Transformers UK: Issue 223
Story1: Wanted Galvatron (Part 3)
Story2: Aspects of Evil (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: June 24, 1989
Writers: Simon Furman
Artwork: Will Simpson/Jeff Anderson (story) Geoff Senior (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Landfill, Quickmix
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Hot Rod has to choose between Autobot law and letting Scorponok escape.
This issue's main colour feature is a reprint of the 1987 story Wanted Galvatron. It is set in 2007 and has to do with Rodimus Prime and the senior Autobots being attacked by a platoon of airborne Decepticons, and ultimately turning the tables on them. To read a review of it click here.
The new material is also set in the future (sort of). In the year 2356 Rodimus Prime is old and feeble, weary from centuries of war and from trying to suppress Unicron, whose essence has dwelled in the Matrix for three hundred years. He has a student at his bedside who wants to learn the nature of evil, and Rodimus begins his teachings with the example of Scorponok, a being possessed of cunning and a talent for manipulation.
It was in 1991, during the Decepticon civil war, when Rodimus - then Hot Rod - ran into Scorponok. The Decepticon had come off badly in the three-way battle between himself, Megatron and Shockwave and was taking out his frustrations on a human town apart. The Air Strike Patrol team of Micromasters had been sent by Megatron to finish the job and now appeared in the sky over head. At the same time the Autobot Targetmasters Hot Rod, Landfill and Quickmix arrived on the ground to force Scorponok's surrender.
To everyone's complete amazement he accepted! Hot Rod was taken aback but then the Air Strike Patrol attacked and Scorponok pointed out that as a prisoner, the Autobots had a duty to protect him! The trio were forced into a firefight with the dive-bombing jets allowing Scorponok to walk away scott free, laughing. Even as Rodimus Prime, possessed of the wisdom of the Matrix, it is hard to see how the situation could have been handled differently. The Autobot leader in 2356 is awed and appalled in equal measure by Scorponok's cunning, and his curious student begs to know more. Rodimus tells him to go away for now while he rests. The student surveys the old Autobot and gives a wry smile.
Wanted Galvatron is a fine story but the idea of reprints rankles with me. As far as I'm concerned if readers (mostly kids at the time) shelled out their pocket money on a comic it ought to be new material. Otherwise they are simply paying for the same thing twice, and apart from that it is lazy on the part of the comic editors. I would have prefered to pay more for the comic if it would have meant new stories, full colour and decent quality paper, just like it used to be. All the cost-cutting that was going on in the comic at the time was very disappointing and probably helped to lose even more loyal and long-time readers.
The matter of the black and white sections of the comic was raised on the letters page, with Dreadwind shamelessly telling three kids that they could always colour it themselves if they weren't happy! The readers were spot on to say the comic was not what it once was. It was also annoying how they used to refer to this cash-saver as the 'new black and white format' as though it was intentional and an improvement of some kind. I would have appreciated a more honest approach, perhaps using the column on the Transformations page to explain that rising print costs/falling readerships had forced this regrettable compromise on quality. Readers may well have rallied around and recommended the comic to their friends etc to help them through the difficult patch.
Anyway rant over for now.. on to Aspects of Evil. Nice concept, ropey artwork - but hey that's par for the course these days - and I'm wondering how Rodimus ended up some aged and weakened. Transformers aren't mortal, and go on for millions of years as we know, so Rodimus ought to be as normal in 2356. The only explanation I can think of is that the years of surpressing Unicron's influence in the Matrix has prematurely aged Rodimus. Even so he ought to be suspicious of his student, who looks and sounds pretty dodgy to me. It is fair to say that he has an unhealthy interest in finding out about the nature of evil. Two new Autobot Targetmasters and the Air Strike patrol make their debut, though as nothing more than supporting cast. The civil war that was alluded to sounds interesting. As I recall something like that happened later but it was more a fight between Scorponok and Shockwave.
Mistake alert! On the Transformations page the cover is credited to 'Geoff Anderson' - when it should have been Geoff Senior. JEFF Anderson drew the story. I wonder if they got many letters? A case of 'we would have got away with it without those pesky kids'.