Transformers UK: Issue 197
Story: The Flames Of Boltax (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: 24th December, 1988
Writer: Bob Budiansky
Artists: Jose Delbo (story) Wetherall/Baskerville (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Prime is down but not out after a Decepticon ambush.
Ratbat and Starscream are continuing to view an event from Cybertron's past courtesy of 'Realvision' holographic technology and two captured Autobot tapes. They see Optimus Prime and the Triggerbots arriving at a sacred region inhabited by Boltax (a giant being whose knowledge could turn the tide of war) and requesting an audience. A gathering of disciples warn them that the path ahead leads to pain and suffering - a threat Backstreet doesn't appreciate - but Prime is undeterred. He will press on alone while his men set up camp.
Buster Witwicky, having escaped his cell in the present day Decepticon base, crawls along an air vent and navigates choking wires to witness the simulation.
Back in Realvision, Megatron and the Triggercons are met by Boltax's disciples and execute the peace-loving beings in a hail of weapons fire. Prime enters the mountain and is welcomed by the high-circuit master himself who tells him of the Underbase - the most comprehensive source of knowledge on Cybertron. Prime bathes in the database's lights and begins to learn of its nature. But Megatron and his troops enter and order him to step aside or they'll destroy him as easily as they did Boltax. Prime replies that the whole mountain is Boltax and what they destroyed was nothing more than a containment vessel. Furthermore he has learned that the Underbase is too vast to be input by any one transformer and to do so would mean his death.
Megatron thinks Prime obviously wants the secrets for himself and the Decepticon unleash their combined firepower! As they turn their attentions to the Underbase, Prime crawls away heavily damaged and closes the mountain's vents, meaning that the huge energy being released will have no escape and result in an explosion. The Decepticons scramble outside just as a huge explosion catapults the Underbase into Cybertron's stratosphere and beyond. A treasure has been lost forever to Prime's enduring shame.
As the simulation shuts down Ratbat comments that far from destroying Prime's reputation, his denying Megatron proved to be the making of him. The tapes prove that the Underbase was no myth but actually existed and Soundwave pipes up that it is on course to pass through this system... in exactly a week! Ratbat gleefully plans to capture it for himself, little realising that Starscream has other ideas! Buster (listening to this) tries to make his escape but collides with a wall and is seized. Ratbat asks him if he paid attention to the disciples' warning; "Too much knowledge can lead to madness even death!"
There's a great little teaser for the upcoming epic Time Wars on page 2, promising all out destruction and mayhem! To a 14 year-old boy (as I was then) there is no better thing. This issue has a bit more story and less product placement thankfully and the concept of an Underbase is interesting. Transformers being a mechanical race and near immortal must amass a huge amount of information in a lifetime. Its reasonable that the it would be possible to create a store of all of this, where individuals could upload their knowledge. Underbase may be something like this. Prime's willingness to give it up contrasts with Megatron's slaughter of innocents and all-round selfishness, making these one of those heroic Optimus, evil Megatron parodies.
Page 10 is actually the cover of the US comic that ran this story. The UK editors must have not had enough material to fill the 11 pages and had to be inventive. There are other clues because if you look at pages nine and 11 they seem continuous and the standard of sharpness of images are not as good. I wish Delbo hadn't started drawing Soundwave with a mouth - it's just not him! A better second part which illustrates the stark contrast between the noble Optimus and evil Megatron. Boltax idea is a good one although this is still early days on this story.