Transformers UK: Issue #126
Story: The Cure (part 1)
Back-up strip: Iron Man of 2020
Cover date: August 15th, 1987
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Perlin/Atkin/Garvy/Yomtov (story) Lee Sullivan (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Rollbar, Chase, Freeway, Searchlight, Wide Load
Synopsis:By Adam Hogg
Goldbug is infected with Scraplets and Rollbar is determined to put him out of his misery!
The high number of Autobot raids on Cybertron's fuel depots is a major problem for the Decepticons, none more so than to their chief fuel auditor Ratbat. But right now there is something that bothers Ratbat even more, the possibility of the recent Scraplet infection on Earth spreading to Cybertron. Unwilling to risk anymore Decepticons getting infected, Ratbat's sets a trap to capture the next group of Autobots who dare to steal the Decepticon's precious fuel. The Throttlebots must realise it is not their day when during the next fuel raid, an entire Decepticon attack squadron shows up! The Autobots are naturally surprised when the end looks certain, but their lives are spared. The captured Throttlebots are just what Rabat is looking for.
At the Decepticon headquarters, Ratbat lets the Throttlebots view the urgent situation first hand. On the Earth/Cybertron video-link from inside the crashed space freighter, a heavily infected Astrotrain gives a bleak run down of the situation affecting him, the two other Decepticon Triple-changers, and their Autobot prisoner Blaster. Without the "Scraplet" cure, they will all die, putting the Decepticon's secret plan in jeopardy. After the link is cut, Ratbat dismisses this as insignificant compared to the possibility of an epidemic, and even questions the existence of the unbelievably rare "Cure". The Throttlebots mission is to travel to Earth and instead destroy all infected within a 10 hour time-limit - any later and destroying the Earth would be considered.
The Throttlebots soon arrive on Earth via the Space Bridge, where Chase discovers tracks leading away from the crater. Rollbar explains that whoever they belong to must be assumed to be infected, and so he and Wide Load transform into their new Earth modes and follow into the distance. Meanwhile, the Autobot Goldbug is the said Transformer who escaped from the crater along with his human scientist friend Charlie Fong (see UK#124). Goldbug is now so heavily infected that he is unable to move on his own, and so Charlie slowly pushes him across the Arizona wilderness in the burning afternoon sun. Goldbug pleads for them to return him to the crater to save Blaster (who believes he was abandoned). Charlie cannot go on any further, but suddenly he hears a car - it is a road, and a Blackrock filling station!
Charlie pushes Goldbug onto the forecourt, where one of the service station workers comes rushing over to give him a drink of water, accidentally splashing some on Goldbug. As Charlie watches in amazement, the wet Scraplets begin to rust and fall off dead. He dashes over to the hose pipe to get more water for Goldbug, but is thought to be delirious and restrained by the service staff - water is hard to come by out here and not to be wasted on wrecks. As they try to calm him, two familiar vehicles drive into the service station.
Wide Load and Rollbar Immediately recognise the infected target, and ignoring the fact that he is an Autobot they transform and prepare to dissolve him with the corrosive acid blaster given by Ratbat. Charlie tries to stop them, but it is no good and he shouts at Goldbug to move! Goldbug just manages to transform and jump out of the way, with the acid blast corroding the side of the petrol station. As they move in again, Charlie has to prove there is a cure, and throws some Scraplets at the shocked Wide Load.....
The first page of the UK version has been extended, if you look carefully you can see Rollbar's feet have been added later. On the first page we see an example of Cybertron's 'Earth culture' as the fuel storage section is helpfully signed in english. Just recently it seems that every Transformer on Cybertron has made their way to Earth and so it is with the Throttlebots this issue, joining the Triple Changers, Predacons, Insecticons, Decepticon jets and probably some I can't think of. At the moment Ratbat seems to be the only prominent Decepticon on the homeworld and even he will be packing and going soon. The idea of the Throttlebots as a gang of terrorists works well for me and I would have enjoyed seeing some back stories of their exploits. It's a nice twist having them ordered to destroy fellow Autobots and also that the cure should be something so common to Earth such as water. Surely though there is water of some kind on Cybertron? It certainly looks that way in the 1990 story Primal Scream!