Transformers UK: Issue #189
Story: Dry Run!
Back-up strip: Visionaries
Cover date: October 29th, 1988
Script: Dan Abnett
Artwork: Jeff Anderson
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Cyclonus is about to meet a grisily end at the hands of a brainwashed and crazed Megatron!
The Decepticon Fortress on present day Earth is the setting for a battle of titanic proportions. Megatron - the former Decepticon leader now under Shockwave's mind control - lays waste to his future self Galvatron. THA-KUNCH! An uppercut leaves Galvatron damaged and as he backs off to prepare his particle cannon, Megatron follows up with a drop-kick. Galvatron cowers and Megatron unleashes the full fury of his fusion cannon - blowing his alter-ego to bits!
Shockwave, watching all this carnage unfold, is delighted by the results. If this test were the real thing, his agent would have destroyed Galvatron in under ten seconds! It's a pity that the victim was only a facsimile construct but Megatron's progress is magnificent. Shockwave muses over the possibilty of his agent sinking his teeth into more substantial opposition, before departing for an audience with Cyclonus and Scourge. These two refugees from the future are waiting in the hall, having fled to Shockwave for protection, after their abortive attack on their one-time master Galvatron.
Ironically Cyclonus and Scourge are destined to kill their new commander in the future but Shockwave doesn't know this yet. As the pair wait they argue about the merits of their chosen course action. Cyclonus thinks it's undignified that they should go crawling back to Shockwave and thinks it would be far better to kill him (again!) and take over. Scourge, slightly the more sensible of the two, won't hear of it. If they tamper with the timeline any more than they have done the consequences could be disasterous, he says. Besides they only defeated Shockwave in 2008 because they had help from Death's Head (see UK#147).
Shockwave enters with an air of superiority that immediately grates on his guests. He makes it clear that in return for refuge he expects absolute loyalty from his new recruits. Scourge pipes up that they are not servants, but Shockwave disagrees, pointing out that he is absolute ruler in this particular outfit. The exchange grows more and more heated.. and finally Cyclonus snaps and tells Shockwave that they killed him once and don't have to take his orders now!! Scourge can't believe the enormity of the gaffe, and literally throttles his idiotic comrade. Shockwave beats a strategic retreat. He has no idea if the pair are speaking the truth but he's not about to risk it. If the chance exists that Cyclonus and Scourge will kill him in 2008 then clearly they must be destroyed first!
The two hunters tool up, courtesy of Nightstick and Fracas - the Nebulans who become their weapons - and go looking for their prey. They see Shockwave standing in a doorway with a shadowy figure, which they soon realise is Megatron, the last person they were expecting! At Shockwave's command this engine of destruction lays into the 'allies of his hated foe Galvatron', and floors Cyclonus with a blast before reigning blows on Scourge. Megatron grasps Cyclonus by the throat in an insane fury, and even crushes Nightstick with his free hand (that's gotta hurt!) Cyclonus screams for help and Scourge lines up Megatron in his sights. Fracas is on full power and Scourge reckons not even Megatron would survive that kind of blast. But before he can pull the trigger, a thousand possibilities bombard Scourge's mind, and the terrible realisation dawns that if Megatron dies he can never be transformed into Galvatron. And if that never happens maybe he and Cyclonus would never exist either? Scourge transforms and jets away with Fracas, leaving Cyclonus to his fate.
As he disappears into the sky Megatron rips Cyclonus' head off with his bare hands, killing him! Cyclonus' death twenty years before his creation, would have repurcussions that nobody present this day could forsee, for somewhere in the reaches of space a tear in the fabric of time begins to form. For now the Decepticons of 1988 are unaware of this and as Shockwave surveys the wreckage of Cyclonus his immediate thoughts are of Galvatron. If Megatron can defeat both of his leiutenants then is ready for the master himself. A human news channel reports a mechanoid of Galvatron's description, running riot through a nearby settlement. This is the opportunity Shockwave has been waiting for and he dispatches Megatron to find the 'impostor' who claims to be descended from him. When he does he is to destroy him utterly!
This instalment was written by newcomer, Dan Abnett, but the hand of Furman can be detected behind the scenes. Later we'd find out that this issue is part of a bigger story arc that Furman is weaving, when it is revealed that Cyclonus' death has created a rip in the space-time continuum that threatens to destroy Earth and Cybertron! See the Time Wars saga (199-205) for more details. If you want to know what happens when Megatron and Galvatron meet-up then check out 'Altered Image' in the 1988 Transformers Annual.
This issue's story is another of those rare one parters. These are usually a little uninspiring because there's a limit to how much story you can cram into 11 pages. To get anything gripping normally requires two parts IMHO and I always enjoyed the cliff-hangers that we'd be treated to at the end of first instalments. Although this comic has been printed on poor quality paper, thankfully it's not as bad as the previous issue, which was a glimmer of hope at the time. I remember wondering if the comic was cost cutting due to falling sales, and thinking this could mean it was getting the axe in the near future. Thankfully this didn't happen for another four years but the poor quality paper/black and white stories/three strip format and reprints, were to test the loyalty of many fans after this point. More about that later.
Interesting idea that Cyclonus' death 20 years before his creation could create a tear in time that could destroy planets. I'm not sure if there is any basis in physics for such an eventuality so maybe Furman/Abnett made it up? Strangely, Megatron is able to kill Cyclonus which would seem to contradict earlier stories where the future Decepticon is stronger. Perhaps Cyclonus simply caught Megatron by surprise when they tangled in Target:2006? This is not the first time we've seen a Transformer decapitated - it happens to Prime during the 'Matrix' stories of 1985, and Scorponok's head was severed by Highbrow in one of the annuals. Neither of these died so Cyclonus seems to have been very unlucky in this instance!