Transformers UK: Issue #153

Story: Enemy Action (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Iron Man
Cover date: February 20th, 1988
Price: 35p
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Jeff Anderson (story) Lee Sullivan (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Adam Hogg

The Firecons have come for Galvatron and things are heating-up for the Sparkabots who are in their way!

The Firecons are in Florida and boy is the beach hot today!

Three Autobots, Sizzle, Fizzle and Guzzle are the first to feel the heat as they are subjected to a wall of flame seemingly hot enough to melt their steel skin. The trio had been laying low keeping tabs on Galvatron when they had run into the Firecons - Flamefeather, Sparkstalker and Cindersaur. The Decepticons announce that they have been sent by their masters on Cybertron to offer Galvatron an alliance and the Autobots are in the way.

Fizzle is treated to a flame bath and dives deep into the ocean with his circuits on fire. He sinks into the depths some distance away from Galvatron who is involved in his own battle with the Seacon combined robot Pirranacon. Despite the size of his opponent, Galvatron knows that victory will be his and he is pleased that things seem to be proceeding as planned. He had predicted accurately that Shockwave would perceive him as a threat when he approached the Decepticon undersea base, and soon Galvatron will turn the situation to his advantage. As Shockwave watches the battle he senses that Pirranacon's defeat is imminent and wonders what will become of him. Perhaps he should have bargained as Soundwave had suggested and not ordered the Seacons to attack. Galvatron might have settled for a joint leadership but now he will surely take everything and possibly destroy Shockwave in the process! As Pirranacon falls and Galvatron resumes his approach, Shockwave rushes to assemble the Decepticons and convince them to back him.

On the beach Sizzle and Guzzle get close enough to engage the Firecons in hand to hand combat. Their thoughts are dominated by concern for their fallen comrade, Fizzle, and staying alive themselves. Sizzle has the idea to counter-attack using the sparks generated by their own engines, and orders Guzzle to transform. Back below sea level the Decepticons ready their weapons as Galvatron punches his way into the base. With seawater flowing in behind him Galvatron implores everyone to hold their fire - incredibly he has come in peace! The wily Decepticon claims his intention had been a shared leadership all along, and of benefit to all concerned, but Shockwave's actions have angered him and all the Decepticons will pay the price when they next meet. Galvatron exits into the Atlantic leaving Shockwave to fend off some very angry looks from his warriors.

Shortly the Decepticon emerges from the sea holding the deactivated body of Fizzle. Flamefeather rushes to his side and offers the alliance with the Decepticons of Cybertron 'that they may crush their mutual enemies together'. Galvatron laughs and dismisses it; he has not skilfully avoided one alliance just to form another. Sizzle steps up to stop him leaving and is promptly knocked aside. Galvatron would appear to have conquered all this day.

Back at the Decepticon base Shockwave still reels from recent events. It is clear that he is dealing with a foe of vast cunning and power, and unlikely that his disenchanted troops will support any further action against him. Ideally what Shockwave needs is an agent to set against Galvatron... someone with the raw power to beat him, but who? He flicks through his computer database and stops at an entry for the missing Decepticon commander Megatron. Shockwave pauses for thought.

******

Comments:

This issue sees Action Force welcomed into the fold as the regular back-up strip. Unusually for a secondary story it also has its logo featured on the cover alongside Transformers. The 'merger' is talked-up with considerable fanfare by Marvel UK and reading between the lines its obvious that they are trying to placate readers of the cancelled Action Force weekly comic. The terminology used is that 'it reached the end of its run' although you can safely say that it was stopped because it wasn't making enough money.

To be honest I wasn't too surprised by the demise of the Action Force weekly (and the monthly not long after). It had been launched at a golden time for Marvel UK with hopes that it would become another best seller like Transformers. Even though it never set my world alight I always felt that the concept and characters had potential; the problem seemed to me that the brand didn't translate too well from America to Britain. Whereas Transformers were alien robots and not nationality specific, Action Force/GI Joe was clearly based on the American military. The marketing boffins had obviously realised this and decided that British kids would not identify with it unless they rebranded the comics and toys as Action Force. Perhaps they were right I don't know. This would have been fine except that the writers went further and presented Action Force as UK outfit, which clearly they weren't. Throw into this characters like Wild Bill in his stetson and the US reprints and it all looks confusing to the casual reader. I think they would have done better to keep the setting as America and not try so hard to 'anglicize' it. After all British kids are more than used-to US toys, TV and comics and an American setting hardly did Transformers any harm.

Having said all this I wasn't a regular reader and so it could have been that the stories weren't much good - or that the fad with the toys had started to wane with a knock-on effect for the comic.

Anyway getting back to Transformers... it's good to see Galvatron in action again and at his full cunning best. He cleverly manoeuvres himself out of teaming up with the Earthbound and Cybertron-based Decepticons and it makes me wonder what his gameplan actually is. Having set-up Shockwave to be ripe for deposal he never follows it up by actually staking a claim to lead the Decepticons. It could be that he has something up his sleeve that never comes to fruition because of his death in Time Wars - or maybe he's having fun and staying out of the way until 2006, not wanting to endanger future events by his presence more than he needs to.

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