Transformers UK: Issue #61
Story: Devastation Derby (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Rocket Racoon
Cover date: May 17th, 1986
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Will Simpson (story and cover)
Rating: Art / Story
By Omega Steve
Devastator has been practicing his destructive capabilities and is ready to go after Buster!
Soundwave oversees a Devastator practice session with pleasing results, perfectly crushing car after car. After the terrible performance showed during Devastators last outing (see issue 36), the merged form of the Constructions has improved significantly in both effectiveness and response. As the Constructicons separate into their individual robot forms, current Decepticon commander Shockwave soars in. Without a pause for thought, the Constructicons are required to carry out his latest plan in the war against the Autobots - and to Soundwave's dismay they are being sent to capture a mere human - Buster Witwicky (see last issue for the reason why)!!!
In the nearby town of Portland, Buster wakes up screaming after a nightmare (he sure looks in a state). His father calms him before noticing a drawing on his sideboard door of some kind of Transformer (it looks like the Aerialbots merged form - Superion!). The next morning Buster's girlfriend Jessie arrives, and her response to him not being bothered to go to the demolition derby is to stamp her feet (oo-er!). Well it was his idea in the first place, and along with Sparkplug the pair manage to convince him otherwise. As the two kids disappear up the street, Sparkplug whips out his screwdriver and removes the cupboard door to show the Autobots. The last time we saw Sparkplug he wouldn't give the Autobots the time of day, but things seems to have changed as he waits while Optimus Prime examines the picture. Wheeljack identifies it as a Amalgam model, a robot made up of many separate transformers - and a technique that only the Decepticons have managed to master so far. In trying to explain Buster's strange dreams, none of them mention that he carried the Matrix in his mind for a while (see issue 24), and it is simply put it down to his experience at the hands of Shockwave last issue. Although Prime is sure that Shockwave will have no further interest in the human, he decides that the Autobots should still keep an eye on Buster, and sends Smokescreen and three others to watch over him.
At the Demolition Derby, Smokescreen and Sparkplug arrive along with Ironhide, Brawn and Tracks. The Autobots see this event as some kind of gladiatorial combat, while Sparkplug wonders who the silent drivers inside the other Autobots are (Tracks now has a male mannequin!). Meanwhile outside, the Constructicons arrive, and immediately associate themselves with the carnage by ploughing through the many parked cars as they head towards the arena. Inside however, Smokescreen is told that all comers are welcome, and promptly joins the action as a terrified Sparkplug sits inside. Suddenly the commotion is evident as the Constructicons close in, and people begin running everywhere. Ironhide transforms and returns fire, much to Bonecrusher's surprise - Mixmaster reminds his comrades that any sign of Autobots and.... they combine to form Devastator! In the ensuing melee to escape the arena, Buster suddenly collapses in pain at the sight of the huge robot - it had triggered something inside his mind. Buster lays motionless while Jessie starts screaming!!!
The Constructicons were introduced in issue 35 and then seemed to disappear without trace, save Scavenger's brief appearance in the Dinobot Hunt. So its no surprise that fans had been writing in and demanding their return, and we get a story with the Constructicons going after Buster. Soundwave has a good point about sending their elite soldiers to perform so routine a mission, as this could easily be accomplished by Laserbeak or one of the jets. As a plot device the idea is that this issue should lay the foundations for the arrival of the Special Teams (albeit in dream form) next issue. Sparkplug seems to be mellowing in his attitude towards the Autobots, or maybe he'll only speak to them if he needs something. But there is a comedic moment where Smokescreen activates his in-seat manequin while Sparkplug is sitting there, causing him to bump his head. As with issue 59 we have another one of those rogue blank speech bubble (Mike Scott's lettering this time) on page 5. So what could the angry Soundwave possibly be saying behind Shockwave's back - is it so bad that it needed censoring? My guess is that Soundwave was rendered speechless by Shockwave's request.