Transformers UK: Issue #191

Story: Monstercon from Mars! (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: 12th November, 1988
Price: 35p
Writer: Bob Budiansky
Artists: Jose Delbo (story) Wetherall/Baskerville (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


By Omega Steve

Skullgrin's 'number-one fan' turns out to be Circuit Breaker - and it isn't an autograph she wants!

Film producer Rollie Friendly has cast the Decepticon Pretender Skullgrin in his latest movie - Monster From Mars. He's being paid in fuel, thus fulfilling his mission for Scorponok, and has gone down well with the public. But not everyone is happy - Skullgrin's co-star Jake Colton is jealous, and Circuit Breaker smells a rat. A fleet of Blackrock tankers coming and going only adds to her suspicions.

Skullgrin holds his first press conference and reacts badly to all the questions by smashing up a lectern. His friend and co-star Carissa Carr appeals for calm and the nation's media gets some great pictures of a real-life beauty and the beast story. Mr Friendly is delighted but declares the cast off limits to the press until filming ends, hoping to generate a frenzy of interest. Carissa sees a woman in a wheelchair (actually Circuit Breaker) being ushered away goes to speak to her. She falls for Circuit Breaker's line about being Skullgrin's biggest fan and reveals they will be filming tomorrow at the Grand Canyon.

The next day filming continues as normal and Skullgrin and Carissa take a break. She gets changed into her casual shorts and t-shirt and tells the Decepticon how good it feels to be plain old Ethel Stankiewicz again. Skullgrin decides to share his secret and pops out of his shell to show off his robot mode. But Circuit Breaker has spotted him and activates her armour. She hovers above the Decepticon and unleashes a huge burst of electricity. Carissa is shocked when she realises it's the woman in the wheelchair and angry because SHE told her where Skullgrin would be.

The battle has not gone unnoticed by Rollie who orders his cameramen into action and tells Jake to start improvising! Skullgrin operates his shell by radio control and has it swing a sword at Circuit Breaker. She hits the ground with a bump and the Decepticon transforms into vehicle mode to finish her off. As he lines up his shrapnel blasters Circuit Breaker radio commands the Pretender shell to attack it's owner and a stray shot results in the cliff Carissa was standing on crumbling. Skullgrin (having recombined with his shell) hears her cries for help but thinks she betrayed him by leading Circuit Breaker there. Finally he is persuaded by his opponent's admission that she tricked Carissa and plucks her to safety. Circuit Breaker blasts Skullgrin and builds up a killer charge. Rollie hollers to her to finish the monster off and he'll make her a star with double Jake's salary!

Circuit Breaker, incensed, unleashes on Rollie's cameras and destroys all the footage. She departs leaving the greedy producer with nothing to show for his trouble and offers some advice... 'Don't call me babe!'



Some amusing parts like luvvies talking about sandblasting Skullgrin's nails and powdering his horn(!). But overall it's hard to take this story seriously. Bob Budiansky has written some great material in the past (Warrior School and the Matrix saga being two) but has clearly entered a gimmicky stage. He will have been on the book four years by this point and may have been running out of ideas or enthusiasm. There's also the matter of what pressures Hasbro put the writers under to plug the new characters. Pretenders, Seacons, Micromasters, might have dictated the sort of stories Bob was producing to a large extent. It would be nice to know. A Decepticon Pretender has such a pointless disguise anyway that a movie set is the only place he could blend in! Nice to see Circuit Breaker back after a long absence, and taking out her anger out on a Decepticon for once! Overall though, this story is one that is best forgotten. The writer does his best to make something of this unlikely scenario but the space would have been better filled with a different tale.

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