Transformers UK: Issue #299

Story 1: Legacy of Unicron (Part 10)
Story 2: Rhythms of Darkness (Part 2)
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: 8th December, 1990
Price: 50p
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Jeff Anderson, Jose Delbo, Stewart Johnson (cover)
Rating: Art / Story

First appearance: Crossblades, Lisa


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


Spike gives the dispirited Autobots a pep-talk on why they shouldn't give up.

In an alternate reality in the year 2009, Earth has been conquered by the Decepticons and once-great cities of North America lay in ruins. As Galvatron returns to New York, the scene of his greatest triumph, he is determined to crush any remaining Autobot resistance and tells the Pretender Monsters to fan out. Icepick is desperate to see the back of his mentally unstable commander and wanders through the ruins lost in thought. If only he led the Decepticons things would be different, he thinks.

The momentary lapse in concentration proves to be fatal as he stumbles through a trip wire and brings a whole building down on him. Not far away Galvatron squares up to the corpse of Rodimus Prime - who is suspended between the Twin Towers. He curses the Autobot leader for teaching the ways of resistance and riddles the corpse with blasts from his cannon. When his anger subsides Galvatron grins as he reflects on his knowledge of an upcoming human plot. A coalition of remaining world powers are preparing to launch a nuclear attack on North America in the hopes of destroying the Decepticons. Galvatron intends to be long gone when the missiles hit and they will only succeed in wiping-out the remaining freedom fighters on the continent.

Pretender Monster Slog has a bad feeling about the whole thing and suspects that Galvatron will leave his team and many other comrades to their fate.

Meanwhile on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, the Autobot Chainclaw is clearing a path through the abandoned cars with Guzzle, Jazz, Inferno and Prowl following. Jazz is downhearted about their current mission and voices what everyone is secretly thinking: that the war is over and they have lost. Spike Witwicky and fellow resistance member, Lisa, are sitting within the Porsche and react angrily. Jazz takes the brunt of accusations that the Transformers are responsible for the state that Earth is in and they should feel obliged to save it. Prowl sympathises but points out that even the great Rodimus Prime has fallen so what chance does anyone else have?

A further pep-talk from Spike and Lisa convinces everyone that for the sakes of those who have died, they must fight on even at the cost of their own lives. If they can just get close enough to the Decepticon stronghold to unveil their "secret weapon" the Crisis Coalition of remaining world powers will see they are still alive and fighting. Jazz agrees and it is settled, and just as well because Crossblades arrives with news.

******

Comments:

This issue's reprint is one of the classics and contains none other than the origin of the Transformers as told by Unicron. The problem for a long-time reader such as I is that it is a reprint of a story I read and collected before so the space would have been better utilised by fresh material. For readers who weren't collecting at issue 150 it is of course not a bad thing. It is just a shame that almost twelve issues are to be devoted to a reprinted story, but all of this I have said before so at the risk of 'reprint' myself I shall digress.

In part two of Rhythms of Darkness the plot is starting to take shape. The remaining Earth governments are only hours away from unleashing nuclear Armageddon and this thought is very much on the minds of the Autobot and Decepticon protagonists. It is nice to see some classic older characters like Jazz, Prowl and Inferno, and newcomers Chainclaw and Crossblades without their Pretender gimmickry. This would have been Chainclaw's first US appearance although the UK featured him in the 1989 story Double Deal of the Century.

Speaking of Pretenders where does Slog's shell teleport away to when he reverts to robot mode? It simply disappears in a wave of green circles. Presumably it takes a lot of power to teleport something like that and I personally don't see the point. It is rather like the old mystery of where Prime's trailer would disappear to when he transformed, and sparked a lot of theories over the years.

Galvatron looks out of balance with that great big purple cannon on his back on the first page, and should have been drawn better. Likewise I don't care for the Colgate-style teeth Delbo gives him on page two. The colouring is also pretty dire on these pages with Transformers and backgrounds painted in blocks of colour which looks very bland. There is very little detail to speak of.

We also learn that Kup and Blurr have been wasted by Cyclonus and Scourge at some previous encounter, while the older Spike has developed a very curly mop of hair on his head. It reminds me of a sheep in the picture above, but aside from these gripes the story seems to be building up to something good. The introductory page contains a build-up to next weeks milestone issue 300, but compared with the fanfare of previous penultimate issues it is all a bit lacklustre. Indeed, if you turn to the last page there is a full page advert for #300 with a picture of Thunderwing and the Matrix monster, which was a scene from several issues ago. It was obviously put together with the minimum of effort and doesn't offer anything in the way of an insight into the attractions of the next issue.

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