Transformers UK: Issue #160
Story: Salvage (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: 9th April, 1988
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Lee Sullivan (story) Bryan Hitch (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Richard Branson!
Synopsis:By Ralph Burns
Richard Branson overseas the raising of Megatron and Centurion from the river Thames.
For some, improving the environment means picking up litter from city streets but Richard Branson has always liked to do things on a grander scale. The millionaire businessman now stands on the banks of the Thames to oversee his latest project - raising the bodies of Megatron and Centurion from the riverbed.
Branson thinks the stunt will be a good way to prove his environmental credentials as well as getting his company name splashed across the newspapers. But his gloating is soon soured when a group of Decepticons comprising the Seacon Jawbreaker, and jets Blitzwing, Ramjet, Dirge, and Thrust arrive and quickly make off with the two bodies, leaving Branson shaking his fists in fury.
Some hours later at Mount Verona, USA, the Sparkler Minibots - Sizzle, Fizzle and Guzzle - unearth Ultra Magnus from his tomb. Magnus initially appears disorientated until the Sparklers remind him that he's spent quite some time buried under tons of lava after a confrontation with Galvatron. The mention of his dreaded foe prompts Magnus to have a panic attack, during which he sees the Decepticon jets flying Megatron and Centurion back to their base. Elsewhere, a shadowy figure keeps watch outside that selfsame fortress, wondering what Shockwave is up to within. When he sees the jets arriving with Megatron the pieces begin to fall into place.
Soon Shockwave and the Seacon leader Snap Trap have wired Megatron to an operating table and deduced that their erstwhile leader is effectively a vegetable. But with the help their psycho probe his mind may still be salvaged. Magnus and the Sparklers are hoping to stop that, and now arrive at the Decepticon fortress to plan an assault. But they are halted in their tracks by the emergence of the mysterious watcher - and it is Galvatron! Nightmare images overwhelm Magnus' mind and he sinks to the ground screaming.
Proving he's never one to turn down a bit of publicity, Virgin tycoon Richard Branson is in this issue! Fair play to him I say, although the sight of Richard shaking his fists at the Decepticons proves to be unintentionally amusing! Lee Sullivan has caught Branson's likeness remarkably well. In fact, credit where its due, his art is pretty good this issue. A genuinely creepy Bryan Hitch cover showing Magnus slipping beneath a sea of magma too. A typically hyperactive Transformation page hails the appearance of Richard Branson is the most exciting event ever ("Look who's in Transformers this week!"). In truth, Branson's appearance in Salvage is pretty minimal and merely serves to ground the series in 'our' reality. Whether real life figures appearing in Transformers breaks the overall illusion or not is a subject worthy of discussion: certainly it is very rare. The sequence where Megs and Centurion are abducted is well paced and snappy, while the four panel break-up of the tow lines conveys the action nicely. Magnus' panic attack is fun: he sees Galvatron in the shape of the Decepticon logo, which is a clever piece of subtlety. Shockwave, though hardly in it, is good fun and comes out with the fabulous line: "Snap Trap - bring me the PSYCHO PROBE!" in a moment of high camp. There's more camp at the end with Magnus screaming as his old foe turns up with a strangely Game Show pose. It is a dramatic end however. Overall all, Salvage is reasonably entertaining if not spectacular.