Transformers UK: Issue #36
Story: The Next Best Thing To Being There (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Machine Man 2020
Cover date: November 23rd, 1985
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Richard Villamonte
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Devastator
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Big trouble for the Autobots as the six Constructicons merge into Devastator!
At a remote diner close to Portland, trucker Bomber Bill other patrons are desturbed by a tremors out in the parking lot. They rush outside and see the Constructicons harvesting their vehicles to be used as raw materials. Bomber Bill's beloved truck 'Jessie' is stolen and he gives pursuit on foot. Hours later its dark and he's in the middle of nowhere, but luckily a convoy of vehicles is coming. It turns out to be Autobots and Bomber Bill throws himself in the path of Huffer and forces him to stop! After realising this truck has no driver he tells the Autobots that he wants to help them track down the Constructicons and in doing so retreive Jessie.
By daybreak the Autobots arrive at a mountain top and discover that the Constructicons have built a huge satellite dish, which Soundwave has connected himself to! It is some kind of transmitter capable of sending a message into deep space. Soundwave realises he has been spotted and orders the Constructicons to 'combine' and protect him. The six vehicles merge into a single entity, a titan known as Devastator! The Autobots are shocked by this development and soon realise that what this giant lacks in speed, he makes up for in raw power! Ironhide tells Huffer that Soundwave is the key, as whatever he is up to is important enough for Devastator to guard him. Huffer is about to tear Soundwave away from the dish when he realises that the Decepticon is sending a message to Cybertron. His homesickness causes him to hesitate until he realises the consequences, the fate of the Earth is at stake if the Decepticons are able to call for reinforcements. Huffer comes to his senses but before he can act he gets pummelled by Devastator! Bomber Bill climbs aboard his truck and charges through the net of cabling. Soundwave hauls the cab above his head and Huffer goes to his human friend's aid. When Soundwave is sure the message has been sent he orders the Constructions seperate and move out.
Huffer asks forgiveness from his comrades and recieves some advice from Bomber Bill, 'we all go off the road sometimes when it comes to wanting to go home'. Back at the aerospace plant Shockwave is puzzled as to how Optimus Prime has thwarted his efforts to breath life into Jetfire. If Prime is no longer of use to him then logic dictates that he must be destroyed!
A suitable debut for the Constructicons which showcases their talents and gives Devastator an opportunity to menace the Autobots. Soundwave is coloured purple throughout, which is odd. The message he sends to Cybertron will have far-reaching consequences and herald a new era of contact between the two planets in stories to come. Once again Bob Budiansky succeeds in hitting two of his favourite themes, one putting lesser used characters (Huffer in this case) into prominent roles, and two having interaction with a human. It is something he would do again and again. For those readers who have joined since issue 22 there is another Robot War text feature which recaps the story so far.