Transformers UK: Issue #129

Story: Buster Witwicky and the Carwash of Doom! (part 2)
Back-up strip: Iron Man of 2020
Cover date: September 5th, 1987
Price: 32p
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Perlin/Fern/Yomtov (story) Robin Smith (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Adam Hogg

Buster battles the Decepticon Ratbat inside a hypnotic car wash!

Still in pursuit of his strangely acting Girlfriend, Buster follows her car into a Blackrock Fuel Depot - perhaps she has a night job she hadn't mentioned before? She then pulls up behind a queue of other cars, while Buster parks out of sight and watches her fill up her petrol tank before driving off again. He quickly pulls out to blocks her path, but Jessie doesn't seem to acknowledge him until he flashes his headlights - snapping her back into reality. Suddenly the Decepticon Laserbeak soars down and blasts at Buster's car, and with no chance of escape Buster will soon be cut to ribbons. On a hunch, he pulls up behind the queue of cars - he was right, Laserbeak was simply insisting he got in line. Buster keeps up the charade and promptly get out of his vehicle on his turn - and realises that it isn't a pump but in fact a siphon, drawing out petrol into a huge gas tank. Buster then climbs back into this car convinced that Laserbeak is none the wiser, where he is joined by Jessie who watched the whole thing. It would appear that the Decepticons are hypnotising people to travel here and empty their fuel into these huge storage tanks, and Jessie is shocked to learn that she too was hypnotised up until a few moments ago. Buster realises that they must leave and warn the Autobots when suddenly he spots his father among the sudden mass of vehicles now arriving. This changes everything, and he must learn what is going on right away - so the pair sprint up some steps to get a proper view.

From high above they can clearly see around 50 humans, all hypnotised and standing before Ratbat and G.B. Blackrock, who welcomes the gathering of Wash and Roll franchise owners ready to proceed onto the next phase of the operation - The Wash and Roll Mark 2! Whereas the original only had a temporary hypnosis effect, this model will have them under Ratbat's control forever!!! The crowd barely seem to acknowledge this as they all stare into space, while Buster realises that the Wash and Roll not only washes Cars, it washes brains too! Blackrock addresses one of the humans below, and unfortunatly it is Sparkplug Witwicky who now has the dubious honour of being the Mark 2's first customer. Buster must act right away, and after sending Jessie to drive off and find help, he speeds his own car and blocks his father from entering the Mark II.

The brainwashed humans soon surround him, leaving Buster no choice but to flee into the Wash and Roll - with Ratbat right after him. Ratbat then jumps onto Buster's bonnet, and tearing through it he drain the cars fuel - and now to see what Fleshling fuel tastes like as he smashes through the windscreen. Buster rolls out of the door while covering his eyes from the constant glare, and also gripping a tyre iron. The light is beginning to get a hold on Buster's brain as Ratbat lifts the human off the ground, when suddenly Buster kicks out at a water pipe, splashing Ratbat in the face who promptly releases him (Ratbat must really hate water up his nose huh!). Ratbat recovers and blocks the exit as Buster raises the tyre iron to try and delay the inevitable, when suddenly Jessie come speeding in and crashing into Ratbat. She couldn't leave Buster to face this monster alone, and while Ratbat lies dazed, Buster jumps onto the roof as the car speeds out. Buster tells her that there is no time to call the Autobots, this must be ended now.

Jessie pulls up outside, allowing Buster to climb up the side of the Car Wash, while the hypnotised Blackrock now commands the other humans to close in on the terrified Jessie. Buster smashes the neon Car Wash sign with a throw of the iron, filling the area with a huge flash, and bringing all those hypnotised back into reality. Blackrock immediately recognises the Decepticons as Laserbeak and Ratbat move in on Buster, and the crowd bombard the pair with spanners and such - before the Decepticons make a hasty retreat.

Eventually Buster and Jesse explain to the crowd what had happened to them, and Blackrock thanks them from saving them all from a life of pumping gas for the Decepticons - not the most desirable career. Blackrock vows to dismantle all the Wash and Rolls, while Sparkplug admits that pumping gas isn't a good career either - and promises that Buster will have a lot more free time from now on. Sparkplug explains that he would rather be a struggling mechanic than a rich zombie like the last few months. Jessie had also lost her memories of the last few hours, but remembers where they left off as she gives Buster a big snog.

******

Comments:

We learn in this issue (if you hadn't already guessed), that the Wash and Roll was Ratbat's secret Cargo featured prominently during "Crater Critters" UK#123-124). The Car Wash of Doom is definitely one of the sillier examples of Bob Budiansky's work, but I would never go as far to rate this as the worst story. Basically anything centring around a hypnotising Car Wash sounds dubious, but there are other points too. Ratbat's plan is a very strange one, and seems very inefficient compared to just stealing the oil directly as per Shockwave's plan. The only justifiable reason for the laborious process of stealing gasoline from drivers must simply be down to its discreteness, but then you can only wonder how long people would take to notice their partners constantly staring into space and going on late night drives - very weird!! Sparkplug gives his first name in this issue as "Irving", although during UK#5 he was named as William.

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