Transformers UK: Issue #296
Story 1: Legacy of Unicron (Part 7)
Story 2: Matrix Quest: All Fall Down (Part 3)
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: 17th November, 1990
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Dan Reed, Geoff Senior, Stewart Johnson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Prime must stop Thunderwing without the Matrix being destroyed with him.
Thunderwing has been possessed by the Matrix and is laying waste to the Autobots in their own launch bay. The Decepticons sneaked aboard using on of the Ark's own shuttles but little did they know that Nightbeat, Siren and Hosehead are also hiding out in the craft.
The three Headmasters try to piece together recent events. They were ambushed by the Decepticons as the searched planet Pz-Zazz for the Matrix, and then attached to a mind leach which extracted their thoughts. Thunderwing used the information to conduct his own Matrix Quest and found the sacred lifeforce on the VsQs moon. He fought Grimlock, Bumblebee and Jazz there and defeated them, then stole their shuttle and used it to sneak aboard the Ark undetected. The three Headmasters had stowed away on the craft as well, but now they will need to get past a doorway full of Decepticons to help their comrades, currently battling a Matrix-enhanced Thunderwing in the shuttle bay.
While all this is going on we return to Earth briefly, where Shockwave is hiding in the swamps close to Scorponok's underground base. He is thirsting to defeat his rival and take back control of the Decepticon forces on Earth, and when he sees Starscream emerging from the base and running off into the night, Shockwave thinks he may have found an ally.
Back on the Ark the Matrix entity has manifested as a hideous demon-like creature and surrounds Thunderwing like a dark aura. Autobot weapons are unable to penetrate this shield and the monster picks Chromedome up and tosses him aside like a ragdoll. Blurr punches the creature a hundred times at super-speed but isn't quick enough to avoid the return jab. Prime realises it may be time to think the unthinkable and destroy the Matrix, even though he knows it is the only thing that can stop Unicron, when the planet eater eventually arrives. He tries to reason with Thunderwing and get him to snap out of the spell he is under, but the Decepticon lord just get even more furious and blasts Optimus, before closing in, seemingly for the kill.
Fights between the leaders are always something special. Optimus Prime has had some great bouts with Megatron, Shockwave and Galvatron, and this one with Thunderwing doesn't disappoint. Furman has interjected a clever twist as, not only can Prime cannot rely on the Matrix to boost him this time, but it is actually in the hands of his opponent. The dialog is expertly handled, revealing Thunderwing to be an out-of-control ego maniac, who is so drunk on his new power that he is almost invincible. His followers had feelings of resentment and contempt for Thunderwing, but now they outright fear him.
Another mighty conflict is raging within Optimus himself. The great leader is wracked with indecision as whether he should destroy the Matrix along with Thunderwing, or try to avoid harming it and let his troops get slaughtered. You get the impression that the ever-resourceful Nightbeat might be able to do something from his vantage point.
Some other points to ponder: what happened to the Matrix Spawn after the battle with Thunderwing? Was it killed or is it still roaming the moonbase on VsQs. Likewise are Grimlock, Bumblebee, and Jazz, laying there deactivated or where they taken aboard the shuttle when Thunderwing cleared out?
On the letters page there is an announcement that Dreadwind and Hi-Test are getting the push! They will be replaced by the Autobot Blaster and aren't likely to get the customary 'Robo Capers' strip send-off. I wasn't too bothered at the time because these two were not as entertaining as previous letter-answerers Soundwave or Grimlock, but unfortunately Blaster would turn out to be worse.