Transformers UK: Issue #260
Story 1: Primal Scream (Part 2)
Story 2: Perchance to Dream (Part 6)
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: March 10, 1990
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Geoff Senior (story and cover), Andy Wildman
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Grimlock repels a Decepticon attack at the centre of Cybertron.
Galvatron is thwarted by the Autobots he mistakenly reactivated.
The Pretender Classics - Jazz, Bumblebee and Grimlock, have been teleported to the centre of Cybertron where they encountered the living core of the planet - Primus! The found the Transformers' god in a permanent state of slumber and his mysterious keeper has been explaining why.
In the story we are shown how Primus and Unicron had started out as light Gods, one good and the other evil. They had fought a pitched battle across the cosmos and then on the astral plane. Primus feared he might lose but somehow he had to end the menace of Unicron, so he re-materialised them in space but trapped within twin metallic asteroids. There they were supposed to remain for all eternity but as the aeons passed Primus was able to psychically mould his prison into a world called Cybertron, and created the Transformers to inhabit it. Unicron was also able to evolve his tomb into a body which could transform from planet to robot mode. He would however need massive amounts of fuel and so would need to consume countless worlds until the day came when he could Primus and have his revenge. In addition both gods discovered they possessed a psychic link between one another, and Primus was forced to shut himself down until the day when his creations had evolved the power to defeat Unicron once and for all. To help in the task he instilled his essence into a genetic matrix that would be carried by successive Autobot leaders until the great battle.
Everyone listens with interest, but before the Keeper can warn of the consequences of Primus waking, he is blasted in the back by Decepticon assassins Bludgeon, Octopunch and Stranglehold. He fizzles and dies and Grimlock picks up his rocket launcher to fight back. Bumblebee tells him it is too dangerous to discharge the weapon in this chamber because it could wake Primus and cause disaster on an unprecedented scale! Primus must continue to sleep even if it costs the Autobot Pretenders and Rescue Patrol Micromasters (also present) their lives.
Light years away on Earth, below a grassy mound in New Jersey, Scorponok is facing down a rowdy mob of his own Decepticons. The mob is furious at their leader's decision to welcome Starscream back after all the treachery he has propagated. Mindwipe is particularly upset about a huge hole in his chest which he got in the recent battle with Starscream and his new Pretender shell. Scorponok seeks to reassure the troops that they need Starscream's augmented power at this time, particularly because they have so many injured, but he will be kept under close watch! The faces of the Decepticons reveal that nobody is satisfied with the reply and the dissent will continue. Starscream, listening outside the door, grins and plots!
Meanwhile the battle continues with Bludgeon swinging his sword at Jazz (and cutting off the chin of his opponent's shell). Jazz punches him in the chest and then to the floor but this is a Decepticon who is not easily defeated. Stranglehold transforms into rhino mode and charges down the other Autobots which Octopunch spears Grimlock. Bumblebee looks to the sleeping Primus for inspiration and then decides that it is time to mount an ordered counter attack. It begins with him transforming to VW Beetle mode and ramming Bludgeon - just as the samauri was about to finish off Jazz!
The Autobots are on a mission leaving their space-dwelling headquarters, The Ark, deserted save for the dead and deactivated warriors in sickbay. But an unknown enemy has taken advantage of the calm to sneak a spy aboard - a robotic bug capable of scanning the memories of the fallen Autobots. An unexpected side effect was that Prowl, Ironhide, Sunstreaker, Wheeljack and Silverbolt were awoken from their comas and are loading their weapons in preparation for a showdown with the mysterious opponent. Suddenly he crashes through a wall and everyone reels in shock - for it is Galvatron!
Wheeljack tells Sunstreaker (who has never heard of Galvatron) that this is a future version of Megatron and they could be in big trouble here. But it doesn't stop him punching the Decepticon in the face with a fury - after all this maniac was responsible for dozens of deaths during Time Wars! Galvatron recovers from the blow, revealing that he has no memory of those events so it must have been an alternate reality version of him! He slaps psychic devices on Wheeljack and Prowl rendering them docile. Each device has been attuned to the brain patterns of its wearer and is homes in on character flaws, twisting the mind and making the Autobots willing servants of Galvatron.
The others attack and are repelled and finally Ironhide appeals to Prowl and Wheeljack to resist. Whatever flaw they have that is being tapped, the most important thing is that they are Autobots, and have a duty to perform. This is enough to snap them out of it and they surprise Galvatron by turning their weapons on him. The diversion is just long enough for Prowl to attach a device that Wheeljack fashioned (only moments earlier) from Galvatron's own psychic bug. Shaped like a headband, it slots on to his skull and renders him into a dream state. The newly reactivated Autobots place him in an incubator and leave him to dream horrors... such as his destruction at the hands of Rodimus Prime!
I doubt there were too many readers who were surprised to see Galvatron revealed as the mystery watcher this issue. We have seen a lot of graphical clues, such as glimpses of his distinctive shoulders, helmet and arms so far and even the editorial blurb acknowledges this badly kept secret. What does puzzle me is how Galvatron can be here at all. He died in Time Wars and was restored to life in the future when the timeline repaired itself. So is this the current Galvatron of 2009/2010 who we saw in Aspects of Evil? If so why is he hanging around in 1990 when he has all but won the war in the future? In past stories, Galvatron time-jumped to build a weapon capable of destroying Unicron, and then again when he was drifting helplessly in space and needed to go to safety to plan anew. The explanation that he is back to try to brainwash some pretty insignificant Autobots doesn't seem strong enough to me. Another gripe I have is how the Ark is so poorly protected. With so many injured troops aboard you would expect force fields or automated weapons that would prevent an enemy vessel from docking alongside. But Galvatron seems to get in completely unchallenged and it was just fluke that there was anyone around to stop him from wrecking havoc.
Previously the future Decepticon decimated scores of opponents and even his own kind. So it is somewhat unbelievable that Prowl and co are able to beat him so easily. Having induced a coma they stick him in one of the vacant incubators and leave him to it. What happens to Galvatron after this and what are the implications for the future Earth and Cybertron he left? None of these questions are ever answered. It seems to me that the writer, Simon Furman, thought 'okay I need a mystery watcher - someone to get the readers excited - so I'll throw in Galvatron' without any real thought going into how and why he would be there. A couple of years ago the arrival of a major character like Galvatron would have been a momentous event and properly planned and explained. Now it seems that characters can be thrown into the mix without a thought for continuity, and left stranded in plot limbo. It is symptomatic of the half-arsed approach being adopted on the black and white strips. Unfortunately they are a very poor substitute for the kind of stories we used to get from the UK comic like Target 2006 and others. I can only conclude that the British continuity is in a terminal decline by this point.
At least the US strip (which is also written by Furman) is more heavy weight. The origin story, though seen before, has lost none of its interest and I liked the part where the first Autobot was born out of the planet's surface. The Keeper didn't last very long after getting blasted by the Decepticons, so I think we can put that down to his extreme old age. In addition to the battle between the Pretenders and Classics the segment at Decepticon HQ on Earth was quite intriguing. Successive leaders have always forgiven Starscream his treachery and at last one seems to be suffering the consequences of this misguided action. The troops are rebelling against Scorponok and he seems almost incapable of turning the situation around. I would less talk and a show of strength would have been the answer. Decepticon leaders usually rule with an iron hand and Scorpy is stronger than most, so it is odd that he should be tolerating such open dissent. Mindwipe, usually his closest ally (well Vorath and Zarak anyway), would appear to be the ringleader. Nice to see Soundwave in the crowd as well signifying that some of the older Decepticons (previously destroyed in the Underbase Saga) are now back in active service.