Transformers UK: Issue #176

Story: People Power (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: July 30th, 1988
Price: 35p
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Jose Delbo (story) Kev Hopgood (cover)
Rating: Art / Story

First appearance: Darkwing, Dreadwind, Hi-Test, Throttle, Hi-Q, Lube, Kari, Hotwire, Rev


By Adam Hogg

Nebulos is terrorised by the Decepticons once more, and the fuel-depleted Autobots are powerless to stop them!

Several dozen light years from the Earth, the planet Nebulos spins contentedly around its sun, its people unblemished by want or war. This highly advanced society has once more returned to the peace it enjoyed before the arrival of the Transformers (see 'Broken Glass' UK#131), but for diners at the 'Gardens of Eternal Peace and Harmony Macrobiotic Restaurant', things are about to change for the worse. A powerful supersonic jet soars over the Nebulan cityscape and shatters the spectacular glass dome covering the restaurant. Suddenly the huge jet splits into two smaller jets who transform as they land, while two exosuited Nebulans jump from the back of each. It is the fearsome Decepticon duo of Dreadwind and Darkwing, and right now their Nebulan companions Hi Test and Throttle are hungry! The pair are lifted onto the restaurant's top floor by Darkwing, where they are met by the terrified manager. They want feeding... NOW!!

A short time later, an interstellar Spacecraft arrives in orbit of Nebulos - the Steelhaven. A tiny shuttlecraft departs and soon lands discreetly near a secluded industrial complex on the surface, where its Autobot passengers, Goldbug, Getaway, Joyride and Slapdash, depart at speed. Within the nearby complex, three Nebulans, Lube, Hotwire, and Kari carry out work on a special project, when suddenly Hotwire notices their unusual visitors! The Autobots transform and declare their peaceful intentions, so Kari decides to notify Hi Q (thankfully just the person the Autobots wanted to see!). Moments later in a deeper part of the lab, the senior scientist Hi Q is interrupted in his work as the four Autobots are introduced. They are here on the instructions of Fortress Maximus (who was binary bonded to the Nebulan leader Galen) for one purpose, to fashion a body for the mind encoded on a disc!

Hi Q is surprised to learn these creatures have travelled across the galaxy just to rebuild a machine, and Joyride pipes up that this is no 'blasted mecha-toy' but the Autobots greatest leader Optimus Prime. Hi Q is unmoved at news of Galen's death and warns the Autobots that unless they wish to meet the same fate they should immediately. Joyride doesn't take kindly to this either but Hi Q is about to fill them in on the changed situation here on Nebulos....

The war the Transformers brought to this world had threatened to destroy it, but once they left the Nebulans set about rebuilding. After eliminating all weaponry so that they could never fight again, the council of peers asked top scientists to devise a way to prevent the Transformers from ever returning. Hi Q and his brash assistant Hi Test got to work and came up with a solution. A huge bomb was detonated, filling the atmosphere with a radiation which tainted all fuel sources on Nebulous, making them poisonous to any living robot. The radiation posed no threat to regular life, but Hi Test became incredibly jealous of his boss' accomplishment and decided to quit. Sometime after, two Decepticons arrived on Nebulous in search of their missing comrades. They ignored the warnings to leave or face the consequences, and eventually became inoperative due to the corrosive fuel, and faced a future as helpless tourist attractions. Hi Test saw the Decepticons as an opportunity to redeem himself and get back at Hi Q. So, with the help of a local criminal named Throttle, he stole Hi Q's theories on fuel conversion and used the data to bio-mechanically engineer himself and Throttle. The pair gained the ability to transform into powerful engines and struck a deal with Darkwing and Dreadwind. The Decepticons could draw all the power they needed from these 'Powermasters' and in no time they were terrorising Nebulos again. The purpose of the majority of their attacks was to feed Hi Test and Throttle, who now consumed ten times as much food as before (I don't even want to think about how this process works!).

Hi Q regrets that there is now no force on Nebulos able to stop them, and should the Autobots stay and try they are likely to condemn themselves to suffer the same original fate. For the time being, Hi Q is working on a peaceful way to stop them. Joyride looks glum and suggests they leave, but Goldbug insists he will keep his promise to see Optimus Prime rebuilt regardless of the cost. The other Autobots reluctantly accept their fate, and in doing so become Hi Q's honoured guests for the time being, but he warns them that he will only be able to watch their inevitable passing.

Much later, and preparations for Prime's new body are well under way, while Hi Q can only marvel at the commitment and precision of the Autobots at work - what superbly engineered creatures. Suddenly a messenger named Rev enters with bad news, the Decepticons are on the rampage again, and the council wishes to know if the preparations for the counter weapon are complete. Hi Q is displeased at the way he is being treated, they expect too much from him, and sometimes seem to act as if this was his fault. Goldbug volunteers the Autobots to try and stop them as they are all aching for some action anyway.

Meanwhile in the Nebulan capital Koraja, Darkwing and Dreadwind are about the pay the ruling council a visit. Determined to learn the whereabouts of the Decepticons who once visited Nebulos, Darkwing tears off the roof of the building demanding answers, but the defiant council has nothing to say to them. Darkwing wrenches the 'Nebulous monument' from its stand and holds up the huge depiction of the ringed planet above the assembled council members - they will answer or die...



The introduction of the Powermasters is pretty smooth storywise, with a reasonable attempt to invent a different reason for Nebulans and Transformers to team up. Dreadwind and Darkwing are welcome additions to the series too, and have always been favourite characters of mine, with great toy incarnations and their unique combining super jet mode. For some reason Darkwing gets all the action in this issue, while Dreadwind seems content on standing around watching. The human characters are surprisingly interesting too, with Hi Q very likeable for a boring, balding, what the hell is he wearing, scientist type (he's totally bald here unlike his later appearances, so perhaps he shaves his head?). Also Hi Test is a slimy chap, but I was mainly wondering if perhaps he and Hi Q where related (Hi Q, Hi Test). Also with all the other Nebulans accounted for this issue, I really hoped for Kari to become Goldbug's Powermaster.

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