Transformers UK: Issue 221
Story1: Wanted Galvatron (Part 1)
Story2: Survivors (Part 3)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: June 10, 1989
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Geoff Senior/John Stokes (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Inferno wrestles with a giant jelly! Somebody get the ice cream!
Wanted Galvatron is that classic post-Movie tale starring Rodimus Prime, Galvatron and Death's Head that came out in 1987 and is being reprinted this issue (Boo! Hiss!). So I think I'll make it a rule not to synopsis reprints but to refer the reader back to the original review - which you can see by clicking here.
Swiftly flicking through the material I've already read I arrive at Survivors part 3 on page 10. John Stokes has taken over from Dan Reed on the artwork and I'm not so keen... but anyway, on with the story. A legion of terrifying monsters was created from Skids' nightmares during two years he spent in the Limbo dimension. When Galvatron died, Skids was returned to Earth and the creatures came with him. Now he, and comrades Springer, Broadside and Inferno, are pitched in battle with them in the worst place imaginable - the reactor room of a nuclear plant. The Autobots know that a stray shot could blow the place sky high so they are forced to fight hand-to-hand (or should that be hand to pincher/claw/blob, whatever!).
Springer and Inferno tells Skids to fight back - 'if these creatures can hurt they can be hurt' - but the loony-toon Autobot fears destroying them may kill him! He has cheated the reaper all these centuries and hasn't the bottle to end it all now. A serpent constricts around Springer and sinks its jaws into his head, and Broadside flips and pulls out his gun. Inferno throws off the aim and reminds him of the danger of firing a weapon in there! Things are getting badly out of hand and Springer realises they are going to need reinforcements. He switches on his communicator and calls the Decepticon Carnivac!
Rant time again! I've grumbled before about the three-story format, black and white, and the occasional lapse into poor quality paper, but reprinting old material really takes the biscuit! As a loyal reader who shelled out my pocket money every Friday for the comic, helping maintain its position as Marvel UK's flagship title for five years, it is a slap in the face to get this! The deal is that the reader pay the cover price and Marvel gives new and interesting stories to read. If you are getting something you've already read collected then what is the point? At this time I had found a supplier of the US Transformers comic and switched to that to provide my fix, continuing to buy the UK book more out of loyalty than anything, but not really happy with it. After the hey day of Target 2006 and the like it is/was depressing to see the comic reduced to this, like the production team really couldn't give a crap anymore.
Even an excellent story like Wanted Galvatron, written and illustrated as it is by my dream team of Furman and Senior, couldn't raise my enthusiasm. Looking at the amount I've written for this issue in the blurb above says it all. Normally there's a decent amount of story to cover, but once you remove the colour story from the equation anyone who bought issue 221 was really getting very little for their investment. You'd get a black and white, five page story, Dread Tidings and Combat Colin, then Action Force if you're interested (I was never a big fan) and suddenly the comic is representing very poor value indeed.
Paradoxically the 'Transformations' introductory page is talking as if we've been given this huge treat. I can almost image Comical Ali (Saddam Hussein's ever upbeat spokesman) writing the words and trying to spin this unmitigated disaster into a triumph! I quote: "Death's Head is back! Yes, it's true... We've fought our way out from under the mountain of mail demanding his return, and we're reprinting the classic Wanted: Galvatron". I suspect if those eager correspondents knew they'd get a reprint in response to their calls for more Death's Head appearances, they wouldn't have bothered. It goes on to impart the infuriating news that it'll be reprints all the way in the colour strip for a month, before adding "If you can contain yourself after that stunning news..." Arrrggghhh!!! LET ME AT 'EM - THE COMIC WRECKING MORONS!!!!
A letter from Matthew Adam Roberts on the Dread Tidings page is the best example of brown nosing I've seen in a long time. He'd been reading since issue 1 and had to put pen to paper to say what a great idea the three story format, not to mention how much better the letters page had become under Dreadwind, and how everything was on the up generally. No doubt Matthew's career is going great guns and he's working for Mr Burns these days as the new Smithers! Ha, ha. He wrote in after seeing issue 213 so whether he would have changed his mind after seeing black and white and reprints I don't know. It does seem to me that the comic is on the run and knows it, but is trying to stave off criticism by printing letters like this that make it sound like everything is going great, moving onwards and upwards. The slippery slope to cancellation is more like it - unless standards are restored.