Transformers UK: Issue #90

Story: Aerialbots Over America! (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Spitfire and the Troubleshooters
Cover date: December 6th, 1986
Price: 30p
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Don Perlin (story) Herb Trimpe/Robin Bouttell (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Adam Hogg

The Cybertron seven have fallen into the clutches of RAAT and its leader - Circuit Breaker!

Jetfire soars above the Columbia river gorge with Donny Finkleberg his passenger. According to the human's co-ordinates they should be right above where the seven Autobots are said to have transferred from Cybertron - but Jetfire can see no sign of them. Donny insists he's telling the truth and suggests they land and take a closer look. Jetfire transforms in mid-air and catches the screaming Donny as he falls, remembering that humans don't bounce particularly well. The Autobot does not trust Donny and hardly expects to find anything. But he comes across a pool of fuel which seems to indicate that Transformers have been in this region - and it looks as though one of them is leaking!

Back at the Hoover Dam, the Aerialbots arrive as the giant drill (which manifested across the space bridge last issue) starts to bore into the dam wall. The crowds below realise that this is clearly not the US air force and start to panic. Meanwhile Ramjet, Dirge and Thrust take to the air to meet the threat of these intruders. When Skydive's assault on the drill is ineffective, Thrust takes the opportunity to knock him out the sky with his engine's roar, while Ramjet demonstrates his unique abilities by crashing head-on into Slingshot. Dirge bears the brunt of a wall of flame from Fireflight, but the result is that falling rocks only narrowly miss injuring the humans below. Silverbolt worries that his colleagues' incomplete programming (they haven't been taught to respect the sanctity of human life yet) could make them a dangerous liability. As Dirge congratulates his opponent on his disregard for the humans 'who only get in the way', he uses the distraction to tap into Silverbolt's hidden fear of heights, causing the Aerialbot leader is panic and dive for the ground.

In the dam's control room Megatron orders Shrapnel to show him what is happening outside. The display reveals the three Decepticon jets fending off an assualt from five airborne Autobots. Megatron is adamant that his plan must not fail. Once the water is transferred to Cybertron, it will generate enough energy to power the planet for years. One of the human hostages protests that the missing water would devastate the American Southwest, but as far as Megatron is concerned, all of Earth will be a wasteland once he's finished! As the three insecticons are ordered to go to the aid of their comrades, the brainwashed Ricky Vasquez faintly registers the words "Earth" and "Wasteland".

Outside, Thrust and Dirge congratulate themselves on a job well done, when Air Raid suddenly dives between them and transforms. He shoots at Ramjet's fuselage severly damaging him, just as Kickback sneaks up in insect mode and gives the Aerialbot a massive wallop. As Ricky (holding Megatron) makes his way outside the battle appears to be turning in the Autobot's favour. But fending off the Decepticons is only distracting the Aerialbots from their mission to save the dam, and they decide that this can best be accomplished by merging into the awesome eight-storey sized - Superion! With the programming of four fifths of the titan incomplete, Silverbolt can only hope that sensible control can be maintained.

As Superion begins to demolish the drill, Megatron and Ricky arrive at the top of the dam. Superion is in Megatron's sights and the Decepticon orders Ricky to fire and destroy the dam's would-be saviour! Ricky pauses, trying to fight the effects of Bombshell's cerebro shell, but Superion notices him and manoeuvres a giant hand to crush this threat. The part of his mind that is Silverbolt protests, and for a moment it seems that both Ricky and the giant Autobot are frozen as they fight the confusion within their minds. Suddenly, young Maria Vasquez, Ricky's daughter, runs from the crowd calling out to her father. Ricky immediately recognises her and begins to overpower the cerebro shell that is controlling him - while the unstable Superion also breaks up into his component parts. Megatron once again orders Ricky to fire - this time at Silverbolt - but Ricky fights the command and turns Megatron's fire on the drill instead. The space bridge instantly begins to dematerialise back to Cybertron, while Megatron retreats with all but one of his Decepticons.

As the Aerialbots return to the Ark, Silverbolt is content. The drill was destroyed, and despite Superion's problems, the humans they sought to protect were saved. The minute Bombshell is also pleased as he secretly rides on Silverbolt's wing, a free trip to the Ark! Meanwhile, atop the roadway that traverses Hoover dam, a large crowd converges on the unexpected hero, Ricky! With the police wishing to question him, he apologises to his daughter about being unable to take her to the fireworks. She does not mind, she has seen enough fireworks today!

Epilogue: At a disused airstrip in New Jersey, seven flatbed trucks enter a hanger, each carrying large covered cargoes. This is the headquarters of RAAT (Rapid Anti-robot Assault Team) - a creature of the United States government. The seven cargoes are quickly unloaded and uncovered to reveal the deactivated Cybertron seven. Each Autobot is placed under precision machinery and has its face plating removed and mounted on to the hanger wall, as hunting trophies! A RAAT worker announces to his boss that this is the 'last of the heads' and she corrects him - this is only the beginning, so swears Circuit Breaker!!

******

Comments:

Blaster and his comrades return after a long absence (having been the subject of many letters to Grim Grams) and it seems they are in more trouble on Earth than on Cybertron! Also good to see Circuit Breaker return, deadly as ever.
On the opening page Jetfire infamously refers to the Cybertron sport called 'Basketrek'. It is unclear how he knows about it since he was created on Earth, but the explanation given by the letters page is that he has been reading up on it.
RAAT are destined to become a big problem for the Transformers but - as we soon see - they seem to have an annoying habit of only attacking the Autobots.

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