Transformers UK: Issue #183
Story: Space Pirates (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Visionaries
Cover date: September 17th, 1988
Script: Simon Furman
Artwork: Dan Reed (story) Andy Wildman (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Arcee, Hopper, Wheelie
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Arcee wanted a bit of action but a full scale Quintesson attack is not what she had in mind!
Arcee is on guard duty at Autobot City, Earth and finding it mind-numbingly dull. She patrols the perimeter thinking about the old days when things were much more interesting. Back then she had Hot Rod for company but since he became Rodimus Prime and got responsibility, things haven't been the same. Arcee decides that she needs to get away for a bit - and transforms and zooms away - thinking nobody will notice she's missing. Little does she know that watching from orbit is the Quintesson fleet - and they are preparing to attack!
Inside the city Skydive and Blaster have picked up a feint blip on the radar, possibly a cloaked ship. Before they can investigate the glass shatters and the Autobots see an armada of enemy tridents arriving. An Autobot called Hopper is one of the first casualties, as Perceptor and the Throttlebots scramble outside. Sharkticon quickly break through the city walls and begin to overwhelm the unprepared Autobots by sheer weight of their numbers. Blaster dashes to the engine room and starts to turn the huge cog that will transform Autobot City into battle station mode. He never completes the task because a Ghyrik sneaks up on him and blasts a huge hole in his back!
Back on the Quintesson planet Wreck-Gar is in the ocean and under fierce shark attack. He summons all of his energy to electrify the water around him - frying the circuits of his immediate attackers. As more tail fins close in a rope ladder suddenly descends - and Wreck-Gar quickly seizes it. The Autobot Wheelie pulls him aboard his shuttle and they quickly set course for Cybertron. In his own inimitable fashion Wheelie explains that he lived on Quintesson once and Prime sent him back there to spy. Luckily he had detected that Wreck-Gar was in trouble and was able to go to his aid.
Arcee, meanwhile, is feeling much better after her high speed drive. She thinks that once upon a time Hot Rod would have joined her, but as Rodimus he is more likely to court martial her for abandoning her post! As she gets back to the city she realises with horror that there has been an attack. She draws her gun and charges forward - perhaps it's not too late to help her comrades - but Quintesson weapons fire quickly cuts her down. As the female Autobot falls General Ghyrik orders his men to take her captive. She has a part to play in the next phase of the Quintesson's plan - as bait for Rodimus Prime!
Opening this comic again takes me back to the first time in 1988. I remember looking at the new design and thinking 'Not brilliant but not bad. Perhaps it will grow on me'. Sometimes it did and other times it didn't. Overall I still think the previous design was the best. The Transformation page has had the most extensive overall and looks pretty snappy - not to mention eye-catching in all that red and orange. The masthead has virtually doubled in size to the point where it seems to be hogging space and the contents section has gone. However the comic is only 24 pages so how much use is a contents section anyway? There's still plenty to read on this page so overall not bad. Moving on, a special edition of Robo Capers heralds the arrival of the latest letter answerer - and it's (surprise surprise) a Powermaster. Now Soundwave I could understand - they picked because of his communications role, while Grimlock has always been a favourite with the readers, but Dreadwind? I couldn't help feeling that that this was just another Hasbro pleaser, plugging the latest toy line and all that. At least he has a love-hate (or should that be hate-hate) relationship with his Nebulan companion, Hi-Test, so the possibily of a good banter.
Visionaries takes over as the back-up strip and I didn't mind that because I was never a major fan of Action Force. Like its predecessor, Visionaries had started out as a comic in its own right and got cancelled. Back-up strip status seems to be a stop on the way to comic oblivion but I enjoyed having them around for as long as they were there.
As for the story - well it's nice to see Arcee finally making her debut - and I'm pretty sure that Wheelie hasn't been in it before. Blaster pops up in his communications centre, ala Transformers the Movie, and even manages to utter the line he used in that film "they're blitzing Autobot City". Blaster's been drawn without his trademark visor - which is not good, and I remain to be convinced that Furman can characterise him as well as Bob Budiansky in the US comic. This Blaster just seems flat and not the emotional maverick we knew from such memorable stories as The Smelting Pool and Crater Critters.
Wreck-Gar electrifying the Sharkticons is a neat trick, and an ability I didn't know he possessed. If his TV talking is a little stupid at times, Wheelie's rhymes are most definitely irritating. "Fellow Autobots I have not, just me the ship and the autopilot" - doesn't even rhyme does it?