Transformers UK: Issue #288

Story 1: Matrix Quest: Deadly Obsession (Part 3)
Story 2: Comic Convention
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: 22nd September, 1990
Price: 45p
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Jose Delbo, Dan Reed, Pete Venters, Pete Knifton (cover)
Rating: Art / Story


By Omega Steve

Longtooth is left in deep shock after an attack from the monstrous Klud!

The Autobot Pretenders Longtooth, Pincher and Doubleheader journeyed to the planet Pequod to find evidence of the Matrix. They heard about an extinct whale, called the Klud, which had miraculously revived and started attacking boats. Thinking it might be the Matrix at work, they went to investigate and Longtooth was attacked and became delirious! As our scene opens a Decepticon space cruiser has just arrived on the scene (also hunting for clues to the Matrix) and destroyed Longtooth's harpoon, before doubling back for another attack run!

Luckily the Autobot shuttle also arrives and catches the Decepticons with a surprise assault. The blast knocks out their targeting system and missiles fly in all directions, one striking the Longtooth's yacht and knocking him overboard. As he sinks into the depths, still clutching a laser rifle, he remembers the events leading up to the Klud attack and his subsequent 'enlightenment'. He, Pincher and Doubleheader had parked their ship on the ocean alongside an abandoned sea vessel and a smaller, badly damaged boat. It looked to Longtooth as though the crew of the sea vessel had stopped to pick up survivors and everyone was ate by the Klud. He had ignored Doubleheader's warnings and got too close to the edge while looking for teeth marks, and suddenly the creature exploded out of the water and snapped off his leg! Longtooth was in deep shock and the image of this great leviathan burned itself on to his brain, becoming entwined with their mission to stop Unicron. In his delirium Longtooth began to see the whale as the devourer of worlds and his purpose to destroy it became clear.

Back in the present Thunderwing is showing his own signs of madness - having become obsessed with finding the Matrix. He orders Spinister and Needlenose to transform and take the fight to the Autobots, dismissing their concerns that they are risking a lot to save this creature. The two Decepticons converted to their modes and exited the shuttle convinced their leader was losing it, and on deck Doubleheader and Pincher separated from their shells and transformed to counter attack.


Soundwave has popped to his local supermarket and picked up a copy of the trashy tabloid Front Line. He sticks it under the nose Starscream and tells him that their smear campaign against the Autobots has take a turn for the worse. According to the magazine, a freelance journalist called Irwin Spoon had been promised an interview with Grimlock, which could blow the lid on the Transformers war. Up-till now the public has perceived all giant robots to be a threat but the Autobots could win a lot of support from the planet's natives if their heroic credentials were known. Clearly this must not be allowed to happen.

At this moment the intrepid Mr Spoon is enjoying a tour of the Autobot Earthforce HQ and is in awe at the high tech gadgets and weaponry he sees. Grimlock really cannot be bothered with this diversion, so he stands there saying next to nothing and it falls to second-in-command Prowl to supply the enthusiasm. After reminding Grimlock that they need this publicity, he takes Irwin to see the combat simulation rooms, while we see a flashback to last issue when he helped to remove a cerebro shell from Superion's brain, ending his Decepticon-controlled rampage. In return he had been promised an interview with Grimlock and a Pulitizer Prize is uppermost in his thoughts right now.

When it comes time for the interview Grimlock leads them outside - after all its quiet and there's no-one around for miles! But Spoon is shivering in the snow and does not appreciate the Dinobot's humour. There's no time to argue though because the Stunticons suddenly roar up and take out Prowl and Grimlock, then Motormaster transforms and grabs Spoon! Irwin had wanted a front page story in Front Line, not the front line of the Autobot/Decepticon war!



Fun fact: Issue 288 ran a spot the difference competition with 20 Death of the Incredible Hulk videos as the prize.

So how come the Decepticons were so worried about adverse publicity in Front Line? From the looks of the magazine with its exposes of Elvis polar bears, man bites dog, and the painfully uninteresting 'Comic Convention Scandal', the readers probably wouldn't believe a word of the story anyway. Petes Venters and Knifton were just having a laugh with this front page and lampooning the likes of America's National Inquiry and Weekly World news most likely. The headline on the magazine 'Front Line! Comic Convention Scandal' also doubles up as the title banner of this week's story from the looks of it. If not then this strip has the rare distinction of not being titled.

Irwin really ought to be taking pictures or writing down his observations in a notebook for the eventual story. As it is at the point where he's kidnapped by Motormaster he hasn't got anything to show for his tour, save what's committed to memory. Prowl is in his role as the brains of the outfit, while Grimlock the strong-silent type, can't be bothered with winning the media war and would rather fight the real one. A few issues ago Wheeljack had created defences for the Earthforce base, which if you recall got a little out of control, but even so you'd still expect some kind of early warning system to be in place. However not only is Bombshell seemingly able to slip in and out of the base, but the Stunticons can brazenly drive up unnoticed, attack the leader and second in command and kidnap their guest! Very sloppy!

One more thing about the spoof Front Line! cover - in the 'photo' of the bar there's a sign up saying please leave your anoraks at the door. Could the two Pete's have been suggesting that people who attend comic conventions are geeks? Surely not! ;-)

Dan Reed's influence on the artwork in the main strip is a lot more evident this instalment, as we see his distinctive 'crackle of electricity' style of demonstrating transformation. Finally with the flashback to the Klud attack on Longtooth the pieces fall into place and we can now see what has possessed this deranged Autobot. I rather like the idea of the creature becoming the embodiment of Unicron in Longtooth's mind.

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