Transformers UK: Issue #8
Story: The Last Stand (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Machine Man
Cover date: 29th Dec, 1984
Script: Jim Salicrup
Artwork: Frank Springer
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
The Autobot's last stand has ended in Decepticon victory, but fate has a few more twists in store!
Every available Autobot (minus Ratchet who accompanied Sparkplug to hospital last issue) has assembled in fuel conversion chambers within the Ark. The idea is that all their reserves will be transferred to five champions: Optimus Prime, Huffer, Bluestreak, Ironhide and Mirage, who will make a final stand against the Decepticons. The procedure is a success, although the others Autobots are rendered inoperative, and the five don't have long to wait before the Decepticons signal their arrival. A gaping hole in the side of the mountain is soon filled by Laserbeak and Buzzsaw who fly in and attack Mirage. Only it is an illusion, the real McCoy having retreated back into the Ark! There he is ambushed by Ravage and gets his left arm bitten off. The Autobot tries to talk his way out and then realises that blasting Ravage in the face is the only way. He has been foolish to shy away from the battle and rushes to join his comrades outside.
A brief interlude sees Ratchet's probe arrive at the Savage Land and start blasting at rocks to get at a Transformer life signal burried underneath. Suddenly a huge purple fist punches through and crushes the robot. Meanwhile, Megatron is anxious to get at Optimus Prime and makes light work of Bluestreak when he gets in the way. Prime's arm is mangled in a blast from the Decepticon leader's fusion cannon and though he fights on, he is eventually incapacitated. With the other Autobots defeated too, Megatron holds Prime aloft and savours his triumph. Victory at last! Suddenly the Decepticons fall about in agony as they realise that Sparkplug Witwicky has poisoned the fuel he made for them! Prime and his men get to the feet and conclude that they had Sparkplug pegged all wrong, he came through for them after all. But in a second twist of fate the giant spacegun that is Shockwave arrives on the scene and blasts the survivors into unconsciousness! He transforms into robot mode and surveys the scene with his one-eye: after four million years his mission is complete and the Autobots are no more! To be continued...
Wow what an issue! Five Autobots take on the combined might of Megatron's Decepticons and lose, only to win when the poisoned fuel kicks-in, then lose again as Shockwave turns-up and blasts everyone. Transformers is not afraid to give readers and unhappy ending, and don't we love it! The frustrating thing is that readers would have to wait SEVEN months to find out what happened next! The US comic had gone monthly by this point but there wasn't enough material around for the UK version to carry on reprinting. They would have to come up with 18 issues of original stories that somehow had to be shoehorned into the events of the last eight issues - no small feat.
Interestingly enough this story had an alternate happy ending where Shockwave never featured. It was published in the 1987 UK book "The Complete Works Part 2", which reproduced issues 4-8 inclusive and a decision was taken to end the story on a high. I'm guessing this was because they had no plans to publish a sequel book and thought it would raise less questions. The art style on the substitute page was clearly drawn at a later date and looks like the work of US artist Don Perlin. He has attempted to emulate the original art style but there are differences if you compare the final page with previous ones. What's even more confusing is the origin of this page - if it's from the US, then why and when was the page drawn, and why is it's only known publication in a UK book?