Transformers UK: Issue #237
Story 1: The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship (Part 2)
Story 2: The Way of the Warrior
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: September 30, 1989
Writers: Bob Budiansky/Simon Furman
Artwork: Jim Fern/Simon Coleby (story) Geoff Senior (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Trouble in the Survivors' camp as Carnivac and Springer come to blows.
The Micromaster Roadhandler has been challenged to a wrestling match by Jake 'The Jackhammer' Jackson and he has accepted hoping to win good publicity for the Autobot cause. As the night of the big fight arrives spectators including teenagers Dwight and Evan flock to the arena for a display of action unlike any they have ever seen. The announcer builds the event up as a contest to decide who the interplanetary champion of the universe will be! But as Dwight and Evan argue over who should win they fail to notice a suited grey-haired guy next to them who watches the proceedings with a sinister interest.
Roadhandler 'The Mechanical Manhunter' (oh please!) steps into the ring followed by Jake and the two are soon grappling. With the Autobot having altered his density to make himself light, Jake is able to make a show of things by flipping him over. Roadhandler counters by tripping up his muscle-bound opponent and sending him sprawling out of the ring. Jake reaches under the canvas and pulls out a jackhammer drill (the kind workmen use to dig up the street) and tries to create some dents in his adversaries metal hide. But Roadhandler dodges the clumsy assault and squashes the jackhammer. They grapple again and this time Roadhandler is thrown out of the ring but he transforms as he lands, then zooms back, reverts to robot mode and pins Jake. The match is over and the new champion tells his human fans that he will continue to seek and earn their respect in and out of the ring.
Dwight has been impressed and now decides to join his friend Evan in supporting Roadhandler. The silver haired gent overhears this conversion and finds it interesting - clearly a sign that the Autobot PR offensive is achieving the desired effect. He heads to a west side dock where the Decepticon Submarauder surfaces and welcomes the mysterious figure (now revealed as Lord Zarak) aboard. They travel to the underground Decepticon base on the outskirts of New York and Zarak transforms into the head of Scorponok. He orders his warriors to contact Cybertron and ask for a special team of warriors to be sent via the space bridge.
Springer and the Decepticon Pretender Carnivac were sworn enemies who fought together in Time Wars and forged a warrior bond. They formed a band of outcasts known as 'Survivors' and Carnivac's partner-in-crime Catilla even switched sides. But it was inevitable that conflicts such as the one taking place in Dallas, Texas would arise. Springer had dared to refer to Carnivac as one of the Autobots and this earned him a nasty backhand from the proud Decepticon warrior. Carnivac's frustrations about all the do-gooding the group has been doing on behalf of humans comes to the surface and Springer suggests if that's how he feels he should go.
Carnivac combines with his beast shell and scampers off to be alone. After a while he realises that Springer meant well, but helping humans and getting news coverage for it is not a good idea. He remembers how his fellow Decepticons swore to hunt him down for his betrayal and appearing on the TV will only draw attention to him. Suddenly a crashes into his leg and a stetson-wearing human shouts for help from a giant robotic hound that is following him! Carnivac's instincts tell him not to get involved but he doesn't listen and tears strips off the mindless machine. At least some wantant destruction is making him feel better. He blows the creature to bits but the explosion attracts Snarler and the Mayhem Attack Squad who are hunting him. They offer to make his death quick and painless if he surrenders, but Carnivac would rather go down fighting and this is music to Bludgeon's ears!
I'm not quite sure why the crowd was so surprised when Jake pulled out a pneumatic drill and went for Roadhandler. Seeing as his nickname is 'the jackhammer' I would have thought he did that sort of thing all the time. The match was one of the strangest battles ever to grace the pages of Transformers but done with a good element of humour and with Roadhandler's transformation being the equivalent to his 'special move'. It looks like his hands extend from his wrists before he pins Jake rather than leaning forward, making another advantage. Meanwhile Zarak has acquired a suit and now mingles with human kind, the alien walks among us. It's just a shame we don't see more of his interacting with humans because there must be many things about Earth that he finds strange compared to Nebulos. Later when he combines with Scorponok the artist has drawn a thirty foot high robot resembling Zarak's body armour. He looks nothing like Scorponok. Elsewhere the continuing adventures of the Survivors have got a lot more interesting since Carnivac and Catilla joined the group. The latter seems to have integrated into the Autobots without any suspicion but Carnivac is a powderkeg waiting to go off. Springer knows the sensible thing to do is to get rid but both have a loyalty after rescuing each other from death's jaws in Time Wars. Interesting that Carnivac doesn't see himself as evil despite being a Decepticon. It looks as though he signed-up so he could have the chance to prove his warrior heart in battle rather than for ideological reasons. I wonder if the Hell Hound he's fighting is a Cybertron animal (if there are such things) or a non-living machine built for the task of flushing Carnivac out?