Transformers UK: Issue #122
Story: Mechanical Difficulties (part 1)
Back-up strip: Iron Man
Cover date: July 18th, 1987
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Perlin/Atkin/Garvey/Yomtov (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Adam Hogg
The Mechanic escapes but its the end of the line for his trusty assistant Juan!
Confronted by Blaster and Goldbug, and now cut off by the police, the Mechanic picks up a tree using the stolen Power Booster Rod and swings it into the two Autobots - giving him time to jump inside the hijacked truck along with his partner Juan. Although on his knees, Blaster raises his Electro Scrambler to stop the accelerating truck in its tracks, but his aim is thrown as a police trooper blasts his arm with a rocket. The Mechanic would probably have been captured if not for the intervention of the Police, and as the Mechanic chuckles at the farcical scene he just left, Goldbug and Blaster have to carefully cross the icy road before taking up the pursuit (Juan iced it using the Cryogenic spray). Unfortunately, Detective Greco get a lucky shot on Goldbug's rear tire, and a short way up the road Blaster has to repair it - giving the Mechanic time to escape. The police fair even worse as they are unable to cross the icy road in their armoured vehicles.
A few hours later at the Mechanic's hideout, what appears to be every crime boss in America is assembled for a preview of his car improvement service. For just 50,000 dollars you to can have a car able to withstand any foreseeable Police action, is as armoured as a tank, and packs enough firepower to level a small city. The crime boss's are not likely to hand over their cash without a demonstration, and the Mechanic doesn't disappoint. Meanwhile outside, Goldbug and Blaster have tracked the Power Booster Rod to what looks like an abandoned factory, with Blaster staying put while Goldbug approaches the complex alone. Back inside, Juan notices the Gold Beetle approaching - it is not the sort of car one of the Mechanics clients would drive! Goldbug transforms and peers through a window, where inside the Mechanic is showing off a fleet of cars with all sorts of guns springing out from concealed hatches - he must be stopped!
A short distance from the complex, Blaster in his cassette deck mode notices a pair of Police Helicopters approaching - where inside, Detective Greco prepares a squadron of special forces troops (these are not RAAT troopers by the way). These are also picked up by the Mechanics radar (stolen from the airport last issue), and Juan contacts the Mechanic who is pleased that his vehicles will be given a full demonstration. The news of the Polices imminent arrival shocks Goldbug, who insists Blaster stop them from attacking. Goldbug will see what he can do on his own, and as the Police move in on the Mechanics hideout Blaster suddenly springs up from nowhere in front of them. Greco prepares his men to open fire, but Blaster places his weapon on the ground to try and hold a truce. Blaster explains that they are both here for the Mechanic, and warns that approaching the hideout would mean certain death. Greco has strict orders to destroy robots like Blaster, but Blaster has orders to destroy humans like him - but some orders are not meant to be followed, so what is the plan....
Meanwhile, Goldbug enters a small door at the rear of the factory, when he is suddenly hauled off the ground by a powerful electromagnet, and is now at Juan's mercy. Back at the front, Greco holding Blaster casually enters a small side door, and with music booming out he dances towards the stunned assembled Crime bosses(!!!!!). Suddenly he whips out his badge, and switching off Blaster is the signal for the Police troops to swarm the building. Blaster also transforms and sprays the Mechanics modified cars with his Electro scrambler. The defiant Mechanic activates the vehicles which promptly crash into each other, and with the Crime bosses being rounded up it is time to save Goldbug who is about to be disassembled. Suddenly the Mechanic hurls a car at some Police, forcing Blaster to save them instead while the Mechanic makes a quick getaway. Instead it is Greco who saves Goldbug, by arresting Juan they at least capture the master criminals sidekick.
Later, as some of the most wanted crime bosses in the country are rounded up, Greco thanks the two Autobots for their help, even if it did mean disobeying orders. Unfortunately the Mechanic escaped, and Blaster and Goldbug realise that their mission has ended in failure. Commander Grimlock will care little for the success achieved with the humans, but both Autobots agree that their are some orders that are not meant to followed. With the Ark behind them to the East, the pair speed off west...
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) this issue marks the Mechanic's last appearance, despite the unfinished business with the Autobot tools. The story was clearly left open for him to return (and it is even mentioned on the letters page that he will), but with the US book being monthly and the ongoing pressure to introduce characters Budiansky just never got time to do it. A UK story would have sufficed but this never happened either. Grimlock later seems more obsessed with capturing Blaster and Goldbug than the Mechanic! Still this is a good twist having two Autobots become deserters and fans will be intrigued to see how this one pans out.