Transformers UK: Issue #141
Story: Child's Play (part 1)
Back-up strip: Headmasters: Love and Steel (Part 4)
Cover date: November 28th, 1987
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Don Perlin/Frank Springer (story) Lee Sullivan (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Sammy, Robin, Allen, Jed (the Space Hikers)
By Omega Steve
As the Protectobots and Combaticons square up, a human child finds the mode-locked Blaster
A rail yard somewhere in northern California, and a young boy named Sammy jumps in the air and collapses spectacularly as Jed blasts at him from high up from on a stationary freight car. With Sammy still feigning his death, Jed now joined by two more children, Allen and Robin, rush over to inspect their prisoner. Seeing as he is dead how about they finally go home whines Robin, forcing Sammy to stop the play acting and wonder why Jed's younger sister had to come along and ruin their game anyway. Jed insists that it was either bring her or baby-sit, while Allen thinks Sammy is only moaning because he is losing. Allen and Sammy square up while Jed climbs back onto the truck and spots a Police car approaching - they had better scram.
As the four kids watch, the Police car seems to be leading a Fire engine and an Ambulance past, while above them is also a Helicopter - they are the Protectobots. Returning to the Ark after the events of last issue, Streetwise is contacted by Wheeljack regarding the apprehension of the Autobot rebel Blaster. Now stuck in his Cassette deck disguise by a "Mode Lock", Blaster is clamped to Groove who sits inside First Aid, and seems to have little chance of escaping the punishment that Grimlock will be preparing for him. Grimlock listens nearby as Wheeljack is told that the six other Autobots with Blaster (the Throttlebots) where captured by human forces last issue (RAAT). Grimlock fumes down the communicator for them to hurry up regardless, the Ark is repaired and will be departing as soon as they have enough Energon fuel. Even if Blaster could escape, the Mode Lock can be tracked anywhere within 50,000 miles - but silently the Autobot's prisoner doesn't give up hope of a way to escape...
Meanwhile in the air, Blades spots tanks treads in the vicinity, and the Protectobots agree that the Combaticons are probably preparing an ambush after smarting from last issues defeat. Groove is told to put Blaster somewhere safe while they meet the threat, and as the unmanned motorcycle jumps out of First Aid, Jed witnesses the bizarre site as Groove speeds past him. Jed convinces his friends to follow in the bike's direction, while Groove meanwhile has deposited Blaster in a small open water pipe.
A mile away, Brawl and Swindle wait in a train repair shed as Vortex spots the Protectobots approaching. High above the Earth, Blast Off speeds to join the scene as Onslaught signals the attack. Brawl and Swindle smash through the shed to confront the Protectobots, with Blades firing a missile at Vortex which the Decepticon expertly avoids. The four kids are startled by the distant explosion when suddenly Sammy notices Blaster, and rushes over to inspect. Blaster realises his situation is desperate and immediately asks the shocked human to help him, sending Sammy running to tell he found a talking cassette deck!! Jed isn't impressed, and as the pair square up Robin decides to investigate herself. She returns holding Blaster, and Sammy is proved right as Blaster warns them to leave.
Meanwhile the battle is hotting up as the Combaticons merge to form Bruticus, while the Protectobots meet the threat by combining into the equally huge Defensor. Bruticus effortlessly hurls a massive Rail cart towards Defensor, who just manages to avoid it as it soars through the air and crashes a mile away - about 10 or so meters away from the shocked kids. They don't believe what they just saw, and Robin thinks that perhaps they should now go home!!!
Zarak has defeated his hated rival thanks to the power of Scorponok!
As the Autobot and Decepticon Headmasters do battle, the craft carrying the council observers is hit and goes down. The frightened group of Nebulans (including Zarak's daughter Llyra) crawls out through a tear in the hull, presenting Mindwipe with an opportunity. He uses his hypnotic gaze to mesmerise Llyra and get her to lead the Nebulans into the Decepticon base. Once in there they fall foul of Mindwipe's machine and become trapped in bubbles which float towards the ceiling. Scorponok tears a whole in the roof allowing them to escape - knowing that their peril will distract the Autobots. But Scorponok is shocked to see 'his daughter' trapped in one of the bubbles, and has to remind himself that Llyra is Zarak's relation, while he is Scorponok the supreme leader of the Decepticons. There is no time for such trivialities when he has a world within his grasp.
Fortress Maximus though, is horrified to see the woman he loves (or rather Galen loves) being imperilled. He orders the Autobots to shoot the bubbles while taking care not to harm the people, and Brainstorm catches them as they fall. This allows the Decepticons to transform - and as Fortress Maximus sets Llyra down, Scorponok's crew open fire and defeat the Autobots. Their huge bodies crash to the ground and heads detach and revert to Nebulan forms. The Decepticon heads transform, and Zarak takes pleasure from the defeat of his hated foe Galen. The call of his daughter distracts him and he remembers the danger he placed her in - can she ever forgive him? But Llyra is still in a daze from Mindwipe's hypnosis and remembers the Autobots shooting at them but not much else. She throws her arms around her father and is delighted to see that he is safe. Zarak compounds the lie and pretends that his Decepticons rescued them all - vowing that Galen will never threaten Nebulos again.
In case you were wondering why this issue reprints material from US#35 instead of US#33, it is because the US comic suspended its stories for two months while it featured the UK story Man of Iron. This gave the staff a chance to go flat out on the Headmasters mini series which has appeared as the back-up strip since UK#130. Coincidentally this story and Man of Iron both feature boys called Sammy who help the Autobots, Blaster in the case of this story. The Ark has been under repair for a long time but progress has been made under Grimlock (it would seem has better methods of motivating the workers) and the craft is ready to fly again. At least now we know what the Autobots were doing during the period of Grimlock's tyrannical reign, because they weren't out battling Decepticons, although some were looking for Blaster and Goldbug! Luckily the Decepticons have been quite idle as well with a hypnotising car wash the height of their global masterplans of late! Meanwhile in Headmasters, Zarak's victory seems to have come at a price because he came very close to losing his daughter. Luckily for him she is too confused to realise what actually happened and pins the blame on Galen!