Transformers UK: Issue #115
Story: Burning Sky (Part 1)
Back-up strip: The Inhumanoids
Cover date: May 30th, 1987
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Dan Reed (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Cindy Newell
By Omega Steve
Little does Magnus know that the quakes shaking him up are the work of his arch enemy Galvatron!
Earth, 1987. The Autobots' greatest warrior Ultra Magnus is searching for the Ark in no particular hurry. In the months since he was unexpectedly stranded on this alien world, he has been content to enjoy a welcome rest and the simple pleasures in life - such as the tranquillity of the night's sky. It is all a far cry from his former life on Cybertron and the constant burden of war. However, unbeknown to Magnus, his sabbatical is about to come to an abrupt end. A sudden a violent earth tremor shakes the landscape around him and sends the Autobot crashing to the ground. Nearby he hears the sounds of human voices calling for help. Magnus transforms and rushes to the scene.
Arriving at the scene approximately a kilometre away he finds a camper van laying on its side and two human females desperately trying to gain access. Magnus realises that a third woman is trapped inside - and with flames starting to take hold of the van - it looks like it might explode. He quickly intervenes to free the trapped human and shield her from the blast. Having saved the woman's life he is quickly accepted by the group, and in particular seems to strike up a close friendship with the female named Cindy Newell.
Shortly after, as Magnus gives the humans a lift, they tell him that they were on the way to see the distant volcano which has recently become active again. The mention of the word 'volcano' carries Magnus back to recent events on Cybertron and the death of his friend Impactor (during Operation:Volcano), something he will always feel responsible for. However, despite the bad omen he agrees to accompany the women to Mount Verona.
Skipping forward to Cybertron, twenty years hence, we see the Ultra Magnus of 2007 attempting to talk his leader out of timejumping. Rodimus Prime will not be swayed though, as far as he is concerned Galvatron and Death's Head are loose in Earth's past because of him and he must go back to make things right. Standing with Kup and Blurr he begins to timejump - but just as the process reaches a critical point Wreck Gar appears and attempts to tag along. An explosion results and, as the future Magnus clears his vision, he sees that all four are gone. He can only hope that the timejump was success.
Back in the past Ultra Magnus and the trio of humans are confronted by a raging forest fire. Cindy thinks that the tremors earlier, must have actually been an eruption, and it was most likely the lava that started this blaze. She is concerned that only the presence of the road is keeping it at bay and it could spread as soon as the wind picks up. Magnus is implored to create a firebreak by knocking down a row of trees, which he does. Strangely enough he can see no evidence that might account for the fire (which curiously rings the base of the volcano) and starts to think it may have been started deliberately to keep people out! Suddenly Cindy come running up to Magnus - the girls have done a terrible thing - they have been approached by another transformer and told him where to find Magnus. They hadn't noticed until it was too late that his badge was different. Magnus can only splurt "who Cindy who?" before the answer comes - in the shape of his greatest foe - Galvatron!
After the pace of the last two issues I can't help feeling that this instalment is a let down. The story is slow moving and nothing of great consequence happens until the arrival of Galvatron. Still it's good to see Ultra Magnus again and his friendship with Cindy could be an interesting dynamic. A couple of nit-picks: i) shouldn't Magnus be dangerously low on fuel after all of these months of wandering. We know that Transformers can't simply ingest Earth fuels without conversion, so he is either very fuel efficient or able to run on regular unleaded. ii) I can forgive his getting lost, but how come the Ark never picked up his life signs? If they had it might well have put a different dynamic on the succession process that followed Prime's death. iii) Why was Wreck Gar so desperate to tag along on Rodimus Prime's timejump, and wouldn't it have been simpler to just ask? iv) What happened to Prime's legs on page 11? They're totally out of proportion with his body and makes him the same height as Kup and Blurr.