Transformers UK: Issue #78
Story: Target 2006: Prologue
Back-up strip: Hercules
Cover date: September 13th, 1986
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Jeff Anderson (story), Alister Pearson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Emirate Xaaron, Skater, Impactor, Roadbuster, Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge
By Omega Steve
Shrapnell takes the bait as one of his victims tells him about a planned Autobot uprising.
In a rare outburst of anger Optimus Prime barges his way through a forest, felling trees and sending small animals scurrying for safety. His second in command Prowl is horrified and orders Prime to stop and take note of the damage he is causing. The Autobot leader does so and is instantly remorseful, but Prowl can well understand his frustrations. "Arrogant, insufferable and pig-headed is," he says "the Dinobots in a nutshell". Prowl recalls the events of some hours earlier when he and Optimus had caught up with the Dinobots, following their beach battle with Megatron and co. Prime had found his wayward troops in insubordinate mode. Grimlock had refused to discuss the battle or his absence from the Ark, and when Prime had ordered him to report the Dinobots had simply got up and left.
Prowl suggests that they might be better off without the Dinobots, but Prime knows better. The Autobot's ranks are depleted and he needs every available warrior. As they near Mount St Hillary Prime asks Prowl to mobilise the Autobots for a briefing when they return.
Meanwhile on the distant planet of Cybertron a lone figure walks through the deserted ruins of Iacon, the once great capital of the Autobots. He pushes a hidden panel and activates a lift that descends him to a secret base deep below the planet's surface. He is Emirate Xaaron, the wise Autobot elder and leader of the resistance movement fighting Cybertron's Decepticon rulers. Xaaron is greeted by a concerned subordinate and makes his way to the operations room where Impactor, the fearless leader of a crack commando unit called the Wreckers, is waiting. Impactor has been drafted in for a highly dangerous mission dubbed Operation Volcano and now seeks assurances. Impactor needs to know that Ultra Magnus will be available to lend his considerable strength to the cause else (he tells Xaaron) the mission is off. Elsewhere in the Decepticon province of Polyhex, an Autobot suffers at the hands of Shrapnel. To save himself he offers his would-be killer information in exchange for life. Shrapnel agrees and hears plans of an Autobot uprising called 'Operation Volcano'. He is pleased that his leaders will reward him handsomely for the information, and now for the Autobot's reward - death by a fatal blast of electricity! Watching from a distance the Autobot Roadbuster is sickened by the site. Even a traitor Autobot does not deserve to die in this way - but no matter, the bait has now been taken and Operation Volcano is on!
Back on Earth the Autobots are gathered in the Ark's meeting room to hear their leader speak. As Prime summarises events so far, he reminds them of the principles they are sworn to uphold. Suddenly, Prime screams in pain - as do Ratchet and Prowl standing with him - as all three are engulfed in some kind of black antimatter. A sudden light follows, causing the Autobots to shield their optics, and all that remains is three charred spots on the floor where the senior officers once stood. Simultaneously, on Cybertron the Matrix flame (which burns while the Matrix housed in Prime's mind lives) now flickers and dies.
On a cereal farm in Oregon the late afternoon stillness is broken as three unknown Transformers materialise. Their time-jump from the year 2006 has evidently interfered with the weather conditions provoking a sudden and violent thunder storm. Three farmers who witnessed the flash of light now beat back the torrential rain, expecting to find a plane crash or worse. But instead they are confronted with three Decepticons - the leader of whom now asks them what year this is. He is gratified with the response - it is 1986 and within their target date. The Transformer announces himself as Galvatron, supreme leader of the Decepticons in the year 2006. He vows that as it is in the future so shall it be now, Earth and it's inhabitants - whether human or Autobot - shall all kneel before him...
An intriguing opening part that poses many questions - what is operation volcano? What do these three future Decepticons want... and where the hell is Optimus Prime? I have to admit I was a bit worried when Prime, Prowl and Ratchet disappeared in those bizarre circumstances, because getting engulfed by antimatter was not something we'd had in the comic before and seemed very out of place. I'm glad to say that in future instalments it all holds together very well. A warm welcome for Emirate Xaaron, whom we've heard of before but haven't seen, and the firey Impactor looks like he'll be a good character. We got a look at Decepticon-ruled Cybertron in recent US stories and this is a chance to see it from the UK writers' perspective. Movie fever is building as an editorial gets reader exciting about the impending Transformers feature film out in November. Target: 2006 will tie in with it in a major way we are told. Not wrong! Galvatron may look a bit poncified on page 11 (dodgy toy drawing) but he is destined to become a major character in the comic from here until the end of the run, and at this point fans had no idea he was Megatron so there would be some surprises in store. The comic is now available in Australia according to the welcome blurb.