Transformers UK: Issue #133
Story: Headhunt (part 1)
Back-up strip: Headmasters: Ring of Hate (Part 4)
Cover date: October 3rd, 1987
Script: Simon Furman/Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Dan Reed/Frank Springer (story) Dave Gibbons (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Blot
By Omega Steve
The Decepticons have hired Death's Head to hunt down and destroy Rodimus Prime!
The planet Scarvix, Earth-date: 2007. The Terrorcon Blot pays a visit to Death's Head, hoping to talk the bounty hunter into assassinating Rodimus Prime. Word has reached the Decepticons that Prime recently cheated Death's Head out of the reward placed on Gavatron's head, and he'd been forced into an embarrassing climb-down when he returned to 2007 to face half of the Autobot army! The way Blot sees it this bounty hunter has plenty of reasons to want revenge - so why the lack of enthusiasm? The Decepticons offer safe passage to Cybertron and an opportunity for to get even by killing Prime. Death's Head explains that vengeance is all very well but it doesn't pay the bills - if the Decepticons want something doing they will have to stump up the cash. Blot mutters something about mercenaries being stubborn... and swiftly regrets it as he feels Death's Head's hand around his throat. 'Mercenary' is not a term he likes. Blot splurts out an offer quick time - kill Prime and the bounty hunter earns 10,000 Shanix. Death's Head agrees. At last the Decepticons are speaking a language he understands.
Meanwhile at the Autobot base on Cybertron, Rodimus Prime is weary. With both the Autobots and Decepticon armies so evenly matched these days the conflict has descended into guerrilla warfare. Neither faction is able to break the stalemate and it looks like hostilities could drag on indefinitely. Rodimus has been asked to carry out yet another inspection of the base's fortifications, something he really can't be bothered with. How he misses the simpler times, when as Hot Rod he had been free to enjoy life, free from the burdens of leadership. Whether on Cybertron or on Nebulos (with his target master companion Firebolt) he'd lived life to the full. The memory of Firebolt's death on Earth is still too painful to bear, but now Rodimus must put it to one side as he begins his tour of the trenches.
Elsewhere, at the Decepticon fortress on Cybertron Cyclonus and Scourge are incandescent with rage. They have learned that Shockwave has hired Death's Head for the assassination attempt on Rodimus Prime. It is no coincidence that this is the same bounty hunter who beat them to a pulp not so long ago, and obviously Shockwave has done it to annoy them. The Decepticon leader (seated on his throne) doesn't bother to deny it. These two seem to think because they were created by Unicron they are somehow superior, and they need to be taken down a peg or two. Cyclonus warns that if Galvatron were here... and Shockwave laughs pointing out that Galvatron is quite happy to stay in Earth's past leaving these two very much alone. Cyclonus and Scourge claim that they don't need Galvatron - the Decepticons will follow whoever rids them of Rodimus Prime - and once they've done it they'll be back for Shockwave! As they storm out the sounds of Shockwave's laughter echoes through the chamber and across Cybertron.
Back in the trenches Rodimus is getting jumpy. He thinks he's hearing noises but hopes it is just his imagination. He turns a corner and finds his two bodyguards missing. Suddenly an object is thrown at him from above. Prime dives for cover thinking it's a bomb, but there is no explosion. He looks up and sees it is the severed head of one of his men. The culprit is Death's Head, who now enters the fray and starts laying into Prime. The Autobot leader is a shadow of his former self and proves easy pickings for the bounty hunter. But before Death's Head can deliver a fatal blow the ground beneath them gives way, and both combatants fall into the sewer system below Cybertron. As a dazed Prime crawls on hands and knees Death's Head attaches his titanium shott blaster prosthetic and moves in for the kill shot. Nothing personal just business, yes? A few hours ago Rodimus Prime could not see an end to the war that was his life. Right at this moment an end is all he can see!
Fortress Maximus surrenders his head to the Nebulans in the name of peace!
The Autobots find themselves under attack by an armada of Nebulan war machines. Fortress Maximus knows that should they fight back any hopes of peaceful cohabitation with these people will be lost; much to the disgust of several of his followers (not least Kup) he signals a full retreat. Later in the relative safety of a dense Nebulan forest, tempers run high as the Autobots debate their next moves. It is clear that many share the sentiments earlier echoed by Kup and believe they must defend themselves. Their leader makes his case: they have come to Nebulos to escape war and he will not permit a return to it. Only the respect that each Autobot has for their commander prevents serious dissent, nevertheless something must be done to improve relations with the Nebulans.
Several days later, the capital Koraja is a city under siege. Huge boulders block the entry ways, while long-forgotten weapons have been freshly oiled and assembled along the perimeter walls. The architect of this action is Galen and he now wonders if he acted too hastily, perhaps he could have tried harder to understand these robots? Lord Zarak assures him that what he has done is necessary and that ultimately history will look kindly upon him. Galen is unaware that Zarak has thus far manipulated events in order to force the hostilities. Suddenly security chief Duros shouts a warning to Galen - the Autobots are approaching! Sure enough eleven mechanical giants, led by Fortress Maximus, walk to the city's edge. Zarak implores Galen to order the attack, but the Nebulan wants to hear the Autobots out first. Fortress Maximus speaks for them and declares his wish to live in peaceful harmony with the people of Nebulous. As a show of good faith each Autobot now disarms. Galen is not yet convinced (especially as Zarak tells him its a trick) and stands poised to order the attack. As a final gesture Fortress Maximus offers the Nebulans the most he has to give - his head - which he now detaches and places at his feet. Four others, Highbrow, Chromedome, Brainstorm and Hardhead follow their leader's example. Galen has seen enough, a moment's mistrust can destroy 10,000 years of peace. He pledges that his people will work with these robots and there will be no war today.
There are some confusing time connundrums going on this issue. Shockwave taunts Cyclonus and Scourge over Galvatron being happy to stay in Earth's past like it were a timeline running concurrently with 2007. Obviously 1987 is the past from 2007s point of view so if Galvatron went back there he should still be around in 2007 just 20 years older. The fact he isn't was confusing to me at the time and I put it down to plot convenience at the expense of the laws of physics. In Time Wars though, Galvatron is swallowed up by the rift and to all intents and purposes dies, so it is possible for him to not be around in 2007. However Shockwave, having participated in Time Wars, should have knowledge of those events. In the back-up strip we have the Autobots resorting to desperate measures in surrendering their heads to the Nebulans. The others hand over their weapons, so we can begin to see how their actions will lead to the birth of the headmasters and targetmasters. Lord Zarak seems determined to attack, regardless of what the Autobots say but Galen makes the final call. I'm not sure what if any political office he holds but he appears to be in a position of authority. We are simply told that he is the leader of the World Watchers.