Transformers UK: Issue #177

Story: People Power (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: 6th August, 1988
Price: 35p
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Jose Delbo (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Adam Hogg

Optimus Prime is back, but not for much longer unless Hi-Q can be pursuaded to save him.

With the Nebulan council of peers under attack from the Decepticon powermasters Darkwing and Dreadwind, the four Autobots who travelled to Nebulos last issue spring into action. With their guns blazing, a surprised Darkwing hurls the famous Nebulos globe at them, while Goldbug barely avoiding it. Dreadwind shoots at Goldbug, who again proves more than able to dodge the barrage, while a short distance away the other dazed Autobots transform and realise that perhaps their fuel situation is more serious than they realised. As Darkwing transforms and takes to the air, the Autobots can barely lift their weapons to try and stop him. Goldbug charges into Dreadwind but the larger Decepticon replies by smashing the small Autobot through the air and onto a heap on the ground. The two Decepticons take to the sky, with Dreadwind blasting his opponents before escaping. The situation is now pretty desperate for the Autobots - they were dangerously outclassed and would have probably had a tough fight even at full strength.

Later, at Hi Q's lab, Goldbug's wounds are found to be relatively minor compared to the other three, who are now dangerously low on resources. Hi Q is puzzled as to why these Autobots would travel across the galaxy to construct a body for their former leader, and then try to stop the Decepticons at great personal risk. Perhaps they are more than just intelligent machines adds Rev, when suddenly Joyride crashes to the ground in pain, they are dying admits Kari. Hi Q begs Goldbug to return to Steelhaven and leave for his companions sake, but Goldbug explains that there is not enough Energon to make it back to Earth alive, and they have no choice but to remain and ultimately die on Nebulos!! Goldbug holds up the Disc containing Optimus Prime's personality and insists that he shall see Optimus Prime live again, even if it means that he too will be condemned. At least Prime will die as an Autobot rather than a video game character. Hi Q agrees to continue the reconstruction...

Soon a familiar figure stands in Hi Q's lab - Optimus Prime's body built to exact specification. The body is energised and Hi Q is ready to input his mind - Optimus Prime will live again, albeit briefly. Goldbug gives the confirmation, and Kari inserts the disc. Suddenly Optimus begins to function, immediately remembering his existence as a video game character, but now realising that something is different. Prime's confused words leads Hi Q to believe that he was right all along about these Autobots simply being intelligent machines. Kari tells Prime to think about combining with his trailer module, and suddenly it bonds to him creating an awesome machine over twice the size of his original body. Prime can feel the incredible power flowing through his being, and he can't wait to use it in the next game! Goldbug and the Autobots are shocked to see that Prime's mind is still messed up, when suddenly he collapses in agony. Goldbug comforts his old friend, and Prime can only ask what is happening to him. He has been poisoned due to the radiation on Nebulous and is dying. Such a fascinating sensation describes Optimus, who realises that in order to die he must be more than just a pattern of magnetised bits on a disc.

Prime is alive once more, but is now doomed, for which Goldbug can only apologise wholeheartedly. Prime reassures his old friend that he has done the right thing, for he much prefers to live for a few precious moments than endure the living death of existing on a disc. Hi Q realises that these Autobots are as alive than any Nebulan, and more noble than most. He will not let Optimus Prime die and will immediately undergo the Powermaster process to save him. Rev then volunteers to save Getaway, while Hotwire will team up with Joyride, and Lube will save Slapdash. Kari reluctantly admits that she cannot be part of this as she is not a warrior, but Goldbug is by far the most fuel efficient Autobot, and has more than enough juice to survive.

Two days later the Decepticons are soaring towards Hi Q's lab determined to finish the Autobots off. The council of peers has reluctantly revealed the location of their base, while inside the complex Kari alerts the new Autobot Powermasters. Getaway, Slapdash, and Joyride, exit the complex to confront the Decepticons, who are naturally surprised at this reckless act, especially after what happened last time. They are even more surprised when the Autobots are able to dodge their shots and launch heavy fire of their own. The Decepticons decide to retreat but Optimus Prime has other ideas and pummels them with a relentless onslaught. Darkwing and Dreadwind transform as they crash land, and Hi Test and Throttle eject and try to run off. Hi Q jumps out from Prime's Powermaster compartment on his stomach and confronts his one-time assistant, Hi Test. He reveals that the council deliberately revealed the Autobots' location in order to set a trap. What's more, the council has decided that Hi Test and Throttle are to be banished from Nebulos (along with Dreadwind and Darkwing) effective immediately.

Soon, the Decepticons have combined into their supersonic jet mode 'Dreadwing' and along with Throttle and Hi Test, rocket away from Nebulos to parts unknown. Meanwhile back on the planet, Goldbug is preparing to depart alone as none of the Powermaster Autobots are able to leave without their Nebulan companions. Kari asks Hi Q if he honestly believes that Nebulos is a proper home for these Autobots, or indeed him? The Autobots fight for different reasons than the Decepticons, noble reasons, but nevertheless they are still warriors. By helping these Autobots they have only accomplished the thing they set out to prevent - they have made it possible for Transformers to survive on Nebulos. If they remain it could threaten the stability of the planet, to which Hi Q agrees. He and the other Powermasters must also depart Nebulos.

Hi Q thanks Kari for her wisdom, and says goodbye before joining the others inside the shuttle. As the Autobot craft disappears into the sky, Kari sheds a tear for her friends.

******

Comments:

Optimus Prime is finally back after a year and a half absence, and which predictably overshadows everything else, but overall People Power is another pretty decent story. The small cast of Nebulan characters have been portrayed nicely, although I find it strange that they make a split second decision at the end to leave the planet for good (don't they have friends and family etc?). Also with Kari crying at the end we have similarities to the final Headmasters episode "Brothers in Armour" UK#144, where Llyra sobs at the end - Nebulan women huh (I still think Kari should have binary bonded to Goldbug).

Many times through this issue, and the last issue as well, Nebulans are referred to as humans, which I found very annoying during the write up, and which is basically wrong. Grimlock on the letters page once corrected someone for suggesting Ethan Zachary becomes Optimus Prime's Binary Bonded Nebulan, because even if he did then he would instead be a binary bonded Human (so there is definitely a difference).

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