Transformers UK: Issue #55

Story: I, Robot Master (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Rocket Racoon
Cover date: April 5th, 1986
Price: 30p
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Don Perlin
Rating: Art / Story

First appearance: Donny Finkleberg (Robot Master)


Synopsis:

By Adam Hogg

Desperate for fuel, Megatron attacks a coal mining plant and becomes rooted to the spot!

After weeks of walking through Oregon (see the end of issue 52), Megatron desperately thirsts for fuel. Sensors have bought him to a coal mine which is high in in hydrocarbons, but these black rocks are useless for his needs. As he begins to trash the huge machinery he suddenly stops dead in his tracks! Out of gas, Megatron is paralysed and Helpless!

Walter Barnett arrives at Triple I (Intelligence and Information Institute) puzzled as to why the entire executive board has been called in at short notice. Forrest Forsythe, head of the agency, shows a slide show begining with Megatron and Shockwave's battle from issue #25, Soundwave capturing the assembly plant in issue #26, and Hoist at the Springhorn concert, then the most important of all - Megatron, helpless at the Wyoming mine! G.B.Blackrock has been invited to give his insight and talks about the Transformers being split into good and evil factions, but Forsythe is interested in hearing this. For now the agency line will be to treat all robots as a threat. Oh, and the deadline for the public cover-up is 48 hours!

Barnett arrives home still without a solution, but as he tells his son to tidy up his toys he spots a comic called Robot Master. Inside is a story about a man who solely controls an army of robots for his own dark purposes! In no time Barnett is on a plane to a famous New York publishing company, just in time to catch the ex-writer of Robot Master - Donny Finkleberg (If the Robot Master comic was cancelled, doesn't that practically condemn this entire story?). Donny is then invited to dinner to discuss a new business opportunity - $25,000 if he can come up with a Robot Master story to feed the American public (*groan*). The public surely wouldn't be able to contemplate robots from outer-space, so instead the radical terrorist purpose option is considered better Now all they need is someone to play Robot Master - so how would Donny like to double his money!

The next day at the Ark, the Autobots receive the first Robot Master broadcast, also interupting every TV channel in America as the bemused public watch. Optimus Prime can only wonder what this claim is meant to achieve, but while the public have their own ideas (Russians etc.), Blackrock knows only to well that its a cover-up! Leaving his mansion the assembled media ask him about Robot Master, but Blackrock doesn't wish to comment further than that Robot Master is a fake. He spots Bumblebee, and as the pair drive off together Blackrock explains why this cover-up was made. Bumblebee mentions that if the public fail to distinguish between the two factions then it could hamper the Autobot's fight against the Decepticons. Meanwhile at Triple I, the news of Blackrock's comments are not going down well, plus news is breaking about the captured robot in Wyoming. Barnett suddenly realises that this could be the break they need, suiting their purposes perfectly. Just as he begins to formulate a new plan, Finkleberg arrives for his payment, how would he like to double his money again??

******

Comments:

Stuck in a distinctive pose, this is the only time we ever see a Transformer completely run out of fuel, but Megatron retains his ability to think. I know that Triple I were desperate but it's a wonder why Walter Barnett wasn't laughed out the building for this half-baked idea. To compound it further even Bumblebee mentions that the Robot Master story is ridiculous, but apparently people believe anything they see on TV. I should have thought a costumed terrorist appearing on the news with a claim of controling Transformers, could only generate more press coverage and public anxiety, defeating the object. Then there is the problem of what happens to Triple I when the truth comes out about how they are spending the public's money! The geeky Finkleberg looks nothing like a terrorist mastermind, and anyone who owns one of his Robot Master comics, or knows the man himself, could go public and expose the sham easily.

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