Transformers UK: Issue #228
Story 1: Headhunt (Part 4)
Story 2: Double Deal of the Century
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: July 29, 1989
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Geoff Senior/Andy Wildman (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance: Double Dealer, Chainclaw
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Doubledealer plays both sides against each other and reaps the rewards!
The main strip reprints the final six pages of Headhunt with Rodimus Prime on the run from Cyclonus, Scourge and Death's Head in Cybertron's sewer system. Then in the black and white strip we see the Autobot Pretender Beast, Chainclaw, on Earth with some secret battle plans he is meant to be delivering to Optimus Prime. But he is attacked an eagle-like Decepticon and rather than destroying the plans or himself as the tactical code says, the panicky Pretender hops out of his shell (why?) and makes a run for it!
Prime (and a convoy of Micromasters) appears on the horizon and orders Chainclaw to duck so he can get a clear shot. But in moments the eagle has lifted Chainclaw off the ground and is carrying him off - with the covetted data! Roadhandler is about to take them both out when Prime throws off his aim and insists they will find another way. Minutes later 'Dealer', the Decepticon who stole the plans, contacts Prime and offers to sell them back for 500 energon units - otherwise he's going straight to Scorponok! Prime has little choice but to agree to the deal and conveniently has the energon on him! He asks for a volunteer to make the exchange and a strange Autobot appears from nowhere offering to do the job. His insignia is verified and he tells them he is called Double and was supposed to be guarding Chainclaw. Seeing as he did such a bad job he thinks he should take the risk by delivering the ransom, and Prime agrees.
Later, Dealer arrives at a barn (!!) and hands over the plans to a nearly-salivating Scorponok in exchange for payment. Prime and the others arrive outside and meet Double, who is carrying the battered Chainclaw, and tells them that the Decepticons have doublecrossed them. They kept the energon and the plans but they are still inside the barn he says. Prime and the Micromasters storm in and the sounds of clashing steel and blasters can be heard! Double grins and then transforms into the eagle Dealer as he takes to the air. He is Doubledealer and once again he has proven how profitable it can be when you are both Autobot AND Decepticon!
When I read Double Deal back in 1989 I wasn't that impressed (probably a lot to do with the art). But looking at it again some of the panels aren't too bad and I have to give a certain kudos for weaving a complete tale in five pages. The story is basically a showcase for Doubledealer the Autobot/Decepticon spy who I can only assume has hit the shops at this point. Obviously being so compact a story there are bound to be gaps and there is certainly a few here. For one thing I can't understand why a resistance plan for Autobots on Cybertron would need to be approved by Optimus, who is commander of the forces on Earth. It doesn't seem like anything he would be involved in, nor Scorponok for that matter. Secondly if it was too risky to transmit the data, even incripted, to the Ark, why not have Chainclaw teleport into the Autobot base or at least somewhere not out in the open. And was Double assigned to guard him or was this part of the lie? I am also confused as to why Chainclaw should have a Pretender Beast shell as part of the Cybertron contingent. Surely a fleshy grisly bear would stand out like a sore thumb on a metal world like Cybertron, and besides there are no Earth animals there to base the design on! Maybe he was given the shell especially for his mission but if so, why abandon it at the first sign of trouble? Lastly, I know space was limited but surely more could have been made of the fight between Prime/Scorponok and their warriors? Their battle is reduced to a series of clanging noises in the background and seems ridiculous!