Transformers UK: Issue 226
Story1: Headhunt (Part 2)
Story2: Aspects of Evil (Part 4)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: July 15, 1989
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Dan Reed/Lee Sullivan (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Bludgeon, Stranglehold, Octopunch, Warmonger
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Bludgeon is fighting for his life against his fellow Pretenders!
This issue's main feature is a reprint of Headhunt part 1, which originally appeared in issue 133, so see that issue for a review of the story. The black and white strip is where the new material is and it is a pretty good story this time, despite the five-page limitation.
Rodimus Prime, on his sickbed in the year 2356, is telling a student about the evil of Megatron. He could choose any of a thousand instances but an example that particularly haunts him occurred in 1990. As Hot Rod he and others had been freed from Decepticon captivity on Cybertron but had been recaptured. Megatron was sure one of his warriors was traitor responsible but could not be sure which. He had narrowed it down to the Pretenders Bludgeon, Stranglehold and Octopunch and another warrior, Warmonger. He settled on Bludgeon and proceeded to beat him as the handcuffed Hot Rod watched.
Bludgeon's protests fell on deaf ears so he opted for trial by combat - a fight to the death against his compatriots. He combined with his shell and embedded his sword in Octopunch's shoulder. The Decepticon popped out of his shell to deliver a powerful blow, but not enough to penetrate Bludgeon's armour. A counter punch takes care of him and a swift side-step avoids Stranglehold's rhino mode. But Warmonger puts his loaded gun to Bludgeon's head and prepares to fire. The Pretender requests a quick end but it never comes - Warmonger cannot bring himself to kill - he is the Autobot spy and Megatron knows it in an instant.
A blast from Megatron's fusion cannon rips through the traitor and destroys him. Hot Rod is aghast. Megatron reveals that he wasn't sure that Bludgeon was the traitor at all but he guessed correctly that the charade would flush the real culprit out. On reflection, he thinks, it might have been simpler to kill the lot of them and be done with it!
A fantastic little story and more like what I would expect from Furman after last issue's half-arsed instalment. In as much as I like to see Pretenders at all I prefer it when they come out of their shells and make the best use of their abilities. We get that in this issue to some extent. Obviously the choice of characters is timely because these new Decepticon Pretenders will have only recently come on to the market. They actually feature quite prominently in subsequent issues, much more so when Bludgeon becomes leader, and get a lot more exposure that the existing Decepticon Pretenders. Megatron's way of dealing with the situation is exactly what we would expect from him, and the musing at the end about it probably being simpler to have killed the lot of them, was classic. Credit where it's due - Lee Sullivan turns in some good artwork this issue. I particularly like the use of dark and light in the opening panels, which worked well in the black and white format. This Aspects of Evil instalment is by far the best of the five.