Transformers UK: Issue #303
Story 1: In the National Interest (Part 2)
Story 2: The Human Factor (Part 2)
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: 5th January, 1991
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Will Simpson, Dwayne Turner (stories), Stewart Johnson & Robin Boutell (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Having seen off the air force Starscream plots how to use a super powered human for his own ends.
In the opening instalment GB Blackrock had recruited two super-powered humans to help defend the Earth against the Decepticons. Having studied footage of a third individual with the ability to harness the elements as a weapon, they set out to persuade him to join them. However news of this mysterious human's abilities have also reached Starscream (who would have thought he watched the nightly news). The Decepticon seeker jet now soars above Jacksonville, Florida, striking terror into 'contemptible' inhabitants below him. How ironic, he thinks, that the key to his overthrowing Scorponok and claiming his rightful place as leader of the Decepticons could be a lowly human. One way or another he will force this Dynamo to join him and boost his power, kind of like a Powermaster engine but to a much greater extent.
As he flies an air force yet closes in and prepares to open fire but Starscream denies him the chance and sends a fireball out of his afterburners which engulfs the plane in flames. Satisfied, he transforms and lands, then goes looking for his quarry, unaware that a shadowy figure is following and observing him from a safe distance. The mystery Transformer is none other than the former Decepticon leader, Shockwave, now back from the dead and following his gut instincts rather than logic for once. And he is enjoying himself.
Some miles north, a Blackrock helicopter carries the billionaire businessman and a now suited Thunderpunch and Rapture. Thunderpunch wants to know who the curvaceous 'babe' is on their computer screen, and an irritated GB informs him that it is Circuit Breaker - once a former employee of his called Josie Beller, until an attack by Shockwave led to her coating her body in circuits in a bid to escape paralysis and gain revenge. She been consumed by blind hatred for all Transformers and been unable to differentiate between Autobot and Decepticon, seeking the destruction of both. She is Blackrock's failure and part of the reason why the Neo Knight project means so much to him. After some further squabbling by the uncouth Thunderpunch and snooty Rapture they close in on where they can expect to meet their mystery super powered man, whom we now learn is Hector Dialonzo. He is an illegal immigrant and in a lot of trouble, but Blackrock can pull a few strings on his behalf if he agrees to join their cause.
At Matacumbe Key, Mr Dialonzo (soon to be known as Dynamo) escapes the rain and waits in a bar to be contacted by GB Blackrock. But a woman wearing a long coat and hat approaches him instead. He recoils in horror at her face and hands, for she is covered from head to toe in metal and circuitry. Circuit Breaker introduces herself and explains they share a goal in wanting to destroy Transformers - they should join forces. Seconds later the roof of the bar is ripped open like a sardine can and the huge face of Starscream appears. It appears Mr Dialonzo is about to get another offer he dare not refuse.
After the obligatory scene setting in the opening round the plot steps up a gear. We have Starscream back to his treacherous best as he coolly dispatches a pilot and schemes to overthrow the latest Decepticon leader. Once again he is going it alone, having slipped away from headquarters to hatch a new plan, and you have to wonder what planet Scorponok is on by letting him out of his sight. In fact the only one keeping close tabs on him is Shockwave - who seems to be evolving into some kind of walking calculator, pre-empting his every statement words like interrogative and conclusion. It is nice to see a couple of original Transformers back in the saddle in this story, although Hasbro toy executives won't be too disappointed seeing as newcomers the Air Strike Patrol and Powermasters have featured or been referred to. This art and scenes with Starscream take me back to Furman's first TF story, The Enemy Within in 1985, which also involved him treating the air force the rough end of his gun barrels, and proving he sees no disgrace in bullying lesser life forms.
Most enjoyable of all are the exchanges with Rapture and Thunderpunch, providing insights into their respective personalities. Thunderpunch is a sexist redneck who takes a fancy to Circuit Breaker's curves and reacts to Rapture's feminist contempt by slagging off her less-appealing looks. He is also quite vain and is more worried about looking stupid in a spandex costume than the thought of tangling with a Decepticon. I also liked the way Hector/Dynamo is horrified at Circuit Breaker's deformity at being coated in metal. Her appearance illustrates the way that hatred is turning her into one of the soulless machines she hates. I love the dramatic appearance of Starscream at the end. His face peering through the hole reminded me of Jack Nicholson's character in the Shining, perhaps this was what Furman had in mind?