Transformers UK: Issue 215
Story1: Guess Who the Mecannibals are Having For Dinner? (Part 3)
Story2: Race With the Devil (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Visionaries
Cover date: April 29, 1989
Writers: Bob Budiansky/Simon Furman
Artwork: Jose Delbo/Andy Wildman (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
The Autobot Pretenders' quest leads them into the Mecannibals' lair.
Culinary gags abound in the latest instalment of 'Mecannibals' as Landmine and Cloudburst enter the ghastly creatures' lair. Their timing is less-than impeccable as they have interupted dinner, and are just in time to witness the Chromite (who they met in #213) brought out on a stake and promptly devoured! Landmine and Cloudburst are disgusted, but there is nothing they can do. They decide to conclude the deal as soon as possible and get out of there - but the surprises are not over yet, as suddenly the main course arrives - the Autobot Sky-Lynx!
Cloudburst distracts the Mecannibals by showing them the fortune in compressed energon that they are using as payment. This allows Landmine to emerge from his shell and launch an attack! Master Mouth orders his followers to 'eat' the intruder and Landmine has his hands full beating them off with his sword. He succeeds in cutting Sky Lynx loose and the giant bird-like Autobot soars out of an airlock. Landmine blasts some of the energon, resulting in a blinding flash, that allows him to combine with his shell unnoticed. The Meccanibals can't understand where the 'robot' went and are gutted about losing their main meal. However a deal is a deal and they hand over a chest full of microchips and send their 'guests' on their way.
The second story takes place in space, close to the Moon, where an Autobot shuttle is under heavy fire from Powermasters Darkwing and Dreadwind - in their combined 'Dreadwing' mode. Inside the ship Backstreet is forced to take some drastic evasive action and sends his comrade, Dogfight, flying! The pair engage in a bit of banter and Overdrive tells them to get with the programme as the Decepticons are coming back for another pass.
Meanwhile aboard Dreadwing, the Decepticons confer with their humanoid passengers Hi Test and Throttle (also their binary bond partners), and discuss their mission. They are being sent to Earth by a mysterious benefactor to pick-up a most unusual cargo. While on route they have spotted the Autobot shuttle and decided to have a little fun! The Decepticon plane routinely shots down a missile launched at it the skims the Moon's surface in pursuit. The Autobot ship drags its wing, throwing up massive amounts of dust, and when it clears Dreadwing finds itself heading straight for a crater wall! A sharp ninety degree turn is needed to head off disaster, and the angry Decepticons separate for the kill. They explode the engines and watch the stricken ship burn up in Earth's atmosphere! Satisfied, they depart to finish their mission, and three Autobots 'de-cloak' in space. Backstreet, Dogfight and Overdrive had abandoned ship and masked their presence with a force field. Their mission to investigate these two Decepticons and their benefactor has hit a snag!
Dodgy food gags are served-up with cringing regularity in the first story, but the truth is that this issue of Transformers is a distinctly unsatisfying dish. I've already said I don't like the three-story format because it doesn't allow for anything like a meaty read, but now standards have slipped even further with the UK strip appearing in black and white! Transformers has been full colour since issue 27 four years ago and this is definitely a step backwards. It is/was the clearest sign that the title was losing money and needed to make savings, which was a hell of a shame. The cover price went up a couple of weeks before and fans were getting a poor return for their extra few pence. I wouldn't have been surprised if a lot of long-term readers dropped off at this point. Surely things couldn't get much worse right? Wrong! Check out some of the later issues to see what I mean.
The Meccanibals must be very dim not to realise something was going on after Landmine attacked - and the Chromite is very calm, saying 'hi fellas' to the Autobots as he's about to be eaten! Help!!! Might have been a better response. Talking of help!!! Take a look at the artwork in the black and white strip. It is attrocious! Transformers has some good artists Senior, Reed and Hitch, some average ones like Smith and Anderson, and not-so-good like Lee Sullivan, but and this guy is the worst I've seen! Andy Wildman draws his Transformers as though they have rubber faces and wrinkles, and the exterior scenes look like they could have been done by a five year old. Crikey I could do better than this and I was tempted to redraw the strip and send it to Transformers to prove it. Worse luck, Andy Wildman eventually followed Simon Furman to the US comic and became the defacto artist so there is lots more of his stuff to come. Obviously art is a matter of taste and some won't agree with me, but this kind of art, coupled with the black and white and three story format, was really starting to put me off the comic.