Transformers UK: Issue #131
Story: Worlds Apart (part 2)
Back-up strip: Headmasters: Ring of Hate (Part 2)
Cover date: September 19th, 1987
Script: Simon Furman/Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Will Simpson/Frank Springer (story) Lee Sullivan (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Peacemaker, Pinpointer, Spoilsport, Scattershot, Afterburner, Repugnus, Grotesque, Doublecross, Marita, Lord Zarak
By Omega Steve
The Autobot Headmasters have walked into Scorponok's trap!
For the Autobot Headmasters Chromedome, Hardhead, Brainstorm and Highbrow, Nebulos is a new and decidedly different world - but with the same old problems - Decepticons! The quartet now finds themselves in the clutches of Scorponok and desperately outnumbered, as five heavily armed Target Masters also enter. Scorponok confesses he had doubted the Autobots would make it this far, but now that they have he has need of one of them to dissect. The unlucky victim is Highbrow, who Scorponok seizes in his pinchers and carries away, leaving the Target Masters to dispose of the others. The three remaining Autobots decide to call on reinforcements and release the Autobot Target Masters (Sureshot, Pointblank, Crosshairs and their Nebulan companions) from their bonds. With the numbers evened up a fierce battle ensues.
Meanwhile Scorponok carries home his prize - soon he will extract Highbrow's secrets and perfect the Decepticon Headmaster process. But he is somewhat disappointed that the Autobot is not putting up any sort of a fight - that would be so much more satisfying. When Highbrow speaks it is with two voices that contradict one another. Highbrow the Transformer wants to fight but his Nebulan component Gort is consumed by fear and doubt. The resulting warrior is unable to function. Scorponok discards his victim and sneers at him, what a joke he is! It is clear that Highbrow is far from a perfect specimen of a Headmaster and is of no use to Scorponok.
A quick flashback to the battle sees the Autobots making light work of their Decepticon opponents - and with Cyclonus and Scourge also disposed of, Chromedome sets off to rescue Highbrow. Scorponok transforms into his robot mode. If nothing else Highbrow's example has shown him that the Headmaster process itself is sound, but the problem lies in the pairing. Highbrow and Gort are simply not compatible. The young Nebulan is cheerful and brash while the Autobot is cerebral and considers himself too good for his alter-ego. Now both of them will die at the hands of Scorponok!
But before the huge Decepticon can finish off his pathetic victim Chromedome arrives and gives battle. Scorponok is more than a match for him and the Autobot calls to Highbrow and Gort to help him. Gort, having believed Scorponok's appraisal of his and Highbrow's compatibility (or lack of), doesn't think he and Highbrow can function together, but Chromedome won't hear of it. As he fights he tells Gort how he and Stylor are very different but the Autobot cause is what unites them. Gort is encouraged and bonds with Highbrow. As one, they fight with renewed vigour and Scorponok is taken by surprise. He decides to flee and to plan anew, calling the other Decepticons to his side. Finally it seems that Highbrow and Gort have found some common ground with which to move forward. Though they are worlds apart in their thinking they know that united they can be a force for truth and justice. And that, says Highbrow, is what being a Headmaster is all about.
Fortress Maximus is leaving for Nebulos with or without his Autobots.
Inside the secret Autobot headquarters in Cybertron's Manganese Mountains, Fortress Maximus tells his followers of his plan to escape the war. He has observed the peaceful planet of Nebulous for many decades and believes he (and any others willing to leave) can make a fresh start there. Hardhead argues that to leave Cybertron would be an act of cowardice but his leader's mind is made up. He tells the others that he is leaving with or without them. In the days that follow the Autobots devote their efforts into constructing a spacecraft that will carry them to Nebulos. When it is finished Autobots from across Cybertron flock to this new Ark to be part of the exodus. Among them are the Technobots and Monsterbots (Repugnus, Doublecross and Grotesque) who supplement Fort Max's existing crew.
When preparations are complete the starship Steelhaven blasts off and leaves Cybertron behind - perhaps forever. When finally they arrive at their new home the Autobots waste no time in disembarking and journeying to the planet's surface. There they find a lush paradise and the perfect place to find the peace they all crave. However things all depend on the native Nebulans accepting them, and Highbrow is dispatched to find the leaders of Nebulos and open a dialog. Instead he finds the Nebulan youth Gort, and his girlfriend, kissing. The pair are startled by the giant robot before them and Gort slips and injures himself on a rock. Highbrow can only apologise and insist he meant know harm. He leaves a communication device with Gort's girlfriend Marita and offers his hopes that her companion can be repaired. Word of the Transformers' arrival spreads like wildfire and the next day Nebulos' ruling council of peers meets in the capital Koraja to discuss it's response. One of them, Lord Zarak, argues that the planet must arm itself and crush this threat. Though at peace for 10,000 years the others seem ready to accept his proposed course of action.
This part of "Ring of Hate" accounts for many other unfeatured characters leaving Cybertron, and who wont be featured for a while either. The regular Autobot Powermasters (Joyride, Slapdash, and Getaway), as well as the six Autobot Pretender's must all be included amongst those who depart to Nebulos, although it is still a bit sloppy when they pop up from nowhere during future issues involving this bunch of characters. There is certainly no shortage of unidentified characters who take the trip anyway, and so that is who they are!
The Decepticon Headmasters were introduced last time and this issue is the turn of the Targetmasters. Generally these characters always play second fiddle to the more popular Headmasters so it is nice to see them in action. Regular readers may wonder how Cyclonus and Scourge have come to be Targetmasters when they are supposed to be residing in the year 2007. The answer is revealed in the up-coming story The Legacy of Unicron (UK#146-151).