Transformers UK: Issue #259

Story 1: Primal Scream (Part 1)
Story 2: Perchance to Dream (Part 5)
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: March 3, 1990
Price: 45p
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Geoff Senior, John Stokes, Andy Wildman (cover)
Rating: Art / Story

First appearance: The Keeper of Primus


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


At the centre of Cybertron the Autobots learn the origin of the Transformers!



And Superion and Menasor do battle in Silverbolt's dreams.

Attacked in mid-teleport by three Decepticon assassins, the Autobot Pretenders Grimlock, Jazz and Bumblebee, and the Micromaster Rescue Patrol find themselves not on Earth as intended, but deep within their homeworld of Cybertron. There they are confronted by the face of their living god Primus, and ordered to show due reverence by an ancient being known as the Keeper!

One by one the Autobots sink to their knees, all except for Grimlock who isn't buying this talk for a minute, and is neither phased by the Keeper's warning that unbelievers will face a 'righteous wrath'. Seawatch tells him to get down and 'do us all a favour' and Bumblebee says, that as strange as it sounds, he thinks this really is Primus! Grimlock is undeterred and asks for proof - perhaps the Keeper can explain how the Transformers were created? The cloaked, white being agrees - they have a right to know their heritage and after hearing the story they will know why Primus must forever slumber. With that the Keeper unleashes a burst of energy from his fingers and swirling images start to form.

Meanwhile, in the secret Autobot base below Iacon, Emirate Xaaron is worried by the disappearance of his warriors. He has spoken to Optimus Prime on Earth and they aren't there and the Autobot technicians, rebuilding the transporter device are none-the-wiser as to what happened. All Xaaron knows is that wherever the Autobots are, the Decepticons are too - which means they are in terrible danger. Sure enough Bludgeon, Stranglehold and Octopunch are following a light at the end of the tunnel which will lead them to Primus' chamber - and the Autobots.

Up ahead the Keeper shows images from the dawn of time when the Gods of Light and Darkness did battle, with the fledgling life that had started to spread across the cosmos, in the balance. Before Primus could take his place in the omniversal matrix he had to defeat the last of the Dark Gods - the chaos bringer Unicron! Primus was wounded and transferred the battle to the astral plane, hoping to fare better there but to no avail, so he created a portal back and fled with Unicron in close pursuit. But rather than materialise in normal space, Primus led them into lifeless asteroids where they would be trapped for all eternity. In time Primus learned to live with his sacrifice and mentally shape his prison - into a world called Cybertron!

******

The not-so mysterious watcher bangs his fist on the computer console. His robotic bug has stopped transmitting and clearly something has gone seriously awry. Four pawns had been selected and a fifth - Silverbolt - was being lined up. Perhaps if he rewinds the tape of victim number five memories he will find the explanation.

The vision opens on a scene of total devastation as Menasor trashes on of G.B. Blackrock's industrial plants - as vengeance for his assisting the Autobots. The Aerialbots swooped down to attack the giant, but team leader Silverbolt was battling on two levels - the other being his fear of heights! The agile jets were able to inflict minor damage but it would take a long time to take down an opponent as tough as Menasor, so the Aerialbots decided to disobey orders and combine into their largely untested form - Superion. In this combined state the other Aerialbots had access to Silverbolt's thoughts and discovered his secret, but the result was that Superion fed on the shame, the anger, and became more powerful. He reigned blows on his Decepticon enemy and sent him reeling backwards into a building and coolant towers! Humans fled in terror from the pair of them - and that is where the bug stopped broadcasting.

The watcher resolves to find out what happened, even if it means boarding the deserted Ark and intervening personally. While on the ship the formerly deactivated quintet of Prowl, Ironhide, Sunstreaker, Wheeljack and Silverbolt - have awoken from their comas - thanks to the bug device. They realise that whoever was probing their dreams will come for his device and they will need to be ready for anything.

******

Comments:

Geoff Senior and Simon Furman demonstrate their combined talents to a US audience for the first time in Primal Scream. The story is being reprinted in the UK comic and thankfully this means an end to the repeats of old UK stories we've been seeing so much lately. The mysterious hooded Keeper makes an immediate and dramatic impact, providing the element of mysticism that an encounter with the Transformers' god Primus demands. Primus himself is snoozing, affording us the comical moments with Grimlock poking fun at him. Under Furman the rehabilitation of Grimlock from the self obsessed moron who once led the Autobots, to the tough and unflinching warriors is complete. Of course the writer is obliged to keep Grimlock's backward speech patterns for consistency, but now these are explained as a circuit defect rather than a lack of intelligence. Grimlock is afraid of no-one - even a living God - and feels no need to follow the crowd. So when the other Autobots sink to their knees in reverence he is the one who challenges the Keeper's validity. The origin story that unfolds was being revealed for the first time in the US continuity, but UK readers will be familiar with it as it was told to Death's Head by Unicron in UK#150. Then we have three rather vicious Decepticon Pretenders on the way so things look about to heat up big time!

Perchance to Dream features a clash between the special teams that we haven't seen before. I'm guessing by the references to Superion being unstable, that it must be set shortly after the Aerialbots and Stunticons' creation in 1987. Poor old GB Blackrock is having another of his industrial plants trashed and he must surely be wondering why he always gets picked on. At least this time he has been targeted specifically rather than through bad luck. The issue of Silverbolt's fear of heights, and what his team mates make of it has never been properly, and still isn't here to be honest. I think we are to assume that the others find out but forgive his faults because it doesn't stop him being a good leader, or Superion functioning well. Interestingly, one of the workers seen fleeing from Menasor is the same guy who John Stokes drew running from Grimlock in the 1985 story Decepticon Dambusters. I can't be sure if he redrew him or transplanted the image from before. Either way this guy has the sort of bad luck that GB Blackrock could appreciate. Finally Galvatron is about to reveal himself as the mystery watcher so we'll at last find out what all this memory-probing has been about.

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