mechanic not a doctor"! Then Bumblebee transforms to express his gratitude 'in person' and declare himself impressed by their heroic efforts. The Autobots have need of a fuel source and perhaps these humans will be able to help? He transforms and offers to take Buster back to the Ark to meet Optimus Prime. Sparkplug is uneasy but Buster is not about to pass up the chance to see a real life spaceship! He goes via town and stops briefly to tell his friends Jessie and 'O' what is happening. Conveniently Ravage is lurking in an alley way and transforms to cassette mode, then hides in O's stereo as Sparkplug's plan to convert Earth fuels for Autobot use is discussed. Bumblebee radios the Autobots and it is decided that they will rendezvous at the Witwicky's yard. With that Optimus Prime orders his Autobots to transform and roll out!
We get our first taste of Ravage's espionage abilities and Starscream's thirst for power. My mate Crespo 99 made a good observation about the shifting timeframes in this issue. In the last story Bumblebee was taken to Sparkplug's garage under cover of darkness, following the battle at the drive in. The Decepticon attack on the Harrison plant takes place during the day. Straight after the scene shifts back to Sparkplug fixing Bumblebee and it's night again, so presumably we are seeing events from some hours earlier. However the next day when Buster drives Bumblebee into town, Ravage is lurking in the shaddows - yet he's already scouting the Nuclear plant at this time! Obviously a very busy day for him.
The task of converting gasoline for use by alien robots sounds better suited to a team of scientists than a lowly auto mechanic but somehow Sparkplug thinks he can do it. Strange that the Autobots, with their vast knowledge of Transformer workings, can't suss this out for themselves. In the last panels Optimus orders everyone apart from Ratchet to head for the garage. Seeing as they are low on fuel it surely makes better sense to send a small team to escort Bumblebee and the Witwickys to the Ark? Not to mention the fact that the ship could be invaded in their absence. Story-aside the UK comic seems to be taking on a more communal feel with letters, competitions and soon-to-come penpals corner. There is a regular Robot Wars text feature, and a bizarre invatation to design a robot that can play table tennis! There are two stills from the Transformers cartoon which fans can use as posters, and a fact file on Hound. I notice that the mini-Autobot competition has a picture of a yellow Cliffjumper accompanying it - perhaps an early version of Hubcap?