Transformers UK: Issue #200
Story1: Time Wars (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: 14th January, 1989
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Robin Smith (story) Lee Sullivan (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Future and present collide as Rodimus Prime and the future Autobots arrive.
A series of tremors below ground has awakened the Decepticon Ravage from his long slumber. He was last seen plunging down a mineshaft in UK issue #73 after a showdown with Skids, and is now busy dodging falling boulders and looking for an escape route. He ducks into a convenient cave and finds himself in Galvatron's secret underground lair. Scourge and his Nebulan companion Fracas confront the intruder, but Galvatron welcomes this old ally into the fold.
Meanwhile the environmental chaos has brought the Ark back to Earth again, and Prime and his deputies, Fortress Maximus and Grimlock, are briefing the troops on the course of action. Prime thinks there may be a connection between what's going on and Galvatron, so they will force him back to his own time in the hopes of clearing everything up. Highbrow is skulking outside with Scorponok's head (have stolen it in the 1988 Transformers annual) and trying to muster the courage to finish the Decepticon leader off. He runs out of time when Scorponok's comrades arrive and launch an attack. Twenty miles away Inferno, Broadside and Sandstorm are planning their own assault on Galvatron but are nearly taken out by an earthquake that splits the ground under them!
As Highbrow uses Scorponok's head to batter Snapdragon, Autobot reinforcements start to spill out of the Ark. But a flash of light stops everyone in their tracks as Rodimus Prime, Arcee, Kup, Blurr, Magnus and Red Alert appear, and Optimus Prime, Highbrow, Hardhead, Blaster, Brainstorm and Snarl suddenly vanish out of existence! Fortress Maximus is distraught and decides the newcomers have murdered the Autobot leader. With Ironhide and the others backing him up the present day Autobots attack!
Nice intro piece summing up the course of the last 200 issues. I also enjoyed the free gift, mini detachable book complete with info on why Grimlock is the strongest Transformer, Metroplex the biggest and so on. The artist self-portraits were fun and gave us a chance to see what the talented individuals who bring Transformers to life actually look like. Mind you milestone editions are akin to the comic equivalent of a New Year's Eve night out: they never quite live up to expectations. Such is the case here. Freebies aside there are plenty run-of-the-mill issues that put this one in the shade. Pick-up parts two to 10 of Target 2006 or Crisis of Command, Warrior School etc. Ravage's return is nice, although I am pretty sure he disappeared down a shaft in an abandoned western town - surely a long way away from Galvatron's location. Possibly in a different state even.
The future Autobots displacing their present day counterparts is something new. Normally that dump warriors from the other side, but perhaps Rodimus thought it would be too dangerous for he and Optimus to co-exist. Yeah that must be it. As milestones go I think #150's 'origin of the Transformers' story tops this one by a long way. Time Wars hasn't been all that stunning so far but I will keep the faith a little longer!
Nitpick time: How come Ironhide thinks Optimus and the others are dead? He knows all about the rules of mass displacement because he was there when Prime disappeared in issue 78. Also I don't understand why every Autobot has been drawn the same height this issue. It is common knowledge that Blaster is at least twice the size of Goldbug, and Fortress Maximus is three times as big as most Autobots, so this is just laziness on the part of the illustrator.
To sum up: issue 200 is not exceptional but there is just enough to keep you optimistic about the next few instalments of Time Wars.