Transformers UK: Issue 214
Story1: Guess Who the Mecannibals are Having For Dinner? (Part 2)
Story2: The Fall and Rise of the Decepticon Empire (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Visionaries
Cover date: April 22, 1989
Writers: Bob Budiansky/Simon Furman
Artwork: Jose Delbo/Lee Sullivan (story) John Stokes (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: The Mecannibals, Mastermouth
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Cloudburst cuts a deal with two small but slippery customers.
Cloudburst transforms into his spacecraft mode and grows in size, enough for his outer shell and Landmine to climb aboard. Optimus gives them a vial of concentrated energon to purchase a supply of badly needed microchips. The pair blast off with their commander's good wishes, and warning to keep their identities secret. Robots are less than welcome at Grand Central station their destination.
Days later the two Autobots (disguised within their humanoid Pretender shells) are strolling down a seedy part of the station called Asteroid Alley. The place is a Mecca for every lowlife, smuggler and thief according to Landmine. After a few rejections, and nearly stepping on a down-and-out yet familiar-looking human, they run into two mysterious characters - actually Hi Test and Throttle. The Autobots don't know that this pair is bonded to their Decepticon enemies Darkwing and Dreadwing, and likewise the evil Nebulans have no idea they are dealing with Autobots. A deal is struck despite the drunken human slurring a warning from the sidelines.
Afterwards the Autobots ask him what's up and he reveals himself as Berko, human friend of the Autobot Sky-Lynx. They came to this station and dealt with Hi Test and Throttle and after that Sky-Lynx was not seen again. Suspicions are aroused, and when it comes to handing over payment Landmine insists that they deal with the bosses directly, not middlemen.
The Nebulans agree and they all go to a sinister looking ship a short distance away. Cloudburst remains in ship mode while his shell goes ahead with Landmine (controlled remotely). They enter a huge chamber and come face to face with a pack of ghastly looking creatures (kind of like giant tomatoes with crab legs and fangs) calling themselves the MECANNIBALS!
In the UK story Megatron and Ravage have returned to Cybertron and found it a very different place to the one they remember. Under the rule of the 'Triumvirate' Octus, Legonis and Seizer the Decepticons have become lazy and ineffective, and clearly something must be done. Megatron enters the inner sanctum and throws down the gauntlet to the terrible trio. They mock Megatron and try to goad him into a clumsy attack, and when that fails, order that he be cast into the arena to prove his fitness to lead.
A mighty shove sees Megatron plunge into the pit where he is set-upon by Quake, and someone else, who are effortlessly dispatched. Megatron fights with a savage fury but moments later he remembers that he has a lot to lose by giving into his emotions. Last time that led to madness and this time he will use his head. He stops fighting and addresses the crowds, pointing out that their pleasure seeking existence has laid them low - they are Decepticons, born to conquer! The Triumvirate are worried and train their weapons on Megatron, but three disaffected Decepticons - Ruckus, Crankcase and Needlenose - step out of the shadows and assassinate their leaders in a hail of laser fire!
The Decepticons hail Megatron, who takes his place on the throne, and tells Ravage that this time will be better than the last. This time Megatron will do things right, building patiently until the day comes when he will realise his ultimate destiny - as Galvatron, ruler of the universe!
I've always thought that the Autobot Pretenders have the most useless disguises because how can a 30 foot human fool anyone? Certainly not on Earth, so Budiansky has resolved the problem by having them visit a space station where everyone is a giant apart from the odd human and Nebulan. Berko, a pretty unnecessary character I've always thought, is back again and reveals where he and Sky-Lynx have been since issue 190. If Berko ever got back to Earth he could write a hell of a book, given all the aliens he's seen - and, don't forget, he had a unique viewpoint in that he was unhappy with life on Earth and liked being abducted by aliens. He could have been a good character but doesn't quite make it, perhaps because he's only ever been glossed over and in a supporting cast role.
We also see how Hi-Test and Throttle, Darkwing and Dreadwind, have been make a living since being banished from Nebulos. But rather than working for the Mecannibals (who eat Transformers) I don't see why they haven't gone to Earth and joined the Decepticons there. It's not hard to see why a lot of fans think the Mecannibals are ridiculous villains, after all the name says it all. But Budiansky's scripts are often a little tongue-in-cheek and this is one of them. I noticed a mistake on page 10 where the names of the US production team has been listed in credit for the UK strip. It looks like they copied it over from page 3 and forgot to change it!