Transformers UK: Issue #318

Story: The Void (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Machine Man 2020
Cover date: 22nd June, 1991
Price: 50p
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Robin Bouttel (cover) Andrew Wildman (story and cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


Scorponok puts the squeeze on one of the servants of Unicron!

The Transformers have been transported to Cybertron to prepare for the final reckoning with Unicron. Their living god, Primus, has spoken through Emirate Xaaron about the challenges ahead, but Optimus Prime is uneasy with the idea that his troops (and the Decepticons) are being used as pawns in an ancient celestial battle. They could be required to make the ultimate sacrifice and it is by no means clear that Primus truly cares about his creations. Scorponok, meanwhile, has his own problems, with Starscream and Shockwave threatening to challenge him for leadership once all this is over. It seems that some 'cons just aren't grasping the magnitude of the threat they all face. Scorponok speaks alone with Optimus and confesses that is terrified of the coming battle and does not want to die. Prime reassures his new 'friend' that he has no wish to die a second time either, and besides he is a little disturbed by Primus' attitude towards everyone, as though they are all expendable.

As Scorponok pledges to find alongside with Prime, the disciples of Unicron attack in large numbers. The Decepticon leader decapitates one and then realises that he is not the target. He could leave Prime to his fate but where is the honour in that? Overcoming such thoughts, Scorponok plunges into battle and defends Prime, while several feet away a disciple prepares to unleash a grenade. Galvatron seizes the bomber by the throat and makes him swallow the explosive, with explosive results! He then fires an SOS flare which brings reinforcement Autobot and Decepticons.

A brief interlude sees Thunderwing restored to full health by the Matrix, and then he transforms and sets course for Cybertron with the evil-tainted artefact in tow. Back on the home world Bludgeon slices the head off a disciple and his fellow Pretenders soft up the others. Finally the opposition is defeated and Scorponok relishes the opportunity to clamp a pincher on the head of one of Unicron's servants. He is going to squeeze the life out of the mechanoid but Prime orders him to stop, arguing that these Transformers were possessed and it is important that they show mercy. Primus agrees, revealing that he named Optimus as leader to flush out these Unicron loyalists. This only adds to the feeling that they are being used as pawns.

Suddenly Prime curls up in agony, it is a repeat of the internal attacks that he has been experiencing a lot of late. Kup asks Primus if it is true that he is aware of everything Unicron does.... because if so how in the name of creation did he miss that? Kup points skyward at an unbelievably massive Unicron, in robot mode and preparing to feast!

******

Comments:

Nothing short of kidnapping or a nasty accident would stop a reader from buying the next issue after that cliff hanger! A part of me is a little gutted that the Transformers: The Movie storyline is now officially abandoned (it buggers up all the previous future based Marvel UK stories) but I can't deny that the comic's version of this classic showdown promises to be a special event.

In many ways this issue is simply a starter before the main course, so it is more for whetting the appetite that a meaty serving. The Unicron disciples are a nice idea, but they are quickly dispatched. The threat they provide serves to cement the growing appreciation between Scorponok and Prime, and not to mention the comical scene with Galvatron stuffing a grenade in an enemy robot's gob. The relations between Prime and Scorponok are quite touching, because I wouldn't mind betting that Scorpy has never had a genuine friend he could trust, other than maybe Lord Zarak who is bonded too, and he has started looking up to Prime and knows he can tell him his fears without being stabbed in the back.

The doubts about Primus are interesting. If you think about it, what would you do if God came to Earth and started giving orders, would you be humble and respectful or would you be slightly afraid? The worrying thing here is that everyone is supposed to be united and ready to take on Unicron, but the whole thing is a shambles. Unicron has got hordes of supporters loose on the planet, plus Galvatron who can't be trusted, while Prime is suffering a painful malfunction, and Scorponok's position has to watch his back lest someone pinches his job. Added to this the biggest balls-up of all, having the Matrix turn evil and go missing.

Although I've used the picture of Scorponok putting the squeeze on a devil worshipper (above), the main picture this issue is surely the arrival of Unicron on the last page. Andrew Wildman has made a good job of that, but if you look closely you'll see that he was having a few laughs as well. On Unicron's stomach are squares with a male and female signs like toilet doors, and lower down are two more boxes with one and two on them (perhaps continuing the bodily function theme).

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