Transformers UK: Issue #9
Story: Man of Iron (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Machine Man
Cover date: 12th Jan, 1985
Script: Steve Parkhouse
Artwork: John Ridgway
Rating: Art / Story
New characters: Sammy Harker, Roy Harker, Man of Iron
Synopsis:By Adam Hogg
Jazz shows up in the woods in southern England - and scares the hell out of young Sammy Harker!
With the shocking climax to last issue not going to be continued for another few months, owing to a lack of US material, we have our first UK story - and one that issue 22 would place between previous stories 'Power Play' and 'Prisoner of War'. We are given a bit more background in issue 22 too, which makes this story slightly less confusing - so here goes. The Autobots returned to the Ark after Sparkplug's capture to find that it's computer had picked up a signal in a Transformers language (more evidence to suggest Transformers don't speak English) - and from somewhere in England! The Autobots investigate believing it to be a rescue craft from Cybertron, and holding vital information on the planet's whereabouts. Soundwave has also picked up this signal and the search begins!
The story centres around a medieval castle near a small village, which for no reason is bombed by three Decepticon jets. While the army are called in to search for an unexploded bomb the castle curator, Roy Harker, goes looking for his son in the woods. Sammy Harker does not want to go home and hides from his father, but after a brief encounter with Jazz - he runs home while Jazz follows him and reports his address to Optimus Prime (there are a lot of unclear events in this story). Later, Roy Harker is chatting with the army chief while the area is cordoned off and he gets a message that is son is at home and in shock. We next see the father talking to Sammy and showing him a drawing of the Man of Iron - a legendary metal being who showed up at the castle more than 900 years ago! Could it have returned?
The Man of Iron and his companion 'Navigator' were Autobots who came to Earth in search of Optimus Prime and the missing Ark crew. This story was also printed in the US comic to take the pressure on the team while they worked on the Headmasters series in 1987. It was re-coloured on that occasion by the Nel Yomtov but the poor soul was never credited. Overall a strange story which doesn't give much away as to what the Autobots and Decepticons are doing in England and why Jazz is interested in Sammy.
Strangely enough there is no editorial to explain where this story fits in so anyone buying the comic and expecting to find out what happened after the Last Stand would be thoroughly perplexed. The results of the 'design a Decepticon' competition are published in the centre pages and the is a Ravage lookalike called Night Stalker who has been drawn (rather well) by Jason Yeo aged 12. This character actually showed up in the 1985 Transformers annual and self destructed rather than allowing himself to fall into Autobot hands! I don't remember Jason getting credited though.