Transformers UK: Issue #7
Story: The Last Stand (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Machine Man
Cover date: 15th Dec, 1984
Script: Jim Salicrup
Artwork: Frank Springer
Rating: Art / Story
New characters: Shockwave, Slag, Snarl, Sludge, Grimlock, Swoop
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Sparkplug suffers a heart attack after Huffer loses his rag with him! So its time for Ratchet to do his thing.
Emotions are running high in the Ark as the Autobots learn of Sparkplug's betrayal. It turns out that despite the sacrifices made for him, he agreed to make fuel for the Decepticons while being held prisoner in their fortress. Huffer points out that Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Brawn and Gears have already been injured protecting humans, and now one of them has potentially helped Megatron to destroy them all! He thinks its bang out of order and Sparkplug should be punished for his treachery! Ironhide points out that the Decepticons are capable of torture and Sparkplug would have had no choice. Even so the mood looks like turning ugly and Sparkplug and his son decide to make a run for it. Jazz blocks their way with a wall of flame and Sparkplug collapses with a heart attack! He needs to get to a hospital quick and Ratchet, whose alternate mode is an ambulance, is the best bot for the job. Accompanied by Buster he carts the stricken Sparkplug off, leaving Prime hoping that the human 'can be repaired'.
Elsewhere Buster's friend 'O' is disgusted by his bar-owning father who has started wearing an Optimus Prime suit to drum-up trade, doesn't he know that Sparkplug was kidnapped by giant robots? Outside he notices that people are starting to leave town as a result of the scare and they advise him to get out too! Over at the Decepticon castle, Megatron steps out for a bit of air and the military tanks unleash their combined firepower against him. When the dust clears the Decepticon is still standing and returns inside laughing. He receives a report on the status of his injured warriors from some anonymous looking medics who we've never seen before. Starscream decides to stir-up some unrest by criticising Megatron for allowing Sparkplug to escape, perhaps the Autobots are refuelling as they speak? Megs unleashes the fury of his fusion cannon on the insolent one, but dispatches Ravage to spy on the Autobots to be sure.
Back at the Ark Prime is mulling over the desperate turn of events that have seen the Decepticons at full strength while his forces are in the grip of a fuel crisis. A full-scale Decepticon assult is now inevitable, but what can he do to counter it? Huffer informs Optimus of Ratchet's recent discovery in the Ark's memory banks. It seems that shortly the ship crashed on Earth it detected the Decepticon Shockwave, who had touched down in a region of Antarctica looking for his missing comrades. Far from being a frozen wasteland, the region known as the Savage Land is actually a pocket of prehistoric jungle that survived the extinction of the dinosaurs and numerous ice ages. The Ark's answer to this threat was to reconstruct five Autobots, Snarl, Grimlock, Swoop, Sludge and Slag, and give them the ability to transform into dinosaurs. Thus the Dinobots had been created and dispatched to confront Shockwave. What happened next is unknown but Ratchet has dispatched an Ark probe to investigate.
Things just go from bad to worse for the Autobots. They finally get Sparkplug back and what happens? He goes and has a heart attack before he can make any fuel! Time for plan B I would have thought: getting Wheeljack to come up with a way of converting gasoline. Surely he's smarter than Sparkplug anyway? Ratchet's timely intervention seems a minor thing but it would propel him into a central role in up-coming issues (see issue 22 onwards). The US writers were already thinking of life beyond the four issue mini-series here by laying the foundations for the Dinobots and Shockwave to come into the comic. It turns out that the Ark created the Dinos to battle Shockwave four million years ago, however what is not clear is why it didn't repair everyone else if it was online? Also, how come it identified dinosaurs as inhabitants of the savage land if it couldn't recognise organic life when scouting around in 1984? Anonymous robots are shown in this issue fixing the Decepticon injured - but they are never seen again. Who were they? Where did they go?
This is the first Transformers Christmas issue and there are some best wishes from the editorial team in the Openers pages. Hasbro's Anthony Temple has a column telling kids that Megatron will be on sale by Easter 1985 and advising people to save their robot points! According to him, Jazz, Prime and Starscream are the best selling TF toys of the day!