Transformers UK: Issue #107

Story: Gone But Not Forgotten! (Part 1)
Back-up strip: The Inhumanoids
Cover date: April 4th, 1987
Price: 32p
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Don Perlin (story) Dave Hine/Robin Bouttell (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Adam Hogg

Prime's death has sent Megatron over the edge and the careless Brawl falls foul of his unstable leader!

In times past great cattle drives have moved across the powder river basin of Eastern Wyoming. These were replaced by stampedes of miners seeking their fortune from the plentiful supplies of coal. Today a drive of an entirely different kind is taking place - the US Army is advancing and its goal is not food or mineral wealth - but war! Directing the convoy is the senior Triple I agent Walter Barnett. In the past environmental concerns have prevented the US government from striking at the Decepticon's coal mine base, but things have changed.

Within a specially converted cave deep inside the pit Soundwave contacts the Decepticons on Cybertron with an update on their plans. They will shortly be abandoning the mine and moving to a remote island off the Florida Keys - from there they can begin siphoning the power of the sea using the Hydrothermocline technology stolen last issue. Shockwave comments that Megatron has become increasingly remote since the death of Optimus Prime, as Laserbeak flies in squawking loudly about the imminent 'fleshling' attack. Shockwave decides that whatever Megatron's current mental state, he still commands the Decepticons and must be informed immediately. He rushes news of the threat to his leader and finds Megatron curiously disinterested; "Only Optimus Prime concerns me..." he says. Megatron recalls the battle with the Autobot leader (last issue). They had fought in the computer generated realm of Multi-World and he had cheated. As a consequence Prime was forced to abandon his principles to win and decided that his life had to be forfeit. Megatron had watched as the foe he had yearned to destroy was blown apart... by a human!! Had Megatron realised that Ethan Zachary had copied Prime's mind on to a disk he might have been very disturbed indeed.

As it is Megatron is paranoid that Prime will return and Brawl unwisely tries to bring his boss to his senses. He reminds Megatron that Prime clearly died in the lab and everyone saw it. In an instant Megatron is on his feet and wrapping his mighty hands around the Combaticon's head - how can he be sure that Prime is dead, he tells him? Did he feel the smooth steel of Prime's neck and squeeze until there was no longer any reason to? (As Megatron rants he illustrates his point by crushing Brawl's head and throwing his body against the cliff-face). The root of his anxiety is clear when he cries "I waited 4,000,000 years to destroy Optimus Prime and a fleshling does it for me!". This he simply cannot except and has somehow convinced himself that Prime's death must have been a trick. Shockwave decides to stoke the fires a bit, and suggests that since Prime died as a result of a computer game, perhaps his demise was computer simulated too? Megatron mulls it over and erupts with savage fury, firing his fusion cannon is all directions! Prime lives and he is coming!! But Megatron will leave nothing left of the base for the Autobot leader to take! All the while the US Army is taking the fall out from Megatron's blasts and decides to beat a retreat - clearly these 'robots' are more powerful than first believed.

As the time approaches for the Decepticons to move base, Megatron orders his warriors to assemble and transform, as he himself boards Deadend. The convoy moves out while Shockwave remains within the communications cave and contacts the Predacon leader Razorclaw (on Cybertron). He transmits details of a new plan; once again the Predacons are to travel to Earth and hunt Megatron. But this time the odds will be in their favour because the Decepticon commander is deranged and has lost all recollection of his last encounter with the elite cadre. As Shockwave jets away to Florida he is content that all the pieces of his plan are falling into place.

Meanwhile on the open highway Megatron spies a red truck approaching. He leaps from Deadend and Transforms, blasting the vehicle to bits. A human driver flees from the explosion and boxes of fruit fall out of the trailer. It becomes clear (even to Megatron) that this is an ordinary truck and not Prime. Megatron tells Deadend that had it been Prime he would now be dead... and it is only a matter of time before death comes for Optimus Prime! He shrinks to gun mode, boards Deadend, and the Stunticon speeds away.

******

Comments:

By Steve Bax

There's a great irony this issue: Prime is dead and the Transformer who misses him most seems to be his greatest enemy Megatron. Like all great nemeses of fiction they ultimately have a respect for one another, and Megatron clearly sees Prime as the one opponent worthy of him. So where does he go from now and how can he come to terms with the fact that a mere human has succeeded where for four million years, he repeatedly failed?

Making matters worse of course is the fact that Megatron has recently had to repel a mental attack from Lord Straxus (who tried to take over his mind in issue 103). Not the most stable of Decepticons at any time, this has unhinged Megatron a good deal further, and Prime's death has finally sent him over the edge. No-one finds this out more clearly than Brawl, who will most likely be keeping his big mouth in check more after this issue. I'm slightly unsure as to what medical attention Brawl receives this issue because we never see evidence of any Decepticon surgeons, but as is sometimes suggested on newsgroups, it could be the job of the Constructicons to repair the fallen (wild guess here). In any case Brawl turns up none the worse for wear in issue 137.

Recent UK stories Prey (96-97) and Resurrection (103-104) have carried the themes of a Predacon attack, Prime's death and Megatron's precarious mental state. Clearly the inspiration for this mini-epic from Simon Furman was the events of Afterdeath! and Gone But Not Forgotten!, both written by US writer Bob Budiansky. Although there is slight deja vu between the UK and US stories - and the incident with Megatron losing all memory of the earlier Predacon attack seems sloppy - by and large both tales fit together well. A couple of panels on page eleven have been altered to take into account the recent history between the Predacons and Megatron. For US readers of course, this will have been the Predacon's first appearance.

Once again we see Transformers effortlessly travelling thousands of miles by road or foot. I'm of course talking about the epic journey from Wyoming to Florida that is accomplished in no time at all (in 101 Skids and co walk it from New Jersey to the West). It would surely have been easier to travel by shuttlecraft of some kind, although that might have left little room for incident on the journey. Also it's strange why the US army is advancing on the ground when, surely, it would have been so much easier to obliterate the Decepticon base from the air?

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