Transformers UK: Issue #255
Story 1: Worlds Apart (Part 1)
Story 2: Perchance to Dream (Part 1)
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: February 3, 1990
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Will Simpson, Andy Wildman, Stephen Baskerville (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
The Battlechargers are tearing up the road - but Prowl is determined to stop them!
The main strip reprints the Headmasters' debut from issue 130, which I have already reviewed. See the comments and synopsis for that issue for more.
The black and white strip begins a new six part series called Perchance to Dream, featuring some of the older characters who have been shamefully neglected over the last 100 or so issues. In Earth's orbit the Ark is approached by a smaller vessel, which dispatches a probe that sneaks aboard. It finds the ship virtually deserted because the Autobots are away on some mission or another, and it makes it way to sick bay where dozens of life support chambers house the bodies of all the warriors who fell during the Underbase and Time Wars battles. It settles on Prowl and begins to monitor the Autobot's dreams.
The data it relays is of a little-known encounter between Prowl and the Battlechargers, Runabout and Runamuck, during their graffiti crime spree in early 1987 (see issues 94+95). The Decepticon vandals are tearing up the highway, scattering motorists left, right and centre, when a police car starts bearing down on them. They initially think it's a human vehicle and therefore nothing to worry about, but then spot the tell-tale Autobot insignia on the car's bonnet. The Battlechargers separate, with Runabout continuing on the highway, and Runamuck taking an off-ramp to a service station and putting human lives in danger. Petrol spews out from the damaged pumps and Prowl transforms, desperate to do something before the whole place goes up in flames. Runamuck ignites a fuel trail and Prowl neutralises it with a precision shot from his acid gun. All of this just makes the Autobot mad and he zooms after the Decepticons with a fury. It is no more Mr Nice Guy!
Runabout causes a pile-up to flank their escape and Prowl transforms and gets ready to shoot. Suddenly Optimus Prime appears on the scene and berates him for the trail of destruction caused. Prowl's hard-line tactics have almost caused as much damage as the Decepticons and Prime isn't happy. His deputy obeys the order but thinks to himself that "sometimes you need to fight fire with fire". This thought is exactly what the enemy monitoring the probe's data wanted to hear. With that Prowl becomes his first candidate. For what? We won't find out just yet.
I'm sorry to say but this isn't a very satisfying issue for me, and had I been a casual reader I probably wouldn't have bothered. Reprinting old stories is IMHO the worst kind of cop out, it might save the staff a bit of work but is a rip off for the fans, who have already paid once to read this story. It takes up space that could be used for something we haven't seen before. The excuse given on the intro page is that "deadlines caught up with us" but I don't see why they couldn't have launched into Primal Scream part one now, seeing as they would have three weeks to line up a new story. Or, better still, why not have an 11 page Perchance to dream with six pages in colour? I'm sure readers would have appreciated that. Apart from Combat Colin and the letters page, which are entertaining, that leaves Transformers fans with just the black and white strip to show for their purchase. And while it is nice to see Prowl and the Battlechargers back in these pages, it is hardly the best story ever seen. It is basically a chase that takes a detour to a petrol station and then gets cut short at the end, so doesn't even get resolved. There is an element of mystery in that we've got a unseen villain probing everyone's memories for some as yet undisclosed reason, to count as a redeeming factor. I also liked the fact that Prowl's acid gun was mentioned, because it is rare that attention is paid to character's weaponary, even though each is unique to that Transformer and counts as part of their abilities. I also like the idea of weaving stories around older tales (in this case the US spoof Decepticon Graffiti) because I can see a lot of potential for that. It is certainly better than simply reprinting old material anyway.