Transformers UK: Issue #247
Story 1: All the Familiar Faces (Part 2)
Story 2: Dawn of Darkness
Back-up strip: Action Force
Cover date: December 9, 1989
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Jose Delbo/Geoff Senior (story) Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
First appearance Red Hot
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
The Sports Car Patrol are in no meed for Ratchet's tricks.
Scorponok transforms and prepares to deliver the fatal sting that will destroy the Autobot shuttle (currently lifting off from the Macdill Air force base). At the vital moment Optimus Prime throws off the aim but is set upon by a horde of Decepticon Headmasters. Hot Rod sees what is happening and leaps out of the shuttle to go to Prime's rescue. It is not necessary as the Autobot leader is able to throw all his attackers off unaided. He appeals to Lord Zarak, Scorponok's Nebulan companion, to end the hostilities and help him work out why both armies were lured here to fight. Suddenly Hot Rod blunders in and sticks a blaster in Zarak's face but Prime orders him to stand down.
On Cybertron Ratchet has completed his task and has recreated Starscream as a Pretender. His mind has been wiped and soon he will be reprogrammed and dispatched to Earth to destroy Prime and Scorponok. Once this has been accomplished, Megatron can return and take his rightful place as Decepticon leader! But one more task remains, to order Blackjack to detonate the explosives he has placed on the Ark and obliterate the Autobots' home! It is only fitting that their captive, Ratchet, be made to watch his comrades' demise. The surgeon, however, has other ideas and causes a console to explode and bury the Sports Car Patrol under debris. He dashes off to the lab with Megatron in pursuit. In moments Megs has seized his troublesome hostage by the throat and manoeuvres his fusion cannon into place!
In the black and white strip, demons have emerged from the 'Underworld' below Cybertron's surface and Bumblebee just manages to dive out of the way before his is slashed to bits by their powerful claws. He screams at Jazz and Grimlock to stop fighting the Firecons and Triggercons and team-up against the creatures. Cindersaur recognises the danger and bathes a demon in searing-hot flame - but it has no effect. If anything the giant seems to feed off the power, and blasts right back, reducing Cindersaur to a pile of ash and molten metal!
Back at Autobase Seawatch has woken from his coma but is still delirious and ranting about demons! Fixit is concerned that his patient might suffer permanent damage but Xaaron wants him conscious so he can learn as much as he can before it is too late. Meanwhile Grimlock attacks and gets batted away by a demon. Jazz and Bumblebee fire but they realise their weapons are only enhancing the monster's power. In the nick of time Xaaron arrives with the Micromaster Red Hot, riding some kind of levitating cannon. It zaps the monsters with pure energy, causing them to grow exponentially until finally, the explode! Xaaron tells everyone of the legend that these monsters were the flip-side of the Matrix's good creatures, and were entombed by Primus millennia ago. Hundreds of them may still dwell beneath the surface and should they attack again in force, the Transformerkind may not survive!
Geoff Senior's artwork in the second strip is awesome and it is a real shame that it couldn't be in colour, but soaring production costs in 1989 made it impossible. The solution for dealing with the demons (feed them energy until they explode) is simple but clever. It is a risky strategy for Xaaron because he couldn't have known 100% what would happen. It is possible they might have simply got even more powerful and been impossible to stop. However Cindersaur seems to have bought the farm, and it certainly looks like this will be the last we see of him. A careful examination of the panel reveals his scorched head coming to rest on the pile of ash that was his body, so just maybe his brain module has survived and can be fixed up. We'll see more of the demons, or at least creatures like them, in the up-coming story Still Life, in issue #324. Meanwhile Lord Zarak is starting to develop a grudging respect for Optimus Prime that will come to fruition eventually. And Hot Rod's rushing to his leader's side, and not being particularly helpful, reminds me of the similar scene from Transformers: The Movie.