Transformers UK: Issue #72
Story: Showdown (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Hercules
Cover date: August 2nd, 1986
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Herb Trimpe (story) Geoff Senior (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Charlene, Wendell
Synopsis:By Adam Hogg
The injured Skids is found by Charlene and her friend and fixed-up. So happy is he that he may not go back to the Autobots!
Ravage swiftly crosses the Wyoming wilderness in pursuit of the human known to most as Robot Master (who escaped from the Decepticons last issue) - he has the scent and knows his prey is near. Not too far ahead, Donny Finkleberg still wearing the ridiculous Robot Master costume discovers a small camp, that is luckily unoccupied at this moment. He makes use of a handy change of clothes, and after leaving generous wad of cash, buries his orange costume beneath a pile of leaves and departs at pace. He must contact the Autobots as soon as possible to warn them of the Space Bridge, but unknown to him he passes the injured Autobot known as Skids, who after toppling from a cliff last issue remains helpless. Meanwhile Ravage reaches the small camp site, and after incinerating it will a fire blast, checks the debris - there is no seared flesh or charred bones, no fleshling!!
In a small town several miles away, a checkout woman called Charlene is missing her old car, she would often use it to drive out of town and get away from everything. Her co-worker and admirer, Wendell can see she is down and offers to take her for a drive after work, which she gratefully accepts. The are soon on there way, but Charlene is bored with the same old routine everyday, and her thirst for adventure sees the car stopping and the pair heading towards an old gold mine nearby. As they pass over a giant hill though, Charlene notices Skids, who despite being badly injured manages to put his radio on to get some attention. Perhaps she could get this car on the road again, it certainly doesn't look like a wreck. Wendell's cousin is a mechanic, and in no time the familiar Honda van is being fixed in his garage. The damage was not as bad as it looked, and while a contented Skids stays silent, Charlene in grateful for the favour. Skids finds the idea of being her car quite interesting, certainly a lot safer than what he usually does. But no sooner than leaving the garage, trouble appears in the shape of our old friend Jake Dalrymple (of the pink Lamborghini), and his estranged partner Frannie. Recognising Skids as the one who dented him (see issue 70), and apparently causing Skids to tumble down the mountain side wasn't revenge enough, he takes up the tail.
Jake first tries to force them off the road, but Skid drives vertically on a fence to avoid it. He then attempts to ram his Lamborghini into Skids (this guy is a lunatic), but Skids hops on the spot and Jake thunders past. Pursued down a thin ally, Skids spots a man painting up a ladder - no way through! But again using some fancy Transformer driving, Skids drives vertically along the wall, while Jake crashes into the ladder, and covering his nice car with a bucket of thick green paint! Jake finally concedes, but up the road Charlene just wants out - what type of car is this? Skids realises he must calm her down, and as Charlene makes a run for it, Skids transforms. He tells her how he wants to escape the Transformers war, he is not a hero and would have been content to remain her car - all he did was to protect her. Back in the town, Jake and Frannie have a quiet drink while trying to explain how a car could do things as if it had a mind of its own. Although apparently ludicrous, one overhearing customer listens with interest - Donny Finkleberg!
The next day at Charlene's out of town apartment, Skids chats to her though her bedroom window. Luckily the people downstairs are away, and Charlene explains how she is a fan of the old west, with artefacts, memorabilia and a love for that age of adventure. She shows Skids her favourite film "High Noon", in which the hero marshal is willing to die for what he believes in, Skids is impressed by this admirable feat, it is a lot more than he is prepared to do against the Decepticons. Skids tells that his only memories are of war, but Charlene is determined to change that, and the pair spend the next few days exploring the tranquillity of the unspoilt wilderness. On the next working day, Skids waits impatiently while Wendell wonders if she is up for a date - but Charlene is surprisingly busy. Instead she spends the afternoon cleaning Skids bodywork in the sun...
After all the excitement of last issue comes a calmer tale of friendship between human and Autobot! Does Skids fancy Charlene, I reckon! We also have the matter of Donny Finkleberg on the run from Ravage and 'Mr Road Rage' Jake Dalrymple whose plot threads are picked up this issue. Skids demonstrates that Autobots have some extraordinary abilities on the road compared to your average car, such as leaping in the air and driving along a fence (how it can support his weight I don't know). All of these things should convince Dalrymple to stay clear, but he is a determined chap it seems. One thing I am glad of is that Skids' story was picked up right away and not put aside for some future date as can happen, and its also been a while since Ravage got a decent show.