Transformers UK: Issue #193

Story: Ca$h and Car-Nage! (part 2)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: 26th November, 1988
Price: 35p
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Jose Delbo (story) Stephen Baskerville (cover)
Rating: Art / Story

First appearance: Fangry, Horri-bull, Squeezeplay, Brisko, Lokos, Kreb


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


Lord Zarak sheds his disguise but how did he fit that armour under his shirt?

A human bounty hunter named Roadhog has tracked the Autobot Sizzle to a backwater lane in New York State. Riding alongside his quarry and swinging a ball and chain, he activates his jamming device and suddenly the Transformer is paralysed. The helpless Sizzle grinds to a halt and radios a warning to his two comrades about some very menacing humans who are in the area. A second motorcycle riding 'jammer' called Skunge spots Backstreet travelling at speed and can tell from the unusual design that this is not an Earthen vehicle. He blocks the Autobot's path and refuses to budge even after a warning blast. Backstreet soon shares his comrade's fate and in his frozen state hears Skunge telling the others via radio that the Transformers were just where the Z Foundation said they would be. Backstreet tells him that only the Decepticons could have known where they would be transported and warns that the Z Foundation may not be what they seem.

Racing car Fizzle encounters the mercenary Burn-Out on his bike and decides to try to reason with him. But Burn-Out isn't the talking type and shot-gun blasts Fizzle's window before zapping him with a jamming device. The Roadjammers regroup with their captives and discuss what the Autobots told them. They come to the conclusion that there are three traitors in the Z Foundation who are working for the Decepticons, but they could profit from this by blowing the whistle to Mr Z, the organisation's chairman.

After Felix has modified their three jamming devices, doubling their output, the jammers head for the Z Foundation's underground car park. Felix's electronic genius is again called for as he picks the locking mechanism to allow everyone in. But once inside they get a surprise when they see three headless Decepticons - none other than new Headmasters Horribull Fangry and Squeezeplay - sitting idle. Messers B, K and L arrive and tear off their suits Superman style to reveal their robotic outfits underneath. The trio then transforms into the heads of the Decepticons and attach themselves. Felix acts quickly to jam the enemy before they can get up and explains how he has doubled the yield of the devices they have.

Mr Z emerges from the shadows to congratulate the jammers on their ingenuity and announces he has created an anti-jamming device which will shortly be fitted to all Decepticons. Revealing himself as Lord Zarak (surprise, surprise) he explains that the Roadjammers were needed to test the devices and the three Autobots were dispatched from Cybertron to act as guinea pigs.

Zarak demands they hand over the jammer devices and wheels out Scorponok to back up his threats. The jammers flee in terror but smart guy Felix remembers they still have six Transformers under their control, and he programmes them to attack the Decepticon leader. Under heavy assault from all sides Zarak is forced to activate the anti-jammer to bring his Decepticon warriors back into line, even though he knows it will free the captured Autobots as well.

In all the confusion the Autobots are able to collect the Roadjammers and burn some rubber. Then, a safe distance away from New York City, they ask the jammers to hand over their devices to be destroyed as payment for the rescue. The Autobots then drive off into the sunset leaving the jammers to count their losses, but Felix is more upbeat than the rest. He reveals that he has been studying the jamming devices and building a prototype of his own. Furthermore they know there are other groups aside from the Z Foundation who would pay hard cash for captured Transformers. As soon as the jamming devices are finished the Roadjammers are back in business!

******

Comments:

This second part is a big improvement on the first. The Roadjammers get to show what they can do against some Transformer opposition and we're introduced to the new Decepticon Headmasters who even fight Scorponok! There are a couple of nitpicks though; most notably how on Earth did the Nebulans fit their body armour under their suits without it being totally obvious? Especially in Zarak's case because his armour is a huge rectangle! Hardly unnoticeable you might think but the Roadjammers didn't cotton on until the end.

Apart from that I'm curious as to how Zarak and co are able to settle in on Earth so successfully, not only learning English but managing to set up a business empire! This story is the first time we've seen the new Decepticon Headmasters and their humanoid partners Brisko, Lokos and Kreb. They are probably Nebulans but how they came to be with the Decepticons is never explained. I would guess they joined the crew of Zarak's ship when it departed Nebulos to Earth and were rewarded with Headmaster status. Either that or they are humans who have been recruited on Earth.

Things are pretty much left open at the end of this issue. The Roadjammers tell us they will be back in business but we never see it. I wonder if Bob Budiansky lost interest in the characters, or if he got bogged too down with stories plugging new toy lines, or just didn't get around to it before he parted company with Transformers in 1990. Similarly the door was left open for the Mechanic to return in issue 122 but it was the last we saw of him. I know a lot of fans would have been happy about that but personally I don't like loose ends.

As for the three Autobot fugitives, we are left to presume they met up with Optimus Prime's army or returned to Cybertron. Backstreet and fellow Triggerbots Dogfight and Override will be seen scouting the galaxy in the Matrix Quest saga around a year later so all concerned must have escaped from the Decepticon prison camp. This is something we don't see though.

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