Transformers UK: Issue 198
Story: Cold Comfort and Joy!
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: 31st December, 1988
Writer: Ian Rimmer
Artist: Andy Wildman (story and cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Prime must rekindle his feelings for the planet Earth in time for Christmas.
It's Christmas Day and the Autobots' greatest leader Optimus Prime once again walks the Earth. Looking around at the snow covered landscape, Prime can't imagine what he ever saw in the place. At least his Nebulan companion Hi-Q seems to be enjoying himself. Optimus starts thinking about his experiences of existing as a computer-generated character after his 'death', and his rebirth on Nebulos. What happened in that time to change him?
Inside an Autobot shuttle parked nearby, Joyride is concerned that something is troubling his leader. But Slapdash isn't really listening because he's too engrossed in watching Miami Metal Clamp on TV (little joke from the writers there). Suddenly the news cuts in and reports that Transformers have rampaged through a nearby town. The Powermasters link up with their Nebulans and roll-out to investigate.
Meanwhile Prime is still having a good think about his life on Earth prior to his silly death in a computer game (UK#106). Back then protecting humans was more important to him than defeating the Decepticons. Prime remembers his early friendship with the Witwickys and even the space battle four million years ago. and then it hits him! He was the one who brought the civil war to Earth and unleashed the Decepticons on this world, when he programmed the Ark to crash here!
Elsewhere, the three Powermasters have reached the scene of the devastation and picked up some Transformer tracks. They spot three other robots in the darkness and pounce on them, bringing them down in a battle resembling a good snowfight! It's only then that they realise their opponents are actually the Autobots Sandstorm, Broadside and Inferno. The Cybertron Autobots had hoped for a nicer welcome but they explain how they had unintentionally triggered a panic in the town, and broken more buildings as they tried to put things right. The whole thing had been a big misunderstanding.
Prime steps up and addresses his men, telling them that the incident is further proof that Transformers do not belong on this world. He has been reminded that the Autobots have a duty to safeguard all the human life from the Decepticons. Joyride has observed that for humans Christmas is a time for sharing and giving, but all the Transformers have given them is war and misery. Prime vows to do something about that, starting with clearing up the mess made in the town. Finally the snowstorm seems to be clearing but with so many Decepticons still at large on Earth, Prime fears the real storm may have only begun.
It's Christmas and time for another of those fluffy one-part stories we all know and love. Past issues had involved Transformers like Jazz, Jetfire and Starscream, learning about the spirit of giving and Prime even dressed-up as Santa in 1985! This year's effort is along the usual lines but a bit better than before. Prime is having a bit of a crisis as he's returned to command the Autobots and protect the Earth - and can't remember why the planet used to mean so much to him. I like the idea of Prime battling self-doubts as it takes me back to great stories like Crisis of Command in early '86. It's worth noting that this Prime is not the same one who lead the Autobots until 1987, but is in fact a copy augmented as a Powermaster. So it's not surprising that the feelings and views the old Prime had are not entirely intact. Clearly it will take time for this Prime to become the being he used to be.
With it being Christmas the Marvel staff were obviously keen to have a bit of fun. So we've got the references to Miami Vice for humour, and Getaway's comical kick. If you looked closely at the bottom panel on page 7 you'd see the Ark is rebuilding a Transformer, and the blueprint on the monitor is for a toaster! Toastertron perhaps?
The reference at the end to the storm that's coming reminds me of the ending to Terminator 1. The storm Prime's talking about could be the timestorm that threatens to destroy the universe in the forthcoming epic Time Wars, beginning next issue.