Transformers UK: Issue #89
Story: Aerialbots Over America! (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Spitfire and the Troubleshooters
Cover date: November 29th, 1986
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Don Perlin (story) Robin Smith (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Ricky Vasquez
Synopsis:By Adam Hogg
Bombshell keeps and eye on Ricky Vasquez, a human who is destined to play a part in Megatron's latest scheme!
The tiny insect form of Bombshell watches his target below. On such an occasion as Independence Day, Ricky Vasquez would love nothing more than to spend time with his family. But duty calls at the nearby Hoover Dam where Ricky works, helping to provide almost 20 million Americans with electricity. While he tries his best to explain the situation to his young daughter, a small insect bite on the back of his neck does little to distract him. He promises to be back at six o'clock, but his promise will soon count for nothing. For within his bloodstream is a tiny capsule (injected by the 'bug bite' moments earlier) and it unerringly makes its way towards the tangle of neurones and dendrites that comprises his brain. Once in place in the area of the cerebellum that controls independent thought, it anchors itself, and takes root... and Ricky Vasquez no longer has a mind of his own!
Several miles later, he turns his car off the main highway and on to a desolate dirt road. He doesn't know why and nor does he care, but there are others that do. As the small vehicle casually pulls up at the feet of three Decepticons, Megatron calls for Bombshell to report. The human they have ensnared is the assistant chief-engineer at Hoover Dam and will be of great usefulness to Megatron's plan. With the inter-dimensional space bridge now repaired they will be able to transport the dam's energy to Cybertron to give much needed power for the Decepticon cause. Shrapnel questions the humans loyalty and Bombshell demonstrates the effectiveness of his cerebral shells by making Ricky remove a grease spot with his tongue! As laughter echoes off the canyon walls, Megatron speeds things along. He shrinks to his gun mode while the Insecticons also join him in the car. It is time for Ricky to carry on his trip to work, after all, he wouldn't want to be late!
As Ricky's car reaches Hoover Dam many tourists can be seen marvelling at its wonder. After parking in his usual spot he makes his way to the control room, obeying Megatron's orders without question. In a short while he stands before the control room door and Kickback takes pleasure in smashing it down. The stunned workers watch in terror as Ricky (clutching Megatron in gun mode) fires a warning shot to show he means business! With their many questions going unanswered, Ricky's sole demand is that the Dam be shut off... now!
Hundreds of miles away Skids has returned to the Ark accompanied by Donny Finkleberg, aka Robot Master. Ratchet is still hard at work repairing the wound Optimus Prime received in Limbo and is concerned that the presence of Donny could lead to rust infection! In addition the Autobots are suspicious of Finkleberg, even though he is the bearer of some interesting news regarding the 'Cybertron seven' (the Autobots who crossed the space bridge in issue 69). Prime is keen to verify the truth of the matter and assigns Jetfire to escort Donny to the co-ordinates.
Bumblebee reports that a siege is underway at Hoover Dam and it doesn't take long for Prime to realise that the Decepticons are involved. As Ratchet complains that his repairs are not finished, Prime rushes outside where Wheeljack is testing the five newly constructed Aerialbots. They are now instilled with life, but only Silverbolt has been properly programmed. In moments they transform and are briefed on the situation by Prime. The Aerialbots are to stop the Decepticons and to defend human life at all costs. Prime acknowledges that while they are far from battle ready he had no other choice but to send them. Back at the Dam it has not taken long for a large police presence and the media to assemble. The gunman is soon identified as Ricky and his family (now at the scene) can only watch in horror. Inside the dam's powerhouse Shrapnel has taken over the computer system, while Bombshell has alerted Cybertron of the situation. Within moments the space bridge materialises and three Decepticons - Ramjet, Dirge and Thrust - fly out and transform. A giant drill follows after them and begins to grind away at the Dam's cement exterior...
A strangely out of place issue as the story places it as the 4th of July. However by the time of publication in Britain it is late November and just three issues from Christmas! This would have to mean that all of the stories published so far took place before July and that virtually nothing happens between then and the Christmas special (issue 93). A good way to get around it, if the UK subs had been on their toes, would have been to replace the references to July 4th with Thanksgiving, thereby placing the story in November. A shame they didn't think to do that (still no-one seems to have picked up on it on subsequent letters pages).
Also check out the "stupid" security guard who welcomes Ricky as he walks past him holding a massive gun!