Transformers UK: Issue #73

Story: Showdown (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Hercules
Cover date: August 9th, 1986
Price: 30p
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Herb Trimpe (story and cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Adam Hogg

Skids cannot hide from his fate any longer and must confront Ravage in a western-style showdown!

Charlene hoses down the ex-Autobot warrior Skids in her driveway, who after finding injured last issue she befriended. As they chat casually, Donny Finkleberg hides behind a tree, and recognises Skids as an Autobot right away. Confronting Charlene, he ignores her feeble attempts to hide Skids identity, and insists he has important information that must get to the Autobots immediately. Skids remains silent though, he doesn't want to go back to his old life, but suddenly a grim reminder of it in the shape of Ravage appears, he had been pursuing Donny since he escaped from the Decepticons last issue. Avoiding a volley of fire breath, the two humans jump for cover inside Skids, who drives off at speed. Ravage though is hot in pursuit as they pass through the town, and as residents flee terrified, the fast cat like Decepticons blasts at random. Ravage will not stop until he has them, and so Skids must get away from the town if he is to battle him.

Meanwhile Jake Dalrymple is just checking the successful paint removal job on his Lamborghini when he spots Skids thundering past, - he wont escape him this time and quickly jumps into his car along with Frannie. Meanwhile Donny and Charlene are looking for somewhere to hide, luckily she knows of an old abandoned mining town nearby, it will be safe to battle Ravage there. They soon reach the town, where Donny and Charlene leave Skids and look for a place to hide before Ravage arrives. A short distance away, Jake had not been seen following them, and noticing Skids alone decides to finally take his revenge. He walks up to Skids and smashes his front windscreen with a swing of his tire iron.

Skids screams out in pain (!), the blow must have disrupted his higher cerebro circuitry - but no sooner does he come round when he spots Megatron holding Charlene? Megatron is demanding a showdown with Skids.. who has no choice if he wants to save her. Skids has a count of three, but he doesn't want to fight anymore, but time is running out, Skids must save her, time is up...Skids screams as Megatron's fusion cannon rips through his torso, cutting him to pieces.....he has failed her!

It was all a dream, and as Skids remains in a delusional state, Charlene tries to comfort him. Donny meanwhile is confronting Jake Dalrymple - what the hell is he doing! Jake arrogantly sneers that whoever drives it should be locked up (he can talk), but before Donny can explain, Ravage crashes through one of the wooden buildings and onto Skids - knocking the Autobot onto his side. Donny and Charlene watch helplessly as Ravage prepares to finish him off, while Jake meanwhile decides now would be a good time to leave. Frannie doesn't like it though, and she persuades Jake to save Donny and Charlene from this beast. As Ravage charges at Skids, Jake's Lamborghini crashes into the small Decepticon, leaving him momentarily stunned. Charlene and Donny then manage to wake Skids up before Ravage revives, giving the Autobot time to transform and face him. Skids though is quickly toppled as Ravage collapses a building over him, but he knocks the Decepticon away after using some of the debris as a shield. As the two continue to fight, Charlene notices a hidden mine shaft below on of the building Ravage demolished - Skids can use it to trap Ravage. Sure enough, Ravage fires a missile which hits Skids hard in the back, but just as Ravage pounces to finish him, Skids rolls clear and Ravage disappears down the seemingly bottomless shaft.

Charlene is just pleased that's its finally all over, and hopes that the two of them can continue as before, but Skids now realises that he must return to the Autobots. He discovered that life here is not to dissimilar to life on Cybertron - we all have role which we can not escape from, and only make the best of. Charlene is a cashier, Skids is an Autobot warrior, there is nothing he would rather do than stay with her, but it is time for them to stop living in dreams. Charlene is upset, but agrees, and Skids adds that perhaps her work colleague Wendell might like a date. Charlene accepts, she will miss Skids, but will never forget him.

******

Comments:

Interestingly, a speech bubble from Skids on the final page has been altered - "I'm going back with Donny, back to my people - the Autobots!" has been altered to - "When my wounds heal, I'm going back to the Autobots". This issue is the last to feature the current format, with a new look next week, ditching the long-running Matt and the Cat cartoon strip and the Soundwave letters page! When Ravage disappears down the mine it is the last we will see of him until issue 200 almost three years away! I could be mistaken but I don't think he ever appears in the US comic again after this.

Overall, a nice story and a touching, if at times sickly-sweet friendship between Skids and Charlene, with Donny providing the comedy element as usual. With so many characters in the comic these days it is a rare thing that two can get such a prominent show, and prove quite easily that a smaller amount of characters can provide just as good a tale as an epic battle.

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