Transformers UK: Issue #279

Story 1: All Fall Down (Part 3)
Story 2: Divide and Conquer
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: July 21, 1990
Price: 45p
Writer: Michael Higgins, Simon Furman
Artwork: Herbe Trimpe, Staz, Bryan Hitch (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


By Omega Steve

Decepticon HQ is under attack by the Autobot and human alliance.

Starscream has to contend with the Survivors an a certain ex-Decepticon Pretender Beast.

Power Station Alpha has fallen into Decepticon hands and is being used to unleash a series of natural disasters on the Earth. The Autobots have teamed up with GI Joe AND Cobra to put a stop to the plan, but first a mission of a more personal nature must be completed.

At Fort Lewis Ratchet completes the final repairs to the Autobot Bumblebee, who was mistakenly destroyed by the Joes a few issues earlier. The yellow bug admires his new face plate and redesign and announces his intention to be known as Goldbug from this day forward. The Joes are pleased, but Cobra's Dr Mindbender thinks they are wasting time with this distraction. Luckily Hawk radios in with orders before tempers become heated. He announces that the Baroness and Scarlet will sneak aboard Alpha and disable it, and everyone else will keep the Decepticons busy by attacking their island headquarters.

Jetfire leads the assault backed up by GI Joe and Cobra planes. They are met in combat by the Decepticon seeker jets and Shockwave orders the Constructicons to combine and join the fight as Devastator.

Elsewhere Goldbug drives Scarlet and the Baroness to rendezvous with Alpha, and Dr Mindbender (still at Fort Lewis) wires up his mind control helmet with Bombshell's cerebro shell and uses it to take possession of Alpha and order it off course.


In the black and white strip, the Decepticons under the joint leadership of Soundwave and Starscream have launched an attack on Earthforce's artic base. Inside the base Prowl escapes an exploding wall panel, and orders Wheeljack to activate the defences. But the Decepticons must have taken out something vital because they won't come back on. Grimlock decides a little hand to hand combat is in order, and leads the troops outside. He slices off Octane's wing with his Energo Sword and Swoop bombs the Decepticon ground forces. They seem to be holding their own.

Soundwave doesn't like the way this is turning out. He had agreed to attack to create a distraction while Starscream captures an oil tanker, but it seems that his colleague has the easy bit. Not so, as we see when the scene switches. Starscream is throwing his weight around on the ship and causing alarm to the captain and crew, but then Springer and his band of Survivors sail up aboard the seafaring Broadside.

Ex-Decepticon Carnivac leaps at Starscream and misses, but Skids successfully zaps him with a freeze ray and Inferno sends him overboard with a right hook. Starscream recovers and takes to the air, cursing the Autobots for using his tactic of divide and conquer against the Decepticons. Soundwave, meanwhile, is also put to flight and does his best to pin the blame for the failed attack on Starscream.



Things finally seem to be coming to a head in the main strip after 15 long weeks. It is good to see old favourites like Jetfire and the Constructicons in the thick of the fight - although I am dubious about Devastator being able to fly all of a sudden. Think of the propulsion required for a robot of his size. It seems like a device to make him more evenly matched to take on Superion, who is the only combiner who can fly.

I liked Trimpe's rendition of Goldbug on the opening page. It is not in the same league as Jeff Anderson's work from issue 118, but not bad. We now know how Bumblebee's transformation to Goldbug was handled in the US comics. In the UK of course, he is blown up by a Death's Head and rebuilt by a time-travelling Wreck-gar, which sounds more longwinded but worked quite well. Baroness really looked out of place in Goldbug's VW Beetle mode, I get the impression such a car is not her usual mode of travel. And Mindbender's usage of a modified cerebro shell and his brainwave helmet sounds far fetched. Have the Joes and Cobra really got the expertise to fiddle with such tiny alien technology?

The back-up strip is better. It is certainly well drawn by Staz and features welcome returns for a lot of older characters, like the spy cassettes, Constructicons and Predacons. My highlight was seeing Carnivac leap into action and declare himself an ex-Decepticon. He really has gone on a fascinating journey in terms of character development and I would like to see more of how he is integrating with his new Autobot allies. Sadly though, this is destined to be his last appearance as the UK strips will come to an end in 10 issues' time.

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