Transformers UK: Issue #35
Story: The Next Best Thing To Being There (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Machine Man 2020
Cover date: November 16th, 1985
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Richard Villamonte
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Scrapper, Scavenger, Longhaul, Hook, Mixmaster, Bonecrusher, Ferdy and Gabe (enslaved workers), Bomber Bill (trucker), Jetfire
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
First off the production line are the Constructicons, who will build the Decepticon strongholds of the future.
At the aerospace plant all is in readiness to create the first of Shockwave's new warriors. The Decepticon leader taunts Optimus Prime with the knowledge that his Matrix has made the moment possible, just as robotic arms whir into action and insert six brain modules into the bodies created for them. Thus the Constructicons, Scavenger, Mixmaster, Longhaul, Bonecrusher, Scrapper and Hook are born! At Shockwave's command they transform and accompany Soundwave on their first mission.
Meanwhile G.B. Blackrock is getting a guided tour of the Ark from acting Autobot commander Prowl. He is shown Bluestreak and Brawn, hard at work on the Ark's fusion drive, and visits Jazz in Ratchet's medical bay. G.B. is shocked to see that Jazz is still cheerful despite losing an arm in Circuit Breaker fight, but he is told that Autobots have a greater capacity to be broken and repaired than humans and he'll be fine. However the grisly image of Sunstreaker laying on a slab, proves that good guys don't always win. Ratchet is not sure if this Autobot will ever function again. G.B. and Prowl stop at Huffer's workstation and catch him creating a hologram of Cybertron, not the task he was given to do. Prowl explains that Huffer is homesick, and points out the headless body of Optimus Prime who is a captive at the aerospace plant. Blackrock says the building's telephones are bugged for security reasons and maybe they can listen in on the Decepticons' plans. Bumblebee, who has been spying on the plant, witnesses the constructions exiting and Prowl dispatches a group of Autobots to intercept them (including Huffer who could use some action to take his mind off things).
Elsewhere another homesick soul called Bomber Bill parks his truck at a diner close to Portland, unaware that the Constructicons will shortly pass by. The scene shifts back to the plant as Shockwave prepares his next warrior, a super plane called Jetfire, for life. Little does he know that Prime has transferred the Matrix to Buster Witwicky, and the youth has been putting it to work reconstructing all the broken cars in his father's garage. Sparkplug returns home from hospital and is truly amazed how hard his son must have worked!
I really like this issue even though it is a scene setter mostly. We are introduced to the Constructions, who will soon become very popular (but little featured) characters, and get to experience the Ark from a human perspective, courtesy of Blackrock's tour. The reason for Sunstreaker's irrepairable injuries is never disclosed and he won't be back on his feet for nearly three years, in issue 175 to be precise!