Transformers UK: Issue #242

Story 1: Back From The Dead (Part 3)
Story 2: Assault on the Ark
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: November 4, 1989
Price: 40p
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Jose Delbo/Andy Wildman (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Steve Bax and Graham Thomson


Ratchet's worst nightmare comes true... Megatron has returned!

The Micromaster group known as the Air Strike Patrol has captured a US air base and is holding the humans hostage. As our scene opens an Autobot shuttle touches down and Optimus Prime leads his warriors out, demanding that the Decepticons surrender.

Back on the Ark a skeleton crew has been left to keep an eye on things and has failed to detect the Sports Car Patrol teleporting in. These conniving Micros have switched their Decepticon badges for Autobot insignias to fool chief medical officer Ratchet. Using a hijacked computer they remote control several deactivated patients and send them against Ratchet like a zombie horde. Blaster's head speaks, accusing the doc of failing to repair everyone and says he must be disassembled! Ratchet at first welcomes his fate (he has been feeling like a flop after all) but then resolves to stay alive because while he functions there is hope for all his patients. He goes to cut the power to the medical bay which would shutdown the zombies, but stops when he realises that to do so could kill them. The Sports Car Patrol realises that the game is up and switch to plan B, which involves introducing themselves and pretending to be colleagues sent by Optimus to help.

The Micros offer Ratchet the chance to accompany them to Cybertron where he would have access to the most advanced labs and make short work of his repairs. He tries to call Prime on Earth to check its okay to go but all he hears is static. Ratchet puts aside his suspicions and resolves to go with these newcomers, knowing that Optimus will be forgiving if he can return with Grimlock, Goldbug and Jazz revived. A portal opens around them and Ratchet finds himself in a Decepticon fortress on the homeworld with the Sports Car Patrol's guns trained on him. Then the instigator of this trap steps out of the shadows, someone Ratchet thought was dead... the mighty Megatron!

******

Aboard The Ark orbiting the Earth things are deceptively peaceful as the Autobots enjoy a moment of calm in their never-ending war. Suddenly Thunderwing and a Decepticon shuttlecraft, carrying and his team, attacks the hull with bombs and laser blasts. The would-be leader is furious with the Autobots who humiliated him and demands that Nightbeat, Siren and Hosehead be handed over. The Decepticons admire his capacity to hold a grudge but they fear this attack on the Autobots stronghold is suicidal.

They succeed in rupturing the Ark's hull and the climb aboard, soon finding themselves in a fierce firefight with the Autobots in a storage bays. Thunderwing pins the enemy down with his cyclone cannon but a shot from Optimus Prime temporarily stuns him. The Autobot commander challenges him to hand-to-hand combat and Thunderwing accepts, throwing his weapon aside. Siren protests and offers to surrender, but this only distracts Optimus and allows the Decepticon to retrieve his canon and aim it at Prime's head. A combined blast from Kup, Hot Rod and Blurr forces him back and Ruckus persuades Thunderwing to retreat. Back on Cybertron, the High Council is so impressed with this audacious performance that they name him Decepticon Leader.

******

Comments:

In the scene where Ratchet's patients are attacking him, Omega Supreme is shown about one and a half Autobots high. But when he was introduced he was so big the others couldn't even reach his kneecaps, so what happened? The zombie attack is an interesting idea, but it is too much of a coincidence that this is exactly what Ratchet was dreaming about earlier. With all of this weirdness going on he should have smelt a rat when the Sports Car Patrol appeared, conveniently offering to take him to Cybertron, something he was also talking about before. The return of Megatron makes for a good cliff hanger for the US audience but not so big a deal for readers here because we've seen Megs fairly recently. Stateside he has been absent for the better part of two years when he was last seen blowing up the space bridge with himself on it. The fact that Grimlock, Goldbug and Jazz are the three patients Ratchet chooses to take to Cybertron is of significance as these are the three who are remade as Pretender Classics, indicating that this storyline is on the way. Ratchet must think they are not teleporting with him because he says: "Wait! Why aren't they coming with..." But the three deactivated Autobots do turn up in Megatron's fortress next issue.

The Ark is heavily fortified we are told but it doesn't take much for Thunderwing to get aboard. The team of marauders is outnumbered but there leader obviously thinks his abilities are sufficient to overcome all obstacles. A shame we don't see a battle between Thunderwing and Prime but that is all to come during the Matrix Quest. At the end he is given leadership and the stage is set for the upcoming US stories and some previous UK ones such as A Small War. The Decepticon High Council's decision is strange because he is someone who blundered into the enemy stronghold seeking revenge, with no plan, and was lucky to escape alive.

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