Transformers UK: Issue #49
Story: The Dinobot Hunt (Part 3)
Back-up strip: Iron Man
Cover date: February 22nd, 1986
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Will Simpson (story) Geoff Senior (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
By Omega Steve
Two reckless brothers pursue the stampeding Slag to make him pay for tearing up their ranch!
The Decepticon hunters arrive in a region of Idaho known as the Old River Valley. There they find scorched sand and evidence of a battle, yet no signs of the Dinobot Slag or the missing scout Laserbeak. As Soundwave logs his observations Scavenger hands him a buckled Decepticon insignia. It is too large to belong to Laserbeak and could possibly have originated from the defector Jetfire. Skywarp locates the battered Laserbeak and he transforms to report on what transpired.
Some hours earlier the bird-like Decepticon had located Slag stampeding across the landscape, with two suicidal humans pursuing on horseback. The pair had been out for revenge after the Dinobot trampled their ranch and over 40 livestock. Laserbeak had been so absorbed by the absurdity of their pursuit that he almost missed an Autobot shuttlecraft approaching. The occupants, Jetfire, Ironhide and Jazz, had also observed the humans and resolved to protect them from harm. Jetfire suggested that he fly ahead, and clashed with Ironhide who resented being told what to do by someone wearing a Decepticon insignia! Jazz defended his colleague and pointed that Jetfire was an Autobot now and trusted by Optimus Prime. They agree to Jetfire's plan and the Autobot takes to the skies while his comrades pursue on the ground.
Laserbeak had moved to a new perch to see how the humans were getting on. The more hot-headed of the brothers had lassoed Slag's horn and got on his back. He discharged a pistol at Slag's head and succeeded in getting his attention! The beast swung his victim around just as Ironhide and Jazz arrived firing. The sight of the red Ironhide is enough to make Slag charge and Jetfire swoops down, transforms, and wrestles him to the ground! He didn't bargain on Slag's raw power, or fury, and was thrown! Jazz opens a compartment in his mid section and takes a mini-gun which promptly doubles in size (!). Not in time to avoid a blast of flame from Slag though! Jazz goes down and Jetfire is speared by Slags horn (causing his Decepticon badge to be ripped away). Laserbeak's overeagerness to see the turncoat die, proved his undoing as he fails to spot Ironhide, who picked him up and threw him into Slag's mouth, saving Jetfire! The heat overloaded Slag and rendered him unconscious, while Laserbeak shut down to survive.
Soundwave surmises that the absence of the Autobots and Slag, suggests that the Dinobot was successfully aprehended. No matter, Sludge will suffice for what the Decepticons have in mind and all they need to track down Grimlock to ensure total victory! And things go to plan, for hours later Optimus Prime receives a transmission from 'C-Team' who are in trouble up in Canada. Sideswipe appears, badly damaged, and reporting that Bluestreak and Huffer are down. Suddenly the transmission fizzles and the screen goes black!
Transformers can grow and shrink when they transform and now we learn that their weapons can too! We never actually see Jetfire given life but we can assume that it happened at some point between this story and issue 40. I rather like that he has to go around wearing a Decepticon badge for a while, it can't be easy when you are new and trying to fit into the Autobot camp, and tensions such as that with Ironhide are inevitable. Jazz is quite liberally minded it seems, he accepts Jetfire and also argued the case against creating super soldiers to wipe out the enemy a few issues ago. When not clowning around Jazz has a serious side and is respected as one of the leaders of the group. We see this later on when he takes charge in the absence of Prime and Prowl in Target 2006. The events with Jetfire losing his badge tie in nicely with the up-coming US story Rock and Roll-Out, when he officially becomes an Autobot.