Transformers UK: Issue #169

Story: Meltdown (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: May 11th, 1988
Price: 35p
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Robin Smith (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


With Trypticon on their side the Wreckers have no problems getting through Flame's blast doors!

It has been centuries since Emirate Xarron last transformed, and he knows if he does it now, it won't be pleasant. But the agony he faces will be as nothing should he fail to stop Flame. This mad Autobot scientist (as we learned previously), is planning to fire a huge engine under Cybertron's surface, transforming the planet into a spacecraft. In reality the reactor is dangerously unstable and is far more likely to rip Cybertron to pieces - unless Xarron can do something!

So far the old timer has been having his most energetic afternoon for ages, as he dives to avoid blast after blast from Flame's fire tank mode. Xarron's arm is partially melted, but it doesn't stop him attempting to transform to his vehicle mode. Sadly we never see it because Xarron is saved by bell (well a warning siren actually). The reactor has started to malfunction and in two minutes it could explode. Flame transforms to robot mode and Xarron pleads with him to reveal where the shut down control is. Perhaps if they can lower the reactor core and seal it... "the dream can be saved," Flame finishes.

Nearby, Ultra Magnus and the Wreckers are attempting to break into the control centre but are being held at bay by the blast doors. The only chance is for Springer and Broadside to get back with some heavy artillery, but the Autobots fear the worst when Trypticon suddenly appears! The giant Decepticon must have destroyed their comrades, and will destroy them too, unless they open fire! Magnus prepares to give the order, but Springer appears unexpectedly and reveals that Trypticon is here to help. It turns out that Flywheels came through for the Autobots after all. He couldn't get reinforcements in terms of numbers so he settled for the biggest Decepticon he could find! With the explanations out of the way Trypticon gets down to business, headbutting the blast doors and caving them in! The Autobots and Decepticons pile through, followed minutes later by the former zombie Impactor.

Meanwhile Xarron is still pleading with Flame to shut down the reactor with no success. The demented scientist thinks his old adversary is simply trying to discredit him again and won't let Xarron near the reactor. Thankfully Ultra Magnus arrives and hauls Flame off the ground, tossing him on to nearby machinery. The countdown to detonation continues and now there is only a matter of seconds remaining. Xarron, Magnus and Springer heroically argue over which one of them should sacrifice their lives to go into the reactor and shut it down. Xarron, as the most high ranking Autobot, wins the contest.

He prepares to leave, just as Flame summons his remaining zombies to the control room. But the macabre army is no match for the combined forces of The Wreckers and Trypticon. Xarron is about to step into the reactor when Flame lunges at him - only to be speared through the head by Impactor! The once mighty leader of the Wreckers tells Xarron to stand aside and allow him to go into the reactor instead. Impactor has no place among the living now but perhaps his death can mean something.

He goes inside where a violent fire storm rages and tears him apart piece by piece. But Impactor crawls to the reactor core, and with his last once of strength, deactivates it. A chain reaction ensues which destroys the engines but the prospect of a larger blast has been averted. Above ground the Autobots are surprised to see Emirate Xarron emerge unscathed. He tells the gathered warriors what happened and asks that they give thanks... "to the Autobot to died twice so that others may live."

******

Comments:

So Impactor dies again! He really should stop making a habit of this! A decent conclusion to the City of Fear saga which has been offbeat, strangely familiar in many of its elements, and featuring a good cast of characters. Having Trypticon in any story makes it an event, but I really like the way Furman has used Flywheels to inject some humour and vitality, and Springer's complex about whether he can be the leader Impactor was, and finally the Xaaron and Flame history. It is a shame Xaaron didn't transform as a lot of readers would have enjoyed seeing his alternate mode, and I know he's old, but you would have thought he'd have kept his transform abilities in working order. Why stay in the same mode for 700 years?

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