Transformers UK: Issue #97
Story: Prey (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Spitfire and the Troubleshooters
Cover date: Jan 24th, 1987
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Will Simpson (story) Geoff Senior (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Predaking
Synopsis:By Adam Hogg
Prime must rely on his wits as he battles the Predacons alone and unarmed!
Alone in the woods, unarmed and with no means of calling for help, Optimus Prime is being hunted by the deadly Predacons! The feline forms of Rampage and Razorclaw spring from nowhere and leap on the Autobot leader, fangs and teeth bared! This group are good but Prime has never been easily defeated and so it is now thanks to a couple of powerful punches. He transforms to truck mode and speeds away from Tantrum's charging bull modes and heads for the road, but up ahead is 'rhino' Headstrong coming straight for him and Divebomb circling above in eagle mode! Prime has one chance slender chance, and transforming to robot mode he launches at Divebomb leaving Tantrum and Headstrong to collide. After raining a few blows on Divebomb Prime lands and sets off again. Once more he has stretched the grace of whatever guardian spirit watches over him!
Optimus recalls recent events and how he had decided to fake his death to make his troops more self-reliant and had roped Wheeljack in on it. But before he could put his plan into action he was ambushed by Megatron and the Predacons! He might not have survived an assault there and then but Megatron wanted to see test his new recruits' hunting abilities and gave their quarry a sporting 10 minute start! The irony is not lost on Prime that he may not need to fake his death at all! If only he can stay alive for another half hour, then Wheeljack should raise the alarm and the Autobots will come looking for him. Suddenly his day dream is cut short by a huge boulder thrown by Predaking! Prime had not realised that the Predacons were combining Transformers and now things are even worse! He narrowly avoids a giant foot and makes a run for his trailer. Perhaps the secret cargo can offer an advantage?
Unfortunately Prime runs into Megatron at the trailer and, as the Predacons arrive, he is snared! Megatron gives them the task of finishing Optimus off and departs. They whisper among themselves that if they are carry out Shockwave's plan this would be the moment to do it! With Prime just managing the strength to look up, the last sight is of the Predacons diving at him with claws bared... The half an hour later Wheeljack leads a small group of Autobots to the location of Prime's supposed death. The complete and utter devastation that greets them is surprising and shocking and Wheeljack begins to wonder if something went wrong. As they continue to search Ratchet shouts out - he has found Prime or what's left of him. They all look but they can't believe it, Optimus Prime has been torn to pieces!
Time for another lesson in inflation as the comic puts its price up to 32p! There was no warning beforehand so I can imagine a lot of kids would have turned up at the newsagents with the correct money and met with a problem. Mind you the comic has been continually improving so no-one could seriously mind. After last issue's cliffhanger we fast forward a bit to the hunt and get a chance to meet the characters better as Prime runs into each Predacon one-by-one. However there's no point in product placement because none of these new Decepticons saw the light of day in UK toyshops (thanks Hasbro!). The shock ending looks very cut and dried and its hard to see how Prime can survive it, but if you look at the clues there are indications that nothing is what it seems. For starters we have the mysterious cargo in the trailer, a robot by the looks of it, and one with the same feet as Optimus. Perhaps a double? Then there is the Predacons about to defy Megatron's orders and put Shockwave's plan into action suggesting that their disposing of Prime may not have happened. One point about Prime's trailer, because in one scene we see it taking a shot and him feeling the pain. This strikes me as a serious weakness, after all what would have been to stop Megatron gunning up the trailer while Prime was on the run from the Predacons? It would be like having a voodoo doll and a liability. It would be better if a) Prime did not feel the trailer's pain or b) it teleported back to the Ark when he didn't need it.