Transformers UK: Issue #270

Story 1: Power Struggle (Part 2)
Story 2: The Bad Guy's Ball
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: May 19, 1990
Price: 45p
Writer: Michael Higgins, Simon Furman
Artwork: Herbe Trimpe, Pete Knifton, Stephen Baskerville (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


Cobra's Dr Mindbender amplifies his thoughts to take control of Power Station Alpha - stealing it from the Joes and the Decepticons!



While Megatron agrees to a short-lived truce with Shockwave.

In last week's gripping instalment of the Transformers versus GI Joe (said with more than a hint of sarcasm!) Superion had turned up at the Fort Lewis army base looking for his missing comrade Bumblebee - unaware that the Joes had idiotically blasted the well-meaning minibot to smithereens. After withstanding a barrage of hostile fire he was recalled to the Ark by Blaster, who radioed across the terrible news that Optimus Prime had been assassinated. The story opens with the GI Joe team trying to make sense of the encounter. Sgt Slaughter comments, somewhat accurately, that Superion had it in his power to destroy them all but his heart wasn't in it for some reason. General Hawk tasks Mainframe with reassembling Bumblebee in the hopes of getting some answers. Hawk then pays a visit to the quarters of Senator Barbara Larkin and gets invited in for drink and some smooching (did anyone see that coming?).

Meanwhile at the Decepticon undersea base off the coast of Florida, Megatron is moping around in a trance over the death of Optimus Prime. Ravage thinks a momentous event such as the demise of their greatest enemy should be a cause for celebration. Shockwave warns his leader to get a grip lest this obsession should lead to Megatron's destruction, but Megs is not listening. Clearly the logical solution is for Shockwave to engineer Megatron's demise and take over. At least their plans to secure Power Station Alpha out of the hands of GI Joe appear to be proceeding well. On screen the hulking craft starts to move forward, under the remote control of one of Bombshell's cerebro shells.

The rumbling of the engine distracts Hawk from his clinch and he realises the station is being stolen and rushes off to alert the troops. On Cobra Island the terrorist network top brass are also watching the events unfold. Dr Mindbender dons a helmet of his own design which allows him to mentally take control of the ship and force it to change course in favour of Cobra Island.

******

At crucial moments in Decepticon history, when infighting has reached dangerous levels, it has become necessary to hold an enclave (a kind of truce) where everyone gets together to thrash out their differences. Our second story opens on just such an occasion, with the combined ranks of Megatron and Shockwave's Earth-based forces gathering in a huge cave to sip oil and discuss. Shockwave opens the proceedings declaring that their divisive power struggle must be set aside in order to pursue their common goal of eliminating the Autobot Earthforce. Megatron has no taste for alliances but is swayed by the logic of his rival's argument, however unbeknown to them, four Autobots are hiding out of sight waiting to spring a trap.

Sunstreaker is alarmed at the prospect of being discovered and wonder if their leader, Grimlock, has it in for them by sending them on such a dangerous mission. Jazz points out that it is far better for them to have the Decepticons warring against each other and Ironhide, flanked by Bumblebee, has a sneaky plan. They find a tipsy Headstrong mixing up high grade oil drinks and lay him out. Moments later bolt of laser fire (from the Autobots' hidden vantage point) explodes at Megatron's feet and the paranoid con orders his men to open fire. Pretty soon there are lines of weapon fire all over the place and the Autobots lob the unconscious Headstrong over the side so he lands at Megs' feet. He and Soundwave decide that must have been a trap set by Shockwave and pretty soon a massive brawl has broken out. The Autobots are able to sneak out during the melee and congratulate themselves outside on a job well done.

******

Comments:

As nice as it is to see so many 'original' Decepticons reappearing, I didn't find The Bad Guy's Ball particularly entertaining. The story is too lacking in depth and its another simplistic sequence of events - the Decepticons get together, the Autobots open fire on Megatron and blame one of Shockwave's army, and then sneak out while a punch-up takes place. I can't believe they weren't discovered. Surely at a sensitive meeting such as that there would be guard patrols, or Ravage would have sniffed them out or something. The idea of TFs getting pissed-up on oil also strikes me as daft. Some might find it funny but the realisation that the comic has lost its gritty edge and is becoming stupid and childish dampened my sense of humour at the time of buying, and I am no more impressed now.

At least this week's GI Joe instalment is an improvement on the last, but only because Megatron has gone loopy and we get to see what Ravage and Shockwave think of it. This was a nice accompaniment to the events of UK #107-108 which dealt with Meg's unexpected reaction to his arch enemy (Optimus Prime's) untimely death. However I am surprised that General Hawk and Senator Larkin have got it on so quickly - usually you can healthy mistrust between politicians and the military of one another. Perhaps there is more going on here than we realise at this stage. And it appears that the Joes are not as dumb as they first seemed, after they start to realise that Superion and Bumblebee might not have been their enemy, but then they go an spoil it all again by allowing Power Station Alpha to be snatched from under their noses. Would it have been too much to ask to have some personnel aboard the shuttle to prevent this sort of thing happening. Or at the very least some guards around it?

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