Transformers UK: Issue #42
Story: Crisis of Command (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Machine Man
Cover date: 4th Jan, 1986
Script: Mike Collins
Artwork: Geoff Senior (story) Will Simpson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
By Omega Steve
There is unrest in the Autobot camp as Prowl and others propose drastic ideas to 'wipe-out' the Decepticon threat!
With the Decepticons leaderless and outnumbered there has never been a better opportunity for the Autobots to gain an advantage in the centuries-old war. But within the Ark's inner sanctum a heated debate about how best to proceed is threatening to turn comrades against one another. Prowl and his hawkish followers believe the Matrix must be used to create an army of super soldiers to seek out and destroy the enemy, but doves lining up behind Jazz argue that this is 'Decepticon thinking' and they cannot go down that route. As tempers flare, Optimus seems a world away, lost in his thoughts and unwilling to stop the anarchy in its tracks. Ratchet tells him the Autobots need guidence and finally Prime rises to his feet. He gives Prowl a chance to explain his ideas and then rules out the idea: the price Earth would pay for the destruction wreaked by super warriors would be cataclysmic, and besides the Autobots' sacred life force should not be used to destroy! In the shadows the Decepticon spy Ravage is fascinated by the discontent, particularly as some Autobots are starting to doubt their leader, and he is certain the situation could be turned to the Decepticons' advantage.
As Prime seeks the solitude of his private chambers and reviews recent traumatic events in his mind, from the defeat by Shockwave to his being forced to submit the Matrix to be plundered. He heard the dissent after he had spoken and that had never happened before: perhaps he is no longer fit to command? Ravage decides to make his move and trips an alarm. He fires a missile at a gathering of Autobots and makes a break for the outside. Differences are quickly put aside as the Autobots unite against their common foe, and Mirage tricks the spy into wasting his remaining missile with an illusion, while Hound captures him in an energy net. On a cliff high above, Laserbeak observes Ravage's capture.
The Decepticons have gathered at Fortress Sinister, their original base, and Soundwave is holding things together in Megatron and Shockwave's absence. Starscream craves command but his plans are foolhardy and he can't convince the other Decepticons to back him. He tries to turn the tables on Soundwave by blaming him for Ravage's capture, only to learn that this is part of a plan. It was necessary to get Ravage into the Ark to find out what the Autobots were planning and escape should be simplicity itself for this master-spy. Sure enough a quick look at Ravage's holding cell sees him using his electromagnetic abilities to burst through the force field and escape into the night, carrying with him the most precious of Autobot secrets.
This story from Mike Collins is an excellent way to start the year and mark the debut of my favourite TF artist, Geoff Senior! It takes place between US stories The Logical Conclusion and Rock and Roll Out which feature Shockwave's demise and reappearance. So as far as US readers were aware the Decepticons were never leaderless, but in the UK continuity they survived under Soundwave's temporary control for a creditable 11 issues. Even with the big guns missing Starscream still can't get the respect he craves, and gets hilariously called a 'missile without a mouth'. Everyone knows he lacks the sense of strategy and cunning needed to command, but Soundwave has it by the bucketload. The Autobots should have posted a guard by Ravage's cell because they have an inkling about his electromagnetic abilities from the previous occasion where everyone battled Auntie (UK #18-21).