Transformers UK: Issue #47
Story: The Dinobot Hunt (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Iron Man
Cover date: February 8th, 1986
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Will Simpson (story) David Lloyd (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
By Omega Steve
A secret military base in the desert comes under threat from the crazed Dinobot Snarl!
The Dinobot Hunt is on and twelve of the most powerful Autobots have been dispatched. Their mission is brief and simple - to subdue the Dinobots if possible, to kill if necessary. In the Nevada Desert the quest begins...
As a violent sandstorm rages, a group of soldiers from a secret military base examine a giant set of spikes that are pertruding from the sand. On first analysis they appear to be some kind of solar energy collector, and probably quite sophisticated. One of the soldiers attempts to disect a spike with his laser weapon. Suddenly the sleeping Dinobot Snarl roars into life and bursts out of the sand. As the Autobots feared, his higher brain functions have been eroded causing him to revert to a primal state. Snarl now turns on the humans in spectacular fashion and is all for trampling his attackers, when a laser beam suddenly cuts him down. Three large figures emerge from the sandstorm, Mirage, Brawn and Trailbreaker - B-team.
Though Snarl's vision is limited he can make out the three enemy forms in front of him and charges! Mirage's leg takes a minor mauling as Snarl barges his way through and disappears into the storm. With the immediate danger passed the others help Mirage to his feet and reflect on recent events. The scene switches back to the Ark and Optimus Prime's briefing on the Dinobot threat. He had authorised them to use whatever force was necessary and to protect the humans at all cost. Mirage now radios Prowl (who is overseeing the operation from a shuttle) to confirm that Snarl has been located. Prowl tracks the Dinobot heading due west, and tells them there are no human settlements in the area. They should have a free run at capturing Snarl - or so they thought.
A secret military base in the middle of the Nevada desert doesn't show on any charts, because it isn't supposed to exist! Inside its boundaries a code red sounds as Snarl tears through the perimeter fence, absorbing a four million volt shock and considerable weapons fire as he does so. The extreme force from all military personal fails to stop this creature, and the base commander has little option but to put "Order 231" into operation! He has been specifically instructed that none of the base's secrets can be allowed to fall into enemy hands, and as the self destruct countdown begins - all personnel begin to evacuate, Snarl continues to mindlessly destroy everything as the pursuing trio of Mirage, Trailbreaker and Brawn arrive to witness the unexpected scene of carnage. At least the humans are showing sense and running. They wait until the humans have all departed before continuing, but before they can, the base explodes in amazing and unusual fashion.
The Autobots walk towards the crater, saddened at the apparent loss of their comrade. But something emerges from the thick dust clouds - Snarl - and he's reverted to robot form!! As he collapses in front of them the Autobots wonder what had happened to trigger his transformation. They hear a voice behind them, it is the base commander and he explains that they had unleashed a prototype device that alters molecular cohesion. It had been designed as a disintegrator but Snarl seems to be made of some unknown metal and it has effected him differently. Whatever the intention Snarl is now subdued and can been transported back to the Ark. The base commander thanks the Autobots for giving him a chance to get away from this sordid project, but as they exchange pleasantries - Laserbeak watches from above, and then departs shortly afterwards...
Some excellent artwork, particularly the sandstorm scenes where Snarl bursts out. A great cover too and one of my all-time favourites. Overall though its a low key start to the Dinobot Hunt for me as there is not a great deal happening other than Snarl tearing up the base and getting a face full of a molecular distortion weapon (probably highly illegal). Subsequent instalments will feature the Decepticons at their meddling best and that is probably why I like them better. Interesting that Snarl does not possess the same high-definition vision as other Transformers and instead sees shapes and movement. This sounds like something he should have fixed/improved once he eventually recovers from the spell of madness.