Transformers UK: Issue #273

Story 1: Ashes to Ashes (Part 1)
Story 2: Wolf in the Fold
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: June 9, 1990
Price: 45p
Writer: Michael Higgins, Simon Furman
Artwork: Herbe Trimpe, Staz, Stewart Johnson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


Shockwave and Serpentor cement their alliance with a handshake while secretly plotting treachery.



Bludgeon psyches himself up for the imminent arrival of Carnivac.

The Decepticons and their leader Shockwave are watching simulations of the destructive potential of Power Station Alpha, the new US Government invention which they aim to possess. Images appear of it unleashing laser beams along sensitive faultlines in Western America, boring into the ocean bed, and melting the polar ice caps. Cities would crumble and the Earth would respond with volcanoes, tidal waves and other natural disasters, creating energy that Alpha could harness and transmit through space to Cybertron, home planet of the Transformers.

Shockwave is rather pleased with himself for coming up with the plan. Where Megatron failed to grasp the potential of this new technology, he has succeeded and will achieve more in a matter of days than previous Decepticon leaders have over millennia. Their allies on Cybertron must be contacted, but first there is the small matter of welcoming their new allies Cobra. Serpentor steps forward and shakes Shockwave's enormous hand while followers of both factions look on with suspicion - and in the Dreadnok's case, mirth.

Cobra has delivered Power Station Alpha as its end of the bargain and now expects Decepticon help in achieving its global ambitions. But little do the cons know that their new human allies intend to take control of the giant robots as soon as a way can be found - and likewise Shockwave is not letting on about his plans to devastate the Earth. Following the meeting the humans depart leaving Dr Mindbender behind as an ambassador.

******

"He's gone. We all know where," says Springer, as the second story opens. The triple changer and his comrades, Sandstorm, Broadside, Skids and Inferno have formed a small unit called the Survivors, which recently counted among its numbers the Decepticons Carnivac and Cattilla. They formed a bond after fighting together against Galvatron in the epic Time Wars saga. Cattilla wore an Autobot badge for a short time before he was executed by the Decepticon Mayhem Attack Squad for treason, and Carnivac (though still a Decepticon) swore to avenge his friend. His disappearance from the Survivors' camp a few hours ago confirms to the others that he has gone after the Mayhems and his life is in jeopardy. The question is what do they do about it?

At the Mayhem's secret base, Carnivac has already dealt with the weakest member, Needlenose. He sees Octopunch and Stanglehold on perimeter guard duty and sneaks up on his main quarry - Bludgeon. It was his sword that murdered Cattilla, and he appears to be meditating and unprepared for an attack. Carnivac (in wolf mode) leaps but Bludgeon rolls out of the way. His ninja abilities ensured that he knew Carnivac was there all along and now he has lost the element of surprise. Bludgeon is fast and strong and is able to throw Carnivac against a wall and retrieve his sword.

Elsewhere Springer is still wasting time and claiming if they go to Grimlock's Earthforce for reinforcements they could be arrested for teaming up with a Decepticon. Finally the others lose patience and say they will go to Carnivac's aid with or without assistance. Springer agrees but has a nasty feeling that things will blow up in their faces... And back at the action Carnivac is being pursued by the full compliment of Mayhems and is desperate to come up with a plan. He turns a corner and runs into a volley of weapons fire.

******

Comments:

I am on record as saying that I don't much care for the black and white strips. For the most part they tend to lack substance and are inconsequential to the wider ongoing story. But as with all things there are exceptions and the arc which feature Carnivac never disappoint. By this point in the series he has emerged as one of the truly memorable and fascinating characters thanks to the way that Simon Furman has developed him. He is easily the most interesting of the Survivors, a classic anti-hero who has thrown in his lot with the Decepticons but is a loner at heart. He does not blindly follow the crowd like other Autobots and Decepticons but has his own code of ethics and values that are more important to him than his outward allegiances. Having fought alongside Springer in Time Wars and seen the slaughter of his comrades, he formed a warrior's bond with his Autobot counterparts. While Cattilla sought acceptance into the new group and was happy to become an Autobot, Carnivac's loner nature meant that he could never commit in this way. But when his friend was killed trying save him (Carnivac) from the Mayhems his honour demands that this death be avenged.

Furman has also been building up Bludgeon of late, so it is no surprise that he later becomes Decepticon leader following the death of Scorponok in the Unicron war. But I am not a bit Bludgeon fan and personally would have liked to have seen Carnivac take him apart. Instead he comes off worse in the fight and is now outnumbered and outgunned, all the odds stacked against him. You can predict that the Autobots will come to his aid by the end, but it still makes for an exciting cliff hanger. Staz's art is generally good although there is the odd unsatisfying frame, notably Springer's human looking teeth on page 13. Why should a robot need a perfect set of dentures? Overall though it's a good few pages and shines in comparison with the tedious TF/GI Joe crossover.

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