Transformers UK: Issue #278

Story 1: All Fall Down (Part 2)
Story 2: The House That Wheeljack Built
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: July 14, 1990
Price: 45p
Writer: Michael Higgins, Simon Furman
Artwork: Herbe Trimpe, Pete Knifton, Jeff Anderson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


Doc Ratchet makes a house call to repair a broken Bumblebee.



While Wheeljack faces an embarrassment when the defences he made, turn on the Autobots.

A powerful satellite created by the US Government has fallen into Decepticon hands and is currently burrowing into Earth's core to unleash a series of 'natural' disasters. Shockwave plans to harness the energy released into Energon cubes, which can be transported to Cybertron to revitalise the Transformers' home world, but Earth would become uninhabitable as a result. GI Joe, Cobra and the Autobots stand ready to stop them.

At the Fort Lewis army base the Joes are busy rebuilding Bumblebee (having mistaken the diminutive Autobot as a foe and blown him to bits in an earlier instalment). Ratchet arrives to complete the repairs and finds his friend looking a little different to before. His face plate and bodywork have been subtly altered and he is starting to look more like his eventual Goldbug form.

Baroness and Dr Mindbender are escorted in by Beachhead, and the two sides struggle to suppress their mutual animosity. Mindbender has brought along his Decepticon captive, Bombshell, who is now offline and shrunk to his insect form. As the Joes probe one of his cerebro shells, Bombshell reverts to robot mode, and then into a hybrid state.

In Washington DC, General Hawk wanders lost in thought about recent events. His girlfriend Senator Barbara Larkin turned out to be involved in some dubious dealings with The Baroness to get the Power Station Alpha satellite built and may have doomed them all. Hawk gets summoned to the Pentagon and watches on screen as Alpha (now sporting a Decepticon-badge) drills to the surface and reverts to plane mode. He speaks to Blaster and Cobra leader Serpentor at the Ark about plans for a crack team to place explosives on Alpha.

******

The back-up strip is reminiscent of Funeral For A Friend Part 2 (see issue 110) where the Autobots are attacked by their own Ark's defences. This time Earthforce is gathered 200 yards from their base as Wheeljack gets enthusiastic about the new fortifications he has made. Prowl activates them and Wheeljack demonstrates by throwing a rock, which causes gun turrets to emerge from underground and blast it to dust. Prowl suggest the enemy could simply 'knock out' the remote control, and is told that, once activated, the guns can only be switched off from inside the base.

An uncomfortable silence descends as the Autobots realise that there is nobody in the base to flick the switch! If they want to get back in they will have to get past the defences. Doh!

The Aerialbots transform and draw some fire, while Prowl speeds towards the entrance. He gets gun-toting droids on his tail and acid bats, topped off with electrified tentacles which slither from the walls. With the Aerialbots help Prowl gets inside and turns the defences off. He radios Grimlock, who is dangling Wheeljack upside down, and gives some advice that next time the Autobot's chief engineer should "not make such a good job of it".

******

Comments:

Everyone makes mistakes and it seems Transformers do too! I found myself cringing along with Wheeljack as the realisation dawned that he cocked up in a major and very public way. I mean, talk about embarrassing. One minute you are basking in the glory of creating an elaborate network of defences, and the next your pals are getting their butts roasted by the guns you made because you didn't arrange for someone to stay in the base and switch them off. It is amazing Wheeljack keeps his job after this little episode, however it all ends well and is 'laughed off' with glib remarks from Prowl and slapstick of Grimlock dangling Wheeljack by the foot.

Essentially the plot is simple and workmanlike but is never likely to stand out among the memorable stories of the series. Prowl does at least get some decent air time which is nice to see considering all the attention on new characters by this point. But if you combine the story with the slow moving TF/GI Joe it makes for a rather lacklustre issue. To quote many a grumpy old man I have met "Things were better in my day". Some nice pencilling from Pete Knifton though.

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