Transformers UK: Issue #136
Story: Grudge Match (part 2)
Back-up strip: Headmasters: Broken Glass (Part 3)
Cover date: October 24th, 1987
Script: Simon Furman/Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Jeff Anderson/Frank Springer (story) Robin Smith (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
By Omega Steve
Divebomb's plan to embarrass Swoop doesn't go as well as he hoped!
"Strike three!" Swoop reels from a heavy punch inflicted by Razorclaw, the Predacons are having fun before they kill him. He reflects on how he got into his current predicament. Twice on Cybertron he'd tussled with Divebomb - a Decepticon who stole his name - then when he found out his archenemy can come to Earth as part of the Predacons, Swoop went looking for revenge. He thinks he might have beaten Divebomb this time, at least in a fair fight, but the other Predacons had shown up and started laying into him. Strangely though, Divebomb himself had wanted no part in the beating. Swoop consoles himself that at least it will all be over soon, and he need no longer live with the shame of what happened that day he went looking to reclaim his name... "Scratch that" - the Dinobots have arrived, and things have are about to get a whole lot worse!
Grimlock speaks for them, declaring that his team look after their own, and backs it up with a swift kick that floors Razorclaw. Slag and Snarl waste no time in squaring up to Headstrong and Tantrum with explosive results! Divebomb approaches Swoop to taunts him they he may decide to reveal the truth of what happened long ago on Cybertron. Swoop had always told his colleagues that he killed Divebomb in that original battle, and avenged the insult. In fact he had to be saved by the commander he hated with a passion - Optimus Prime - and though Prime had never spoken of it, Swoop's shame was complete. Now with the Autobot leader dead the only other Transformer who knows the truth is Divebomb - and Swoop is determined to kill him before he can tell.
Meanwhile Grimlock seems to be making light work of Razorclaw, and the rest of his team aren't faring too bad either. Slag is just softening Tantrum up before exposing him to his fiery breath - while Headstrong is finding out just how powerful Snarl's tail is. Rampage may seem to have got the better of Sludge, but this is one Dinobot who is too stupid to admit defeat. Grimlock reckons he'll soon wear his opponent down.
Swoop on the other hand appears to be coming off the worse (again) in his latest battle with Divebomb. Basically the Decepticon is just faster and stronger and always has been. Swoop needs to be sneaky if he wants to ensure his opponent's death - and seeing Grimlock standing triumphant over Razorclaw - he thinks he knows how. Placing himself in line with Grimlock, Swoop waits until Divebomb unleashes a missile - and quickly ducks out of the way, allowing it to explode near his comrade. The Dinobot leader takes the bait and thinks that Divebomb is chancing his luck against two opponents. He quickly picks up Razorclaw's sword and clips the flying Predacon's wings causing him to hit the ground hard. Swoop transforms and lands, sinking to his knees. Soon Grimlock will kill his adversary and the secret will be safe - but is that what he really wants? To carry on living with the deceit?
Divebomb attempts to save his skin by offering Grimlock the truth about Swoop. Grimlock listens attentively and then throws Divebomb to the ground before hauling a huge boulder in the air. He tells the Predacon that he already knows the story - and has done since he became Autobot commander and had access to Prime's files - but Divebomb obviously wasn't listening when he said earlier that 'Dinobots look after their own'! Divebomb cowers under his wings awaiting the fatal blow, when Swoop suddenly intervenes. He implores Grimlock to spare the Decepticon, as it's time Swoop stopped letting others fight his battles. Grimlock reluctantly agrees and pretty soon the Predacons are making a humiliating retreat. Swoop decides it's time to come clean and tell his colleagues about a certain battle on Cybertron...
While closeby, the Predacons are smarting from their defeat. Razorclaw offers Divebomb a weapon and suggests that he take out Swoop and scarper. Divebomb declines: "where's the fun in that?" He tells Razorclaw that he is finally starting to have fun, and it would be a shame to finish it too quickly. You see his playmate is back, and this is one game Divebomb intends to win in his own time!
With their capital under Decepticon attack the Nebulans try to remote control the captured Autobots' bodies.
Galen is woken in the early hours by security chief Duros who tells him 'the robots are attacking'! Disbelieving, he quickly gets dressed and rushes outside, where he sees a group of agressive Transformers that are clearly not part of Fortress Maximus' team. The leader of the invaders announces himself as Scorponok and orders the Autobots to be turned over or the city will be destroyed. The Nebulans fight back as Galen, Duros and Gort rush to see Fortress Maximus. The Autobot leader tells Galen he would happily surrender if it would do any good, but Scorponok would only interpret this as weakness and attack anyway. Galen agrees, but doesn't know to combat the threat. Efforts to control the Autobots' bodies remotely fail, and the only other option is to reconnect the Autobots heads with their bodies, something Galen promised the Nebulan people he would not do. Fortress Maximus suggests another possibility: Nebulans could merge with the Autobots and become the masters of their bodies!
Arcana, an expert in bio-engineering is summoned, and devises a plan to allow the Nebulans to become the heads of the Autobots. Five volunteers are needed and Gort, Duros, Stylor, Galen and Arcana himself, put themselves forward. Joints are replaced, bones are reinforced, armour plates are attached and hours later the operation is complete. Now more than Nebulans, but less than Autobots, the five begin to rise and transform into the heads of the Autobots. Each robotic body attaches the appropriate head and thus the Autobot Headmasters are born!
Once again the artist Frank Springer is having a nightmare, on the first page we have Slugslinger drawn like his weapon figure Caliburst, Mindwipe is drawn as Misfire (and transforms into Misfires plane mode), and our unknown friend Krunix (see last issue) makes another appearance as a 30 foot tall Nightstick. Later, Stylor is drawn as a mini Chromedome (definitely a mini-me), and on the last page Fortress Maximus has Cerebros' head instead of his own, even though we saw the proper Fort Max head speak pages earlier. Whatever the reason, this level of mix-ups is shockingly poor!! Scorponok's small scout figure Fasttrack makes an appearance this issue.
A decent showdown between the Dinobots and the Predacons that won't have disappointed the many readers that had been calling for it. It's only fair that Swoop and Divebomb should be centre stage (trouble is whenever Swoop takes the spotlight he's getting beaten up by someone whether Guardian, Megatron or Divebomb). The mix of action and personal relationships in the story lends it an added dimension and Divebomb's love/hate relationship with Swoop is an interesting one. We get the idea he wouldn't really want to see the Dinobot destroyed because he enjoys their battles too much. But Grimlock also shows qualities that we rarely see in him, especially in the US stories, such as loyalty and discretion. He found out about Swoop's shame ages ago but he is a friend and ally and these things are more important to the Dinobot (and Autobot) leader.