Transformers UK: Issue #140
Story: Used Autobots (part 2)
Back-up strip: Headmasters: Love and Steel (Part 3)
Cover date: November 21st, 1987
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Don Perlin/Frank Springer (story) Lee Sullivan (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
By Omega Steve
The Throttlebots need him but Blaster finds himself under arrest for rebelling against Grimlock's command!
Overhearing Big Steve's plan to have Rollbar scrapped, the other Throttlebots brake cover and transform in front of the startled human. He is initially terrified, and even offers to return... er exchange the car that he palmed off on to the unsuspecting family earlier! But Freeway tells him that all they want is to be refuelled and to be left alone until nightfall. Big Steve is relieved and agrees to the conditions. Blaster, speaking to Chase via internal radio, warns that humans often act out of self interest and they should be cautious. Sure enough Steve is about to pick up cans of gasoline when he remembers the flyer the police officers gave him earlier. It describes the Throttlebots and promises a $50,000 reward for each vehicle, payable by the United States government. The treacherous human can scarcely believe his luck and hatches a plan to refuel the Throttlebots with extra sugary soda rather than gasoline. He then places a call to Walter Barnett of Triple I and the trap is set.
By nightfall RAAT heavy artillery arrives with Barnett himself commanding the convoy. Blaster alerts his comrades and orders them to begin their evacuation. But the Throttlebots are unable to move thanks to Big Steve's act of sabotage. RAAT are just about to tow them away when the Combaticons come crashing into the yard and Onslaught declares that the Autobots are his to destroy. Hotspot begs to differ as he arrives from the opposite direction with his Protectobots. Both teams square up for a confrontation and Big Steve is horrified by the thought of what damage a battle could have on his yard. He steps in and suggests that they hold an auction, with the highest bidder taking home the Throttlebots!
As bizarre as it sounds each party seems to give the idea thought, and Blaster thinks this could be the diversion they need. He spies some cans of fuel in Big Steve's office and is about to bring them over when he spies Swindle sneakily aiming his gun at the human. Blaster leaps on to Swindle and throws the Combaticon into a parked car. A furious battle kicks off between the Protectobots and Swindles comrades and dozens of Big Steve's cars get trashed. Luckily Walter Barnett stuffs a cheque for $300,000 dollars in his hand, and RAAT load the Throttlebots on to a transporter truck and high-tail it away.
With Blaster's help the tide turns against the Combaticons and pretty soon Onslaught sounds their retreat. Big Steve's used car lot is ruined but at least he has his cheque - or does he? A zapping from Blaster's Electro Scrambler sees it disintegrate before the distraught human's eyes. Blaster tells him its bad enough he lost his friends saving Steve's life - he won't allow him to get rich off it! Turning to Hotspot, Blaster says he'll skip past thanking the Protectobots for showing up, as they need to get after RAAT while the trail is warm. Hotspot tells Blaster that he misunderstands the reason why they are there. Grimlock didn't send them to rescue Blaster, but to arrest him for desertion and to bring him back to the Ark for trial and execution!
A mission to rescue Lord Zarak turns into a trap when the Autobots discover that the Nebulans have joined forces with Scorponok!
Galen's jubilation at seeing his estranged love is quickly deflated when Llyra tells him that she has not changed her mind. She still thinks Galen has abandoned his principles and become a man of war monger, and because of this their love is a thing of the past. What brings her to to the Autobot base is not Galen, but a videomatrix that her father has managed to smuggle out to her. As it plays, Zarak's image fills the screen begging Galen to put aside their past differences and rescue him from Decepticon captivity. Galen, being the noble being he is, orders his men to leave immediately. The council and Llyra insist on going along as official observers. Before the startled eyes of the watching Nebulans, Galen's men transform into the heads of the Autobots and 'roll out' in the direction of the Decepticon base. Hours later they arrive, only to find Zarak and the other former captives, apparently free and dressed in suits of armour. Zarak informs them that the situation has changed dramatically since he sent the SOS, and proving the point six headless Decepticons stroll out. Zarak and his men transform and become their heads and the Autobots realise that they have walked into a trap.
A fierce battle ensues and it becomes apparent that Decepticon fighting skills have improved to the same degree experienced by the Autobot Headmasters. Watching from a hovering vessel the council watch the carnage in horror, and none more so than Llyra, who wonders what hope there can be for Galen after seeing him involved in this (Strangely she doesn't seem bothered that her father is involved too, and started the attack). Meanwhile Zarak, now part-Scorponok, experiences power the likes of which he could never have imagined. Plucking Brainstorm from the air he feels like he could rip him in two. But Fortress Maximus has other ideas, propelling Skullcruncher at the Decepticon.
Llyra's attitude towards Galen is nothing short of a disgrace. She asks for his help in rescuing her father, a risky undertaking to be sure, then complains when he's involved in the violence! What did she think he would do? Ask Scorponok politely to hand over his hostages? Then to completely rub it in its her father, Lord Zarak, who attacks first! Even the most biased of observers would have had a tough time pinning this one on Galen and this is his ex-love we're talking about. As usual for the comic it's the good guys who have come off worse and next issue we'll see how unjust things can get for Galen.
On the subject of things being unfair, what about Blaster's treatment at the end of Used Autobots? The Protectobots could have at least rescued their comrades from RAAT before making arrests. Sadly this is where Blaster and the Throttlebots go their separate ways, which is a shame because I was enjoying the exploits of this renegade team. A couple of nitpicks: if you look at the fight scene on page nine Vortex is twice as big as Streetwise, and on page 11 Blast-off is drawn out of proportion to Hotspot (who should be a lot bigger than him). The auction part was a bit silly - especially Onslaught saying he'd steal enough money to outbid the others - but thankfully it didn't go on long. I thought the cliffhanger ending is superb and defies any fan not to buy the next issue, while Big Steve is enjoyable as the archetypal swindling car salesman.