Transformers UK: Issue #74
Story: In The National Interest (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Hercules
Cover date: August 16th, 1986
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Will Simpson (story) Alister Pearson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Centurion
By Omega Steve
Professor Morris is shocked to meet his new charge: a 20 ton powerhouse called Centurion!
Reporter Joy Meadows appears on a TV news programme to give details of her latest expose. She has been gathering evidence against the 'terrorist mastermind' Robot Master and intends to prove that his claims of controlling the Transformers are false. At the headquarters of Triple I (the intelligence agency behind the Robot Master scenario) the news is greeted with considerable alarm. Should the public learn the truth of the robot war on Earth it would surely cause widespread panic - and more importantly - Triple I's attempts to cover it up would be exposed. The agency decides that for the 'national interest' to prevail, Meadows must be silenced, permanently if necessary!
In a courtroom in Portland, Oregon, Professor P. Morris stands trial for the murder of a security guard (see issue 45). His defence council is speaking when the doors of the court are violently flung open and a team of masked gunmen intrude. One of them empties a can of knockout gas in the Professor's face and throws him over his shoulder, as the gang make a swift getaway.
At the Ark the Dinobots are taking their frustrations out on exercise machines. They have been confined to the Autobot base for weeks due to their conspicuous Earth modes, and badly need some action. Sludge rushes in holding a small TV screen with the frozen image of Joy Meadows on it. The 'beautiful golden human' who cared for Sludge when he was ill has come back to him. What's more she has been speaking about a campaign to expose the Robot Master hoax, and the Dinobot thinks he can lend a hand. The others aren't so sure, but at least it would give them something to do.
Nearby, Meadows is driving along a windy mountain road when her car is violently rammed into a barrier. She is left dangling precariously over a cliff as the culprits (four masked men - possibly the same from the courtroom scene) emerge from their vehicle. The men draw their guns and move to finish off the intrepid reporter, when the Dinobots arrive. Sludge immediately charges into the hail of bullets and the gunman soon decide that retreat is their best course of action. Not before they give Meadow's car a shunt over the precipice though, and it falls to Swoop to catch the vehicle before it hits the ground.
Back at the headquarters of Triple I, Professor Morris is escorted to a secret laboritory. The agency has need of his services and it has gone to a lot of trouble to reconstruct the Professor's mind control equipment (issues 45-46). Despite Morris' reluctance to co-operate Triple I feel sure that he will change his mind when sees the robot they have built for him.. an awesome foot thick titanium-plated titan known as Centurion!
The Transformations page has been redesigned and looks really stylish. Other changes include Grimlock taking over the letters page from Soundwave (as explained in a special edition of Robo capers) and the inaugural 'Grim Grams' page will be included next issue. Aside from that Transformations and the comic attractions pages look ace, truly the comic has never been in better shape!
Story-wise, I wasn't expecting to see Professor Morris again but its nice to know that he hasn't been forgotten about by the writers. Abducted from his trial by masked terrorists, he is taken to work for Triple I and will be provided with a new robot to control - providing of course that he does the agency's bidding! This is a much darker, more sinister Triple I than the bunch of clowns that appear in the US stories. This lot care not a jot for the justice system or bumping off reporters who might have dirt on them! They will even set a murderer, Professor Morris, loose with a deadly giant robot without thought of the consequences! Its also great to see the Dinobots centre stage in their first solo adventure, with more of their distinctive no-nonsence brand of heroism... and Sludge loved-up!! Whatever next!