Transformers UK: Issue #264
Story 1: Matrix Quest: Bird of Prey (Part 3)
Story 2: Desert Island Risks
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: April 7, 1990
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Geoff Senior, Pete Knifton, Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Thunderwing's robot mob strike when the headmasters least expect it.
Ironhide discovers a partially built Devastator on a tropical island.
Nightbeat and his fellow Headmasters are searching for the Creation Matrix on the planet Pz-zazz and have stumbled into a feud between rival gangs. The object of their desire is a mysterious statue shaped like a bird, which Nightbeat now possesses. Confronted in a shop, he bundles a large shaggy alien into three mobsters and scrambles out the door. At street level he runs into the loaded gun of a fourth mobster who mutters "say goodnight punk!". A shot rings out but Nightbeat survives. Somebody has shot the thug in the back, but who did it and why?
Elsewhere Siren, Hosehead and Miss Fatale complete a perilous climb up the sacred mountain. At the top they are welcomed by the crimelord Gutt who decides to hold them until the bird shows up. Soon enough Nightbeat comes zooming up the mountain and transforms into robot-mode, holding the bird. A piece of its enamel has been chipped away revealing a glowing energy source within the statue. Gutt orders his men to open fire but Siren and Hosehead are quicker on the draw! Miss Fatale disables the obese gangster boss with a sharp knee to the stomach and he drops in pain. Nightbeat is about to restore the bird to its rightful place but Miss Fatale cautions him, that once put back only a select few can remove the artefact. It contains the power to grant immortality, revive the Ark's fallen Autobots and maybe save Cybertron.
Nightbeat is almost tempted but he feels strongly that keeping the bird would make them no better than the original thieves. Besides he has a feeling that the answer to Pz-zazz's problems could lay in returning it to its proper place. He does this and the bird grows in size and emits a powerful, overwhelming light that spreads across the planet, cleansing it and removing the scourge of evil. Miss Fatale's world has been given a chance for life and she can be happy about that. The trouble is that happy endings are not often an Autobot's lot.. and sure enough weapons fire pierces the air and zaps the three Headmasters. Miss Fatale gasps in horror at the culprits - the robot mob! The leader introduces himself as Thunderwing and these are his Decepticons. They have been following the Autobots for some time, hoping to learn of their mission, and after they get through with Nightbeat and co, they will be dying to tell all!
Bumblebee and Ironhide journey to a small island in the Bahamas to check out a Transformer life signal. They hope it will be their missing compatriot Prowl, who was last seen leaping on to the side of a rocket which the Decepticons planned to detonate in Earth's atmosphere. According to Wheeljack it exploded just short of its target and nothing is known of Prowl's fate. The puzzling thing about this signal is that it is so strong, but the mystery is revealed when they enter a clearing and see the gigantic Devastator undergoing construction. Ironhide surmises that the Constructicons must have lost the ability to combine so it has become necessary to create Devastator as a separate entity.
Bumblebee is about to step on a grid to go and collapse Devastator when his friend stops him. As security chief Ironhide realises that it will be booby-trapped and he should be the one to cross. He steps on the first square and a weapon raises from the ground ahead of him and a computer voice asks "what A is a subterranean lifeform from Hydrus Four?" (just like Blockbusters!). He answers correctly and then faces a square of bubbling acid with an orb to its left and right. One orb speaks and says he lies while the other orb always tells the truth. The liar tells Ironhide that the square on his right is a hologram beneath which is more acid. The truthful orb says the square on the left is safe.
Ironhide sweats a bit of oil and thinks the liar will have been trying to mislead him so the square on the right must be safe. But the truthful orb said the square on the left was safe - they can't both be safe! He susses out that he has only the liar's word for it that the other orb always tells the truth, so perhaps they both deceive? He chooses the right square and is correct. Another couple of trials go by and Ironhide finally makes it to the other side. He transforms to van mode and smashes through Devastator's part-built leg bringing the giant crashing down!
If I ever find myself on a desert island this story wouldn't be one of the things I'd take along as reading material. It is an unsatisfying read, over too fast, and lacking action. The idea of having the Constructicons not being able to combine anymore is pointless and will just piss fans off. I vaguely remember the Constructicons being released in yellow designs around 1990, and not being sold with their Devastator bits. Presumably this ill judged Hasbro move is just being reflected in the comic, but it is surely a cop out that we are not told why the Constructicons can no longer form Devastator. The only part of this that I like is the bit with the orbs of truth and lies. I have seen the idea in fiction before (the Doctor Who episode Pyramid of Mars springs to mind) and although I'm not sure of its origins, it could be rooted in mythology. That said it does not seem like Decepticon style to employ such defences. They would normally stick some gun turrets up that automatically blast anything with an Autobot badge. Or better still build Devastator at the Decepticon base and there will troops around to guard him.
Thank goodness Bird of Prey part 3 is around to raise the standard. The mystery of the bird is revealed and the Autobots get a chance to show their good-guy credentials once again. Presented with an opportunity to save their fallen comrades and their homeworld, they return the artefact to its rightful place and repair Pz-Zazz. The Decepticons by contrast make the point again that nice guys finish last, but waiting until the Autobots triumph before cruelly gunning them down. Now it looks like a spot of torture awaits Nightbeat, Hosehead and Siren - a poor reward for their efforts. Talking about poor rewards, the loyal readership will now have to wait an excruciating 18 weeks to find out what happens. This is because the editorial team in their wisdom decided to print an old Transformers/GI Joe crossover that doesn't even fit into the UK continuity. I despair!
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