Transformers UK: Issue #128
Story: Buster Witwicky and the Carwash of Doom! (part 1)
Back-up strip: Iron Man of 2020
Cover date: August 29th, 1987
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Perlin/Fern/Yomtov (story) David Hine/John Burns (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Adam Hogg
Jessie succumbs to the hypnotic effects of the Carwash of Doom!
On an oil tanker somewhere in the Caribbean Sea, it's crew flee in terror as the Decepticons strike. Within minutes the huge vessel is seized, and after the crew members are rounded up, Bombshell hits one with a mind-controlling Cerebro Shell. The sailor immediately directs him towards the control room without question, where inside Shrapnel seizes control before informing Ramjet that the humans are no longer required - and as the ship disappears into the distance, the huddled crew drift away their dinghy's (G.B. Blackrock mentioned back in UK#123 that attacks on Oil Tankers in the Caribbean have been a regular occurrence).
A few hours later and the ship anchors off a small uncharted island, or rather the Decepticon's undersea base which is concealed below. Two figures fly to meet the captured tanker, they are Decepticon commander Shockwave, and the newly arrived from Cybertron, Fuel Auditor Ratbat. Shockwave is pleased that the display went efficiently to plan under Ratbat's scrutiny, but he is about to get a nasty shock as Ratbat digs his fangs into a pipe line - the tanker is empty!!!! Shockwave reels with disgust at his warriors, the tanker had already delivered its cargo, and while Ratbat calculates the efficiency report, it becomes clear that even if they lick the tanker walls this has become a very costly operation (lick?, Shockwave hasn't even got a mouth!). Ratbat insists that commander Shockwave learn from this experience, and perhaps make more use of the planets natives! Shockwave however believes that humans are unpredictable, and warns Ratbat not to bother with them - but Ratbat reveals that he is already is...
Back on the mainland, all the way over in Portland, Oregon, business is booming at Sparkplug Witwicky's garage - much to the chagrin of his son Buster. The queue which has formed in the forecourt owes much to the new fabled Wash and Roll Car Wash, and as Witwicky senior arrives to take over filling the customers, he mentions that he also wants to fill his own cars tank - very strange thinks Buster as the tank was only filled an hour ago. Suddenly Buster's girlfriend Jessie rides in on her bike inviting Buster to join her for a soda, but he is forced to decline as another customer pulls up at the Wash and Roll. In the meantime Buster shows her the local paper revealing a feared fuel shortage in the north west, and so along with the extra business, he doesn't seem to have time to do anything anymore. Buster is bored, but Jessie reminds him that nothing could seem exciting after all the adventures he had with the Autobots. Buster accepts, but has since promised not to get involved with the Autobots for his dads health's sake (Sparkplug suffered a heart attack back in UK#7 due to stress).
Meanwhile Downtown at the corporate Headquarters of Blackrock enterprises, G.B. Blackrock holds a press conference to reveal the success of the Wash and Roll - the "cleansing experience for both car and driver"!! A reporter is intrigued as to why Blackrock has moved into this strange market, and Blackrock explains that he takes pride in exploring new technology's - no more so than in the revealed Wash and Roll Mark 2!! After a few more question the press vacate the premises - as apparently does Blackrock's mind... The blank looking executive returns to his office and removes a tiny cassette from his inside pocket, which transforms into the fearsome form of Ratbat - his plan working perfectly.
Later that night, and Buster is sweeping up the forecourt when a final customer pulls up - Jessie! Her brother's car needed a wash, and Buster reluctantly accepts her invitation to join her through the Wash and Roll! As the car slowly moves through, various flashing lights and heavy metal music blaze out, but Buster doesn't share Jessie's excitement. Of course Buster spends every day at this place, and so she decides to cheer him up another way - i.e. jumping on him! Buster is quickly cheering up when a sudden light flashes into Jessie's eyes, and the effect is instant. As the cycle soon finishes, Jessie tells Buster to quickly leave, and staring vacantly she ignores all of Buster's questions before driving off. Buster is confused and rushes towards his dads car to take up the tail. An hour later and Buster is none the wiser as she turns off the highway ahead, and enters a Blackrock fuel depot...
The now infamous Car Wash of Doom is admittedly not one of the best examples of the Transformers comic book series, which is a shame seeing as it sees the return of Buster, Jessie and Sparkplug, who US readers haven't seen since way back around "Prime Time" UK#39-40. I am not sure if it's deliberate, but Buster does look slightly older these days, and seeing as he was a 17 year-old student back in 1984 then he is potentially 20 these days (and graduated?). It's odd to think that an operation run by the calculating Shockwave could be incompetent, but his warriors somehow manage to show him up during Ratbat's visit! Mind you not that he can talk with this ropey scheme to hypnotise people into filling up their tanks and delivering the fuel to the Decepticons. Why not capture a rig or demand fuel in return for not destroying a city or something?