Transformers UK: Issue #171

Story: Deadly Games (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: June 25th, 1988
Price: 35p
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Dan Reed (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story

First appearance: Hooligan, Chameleon, Zabra


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


Magnus will be tested in the arena against Hooligan, all in the name of entertainment. Zabra can't wait for those profits to roll in!

In the dungeons below the stadium, Magnus and the Sparkabots are visited by Zabra - the alien who organises the games with Decepticon approval. Zabra has come to see his latest prized fighter and drool over the prospect of a bumper night's takings. Magnus demands they be set free, only to be put in his place in no certain terms by a 'baseball bat' wielding Decepticon guard! Zabra informs Ultra Magnus that he WILL fight in the arena or else the Firecons will shoot his Sparkabot friends. Magnus has no choice but he tells Zabra exactly what he thinks of him and his little enterprise. By pandering to the worst aspects of people's nature he is lower than even the Decepticons, and apart from anything else these 'games' are illegal under intergalactic law. Zabra tells Magnus he has no concern for such things, only the lucrative profits to be made. His Decepticon partners are happy too because the games are a convenient way to dispose of troublesome Autobots.

As Magnus is lead into the ring he Hooligan charged up and waiting - while in the dungeons the Decepticon guard grumbles that he is missing the action. Suddenly he hears the Sparkabots arguing among themselves and a fight breaks out between Sizzle and Guzzle! The guard approaches the bars and waves his bat through the bars in an effort to get them to pipe down. But Fizzle springs from the shadows and grabs the bat, forcing the guard to violently slam against the bars and deactivate. The Sparklers take the guard's keys and congratulate themselves on a job well done. Now to find Magnus...

Meanwhile in the ring the match is on in earnest! Magnus is on the receiving end of Hooligan's energy mace and retaliates with a butt to the face. He tries to reason with Hooligan and convince him that he is also a victim and is being exploited by Zabra. The moronic Hooligan is not interested and informs Magnus that he fights simply because he enjoys torturing his opponents! Close-by the Sparklers have a dilemma on their hands - do they go to go to their friend's aid or return to Autobase in time for the all-important mission to Earth? The Wreckers are due to embark on a vital mission to neutralise Galvatron and the trip through the inter-dimensional portal can only be made when the vectors are aligned - it is a straight choice between Magnus or the mission.

Back in the arena Magnus has had a change of heart and now unleashes his full fury against Hooligan! The bully has met his match this time, and after a few sucker punches, lays defeated at Magnus' feet. The Autobot picks up Hooligan's mace and prepares to deliver a killer blow - the crowd goes wild and is really baying for blood! But Magnus throws the weapon to the ground and declares the killing over - this ends here, and now. He leaps into the executive box and subjects Zabra to a pasting further pasting. A trio of Decepticon guards take aim but are blasted by the Sparkabots (who have come to help their comrade aid after all)! The Firecons realise that the situation has got out of hand and decide to split.

With Hooligan defeated and Zabra soon to be taken into custody, Magnus addresses the crowds from the arena. He tells them that killing is NOT a sport and NOT to be taken lightly. Each time we kill we lose a piece of ourselves, he says. The crowd listens to the sermon and then quietly leaves. Outside an alien remarks on what an excellent show it was - and his friend suggests a great murderpit on Derut Four that they just have to visit!

******

Comments:

Magnus tries to appeal to the conscience of the crowd and make them see the error of their ways, but they don't see his words as anything other than part of the show, and take no notice. The story is a kind of satire on our own society of watching violent TV and movies, the more hardcore the better it seems. These aliens are lapping it up and aren't about to take notice of a kiljoy like Magnus!

An array of weird and wonderful aliens in this issue and some strange looking Decepticons too! Look at the opening page and you'll spot a short warrior with a giant brain and a slug like Decepticon, who really can't be that maneuvrable in combat! More appearances from the Sparkabots and Firecons who are among the latest Hasbro toy releases - although at least the Sparklers can claim a level of character development.

Despite his defeat by Zabra last issue, Magnus seems to have the situation firmly under control this time, and even sees off Hooligan without too much trouble! We can see from this issue that Magnus is the consumate Autobot, powerful and noble. Dragon's Teeth/Claws (by Furman and Senior) also gets a plug on the main Transformations page editorial. This is unusual for other comics as they usually get a mention in the side bar or further in the comic. A curious thing is that the comic is referred to as Dragon's Teeth on page 2 and Dragon's Claws on page 17. I can only assume that the decision was made at the very last minute to change the name, and they couldn't change the Transformations page in time. To this day I've still no idea why Dragon's Teeth was dropped in favour of claws (perhaps a copy right problem?) but if anyone knows, mail me.

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