Transformers UK: Issue #280

Story 1: All Fall Down (Part 4)
Story 2: The 4,000,000 Year Itch
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: July 28, 1990
Price: 45p
Writer: Michael Higgins, Simon Furman
Artwork: Herbe Trimpe, Jeff Anderson, Pete Venters (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


Superion goes up against Devastator - and comes off worse against his less advanced opponent!



The Dinobots keep Optimus Prime from finding out that Slag is throwing a wobbly.

The Autobots have teamed up with GI Joe and Cobra to launch an air assault on the Decepticons' island base off the Florida Keys. The idea is to keep Shockwave and his forces occupied while Scarlet and the Baroness sneak aboard their new weapon, Power Station Alpha, and disable it. Dr Mindbender is helping them by using stolen Decepticon technology to try to interface with Alpha and override its programming.

Meanwhile in the skies above Florida, the Aerialbot leader gives the order for his team to combine and become Superion and they engage the Constructicon gestalt Devastator in battle. Superion strikes the first blow but a surprisingly manoeuvrable Devastator catches the Autobot square in the chest with a well placed shot. He's not the only one under fire, as the Decepticon Ramjet gets shot down by Cobra emperor Serpentor. It seems the tide of battle is turning in the Autobots' and humans' favour.

Shockwave monitors the situation from below ground. He is not concerned because he knows that Alpha will soon unleash global devastation in the form of earthquakes, tornados and fires. The Decepticons will harness the energy that is unleashed and use it to re-power their home planet Cybertron.

But perhaps he shouldn't be too confident, because elsewhere we see Goldbug closing in on Alpha's position. Scarlett and the Baroness past its sensors undetected and scale the side of it to plant explosives. And back at headquarters, Mindbender puts on his psychic helmet and commands Alpha to retract its defences and power down.

******

In the black and white strip the Dinobot Slag is causing trouble for his team mates at the worst possible moment. Grimlock is giving Optimus Prime a tour of the Earthforce base in Canada and wants the Autobot leader to be impressed at how he is running things. But Slag is going nuts and lashing out due to a defect in his programming that takes hold of him every few million years. The other Dinobots, Sludge, Swoop and Snarl are trying to keep him quiet.

Prime thinks he hears something coming from a side room but Grimlock says its nothing and leads Optimus in the direction of the armoury. The Autobot leader says he would be happy to wander around of his own accord, but Grimlock insists on a conducting an official tour. Little does Prime know that things are not as rosy as they seem at the Earthforce base.

The Dinobots wrestle the crazed pal and get punched and kicked, and when Slag transforms, they get charged as well. Grimlock pretends the noises that Prime hears are just the new building settling (a likely story). Prime drops his communicator on the floor breaking it and stoops to pick up the bits, and somehow fails to notice the Dinobots running past in the background with Slag breathing fire at them. Finally the chaos is ended when Slag returns to normal and the other Dinos doze off exhausted and needing a recharge.

******

Comments:

Opening this issue, it immediately looks promising. Here comes Superion flying into battle and colliding with Devastator. Cue a long-awaited, fanboy dream deathmatch, but what happens? Not a lot, unfortunately. Superion opens fire and Devastator shoots him back, getting in a lucky shot to the chest. This could, and should, have been done so much better, but instead it is deadly dull just like the rest of this TF/GI Joe crossover. The only bit I liked was Ramjet getting shot down and semi-transforming as he goes down in flames. But even then the air battle is unconvincing because I cannot believe that human planes are a match for a Decepticon seeker jet. There should be an element of Cobra and the Joes demonstrating superior tactics to outsmart the cons, like the F14s do against Cyclonus and Scourge in the 1988 story Wrecking Havoc.

Nice fact files on Steeljaw and Superion (the latter being topical on account of his spectacular showdown earlier in the issue - LOL) but I'm not keen on the cover by Pete Venters. Its eye-catching so in some respects its doing its job, but look closer and Swoop's legs are too short for his body and his beak (folded on to his chest in robot mode) is bending all over the place. It's supposed to be metal and not rubber.

Not impressed with the back-up strip. It's one of those 'non-stories' that we got quite often in this period of the comic's development. Slag gets an itch and generates a bit of slapstick comedy as he's running behind Prime's back breathing fire up the backsides of his fellow Dinobots. Why can't they just tell Prime there's a problem with Slag? He's hardly going blame it on Grimlock or demote him for it. I can imagine Furman scratching his head for ideas, any will do, and then he can get back on with his proper day job, the US TF comic. He thinks of the clich´┐Ż seven year itch, thinks okay what if a Transformer had an itch, and decides to make it come at an inconvenient time just to give the story a bit of drama. It seems like its been thrown together a bit half-heartedly just to fill a space, and sadly its all a long way away from the high standards we were enjoying just 18 months earlier.

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