Transformers UK: Issue #167
Story: Legion of the Lost (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: May 28th, 1988
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Jeff Anderson (story) Jerry Paris (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Mad scientist Flame wants to realise Megatron's dream of transforming Cybertron into a mobile battlestation!
Last issue skipped back in time by three weeks to show us the events leading up to the Wreckers' capture by Flame's zombies. This issue it's back to the present day as the mysterious Flame finally makes his presence known.
Striding into the Wreckers' cell accompanied by a zombified Impactor, Flame reveals himself as an Autobot scientist - who also knows Emirate Xarron. We find out the pair were once colleagues, but Flame had become obsessed with Megatron's dream of turning Cybertron into a mobile battle station, and Xarron had him discredited. In the intervening years Xarron's career flourished while Flame became more bitter and resentful.
When an explosion destroyed his lab, Flame was thought to be dead, but he survived and had discovered a secret entrance to Megatron's reactor chamber. Deep within this underground complex he began to plot his revenge. The first step was to create an army of zombies, and then to repair the Megatron's engines and ready them for firing. With the work now done, Flame has kidnapped his old nemesis Xarron, to prove once and for all that his theories are sound. The engines are to be brought online and will power Cybertron's flight through the universe, then Xarron will see he was wrong to oppose Flame. The Autobot leader is far from convinced. He thinks the plan is insane and these powerful engines will end up tearing the planet to pieces! Xarron tries to shake some sense into Flame but a swift blow from Impactor puts paid to this.
Flame returns to his monitor screen and sees Ultra Magnus and the Sparkabots still on the surface. That much is good, but their prisoner Flywheels seems to be jetting into the distance. It turns out that Magnus has released the Decepticon on the understanding that he will bring reinforcements, but Sizzle thinks it's the last they will see of him.
Back in the cell, Springer is having a most undignified breakdown in front of his men. The cause of this is his coming face to face with his predecessor, Impactor, whom he feels he cannot live up to. It's not clear why Springer should feel like this, after all he has known Impactor for much less time than any the others. Xarron gives him a much needed pep talk and points out that he is the only one who can save them. Everyone has been shackled with waist manacles to prevent their transformations, but Springer still has his leaping ability and could escape through the ventilation shaft (??). When you think about it though, the Wreckers have been in this cell for three weeks and really should have thought of this sooner.
Springer decides to give it a try (if only because he owes it to Impactor's memory). Gathering his strength he leaps through the grating and into the tunnel above. But the Impactor zombie grabs hold of Springer's legs and is carried with him. Springer tries desperately to reason with Impactor as they scrap. Finally his deceased friend stops fighting and begins to speak... he must go and find out what he has become. Springer wishes him good luck and then turns his attention to his own mission. He has to alert the world to Flame's plans before it is too late.
Further inklings into Emirate Xarron's early life are revealed this issue as we find out that he used to be a member of Iacon's Academy of Science and Technology. It's not clear whether this was before the war or during it though. Neither do we find out how long Flame has been underground plotting revenge but he's probably held a grudge for a long, long time. Get over it mate!
Flame is another character who has been invented by the British writers (read Furman) and is not part of the Hasbro toy range. It's refreshing that the comic is able to develop its own characters instead of slavishly sticking to the toyline like the US comic. Flame's fire markings make him look a bit like Rodimus Prime but his garish red, orange and yellow colouring is way over the top, and adds to the loony scientist effect. It's also nice to see Impactor back proving the odd adage that in comics, no character is ever really dead.
As mentioned above I'm not too convinced about Springer's wallowing in self pity. It certainly didn't seem his style when he first appeared, and for that matter he didn't know Impactor long enough to be mourning him like an old friend. The old trick of escaping down an air vent has been done so many times, and I'm not certain why a shaft is even there when Transformers don't need to breathe. There is evidence that Cybertron has an atmosphere though because the Neo Knights are able to survive there in a much later issue.