Transformers UK: Issue 235
Story1: King Con! (Part 4)
Story2: Deathbringer (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: September 16, 1989
Writer: Bob Budiansky/Simon Furman
Artwork: Jose Delbo/Geoff Senior (story) Geoff Senior (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
After catching Cecilia it's time for Roadhandler to battle King Con!
The Matrix has created Deathbringer to wipe out life in the universe!
The Decepticons are about to wire Manhattan Island to conduct the energy of an electrical storm building up over New York. Half the city will be destroyed unless the Autobot Micromasters can put a stop to the plan, but unfortunately they are stuck in traffic! This issue's final instalment opens with Roadhandler and co switching to the pavement and sending shoppers fleeing in all directions! They transform, leaving reporter Cecilia Santiago behind, and enter the Empire State building after ordering the security guards to stand aside. Meanwhile the Decepticon Pretender Iguanus is busy scaling the exterior, King Con style, to attach a conductor to the spire!
Back in the swamps the Off-Road Patrol have Skullgrin to deal with and succeed in sending him sprawling. They shut off on of the Decepticon storm making machines but the lightning over New York has got too strong and will have to run its course. Back in the Empire State, the Micros and Cecilia take the lifts to the top but the human gets there first and is seized by Iguanus' spiked tail. He continues climbing with her just as the Autobots arrive. Iguanus ditches his captive and Roadhandler catches her. He then ejects his fist which torpedoes the conductor device leaving Iguanus to take the brunt of the electrical charge. He plunges to the ground and is scooped up by Bugly and Bomburst who carry him away.
Soon both Micromaster patrols are gathered at the foot of the building congratulating themselves and thanking Cecilia for her help. Prime arrives in truck form and Hi-Q orders them aboard, but Roadhandler and his team are sticking around in New York for better or worse.
Aboard the Ark orbiting Earth, Siren has discovered an ancient Autobot prophecy about the 'Deathbringer', a being whose sole purpose is to eradicate life. He is unaware that the events it refers to are even now coming to pass on a distant moon. It is the place where the body of the original Optimus Prime ended up after he died in 1987 and was blasted into space. The Matrix, still within its late guardian, found itself alone for the first time and became curious about the universe. A ship crash landed and the sole survivor staggered out on fire. The wretched sole desired but one thing - the merciful release of death, but it was not to be. Sensing the being's desire the Matrix transformed him into the embodiment of that purpose and he became the one-eyed sentinel Deathbringer!
The new Optimus Prime (who was recreated from a remnant of the old one's memories) is not interested in hearing about myths. He is deeply concerned about chief medical officer Ratchet who faces a near-impossible task trying to rebuild the Autobots destroyed by Starscream and Galvatron (see Underbase and Time Wars stories). Nightbeat questions why the Matrix can't be used to aid the repairs and Prime admits for the first time that it has been lost in space. It turns out that he told his warriors that the sacred life force was a tangible object and they discarded it with his old body (tch!).
The conversation is interrupted by a transmission from Cloudburst who is on Earth investigating a disturbance. He looks like he's taken a battering and Prime assembles a combat squad and to investigate. At the scene they discover the horrible truth! The mythical Deathbringer has arrived and is living up to his name by eradicating the lifeforms it finds in the city around them!
The Deathbringer story, though compact, is excellently drawn with a decent premise and ties in with the up-coming Matrix Quest saga. The Matrix, now without a guardian, has started to grow curious about the world around it and wants to indulge a full range of feelings. Basically it is becoming obsessed with learning the nature of evil as we will later see. In this instalment it wants to explore the idea of merciful release through death that the dying space-farer introduces it to. It would be great to see this story in a longer format rather than squeezed into five pages but what we do get is much more satisfying than some of the 'black and whites' of late. In the US story Budiansky indulges himself in a parody of the King Kong movies with Iguanus climbing the Empire State building with a beautiful female captive. The story has been panned by many but Decepticon Pretenders are so well suited to the role of a b-movie monster, that the opportunity may have been too tempting for Bob to pass-up. Not among his best work but not his worst either.